Posts Tagged ‘auto care houston’

Winterize Your Automobile / Car – Midtown Auto Service – Houston Texas

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Ten Steps in Winterizing Your Automobile / Car:

Car Care Houston
Car Service Houston
Automobile Car Care Houston
Automobile Car Service Houston

By Laura T. Coffey

1. Get the right kind of oil change. Are you approaching the time for a 30,000-mile full service for your vehicle? If so, don’t procrastinate! Among other things, the service should include an oil change, and the oil used should have the right viscosity, or thickness, for your vehicle at this time of year. Oil tends to thicken as it gets colder, and if it’s too thick it won’t do the best job of keeping your engine lubricated. Check your owner’s manual for guidance about which oil to use in different climates and temperatures.

2. Make sure you can see. When’s the last time you replaced your windshield wiper blades? They usually work effectively for about one year, so be sure to invest in some new ones if you’re due. Here’s another important step to take before you find yourself struggling to see in a blinding storm: Fill up your windshield washer reservoir with windshield washer fluid. (Plain water won’t do the trick at this time of year because it freezes.) Also check to see that your heater and defroster are working properly so you can keep the windshield nice and clear.

3. Give your battery a little TLC. This is an ideal time of year to make sure your battery’s posts and connections are corrosion-free and that your battery has all the water it needs. If your battery is more than three years old, have a certified repair shop test its ability to hold a charge. Granted, you might be able to find a Good Samaritan to help you jump-start your vehicle in the middle of a blizzard — but wouldn’t you rather avoid such a scenario altogether?

4. Examine your belts and hoses. When you have that full service done on your vehicle, make sure the belts and hoses get checked for wear and tear — even if you’re driving a modern car. Cold weather can do a number on belts and hoses, so they deserve attention.

5. Check your tire pressure. Your tires must be properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction as you drive along — and traction is often severely jeopardized in wet, snowy or icy conditions. The air pressure in your tires has likely dropped as the weather has gotten colder, so it’s important to see where things stand now. (You can generally expect that you’ll lose 1 pound per square inch whenever the temperature drops by 10 degrees Fahrenheit.) Again, your trusty owner’s manual will tell you what your target tire pressure should be.

6. Think about switching to snow tires. Do you live in a hilly place that gets its fair share of snow? Then you might want to improve traction even more by investing in winter tires and using them over the next few months instead of your usual all-season tires. When shopping around for snow tires, ask about all the fees that might come into play, such as fees for mounting and balancing. You can accomplish this easily and make accurate cost comparisons by asking each store for the “out the door charge.”

7. Do you have four-wheel drive? If so, it’s important to check the status of your four-wheel-drive system and be sure it’s working correctly — especially because most drivers don’t use their 4WD systems in the pleasant summer months. Be sure that the system engages and disengages easily, and that all drivers in your household know how and when to activate the system.

8. Get the antifreeze mixture just right. Aim for having a 50-50 mix of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside your radiator. This will prevent the mixture from freezing even at ridiculously cold temperatures. It’s easy to check the status of the mixture with an inexpensive antifreeze tester, which you can pick up at any auto parts store. If the mixture is off, your cooling system should be drained and refilled or flushed. Be sure you’re equipped to dispose of your old antifreeze properly if you do this job yourself. It can’t just be poured down the drain.

9. Prepare an emergency kit. Store this stuff in your trunk during the winter months, especially if a road trip is in your future:

a blanket
extra boots and gloves
an extra set of warm clothes
extra water and food, including hard candies
an ice scraper
a small shovel
a flashlight
windshield washer fluid
windshield wipers
flares
jumper cables
a tool kit
tire chains
a tire gauge
a spare tire with air in it
tire-changing equipment
a first-aid kit
paper towels
a bag of abrasive material such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter, which can provide additional traction if a tire gets stuck in snow.
Also, keep the gas tank as full as you can to prevent the gas lines from freezing.
10. Know what to do if you get stranded. Don’t wander away from your car unless you’re completely sure about where you are and how far away help is. Light two flares and situate them at each end of your vehicle to call attention to your plight. Put on the extra clothes and use the blanket to stay warm. If you have enough gas in the tank, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes for each hour you’re waiting for help. Leave at least one window open a little bit so that snow and ice don’t seal the car shut. Suck on a hard candy to prevent your mouth from getting too dry.

