Family Auto Center

  • 4.8 of 5 stars
4 reviews

2048 Orchard Dr, South Davis, UT 84010, us

(801) 292-1684


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They are always honest
They are competent
Their repair price is reasonable
They complete the work in a timely manner
They respond well when they screw something up
They take the time to explain the problems and necessary repairs
They treat male and female customers in the same manner
They are always honest
I would use this mechanic again
I would recommend this mechanic to others
They fix the problem the first time
The shop is located in a safe neighborhood
The hours of operation are convenient for customers
They are near public transportation (or provide loaners, shuttle bus, rides as needed)
Nov 07, 2011
Aug 28, 2001
Family auto works on our 1980 VW Rabbit & 1992 Ford Escort. They aren't the cheapest place in town, but they are the best value because they are honest & do the job right. They are always polite to me, listen to me & clearly answer my questions. They are along the bus route on Orchard Dr across the street from Mac's & Artic Circle. They are busy, so call early for any scheduled maintanence, inspections, etc.
Apr 09, 2002
I recently had my car emmision tested by one of the large chain repair shops that were open on saturdays and had a 1/2 price on the safety inspection included with a full price emmission test. My car was a 1985 Chev wagon. (This was in 1992). My car failed the test and the shop said it was running too rich and would probably need a rebuilt replacement carb installed. The also suggested that I give it a full tune up also since the spark plugs were probably fouled from running so rich. They suggested a Distributor cap, rotor, fuel and air filter. In any case my car would almost for sure need the carb and spark plugs replaced. For everything recomended the cost would be about $500. I asked why it was so high and they said that since I had a computer controlled carb it was very expensive to replace even for a rebuilt. I asked about just rebuilding my old carb. They explained that these carbs were so complicated it was almost impossible to rebuild them without a lot of very special equipment and most shops just didn't rebuild them anymore. It was late in the day and I told them I would get back to them on monday. While I'm not usually a price shopper for car repairs since a phone quote usually has very little to do with the actual cost in the end, I decided just to compare a few shops. I called the local tune up shop and they told me they could beat the bid I got from the first shop by at least 10%. I figured that all shops would be about same. I decided to call one other shop that I had my car fixed at 1 time before. Family Auto Center. I will tell you about my first experiance with Family Auto. I had an annoying electrical problem on my car that I took to 3 different shops before having the problem finally solved by Lee at "Family Auto Center". The battery would go dead every time I let my car sit for about 3 days. Between the first 3 shops I had my battery replaced, a new alternator and belt, new battery cables, and a 2nd alternator done under warranty since the first one didn't fix it. A friend told me about Family Auto and said they had some sharp mechanics on eledtrical problems. I took it to Family Auto and they finally found a short that was the result of some body work that was just previously done. They had to go clear into the dash to finally find the problem (The problem was somewhat intermittent). It was fixed after the first visit but it cost over $200 most of which was the time it took to find the problem. I was neither happy or upset I was just glad to have the car fixed. Anyway I called for an estimate just to see what they thought. They liked to "talk cars" and I thought they might give me a little more info then I had. I called and talked to Mike (the owner). After asking about my car I was a little surprised by there remarks. Mike asked me what kind of car it was and then he asked me why I thought that I needed this work done and what results was I after. I explained about the failed emmission test and that I just needed the car to pass. He told me that he could give me an estimate for a rebuilt carb and tune-up. He then asked me if the first shop had done any diagnosis and if they had charged me for it. I told him that I had the emmission test done while I waited and that they just looked at the readings and said "The car is running way too rich about the only thing that could cause this was the carburetor. It most likely would need a good tune up since the spark plugs would be very black due to running rich". Mike explained that he was getting several calls each week for estimates on carb work due to failing the emmission test. He explained that about only 1 in 10 cars that came in expecting to have a rebuilt carb put on, in fact needed a overhaul or replacement. Mike said that there were several other possibilities that could make the car run rich most of which wre either not in the carb or the carb could be repaired with less then an overhaul. He also explained that they had much better luck overhauling the old carburetor which was considerably less then a factory overhauled carb. I asked how much would it be for the diagnosis. He said it would cost between $58-$78. I was a little hesitant to pay someone that much just to check the car. After all the original shop seemed very confident that they knew what was wrong. Mike could