Wes Howard owns Howard Automotive, and he opened his business in 2016. “I’ve been working in the automotive industry for 23 years,” Wes said. “I started out working in different shops. I had a Master Technician who took me under his wing, time and experience brought me here.”
He said without anywhere more to go on the career ladder, working at other automotive shops, he decided that opening his own shop was the way to go. “The only way to make money in this business is on your own without employees,” Wes said about his solo shop.
Working in the Pawnee area, Wes said he loves working with those from the small towns. “They are great, they are easy to deal with.”
With decades of training, Wes is equipped to handle most any issues an automobile may have. Located at 1606 Zenobia Rd, outside of Pawnee, Wes gets business from Pawnee, Tovey, Kincaid, Raymond, and Rochester. “I’m located at the crossroads for all of these locations,” he added.
When asked what services he offers, and what brand of automobiles he works with, Wes said, “I service everything except tires and alignments. I get a lot of brakes, and even do oil changes.”
Experience counts. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and from the beginning I was thrown into everything.”
Working at independent automotive shops gave him the variety of experience he needed to open his own shop. “At dealerships, they deal with one type of brand, but at independent shops, like here, I get everything, European cars, Asian cars etc.”
While Wes works with pretty much any brand, he works only on cars and light trucks, no semis or farm equipment.
Things have changed a lot though over the years he has been working on cars. Back when he started everything he needed to know was in a manual. Then Wes said they started putting service information of CD’s, and now to stay updated it requires going online.
While trying to make a living as an independent businessman, Wes said it can be frustrating, but he likes the variety of his work. “I like something different, so this job doesn’t get boring,”
Wes grew up in the Pawnee community. His parents Nick and Darlette are from Pawnee and live near his shop. In fact, he said that his dad stops by most days! “Dad worked for the Village of Pawnee, and he cleared this property,” Wes said pointing out the beautiful natural setting where his home and shop are located.
While business changes, so do the needs of car owners. When asked if he is seeing any trend in the automotive problems affecting his customers, Wes said that he sees poor quality in brand-new vehicles. Another aspect that affects Howard Automotive’s customers is the use of the synthetic oil and the directions they give for it. “They are recommending changing your oil every 6,000-10,000 miles,” Wes said.
He doesn’t agree with this recommendation. “Although they are telling you that you can go longer without changing your oil, I am seeing internal engine failure and other issues. Change the oil every 3,000 miles like the old recommendation.”
Another issue he is seeing with some of the newer vehicles is poor quality material that is resulting in some instances in frame rot, and rust on the undercarriage of autos. Part of this issue he attributes to thin steel. Of all the brands, Wes says he sees the best quality from Toyota.
Wes said business is booming because more car owners are keeping their cars and trucks longer because of the cost of new vehicles, and the lack of quality.
Wes has a presence on Facebook, and you can call him at 217-416-7254 to make an appointment. There are no set hours, but he is usually around, and arranges his schedule to fit appointments for his clients needs. “That’s why I am here, to take time and make sure things are right. This makes people happy. It is my purpose, what I was meant to do.”
Wes doesn’t advertise, he just lets happy customers share their experiences with others. This seems to be working for him, his lot was full, and appointments are filled. If you want to be one of his clients, just give him a call.