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Rev up your downtime at the Auto Hobby Shop

Jessie Mattox, Edwards Auto Hobby Shop supervisior, helps customer Dusty Rhodes, a retired NASA employee, troubleshoot a minor problem with the engine in Rhodes' 1995 Ford Ranger. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Diane Betzler)

Jessie Mattox, Edwards Auto Hobby Shop supervisor, helps customer Dusty Rhodes, a retired NASA employee, troubleshoot a minor problem with the engine in Rhodes' 1995 Ford Ranger. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Diane Betzler)

Tech Sgt. Dustin Hurlbut, 412th Maintenance Logistics Squadron, says he takes all three of his vehicles to the Edwards Auto Hobby Shop for routine maintenance. Hurlbut is changing the oil in his 2003 Grand Prix here, Oct. 26. He said he saves anywhere from $15 to $20 per vehicle each time he does an oil change and tire rotation at the hobby shop on base. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Diane Betzler)

Tech Sgt. Dustin Hurlbut, 412th Maintenance Logistics Squadron, changes the oil in his 2003 Grand Prix Oct. 26. He says he takes all three of his vehicles to the Edwards Auto Hobby Shop for routine maintenance and said he saves anywhere from $15 to $20 per vehicle each time he does an oil change and tire rotation at the hobby shop on base. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Diane Betzler)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Edwards Airman's Campus is home to a variety of services designed with Airmen in mind. One such service is the Edwards Auto Hobby Shop, where Airmen can use a little elbow grease and tend to their auto needs for half the cost of going to a repair shop in town.

"We repair everything and anything here," said mobile mechanic Sean Stewart.

"We're here for them. If an Airman has a question we can't answer, we can go on global to Mitchell's on Demand and find the answer," Stewart said.

"The basic reason the Auto Hobby Shop was started was to offer Edwards' Airmen affordable auto repair and maintenance," said Jessie Mattox, shop supervisor.

An Airman can save anywhere from $20 to $40 when doing his own oil change and tire rotation at the Edwards Auto Hobby Shop, Mattox said.

The shop is equipped to service 12 cars at a time, Mattox said. "Plus we have one motorcycle bay complete with a motorcycle lift," he said. The Airmen need only bring in their car, supplies and parts. The shop has all the tools and equipment needed for most repair work.

The shop offers instruction -- classes on vehicle safety, vehicle inspections, how to change a car's oil and installing new brakes.

"Airmen can rent a stall with a vehicle lift for $5 an hour or one without a lift for $3 an hour," Mattox said.

The shop has three mechanics on duty and also offers repair services.

"If an Airman chooses to have us work on his vehicle, our labor rate is $66 an hour, but we're here to save the Airmen money by teaching them how to do the work themselves," Mattox said. 

When an Airman brings his vehicle to the Edwards Auto Hobby Shop he or she saves an hourly rate of $70 to $100, Mattox said.

"Plus we're a much closer source," Mattox said. There is a technician on staff every Saturday for those who need to have their cars or trucks tested for smog or emissions. The total cost is $48.25.

Tech. Sgt. Dustin Hurlbut, 412 Maintenance Logistics Squadron, brings his 2003 Grand Prix to the Edwards Auto Hobby Shop a couple of times a year to rotate the tires and change the oil.

Hurlbut, who owns three vehicles, comes to the Auto Hobby Shop at least once a month and said servicing his vehicles there isn't just about saving money.

"When I do it myself here, I know it's done right and I know what oil has been put into it," he said.

Retired NASA employee Dusty Rhodes just finished rebuilding the engine for his 1995 Ford Ranger and said it was a fun project for him to take on at the Auto Hobby Shop because he had a lot of help.

"They have a great crew here and were always here to answer my questions," Rhodes said .

Customers who use the facility to change fan belts usually save about $80, and brake jobs offer about a $300 savings, according to Mattox.

To ensure there is an available bay to work on a car or truck, customers are urged to call in advance for reservations. Mattox and the team say they're happy to help and will gladly give interested members a tour of the facility.

The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For reservations or more information, call 275-2886 (275-Auto).

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