The Mesa Community College (MCC) Auto Shop will offer discounted vehicle repairs to students and staff at a minimal cost during the school year.
As part of the offer, those who bring their car will receive a free inspection and discounted labor rates on repairs. “Typically we try to stay within what’s most common,” Stephen Skroch, occupational program director of Automotive Instruction at MCC, said. “We will inspect Mercedes, BMW, Lamborghini if requested. Typically, we find that special tools prohibit us from working on it.”
Skroch said the repair offer is part of the hands-on training provided to the students who take the course. It brings service experience to the classroom.
The shop accepts any vehicle for inspection. Automotive instructors welcome vehicles with powertrain issues to help fill their night classes. Students need experience with vehicles that have difficulty shifting the clutch, transmission grinding, or cars that make noise while turning. Additionally, issues with steering and suspension, wheels and tires, and minor electrical problems, like batteries and alternators, are all sought after by the course.
Any student or staff member who brings their vehicle to the shop receives a heavy discount on labor. Labor is the cost per hour of any mechanic working on a vehicle. While normal labor rates can range anywhere from $75 to $150 an hour, the MCC shop offers labor rates as low as $25 an hour. The free vehicle inspection rarely seen at commercial shops.
“I think the real key thing is that we do inspections for free and it doesn’t matter what kind of inspection it is,” Skroch explained.
Once the vehicle is student inspected, a quote, a list of parts, and a list of places to buy those parts are provided to the vehicle owner. The shop doesn’t have the means to purchase the parts so the owner buys the parts and brings them in, then the students can get to work.
The auto shop functions this way because it’s part of the community college. While the discounted repairs are nice for students and staff, the real benefits go to those who work on the vehicles. While the school provides practice cars students can work on, some feel the work on those doesn’t accurately reflect real world service.
“I feel like I get more out of it when there’s somebody else’s vehicle we actually have to fix,” Frank Wallace, an automotive student, described.
When asked if he had a favorite car to work on Wallace responded, “Older cars. Besides liking them more and personally thinking they’re easier to work on. I also have a restoration project vehicle that is old. So the more experience I can get with other older vehicles the more it’ll benefit me.”
Another student mechanic said the worse vehicle the better. “I would like to see some more pretty messed up cars. Just because I find it a little bit of a challenge,” student Dominic Carraza said, “It’s a lot more knowledge and you would know how to be more, and diagnose more.”
To make an appointment contact the MCC auto shop at 480-461-7156.
Brock Blasdell is a journalism student at Mesa Community College.