tell that I was uneasy and he explained that He could overhaul my carb and give it a tuneup without the diagnosis. He did explain that if I had the repairs done and the car still didn't pass I would still need to pay the full price for the work performed and that he then would insist on an accurate diagnosis before repairing further. He explained that he had a car in his shop right now that had just had $600 worth of repairs done for poor running and that after 2 hours of tracing wiring to the computer Lee (The main mechanic) found a corroded connection and that completely solved the problem. Mike also explained that many larger shops do not pay their mechanics for the time spent diagnosing needed repairs. The only choice the mechanic has is to work free or "best guess or shotgun (shotgun means replacing all of the most likely parts causing the problem). Then if they still can't fix it they explain that they have tried their best and that the parts replaced was a good idea since they seemed to be part of the problem anyway but that the Dealer was the only one capable of locating the fault since they have more sophisticated tools and information availible. After thinking of my electrical problem I decided to have a diagnosis done. I dropped my car off Wednesday morning and Mike asked for the results of my first emmission test and looked it over and said that Lee would check it out and they would not do anymore then the $58-&78 diagnosis without my authorization. About 11:30 Mike called and said that they had located the problem and further explained that there was an emmission control device that had failed. He explained that my car had a "vapor cannister" that was there to contain the gasoline vapors from the carb and fuel tank rather then let them go in the atmosphere. He said there was a vacuum control unit that would allow these vapors to be burned in the engine slowly enough as to not cause the car to run bad. As he explained I was seeing the $$ sprouting wings and flying from my wallet to Mikes college funds for his kids. I had never heard of such a thing and figured it must be expensive since he spent so much time explaining to me why this was the problem. All I really wanted was the cost and when the car would be finished. (Since then I have learned that Mike always assumes that the customer is as excited as him about car repairs. Now I just tell him "Just give me the bottom line." After the painful explanation he said that the part would cost about $36 and the labor to replace it was $39 plus $68 for the diagnosis. I was a little shocked that this was only going to cost about $150. I asked him about the tune up. Lee told Mike that in fact the plugs were very sooty and replacement wouldn't hurt but that it was not nessecary to pass the emmission test. I asked what could happen worst case if I didn't change plugs Lee said that sometimes the carbon (soot) would cause a carbon track which would make the car miss and run rough. There just wasn't a sure way to know. I was going on a long trip in 2 weeks so I asked them to change the plugs and replace the fuel and air filter if needed for the trip. Total bill came to about $360. Other then some minor adjustments the carb was never touched. When I came to get the car they handed me an emmission test that had passed. They said that they usually just threw in the test in since they always verify that the work was done right. That saved me from having to go back to the first shop to get the test done over. I asked them why the first shop would try and rip me off. Mike and Lee both agreed that they didn't think that the shop intentionally tried to sell uneeded work. They just didn't allow the time needed to accurately diagnose the problem. Mike explained that he has over the years spent thousands of dollars on schooling and invested in the tools needed to do these types of repairs properly and that is is shop policy to diagnose and verify each problem that comes in. Family Auto Center has a huge library of repair manuals several thick books for each year of car. I have since looked and found many shops with virtually no information at all. Needless to say I take all my repairs to Family Auto Center. I am convinced that I pay much less on repairs over the years. They have a file for me on all repairs done. And they know my driving needs. I have cars I depend on for work and they repair anything that evens looks close to being a problem on it. Yet on my around town cars they let me know if perhaps a lesser repair is adequete since I put far less miles per year on these cars. I always ask for Lee to repair my cars. Now if out of town and my car breaks down the first question I ask is "Can you diagnose my problem and What do you charge for the diagnosis" If they answer "We never charge for diagnosis our mechanics can usually tell by just looking what the problem is" I head on down the road and look further.
May 19, 2011
I know absolutely nothing about cars, even my own, but I have never been made to feel stupid or incompetent when talking with Nolan. He never seems anything but patient and always gives me the benefit of his expertise without talking to me as though I'm a stupid person or someone who's wasting his time. I appreciate that he educates me enough to understand the options and make a clear decision without expecting me to just take his word on everything. This is by far the best repair place I've ever been to -- in any state!

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