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NEWS | Jan. 18, 2012

Auto Hobby Shop offers "top notch service for less"

By Senior Airman Anthony J. Hyatt Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Often, Airmen and their families travel to off-base mechanics to seek assistance with their car issues, but little did they know, a shop exists right here at Joint Base Charleston-Air Base.

The Auto Hobby Center, located in the Arts and Craft Center Bldg. 637, provides customer-driven instructional programs to enhance individual life skills that are offered in a safe, well-equipped environment using expert instructors. Qualified mechanics are on staff to assist do-it-yourself customers with car care needs.

"First thing, we are a 'Do-It-Yourself' shop for the Airmen, Sailors and personnel of Joint Base Charleston that can't work on their car in their garage or parking lot," said James Canaday, 628th Force Support Squadron Auto Hobby Shop manager. "We provide a service where patrons can come in for a nominal fee and put their vehicle up on a lift, change their oil, do brake work or most kind of maintenance on the vehicle."

The shop is equipped with 11 indoor stalls with seven vehicle lifts, a full range of tools available for check out and nine outdoor overhaul stalls for long term work. It is open Tuesday, Friday, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

"Our machine shop has everything a shade-tree mechanic needs for brake rotor and drum turning, valve jobs, flywheel turning, hot dipping and sandblasting, bearing work, battery charging and tire balancing," Canaday added.

The staff also performs wheel alignments, auto air conditioning evaluation and can pull codes when "check engine" light comes on.

"Our biggest service is probably the oil change. People can drop their vehicle off on their way to work, get their oil changed and their car is ready when they get off work. It's normally done within two hours and usually at a better price than they can get off base," Canaday said.

For those looking to purchase a used vehicle, a mechanic can perform a pre-inspection check for $25.

Additionly, the shop offers a $20 on-base Roadside Tire Changing and Jump Starting Service.

"Our shop benefits the personnel on base because it gives them a safe, dry place to work on their vehicle instead of working on a jacked-up car. They can use our lifts and eliminate the crawling on the floor," Canaday added.

Besides being customer-friendly, the shop is also environmentally conscious.

"Dripping oil can make a mess, so we dispose of oil for people," Canaday said.

The shop contributes more than 6,000 gallons of oil per year to the Santee Cooper Give Oil for Energy Recovery program. It also recycles oil filter crushing, antifreeze and Freon.

"The most satisfying part of my job is just helping customers who have a problem with their vehicle and they can't figure out what's wrong," said Canaday. "We can do just about anything you need done short of tearing an engine or transmission apart."

For more information on JB Charleston's Air Base Auto Hobby Shop, call (843) 963-1942 or 963-1941 or visit

Be sure to also check out the Auto Hobby Shop at JB Charleston's Naval Weapons Station. They offer services such as tires, batteries, major repairs and scheduled maintenance. The hours of operations are Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (843) 764-7752.