Holloman Auto Hobby Shop

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
Vehicles are large investments and keeping them running smoothly will help ensure the safety of your investment and your passengers. The Auto Hobby Shop on Holloman equips Airmen and retirees with all of the tools and experience needed to care for their vehicles.

The auto hobby shop has 17 enclosed bays to protect you and your vehicle from the weather. Some are equipped with hydrolytic lifts for your use to allow better access.

If the repair exceeds your know-how, the shop mechanic is available to assist, or do the repair for you.

"People come in here and do light maintenance, hobby maintenance, oil changes and we have most of the tools both on the floor and in the back behind the counter to facilitate those needs," said Jeff Franco, Auto Hobby Shop parts and tools attendant.

One of the main concerns of DIY vehicle owners is cost of the tools and equipment needed for proper repairs. With bay fees starting at $4 an hour, and the vast array of tools and services that are included, customers can perform their own repairs at a substantial cost savings.

"The bay charge includes all of the tools, the use of our rag bins and the parts washer. Pretty much everything we have here," said Franco.

Not everyone is proficient with vehicle repairs or the required tools, and now the shop has an in-house mechanic to lend a hand.

"Just a couple of weeks ago we hired an on-hand mechanic. He's on the floor Wednesday, Thursday and Friday." said Franco. "Just make an appointment with him and he can do just about anything you need. Given that we have the equipment to do the job, most of the maintenance you need can be taken care of by him."

The Auto Hobby Shop employees are also very experienced and knowledgeable. Even though they are not all licensed mechanics, they will be more than happy to give some advice if you choose to do your own repairs.

"I was in the Air National Guard as a machinist and welder. I have 32 years of experience in the military," said Franco. "We can give suggestions based on our knowledge, however when it gets more extensive, then you want to talk to the mechanic on duty."

Holloman has a lot of services that it offers its Airmen, and the Auto Hobby Shop is one that has been around a long time and one that everyone should visit at least once during their time here. The Auto Shops at other bases are facing reduced hours due to funding issues, and others are closing all together. The more people that utilize the shop, the longer it will be around.

"When I was stationed here from 1980-1982, I used to bring my motorcycle here every other weekend to tinker with it," said Franco. "They are closing a lot of Auto Hobby Shops on other bases, but now with the on board mechanic, I think we will be able to make some more money and stay open for longer."

Franco has seen an increase in customers lately and is optimistic that the shop will be here to stay.

"I think as time goes on we will be open more hours, and with the addition of the on hand mechanic, we will make a lot more business," said Franco. "We have been drawing more clientele now that we have the mechanic. I think that's going to help us a lot."