By Jeremy Henderson, Army Flier Staff WriterAugust 17, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Whether people are looking for a place to get their vehicles serviced or repaired, or even if they'd like to do it themselves -- or learn to -- the Fort Rucker Auto Skills Center is a one-stop shop for most automotive needs.
For those just needing basic maintenance who aren't interested in doing it themselves, there's the Quick Lube service.
"The Quick Lube offers customers the convenience of a quick lube oil change, combined with the quality and value patrons would expect from a [Fort Rucker Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation] activity," said Tina Barber, ASC program manager.
Quick Lube features standard or synthetic oil changes, fluid top off and multi-point visual vehicle inspection while the customer waits. Customers can also purchase oil, filters, brake fluid, antifreeze and other common automotive maintenance products.
The Quick Lube Program also offers personally-owned vehicle inspections. Hours of operation are Mondays-Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Patrons are advised to call ahead to schedule their quick lube service.
For members if the do-it-yourself crowd, Barber said the installation of seven new lifts in 2015 allowed the facility to better meet their needs.
"The lifts replaced older equipment that was still functional, but did not have the lifting capacity to meet the needs of the community," she said. "We went from two-post lifts with a 9,000-pound lifting capacity to two-post lifts with a 12,000-pound lifting capacity. We also have three four-post lifts with a 14,000-pound capacity."
The center's floor was also resurfaced, which Barber said improved the aesthetics of the facility and made the cleaning up of spills less labor intensive.
"We have also purchased upgraded tire mounting and balancing equipment," she said. "Just as the heavier duty vehicles required increased lifting capacity in the lifts, we needed to upgrade our equipment to handle the mounting and balancing of the heavier, larger tires of those vehicles.
"Also, the upgraded equipment makes the dismounting and mounting of low profile tires a one-person operation, whereas before, it could take two or three individuals to dismount and mount a low-profile tire," she added.
The center offers a variety of services for authorized personnel.
A self-help program -- patrons can sign into the facility and conduct repairs on their own vehicles. ASC has the tools and equipment needed to complete the repairs.
Instructional classes -- oil change, transmission service, front brake repair, rear brake repair, ignition system tune-up and how to use scan tools.
Mechanic-for-Hire program -- patrons can have their vehicles worked on by a trained professional.
Carwash facilities -- two manual and one automatic carwash bay. Two vacuum cleaners, one combination vacuum and shampooer, three vending machines and a fragrance machine. The automated carwash is now also a 24-hour operation, as are the manual wash bays. There is also a free standing dryer system that has been installed at the end of the automatic wash bay. It is activated when either the $8 or $10 selections are chosen.
Auto detail program -- ASC offers various packages to patrons, from partial to full detailing.
Propane resale operation -- ASC fills propane tanks of various sizes, including recreation vehicles.
Paint booth and areas for restoring vehicles -- ASC does not offer instruction in this area. Patrons must have all the working knowledge necessary to restore and paint a vehicle.
According to Barber, ASC is an invaluable resource for Soldiers and families living on a tight budget.
She also highlighted that they now provide service options to the installation's fleet of cars and light trucks.
"In most people's lives, the two biggest expenses are homes first and secondly vehicles," she said. "The biggest advantage to Soldiers and authorized personnel is monetary savings. Patrons can literally save hundreds of dollars through the self-help program because they are doing the work themselves instead of hiring a repair shop.
"Patrons can also save hundreds of dollars through the Mechanic-for-Hire program," she added. "The going rate for local repair shops is $65 to $90 per hour. Our labor rate is presently only $45 per hour. Our patrons express their appreciation time and time again over the savings."
Barber said many patrons are intimidated by the growing complexity of today's vehicles, but ASC offers several weekly instructional classes to bridge the knowledge gap.
"ASC offers instructional classes on a weekly basis, but instruction is available on a daily basis through the employees on duty," she said. "We insist to our patrons that many repairs are well within their ability to learn and we encourage them to do so. Safety is always the first concern, and we stress this to our patrons on a daily basis.
"It is awesome to witness the sense of accomplishment in our patrons after they have repaired their own vehicles," she added. "It is knowledge that they can take wherever they go."
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 255-1075 or 255-9725.