Marine Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steve Rudinski wanted an oil change, a tire rotation and new brake pads without having to pay too much money.
The Fort Belvoir Auto Skills Center provided the perfect place for Rudinski to save on costs and time by offering the space, the counsel and the supplies to do the work himself. After watching a training video first, Rudinski was ready to go.
Under the supervision of mechanic Tom Young, who is there to promote safety and answer questions, Rudinski completed all his tasks in an hour with an added bonus.
“The best part is that I saved hundreds of dollars,” Rudinski said. “A Ford dealership would charge me $199 an axle, and it cost me $80 in parts for both axles, so I saved $300 just on the brake pads.”
Young, who has worked at the Auto Skills Center as a mechanic for five years, enjoyed assisting Rudinski and others who came by that day to do work on their vehicles. With four vehicles inside the center. Young was doing everything from moving a tool chest out of the way so someone could lower the lift to letting a customer know he should leave the key in the ignition to unlock the steering before starting work on the front CV axle.
“I love helping people, and with 20 years experience as a mechanic, I find the questions easy,” Young said.
Because of coronavirus restrictions, the Auto Skills Center had only been available for use by active duty military after re-opening July 8th. But on Oct. 28, the center was opened to all active duty, DoD civilians, retired military and their family members.
The Auto Skills Center, located at 9290 Gunston Road, Building 1462, is open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. With only seven bays, it’s recommended people call ahead to see if a spot is available for a particular time. Weekends are the busiest time. There are two mechanics on duty each shift.
In addition, the center offers a Resale Car Lot for Active Duty, retired military and family members and DoD civilians to sell their cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers or small motorhomes. The cost for an 18-foot space is $45 for 30 days and $100 for a space over 18 feet for 30 days.
For more information, contact the Auto Skills Center at 703-806-4088 or go to belvoir.armymwr.com/programs/automotive-skills-center.