This is the introductory episode for the Palmer’s Auto Care Podcast. It traces Neil Palmer’s career from his beginning in the auto repair industry, to his current position of owning and running two automotive shops. Are you looking for an honest, ASE Certified Master Automotive Mechanic to repair and maintain your vehicles? If so, listen to this auto care podcast for an introduction to a man with very high standards and a passion for taking care of his customers.
Neil Palmer grew up in Oklahoma near his extended family. He started in the automotive repair industry in 1983 at Exon service station in Redondo Beach CA.
From there they moved to Moreno Valley CA where he worked in Goodyear and Firestone shops while continuing to develop his career. Later he worked at a truck company before spending the next 7 years working on airport support vehicles.
As his experience and skills grew he completed the ASE certifications and NAPA mechanic certification training. Neil has 35 years experience fixing cars and he’s an ASE Master Certified Technician.
In 1996 Neil and his wife Elizabeth moved their family to Twin Falls. They were looking for a new opportunity and to find safe environment to raise their family.
Neil started Palmer’s Automotive Repair in1997 in Twin Falls Idaho.
He worked for a year and a half to build the credentials required to become a NAPA Auto Care Center. After meeting the code of ethics requirements his company become a NAPA Auto Care Center.
Purchased the Vehicle Service Center in Kimberly ID
In 2016 Palmer’s Automotive Repair acquired a lube shop in Kimberly, Idaho. The Vehicle Service Center (VSC) is progressing well after three years. The community support has been good and the service volume is continuing to grow.
Neil points out that the VSC is a different type of lube shop. It’s not a quick service lube center. It’s a service center that inspects and maintains today’s cars with general maintenance services and light auto repairs.
The idea is to slow the lube process down and provide customers with a good inspection of their vehicle. The purpose of this is to take care of all needed services so during the time between services the vehicle is free of mechanical problems or breakdowns.
Today’s cars are running service intervals from 7k to 15k miles between services. That is a long period of time. At that interval a vehicle has been driven 6 months to a year, so there may be much more that needs to be addressed and checked, than just changing the engine oil.
For example – if you just get an oil change and don’t replace the air filter, you may not get another oil change for 15k miles. That air filter will have 30k miles on it when next oil change is due. That filter can be restricted and causing problems with fuel economy, emissions and performance.
So the goal is to bring a vehicle in for service and do a good inspection and take care of any maintenance it needs. That will help the vehicle be reliable for the next six months.
This philosophy moves away from a quick service type of company to a detailed maintenance repair facility. The VSC does some light mechanical work like replacing light bulbs, wiper blades, batteries and brake pads.
Major Repairs are Referred to Palmer’s Automotive Repair
If a vehicle inspection identifies major auto repair work is required, they refer the customer to the main shop at Palmer’s Automotive Repair. This type of work would include cooling system leaks, transmission leaks or problems, check engine lights, air conditioning problems, and other mechanical repairs.
The VSC refers this work to the main shop because it requires advanced diagnostics, special tools and mechanics with experience in fixing these automotive systems.
Dave asked Neil if he specializes in any particular type of vehicle. Neil said Palmer’s main shop fixes any type of vehicle. We work on domestic, Asian and European. But one thing he has noticed, when a vehicle has a difficult diagnostic problem and has been to several shops, without a successful fix, they seem to end up at his shop.
Neil assures podcast listeners that the check engine light, or drivability problem a car has can be repaired. Vehicle diagnostics is an area he specializes in because he has the experience, diagnostic ability and knowledge of electrical and electronics systems to be able to fix these problems.
Neil is an ASE Master Mechanic so it doesn’t matter what is wrong with your car, he car figure it out. The only limitation he has is if a newer vehicle has a problem that requires advanced computer access, and the vehicle manufacturer has not released it to the aftermarket. In those situations the vehicle will need to go to the dealer.
Used Car Pre-Purchase Inspection
Dave asked Neil for a car tip he could share with the listening audience. He shared an important tip for folks looking to buy a used vehicle. Don’t buy a car or truck before you have it inspected by a professional mechanic.
Cars are so complicated that one little problem can cost thousands of dollars to fix. One problem can make the car a bad choice. Neil said a car with 100 k miles that has not been properly maintained, will likely have $500 to $1000 worth of work needed. That is not a problem because the buyer can take that information back to the seller to negotiate a better price. But a major problem can be a good reason to not buy a vehicle.
When Dave asked if there are any specific vehicle types that would be a good car model to buy, Neil shared some good insights about repair costs. He said domestics vehicles like Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler will be the less expensive to maintain. He said Asian vehicles are about 10% more than domestics to repair. He said European vehicles are about 30% more than domestics.
Neil says most cars are fairly even as far as reliability. Creature comforts are probably what most people make buying decisions on. But it’s important to know if something were to happen to the vehicle that you are looking at, to be sure you know where can you get that vehicle serviced if something happens.
Conclusion – Passion and Philosophy
Dave asks Neil another question. What are you passionate about in regard to the automotive repair industry? Neil said his passion is to fix the vehicle the first time, at an affordable price, and be honest with my customers. He said that is the reason he started his own business. He said he didn’t like being told to fix stuff on cars that was not necessary.
Neil said his recommended philosophy for auto owners about auto repair is to take care of doing the maintenance on your car. That alone will save on auto repair expenses. He said his customers who take care of maintenance and minor repairs, have cars that last longer, are in nicer condition than vehicles that are not maintained.
He says if you do the maintenance required you’d save yourself a lot of money and heartache down the road.
A last point about Neil’s philosophy of auto repair is to do a job completely, and correctly the first time. He says they don’t do partial repairs. A good example is a timing belt replacement. Doing a job completely insures the vehicle will last until the timing belt is due again in 60k, 80k or 105k miles.
Thank you for listening to Palmer’s Auto Care Podcast. We’re excited to bring the show to our listeners and customers in Twin Falls County and the surrounding southern Idaho area. If you’re looking for professional auto maintenance services please contact our VSC in Kimberly. Our shop in Twin Falls does maintenance, but we’re primarily a full service professional auto repairshop that does advance diagnostics and repairs. Give either shop a call or you can schedule an online appointment for the VSC or Palmer’s Automotive through our websites.