Channel 11-khou 11-Tv Interview Midtown Auto Service 2008-houston-tx

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Midtown Auto-Voted Houston’s Auto Repair of the Year 2007/Houston,Tx

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Midtown Auto Service & Repair — Voted Houston’s Auto Repair of the Year 2007

Midtown Auto-Voted Houston’s Auto Repair of the Year 2007/Houston,Tx

JUNE 2008 FEATURED ARTICLE-BEST AUTO REPAIR SHOP HOUSTON-MIDTOWN AUTO SERVICE

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Award-Winning Shop Lives by Golden Rule

Posted 6/1/2008
By Leona Dalavai Scott

Midtown Auto Service Named ‘Best Auto Shop.’


Shop Stats

Name: Midtown Auto Service
Location: Houston, Texas
Web site: www.midtownautoservice.net
Square footage of shop: 6,000 square feet
Repairs per week: 150 cars
No. of years in business: 21 years
On his success rate with retaining technicians: “I offer my technicians two weeks of paid vacation during Christmas and New Year’s after they’ve been employed with me for a year. Also, I treat them and their spouses to dinners and lunches on random occasions. I try to let them take care of family or personal business without penalties. All of my techs have their own computers with Internet access to Alldata and Identifix. Things like that really make a person want to stay.”


Midtown Auto Service in Houston, Texas
Mikey credits his prime location for business staying strong even during tough economic times.

Mikey Yu is not your average shop owner. With a criminal justice degree from the University of Houston, he always wanted to be a cop.

But when his dad retired in 1998, Mikey thought that it would be a smart move to buy the shop from him. Within four years of taking over the shop, he expanded the facility from 2,900 square feet to 6,000 square feet. Along the way, he earned his ASE
certification to become an auto technician.

Mikey is also a state-certified inspector and his shop, Midtown Auto Service, is a state-certified emissions and repair facility. The shop is known in the community for its engine and emissions diagnostic capabilities and for solving electrical driveability issues for all makes and models.

Mikey says his shop’s strength stems from the way it treats its customers and its technicians. He conducts his business by the golden rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” He believes you should treat your customers and employees the way you would want to be treated.


ASE certified master tech Richard Kline working on a 2004 Lexus ES 300 timing belt.

“And if you treat your employees as family members instead of just a number, I think that productivity increases,” Mikey says. Midtown Auto Service employs two L1 master auto techs and another master auto tech. Mikey’s wife, Sharon, handles all of the administrative work in the office while Mikey takes care of the “heart of the business,” which he sees as fielding questions and calls from customers and handling technician concerns and problems.

“Our line of work is difficult,” Mikey explains. “The customers who bring their cars and trucks to us normally know nothing about repairing their cars but have heard horror stories about other automotive service shops in the past. So, you start building a rapport with customers and listen to issues about their car. Just listen. Listening is very important. That can help break the barrier of customer distrust from the beginning.”


Master ASE Certified Tech Byung Young working on a car using his 1/2 cordless SnapOn gun.

As a result of his business philosophy, Mikey has experienced great success with Midtown Auto Service. In 2007, the shop was named the “Best Auto Shop” by Citysearch, a popular Web site that enables users to post opinions on just about anything, including recommendations for services such as auto care. In 2006, the shop was named “Best Auto Repair Shop” by the local newspaper. In addition, the shop is a AAA-approved auto repair facility and a recognized emissions repair facility.

Mikey also shares his knowledge and expertise of cars through articles in Undercar Digest and Automotive Report. He has also been featured on “Car Talk,” an entertaining radio show about automotive service issues that is broadcast on National Public Radio.


ASE L1 MASTER AUTO TECHNICIAN; Panda Lee is working on an electrical drain/short on a 2006 Jaguar S-type.

As he looks toward the future, Mikey would like to expand his shop. He is currently trying to acquire the land next to his so he can double his shop size to 12,000 square feet or more. However, real estate in his area has skyrocketed so he is proceeding on those plans with caution. Despite the downturn in the economy, Mikey says Midtown Auto Service’s business has been good as a result of its prime location between downtown and the medical districts of Houston.

As Mikey celebrates the success of Midtown Auto Service, the thing he is most proud of, he said, is the teamwork his employees exhibit in working with the motoring public. As his accolades and accomplishments show, this teamwork is paying off nicel





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    Midtown Auto Service-Featured Newspaper Article-Houston,Tx

    Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

    HOUSTON, Texas — On a Monday before July 4th, Mon Yu is sitting at his desk behind the reception-area counter talking on the phone to a parts store. He is trying patiently to explain that he was incorrectly billed for a $52 fuel injector, but the clerk he’s talking to is not following the math. Mikey, owner of Midtown Auto Repair Shop near downtown Houston, cheerfully says he’ll call back later to clarify.

