A good mechanic is something everyone needs at some point in their life. It may be thanks to a flat tire, or you may have broken down on the side of the road or had an unfortunate fender bender on the way to work.
But mostly we make our visits to the auto repair shop due to normal wear and tear on our vehicles and necessary upkeep to stay within a warranty. What constitutes a “Good” mechanic to you? For me, it would certainly include competence, because nobody likes return visits to the car dealership or similar places for an electrical issue that just will not go away. But, to make it to the “Best Of” list, that mechanic might have to make a little magic happen. Whether it weighs on the side of affordability, or reliability, or just because they are a nice guy, the “best” mechanic must encompass something special. That is why I believe the best mechanic/owner that I have ever known is Jim Caruthers at Murdock Tire & Auto Center.
Social media can sure tell you a lot about someone, especially when people are looking for recommendations for one thing or another. When it comes to “who is the best mechanic in town?” on Facebook, the question is often answered with “Jim at Murdock Tires.” For me, a variety of reasons brought me to this conclusion about Jim. I am going to share a little bit about this special guy who always asks you how your day is going, and genuinely seems to care.
We first became introduced to Murdock Tire by word-of-mouth. Isn’t that how the best referrals are delivered? In this case, we needed someone local, good at their job, and not going to rake us over the financial coals for repairs needed on my husband’s vehicle. Along came Jim. My husband, who is a pretty fair guy in his own right, at once picked up on the willingness of Jim to get down to the heart of the problem. Never giving him a “could be this or could be that” attitude without complete follow-up on his automotive suspicions. And, throughout that first experience, the labor costs were just nothing, so minimal we felt like we needed to leave a tip. So, the next day we sent pizzas for all the guys at Murdock Tire.
A couple of years and two kids later, I found myself sitting at Murdock Tires due to some issue with my Mazda. It may have been that the rain was leaking in from the sunroof, landing right on the kids in their car seats. That was the point I knew I needed to give in to the “mom van”. But before I did let go of my cute little car, I had it in for repairs at Jim’s shop one last time. I had my boys, three and four-years old, with me and we were enjoying the cool and comfort in his little lobby while they worked on my car. I always liked the buzz at Murdock tire, listening to everyone say, “Hey, Jim,” followed by him asking several questions on babies, new grandbabies and “Are you old enough to graduate already?” On this day, Jim came out to say to me, “I fixed your problem, hon, and got your a/c running for you again. Too hot to be running around with those babies.” I was so thankful. I remember the bill to be like $40 for all of that, and I had not even come in for the a/c issue.
A year or two later, with lots of oil changes and new tires in-between, and we found ourselves with major work required on both vehicles at the very time Todd was to have back surgery. Jim gave us his usual free-of-charge and extremely thorough estimate of what was needed. When we were going to piecemeal the repairs, letting some go in favor of tending to more emergent issues, Jim offered an alternative. “Hey Todd, how about one of your video games for my guys in trade for the work?” We honestly felt like angels had descended to save the day. Jim at Murdock Tire is like that; an automotive angel of sorts for those of us who have wondered how to pull it all together. He is always thinking of a solution.
My last couple of dealings with Murdock Tire came at the end of the life of my mom-van. I found the van, and myself, overheating alongside a somewhat sketchy gas station on the way home from work. Todd was nowhere near and at 3PM, most friends were still at work. So, I called Jim who had been aware of my issues. “Sit tight, sweetheart, one of my guys will come get you and the van.” When I became concerned over the side-action at the gas station (you know, drinking, debauchery, and a little mayhem) I panicked and started driving home. Jim called me on the way, and I said, “I’m not sitting tight anymore Jim, got a little scared and I’m mobile.” To which he said, “Well keep driving now honey, you’re almost home.” Between Jim and my husband, I was not alone during the overheated motor situation.
When I bought a new car soon after, I took it into Jim to get it thoroughly looked over. What he discovered was alarming even to the guys at the shop. Jim said, “They put the bolts on backwards on your tires. Now I have to check everything for you, go inside and have a seat.” And that is how Jim operates – – a little bit father-like, master mechanic, completely fair, and totally endearing. As I said in the beginning, “the best mechanic” must have a little something extra. With Jim at Murdock Tires, the bar has been set high for current and future mechanics and shop owners. For me, his automotive genius is overshadowed by his kind heart. I have seen him do special things for not only my family, but many others I have gotten a peek in on when it is my turn to sit in his little waiting room. Jim at Murdock Tire is the Best Mechanic, hands, and wrenches down. Murdock Tire & Auto Center is located at 740 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte, FL. For more information on ridiculously fair automotive repairs, please visit Murdock Tire Auto Center FB Page.
Photos courtesy of Murdock Tire & Auto Center Facebook page.