Edna Brewer of Woodstock was sitting in the waiting area of Mike’s Service Center in Crystal Lake Tuesday.
She has been taking her cars to be serviced at Mike’s for 25 years. Actually, she and her husband, Bob, have had only two cars during that time.
The first was a Pontiac Parisienne. “That poor little car, the frame rusted out,” said Mike Fraser, owner of Mike’s Service Center. “But it was running good.”
She brought her Buick Park Avenue Tuesday. “Just for maintenance,” Edna said.
“We would rather do maintenance than have a major repair,” Fraser said. “We encourage our customers to get maintenance at regular intervals. Depending on their driving habits, at least twice a year. Most customers are here at least three or four times a year.”
As spring comes along, Fraser encourages drivers to listen to their cars.
“Open the windows and listen for new noises,” Fraser said. “It’s amazing how many noises get muffled by closed windows and blower motors. You open those windows, you hear the brakes squealing, all sorts of different things.”
He said he likes to hear the descriptions of the sounds the car is making. “That does help me to find out what’s going on. The more information we can get, the better,” he said.
He encouraged car owners to get an underwash “to wash the salt off the underside of their cars. One of the biggest problems in this area is corrosion.”
Mike’s Service is located about two doors down from the Illinois Air Team vehicle emissions testing station. Not surprisingly, Mike’s does emission test failure repairs. Fraser said the shop is on the state’s certified repair list, and has an A rating.
Fraser, 59, started his business in 1982 in the rented bay of a Crystal Lake Shell staton. He built his six-bay garage at 261 Liberty St., Crystal Lake, in 1986, and added miniwarehouse units in back in 1987.
Fraser lives in Crystal Lake with his wife, Suanne. His son, Kevin, works with him in the service center. Another son, Timothy, is president of Fraser Wealth Management Inc. in Woodstock, and daughter, Sarah, is finishing her final year of graduate school.
“Kevin was 6 months old when I started my business, now he’s got three children, and has been working here for 10 years. Some day when I retire, Kevin will take over,” Fraser said.
Fraser said because of the economy, people are holding onto their cars a lot longer. “We help our customers prioritize repairs,” Fraser said. “We tell them what has to be done, what should be done so they prioritize and get repairs done as they can afford it. We understand that. We’ve all been struggling through the bad economy,” Fraser said.
“We’re going to be honest with you. Our customers are family to us. I’ve worked on cars of parents, children, and now their grandchildren are driving. It’s fun to watch that progression of time.”
A car was inside each of the shop’s six bays Tuesday, keeping mechanics Al Adams and Dan Carzoli busy.
Kevin Fraser was working on brakes for a 1998 Chevrolet Express Van with 220,000 miles – and counting.
“They’re on their way to Colorado this weekend,” Fraser said.