    ENTER TEXT HERE
    The owner, Mikey, and ASE Certified technician discussing a fuel leak on a Volkswagon Jetta.

    Standing up and hurrying from behind the counter, Mikey smiles big and apologizes for keeping his visitor waiting a couple of minutes. He seems unusually friendly — happy even — for a repair shop owner, but it soon becomes clear why. Mikey’s is profitable and debt free, despite Mikey continuous upgrades of computer capabilities and shop equipment and an expansion in 1999 that boosted the number of bays from one to seven, which expanded the business to about 4,900 square feet. Located on Almeda Road, approximately half-way between downtown and Houston’s sprawling Medical Center complex, Midtown auto service is in a high-traffic area and doesn’t have a competitor within miles.

    Mikeys customers are happy about the shop, too. On the wall opposite the counter is a framed seal of approval from AAA. Mikey’s got a 98 percent customer-satisfaction score in April. On Citysearch.com, the Web-based business-search site where customers comment on their experiences with local businesses, Mikey’s get 18 “Highly Recommended” votes out of 19 reviews.

    In June, one customer wrote: “I have been to Midtown’s with both of my cars and I have been very happy with each experience. Mikey, himself, listens to your problem and explains it well, even showing you the problem directly. He always seems happy to listen, while a lot of other mechanics act irritated that you’re wasting their time. Fair, thorough and professional. That’s all I could ask of a mechanic, and Midtown’s hits a home run every time.”

    The customer review, however, raises a question: If Yu, is the owner, who is Mikey? Turns out, there is no “Mikey” associated with the business. Never has been. The shop was opened in 1987, by Mikeys father Man Yu, who emigrated with his family from South Korea in 1973, when Mon was three. His father worked for several years in the Meineke Car Care Center warehouse in Pasadena, south of Houston. Man Yu didn’t even own a car in the early years, and walked to work. Sam Meineke, the Houstonian who founded the chain, admired Man Yu’s work ethic and the two men became friends, as well.

    “Sam gave him a break, and asked him if he wanted to buy a store.” Mikey says. Man Yu owned a Meineke shop in southwest Houston for seven years, and in 1987 he bought the current location, which had been another Meineke shop, to open his own repair garage. “He was thinking ‘Mikey’ sounds like Meineke,” Mikey explains, “and the people in the neighborhood were used to that.” So, father and son became known as Mikey, and Mon Yu’s work shirt has a “Mikey” patch on the right front. “Everyone who walks in assumes I’m Mikey,” Mikey said.  “I’ve got people coming in who were my dad’s customers and they call me junior Mikey.”

    He bought the business from his father-for less than $100,000 and with monthly payments-when his father wanted to retire in 1999. He sold his cars and maxed out his credit cards for the down payment, he said. In addition to expanding the shop space, he bought new lifts, a new alignment machine and other equipment and computerized the operation. “Dad didn’t have a computer,” Mikey said. “He kept it in his head.” He says the business, which has three ASE-certified techs, has grown about 15 percent a year since 1999. Mikey’s is one of only about 200 shops in the Houston area that participate in the State of Texas emissions-control program with Advanced Engine Performance Specialist certification and the computer equipment required by the program.  

    Both men were self-taught mechanics, but as a young man Mon Yu saw the shop more as a way to make walking- around money than as his future source of income. “I resisted it,” he says. “I was that teenager guy who thought, I’m not taking over this dirty shop.” Still, he soon realized that doing a quick brake job was a better use of his time than doing odd jobs on an hourly basis, so he picked up additional skills. “I learned from the ground up doing everything: service adviser, ordering parts, mechanical stuff,” Mikeys says. His on-the-job training met some resistance from mechanics who were not keen on teaching the boss’s son, because it cut into their commission work. “Mechanics don’t want to teach,” he says. “They’re selfish.”

    He ended the commission system and put his employees on straight salaries after taking over the shop. “The downfall is sometimes they slow down on the job; when they were on a commission, they rushed,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll get on them about that.” His employees get a week of paid vacation annually, and have the option of participating in a 401k retirement plan. Mikey said he plans to add a health-insurance plan to the benefits.

    Mikey, the youngest of the three sons, has a degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston. He planned to go into law enforcement, preventing crime during his day job and moon-lighting as a security officer at night in Houston’s clubs. But like a lot of working people, having a family meant a change in plans. “I was married and my wife worried for my safety if  I did take a job like that,” he said. “I was ready for the transition to this business.” When the subject turns to family, his smile returns and Mikey notes the photos on the wall of his sons’ baseball team, which Mikey’s sponsors. He happily displays family pictures on his Blackberry.  

