One of the hardest parts of owning a car is finding a reliable mechanic you can trust. Searching the Internet for a shop can be daunting after reading online reviews with one exception – Dick’s Ace Auto.
The largest number of reviews of the business is found at www.surecritic.com, where you’ll find 101 reviews…and every one is positive. One hundred percent of reviewers would recommend Ace Auto Repair to a friend. It has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau as well.
One review reads, “Dick really understands cars and how to keep them running well. He can fix things other shops want to replace. I was quoted $350 for a repair at a big chain shop. Dick fixed it with a $35 repair. Ace Auto Repair is an HONEST, FAIR automobile repair shop. Another review says, “I have already sent about a half dozen friends and family to him and will continue to refer everyone I know.”
Owned by Richard (Dick) Sellers, Ace Auto Repair has been in business since 1981, and at 5010 S. Central Avenue since 1988. Raised around thoroughbred racehorses back east, horses he calls “the crazy ones,” his dad worked for Tom Chauncey. But, he says, “My dad and I had this different outlook on horsepower.”
His family had moved to Arizona from Ohio in 1960. He attended South Mountain High School and graduated in 1963. His father told him to make up his mind what he wanted to do because he was going to be doing it the rest of his life, so he attended a vocational class for diesel, trucks, and cars at Phoenix Union after he finished high school.
“I got started when I was real young, I was probably six, seven, eight years old. For Christmas, I wanted a dump truck and a little bulldozer. I got a wind up bulldozer and all the metal trucks back then were like Tonka trucks. I wanted a dump truck but it was a stake bed. Grandpa was a veterinarian so I went and got one of his pair of pliers or forceps or something and I twisted the little deals and made a dump bed out of it. Grandma didn’t buy me any more toys. You know what I got the next year? A pair of rubber boots.
“I’ve had people ask me, “Can you teach my son how to be a mechanic? And I’ll ask them, did he take his toys apart when he was a kid and put ‘em back together? When they say no, I tell them I might be able to teach him how to take stuff off and put it back together.” He feels that mechanics are born, not made.
He has three Model A’s, one is all original that he says he needs to finish putting it together. According to Dick, one difference in vehicles since he’s been a mechanic is that, “Everything’s controlled by the computer. Turn the key on and it knows if it’s raining out, how hot, how cold – the newer the car, the faster it does it. Computer makes it easier for troubleshooting in some cases, sometimes it makes it worse. We can plug into it and let the computer talk to us and tell us what’s working.”
According to Sellers, “You’d be surprised how many people come in here because their dad or grandpa comes in here and they ask when they walk in, “Do you work on new cars?” because they see the pictures of the old Model A’s.”
Kurt and Eric are the two mechanics at Ace and, same as their boss, like to take things apart to see why the parts failed. According to Sellers, “Kurt out there will take apart a GM circuit board, they’re about seventy, eighty bucks for a circuit board that goes in the GM for the wipers when they quit working. He takes ‘em apart and fixes ‘em. He’ll take the solder off and solder it back. He built that computer down there and the one in my front office.
“Everybody says, hey you do good work at your shop. I say, thanks, I’ll let the guys know. If I sell hamburgers, I’m only as good as the guys cooking the hamburgers. I’m only as good as my help.
“The two guys I have out here have a lot of knowledge. Eric worked for me eighteen years ago, then Auto Nation hired him out from underneath me. He moved back to Phoenix last year and he started for me in January. He’s my manager. Eric and Kurt happen to be brothers-in-law, so they get along real well.”
Cars aren’t just his business, they’ve also been his hobby. He says, “I used to race at Manzanita. My son used to race off road. I raced stock cars earlier in my life and I got into open wheel racing (a car with wheels that stick out and no fenders) like sprint cars.”
Dick is currently doing some remodeling of the office and plans to put menu boards up with prices. For example, the boards will give prices for good, better, and best price on average so customers have an idea. In January, the business will have a brand new website at the same URL as the current one, aceautorepair.net. E-mail address is [email protected]aceautorepair.net.