Spirit Auto: Going the distance

  • Published
  • By Heidi Hunt
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
"Car problems are awesome," said no one ever.

While vehicle trouble is inevitable, many find it challenging to be without their own transportation.

When these troubles leave Airmen without their own wheels, getting to and from work and tackling daily errands can become an issue. Fortunately, the 509th Force Support Squadron provides Team Whiteman with auto care services so individuals can keep their mind on the mission.

"Our goal and values are to provide the community with reliable, efficient, affordable and quality customer service," said Rafael Ramirez, 509th FSS Spirit Auto manager. "We offer two main types of services - self-help and services by appointment."

Customers benefit from having a one-stop, on-base location, where they can get their vehicles repaired and continue working without interruption, said Ramirez.

"Customers don't have to worry about taking their vehicle somewhere else and losing valuable mission hours," Ramirez said. "Since we are on base and readily available, customers can drop off their vehicle and pick it up at the end of the duty day."

Spirit Auto also aims to build a trusting relationship with its customers to avoid worries about the quality of service. They consistently provide solid customer service, and treat patrons how they would want to be treated.

The four-man team stays busy year-round, especially during the peak seasons - winter and summer.

In addition to providing services to private vehicles, Ramirez said they also accommodate squadron vehicles, saving the Air Force money.

"We service slow-moving vehicles so people don't have to put them on trailers and take them downtown, which ends up costing more money," Ramirez said.

Whatever the issue, technicians at Spirit Auto work diligently to find the root cause of the problem and try to save the customer money; they never take shortcuts, said Ramirez.

"Sometimes a job may take a little longer only because we take our time and ensure it's done right the first time," Ramirez added. "We don't cut corners and we don't rush jobs."

Recent upgrades to the facility include an additional car lift and a new tire-changing machine. They also added new vacuum cleaners, heated rails and cement floors to the automatic car wash so the bay floors do not freeze in the winter months.

Services at Spirit Auto also include, but are not limited to: oil changes, tire rotation, tune-ups, strut and shock absorber replacement, scanner hook-up, component replacement, brake replacement, tire mounting and balancing, diagnostic checks, wheel alignment and state inspections.

Some people prefer to do their own maintenance. Customers can utilize a web-based program at Spirit Auto, free of charge, to research "how-to" information on their vehicles.

If patrons do not see a service offered, they can contact Spirit Auto at 660-687-5689 for more clarification.

Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday (by appointment only); 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Customers are required to clean up 45 minutes prior to close, and are advised to give themselves adequate time to perform vehicle maintenance.