    ASE Certified technician working on a motor mount for a Lexus Es300.

    Mikey likes computer technology and he prefers customers who are comfortable with it, like those who find his shop through Web search sites. “They’re sophisticated people and they’re techsavvy,” he says. “They understand there are going to be some expenses in fixing their car.” For example, these customers are likely to accept his explanation that fixing the current problem is only part of the work that should be done. If he tells them that other problems are likely down the road, based on his diagnostics, techsavvy customers are more likely to tell him to perform all the needed repairs and replacements.

    ENTER TEXT HERE
    The owner, Mikey, behind his shop’s sign proudly posing 18 yrs of automotive service.

    Sophisticated customers also know a fair price when they see it, and trust is an important part of Midtown’s success. As one customer wrote in May:
    “I went there for an alignment because they had a better price compared to others in the downtown area. Mikey was there and took care of my car and made sure we knew what was going on, so there was no chance of surprises. Car was done exactly in the time they promised..”

    Midtown Auto Service Named ‘Best Auto Shop.’

    Technicians’ Top 5 Favorite-Featured Article Clip-Houston,Tx

    Wednesday, January 9th, 2008


    MIKEY YU, owner ASE-certified L1 master technician
    Midtown Auto Service Houston, TX
    ALLDATA Information System —Shows T S B s and proper procedures of automotive repairs. Snap-on Scanner — Monitors, graphs and reads sensors; input and output. High-speed Internet — Great for finding other technicians’ opinions and to search parts options worldwide. Worldwide Emission Machine/Computer — Has dyno capabilities; reads hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide and NOx readings. Good for emissions repair. Canon Digital Camera — Enhances parts that are faulty; good for documentation of broken/faulty parts.


    DEBRA FARBER, vice president
    All Brand Auto Service KensingtonMD Snap-on MODIS — A powerful tool for a broad range of diagnostics and applications.Identifix — A world of information on one website. By checking www.identifix.com before starting a technical job, diagnostic time is saved because the answer is usually right there. Snap-on Smoke Machine — Many different kinds of uses, including finding intake manifold leaks. Hunter 411 4-Post Lift — Has the capacity to lift a Ford F-350 quad cab truck in the air. A heavy-duty lift that is able to accommodate those extra-large vehicles that most shops can’t service

    Mick Cipolla
    Courteous Car Care Largo, FL Snap-on A/C Machine — Excellent machine, easy to operate, very accurate, great ROI. ShopKey — Fast, in depth, great flow charts, easy to navigate when downloading discs onto hard drive. Coats Tire Machine and Snap-on Wheel Balancer —We’ve been able to mount and balance tires others couldn’t.Very fast and accurate.Snap-on Vantage Scope — Easily trace out intermittents and voltage drops, and monitors wave forms. And lastly, my most important investment — the professionals I am so pleased to work with every day — Cindy Kocik, Mike Gotay and Chuck Reynolds. They set the standard by which all others will be judged. With Cindy flawlessly performing those important everyday operations that we so often take for granted, and Chuck and Mike for their commitment to their craft, to themselves and to our customers. Employing master techs has been the best investment to date — not just in income, but peace of mind — quality repairs, confidence, professionalism and a sense of family. When everyone shares the same goal, everything else falls into place.

    CHRIS “Dr. Mopar” KETTEMAN
    owner Dr. Mopar’s High Performance Burlington, NC www.DRMOPARSHP1.bravehost.com The crew at Dr. Mopar’s participates in the annual AMC/Mopar “Hospice Nationals” Show, a national car show/race/swap meet to raise money for Hospice. The show is held at Roxboro Dragway in Timberlake, NC. Thanks to all those in the crew, who use these tools. Campbell-Hausfeld Air Compressor — Very reliable, never have problem with slow buildup of pressure, always quick.And last, but not least, is our 2-Ton Foldable Shop Crane. From Central Hydraulics — This has been put to good use, and doesn’t take up much space, if any, in our shop.All the above tools are just some of the many we use. We have a one-bay shop, and perform restorations, routine maintenance, high-performance motor, tranny and rear end rebuilds, all on Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeep/AMC vehicles only.

    Undercar Digest-Auto Tech Trade Magazine-Houston,Tx

    Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

    Mon Yu, owner of Midtown Auto Service in Houston, never planned to follow in his father’s footsteps as a shop operator – it just turned out that way. While working on his degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston, Mon spent weekends at his father’s shop, Mikey’s Muffler & Brake. For Mon it was just a way to have some extra money for the weekends.

