FORT CARSON, Colo. -- High overhead lighting, the smells of oil, hot metal and orange pumice hand soap; vehicles on lifts, the sounds of wrenches cranking, metal grinding and hammers banging greet patrons as they enter the Fort Carson Auto Craft center.
The Auto Craft center is a program run by the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, where Soldiers, retirees, military dependants and Department of Defense civilians can work on their vehicles for a fraction of the price compared to other auto shops.
"Our lift bays are $6 an hour, where as an hour worth of labor downtown will run you about $100," said Cliff Dorn, cashier, Auto Craft, DFMWR. "We have nothing to gain by trying to rip people off. We're here to help the troops and people who can utilize this facility."
The center is ideal for anyone who wants to work on their vehicle, from those who are inexperienced to those who are well seasoned.
"I have been working around vehicles for most of my life," said Spc. Josh Crawford, heavy equipment operator, 615th Engineer Company, 52nd Engineer Battalion. "My stepfather was a mechanic, and I was always underneath the cars passing him the tools he needed.
"I would recommend the Auto Craft center to others, especially first timers, who do not know a whole lot about their vehicle," said Crawford.
The shop is filled with tools and knowledgeable staff to help people get their vehicle problems fixed.
"Instructors will help and advise people on something that they don't know how to do." Dorn said. "Technical guidance doesn't cost anything; the staff is here to help. We have all of the tools needed to get the job done and all you have to do is check them out."
Many of the customers who use the center's facility enjoy the environment.
"It is inside, you have vehicle lifts, you have all of the tools you need and you can do anything you need to do to your vehicle," said Spc. Nathaniel Snyder, construction equipment repairer, 497th Engineer Company, 52nd Eng. Bn.
Crawford added that having some place where he can get his hands dirty, with the tools and the staff who work there helping him and others out with what they need to get done and done the right way; there is no experience like it.
The staff at the Auto Craft center wants people to know that they are here to serve and help.
"Spouses of deployed Soldiers should come see us first for a straight answer about their vehicle problems," Dorn said. "We can help diagnose the problems with your vehicle, when we say something you can take it to the bank. Dozens and dozens of spouses of deployed Soldiers come in here with ridiculous estimates.
"We're all veterans and we have all been where they're at," Dorn said. We appreciate their service to us; we try to give back by working here and offering them services that saves them some money."
The Auto Craft center is building 2427 located off of Wetzel Avenue just before the Outdoor Recreation center. For more information on the services they offer you can visit them on the web at: http://www.mwrfortcarson.com/auto-craft.php or call: 719-526-2147