I want to tell you about the best automotive service center in Texas. It’s Kwik Kar in Irving, on the corner of Esters Road and Pioneer Drive. Every location is independently owned, so I can’t vouch for the others, but that one is the best. By the way, this is not a paid advertisement. The folks at Kwik Kar have no idea I’m writing this. It is the result of gratitude.
The first time I went to Kwik Kar for an oil change, I went reluctantly. I usually change my own oil; it’s not hard, doesn’t take much time. I am the kind of guy who likes to do things myself if I can (and ever so often, when it might have been better to hire a professional). I enjoy fixing things, enjoy the feeling of having left something better than when I found it. Some people who know me well might say I am a bit of a perfectionist, a nit-picker, even a tough customer. They would be right. I demand a lot of myself, and no less of someone providing goods or services.
That weekend was a tough one. I had planned on changing the oil in my car – after changing the A/C compressor and power steering belts. This is usually a piece of cake – very simple. I had changed plenty of belts before. Famous last words!
After a couple of hours, I began to realize that my car had been designed by a team of highly skilled engineers whose main design objective was to keep me from changing the power steering belt. The other belt, the one for the A/C, was as easy as I had expected. But the power steering belt was a different story altogether. They had placed the tensioner bolt – the piece that needs to be loosened before removing a belt from a pulley – about a foot up from the bottom of the engine, right between the engine block and another very large part, in a crack barely wide enough to fit a butter knife. The thing is as close to the exact center of the entire motor assembly as anyone could wish it weren’t.
In the end I had to get a special tool made up of a very stubby socket for tight spaces, and a long flat handle about the thickness of a butter knife. Apparently I am not the only one who has had this type of problem. It still didn’t work. At this point I started to feel frustrated. I was tired, my back and arms were stiff and sore, and I had removed all the skin from my knuckles. So I went to Kwik Kar. After the oil change, I asked the mechanic if he had had trouble with the belt. “No,” he said, “It doesn’t need to be changed.”
“The other one was cracked,” I told him.
“This one wasn’t,” he replied. It was a $75 job, twice the price of the oil change. I thanked him, paid for the oil change, and left.
It is nice to find a business that provides good service at a fair price. When it is staffed by pleasant people, so much the better. The hard thing is to find all this, and the kind of old-fashioned ethic that truly puts the customer first, even ahead of legitimate profit.
Like anyone else, I have had repair shops try to take me for all they could. My wife once paid for an oil change, after which I found the same filter as I had put on her car the last time. That is one of the reasons I like to do things myself. Honesty is, unfortunately, something of an unexpected bonus these days.
The mechanic at Kwik Kar would have been perfectly justified in changing the belt on my car. I asked him for the service. He checked the belt, found it still good, and even put the little splash shield back in place that goes on the inside of the fender. Not only did he go out of his way to serve a customer, he did so in the process of saving the customer money at no profit to himself. That goes beyond honesty. That is something truly rare: honor.
I think I might just keep going back to Kwik Kar for oil changes. You should too.