    ENTER TEXT HERE
    The owner, Mikey, explaining to a customer a diagnostic report on a check engine light.

    To earn it, he performed the duties of porter, estimator and counterman – all at the same time. It was a start at learning the business from his father, Man Yu, who had learned shop management from a man who made a name for himself in Houston and the United States – Sam Meineke. Mon came to the United States from South Korea with his parents when he was only 3 years old. His father found employment with Sam in the heyday of muffler shops. In 1986 the franchise founder of Meineke Muffler & Brakes offered to sell the senior Yu one of his original three-bay buildings in Houston’s inner-city district. Because of his marketing sense, Man named the shop “Mikey’s” so it would sound similar to Meineke. To this day the Yu and Meineke families are friends. “I was planning on being a police officer, but my dad was at the age where he wanted to retire, so he sold the business to me,” Mon said. “Back then the American dream was to own your own business, and he said, ‘Why don’t you take over the business?” Back then this shop was only three bays.

    ENTER TEXT HERE
    Mikey, showing the front of his shop displaying his State Certification and Master ASE signs.

    In the past eight years that I’ve owned the business, I’ve increased the bays to a total of seven and I have revamped the shop. I’ve redone the floors and the outside parking lot, sixteen camera surveillance system added metal-rod fencing outside and rebuilt the entire building.” He also changed the business from a muffler and brake shop to a complete auto-repair center. Midtown’s services include engine diagnostics, alignments with the Hunter DSP600 laser aligner, electrical troubleshooting (the only one in the area), oil changes, brakes, starters and alternators, radiators and heaters, belts and hoses, air conditioning, timing belts, overheating issues, engines and head gaskets removal and replacement, muffler replacement and custom exhaust with a Huth bender.

    ENTER TEXT HERE
    ASE Auto Technician Vicent Poliski discussing an electrical issue with the owner about a customers car with a battery drain.

    “We are a recognized emission-repair facility, which means we have an ASE L1-certified technician, that our shop is certified and we have followed all the rules and regulations.” This allows Midtown to inspect and make emissions repairs, he said. In the case of low-income vehicle owners, the state will provide a
    waiver and give the owner up to $600 to get the vehicle up to the proper emissions standards.Those repairs can be made only at a recognized facility, such as Midtown Auto Service . Mon gets quite a bit of that business, since only about 140 of the nearly 2,500 shops in the Houston metro area meet the criteria. Marcos Rodriguez is Midtown’s L1-certified technician, Mon Yoo is a Master Auto Tech and Kareem Burnley and Vincent Polisky have several ASE certifications each and are working toward their Masters. Mon supports training, paying for ASE tests that the technicians pass and any other technical classes that are being conducted in the area. Midtown also supports the community by sponsoring baseball and softball teams. Mon said Midtown’s success has a lot to do with
    the shop’s location and the quality of service and repairs. In the early days under his dad’s ownership, the location was considered “the inner city” with older, lower-income housing and not much else. Today, the shop is between downtown and the Medical Center of Houston, where people from throughout the country come for cancer treatment.

    ENTER TEXT HERE
    ASE Auto Technician Larry Wagner installing a new Ac Delco battery.

    The area has gone through a renewal period, Mon said, with old homes and apartments being renovated. New townhouses with 1,800 square feet of living area are starting at $300,000. “It’s turned into townhouses and yuppies” moving in,” Mon said. “We’re really in a great spot on a major
    intersection. Our main customers are white-collar, and we normally run about three shuttles a day to take customers downtown or to the medical complex.” Mon noted that Midtown prides itself on its customer service. “We don’t take in more work than we can handle, and we do quality work. Although in the earlier days Mikey’s repaired a lot of older Ford, GM and Chrysler products, today the shop works on a wide variety of vehicles including OBD-II domestic and most imports, as well as Lexus, Volkswagon, BMW, Audi and Jaguar models. Mon said he has no regrets about not entering the field of law enforcement. He is proud of the accomplishments he and his team have made. “One of my bragging rights is that in 2005 I was the winner on Yahoo’s search engine,” he said. “Out of 100,000 clicks, I beat out every single shop in this area. In 2006 I was winner of the Best Auto Repair Shop in houstonbest.com. In citysearch.com, in two different search engines, we were winner of best auto-repair shop.”

    Midtown Auto-Voted Houston’s Auto Repair of the Year 2006/Houston,Tx

    Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

    Midtown Auto Service & Repair — Voted Houston’s Auto Repair of the Year by Subscribers of The Local Newspaper.


    Search For Midtown Auto Service Here

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