Advanced Car Care Center, Strafford, Mo. - Transmission Digest

Advanced Car Care Center, Strafford, Mo.

Chip Broemmer’s career educating the next generation of technicians has been sandwiched between two hitches in automotive repair, a long early span with Toyota and a recent venture, Advanced Car Care Center in Strafford, Mo.

Finding the Mother Lode of Vehicles

‘The Biggest Plus for Us is Being Right on This Road’

Chip Broemmer’s career educating the next generation of technicians has been sandwiched between two hitches in automotive repair, a long early span with Toyota and a recent venture, Advanced Car Care Center in Strafford, Mo.

The shop has worked out rather well in terms of location and the way the business has developed, he said.

Strafford is a small but growing community where he finds a great deal of his customers, and it’s close to the metro area of Springfield, which has a large population of vehicles.

The shop is on a stretch of roadway lined with contractors running fleets of trucks and vans and, just a few miles down the way, is the entrance to a huge industrial park packed with companies that move freight on pavement. The road is designated Old Route 66, aka the Mother Road, but for Chip, it could be called the Mother Lode of Vehicles.

“The biggest plus for us is being right on this road,” he said.

But that’s not all. Chip worked for 13 years as an instructor at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield. That’s where he found his three techs and the service writer, and that’s how he understands the upbringing of young professionals in an increasingly demanding field. He sees opportunities for expansion, and he’d like to add another tech.

“This is a strong team environment,” Chip said. “We’re pretty selective about who we add to that team. It has to be an individual who’s going to fit and shares the mission of this company: to deliver value for our repairs.”

The techs are Thomas Ashe, Drew Underhill and Mitchell Denney, plus Chip, a master tech. Jeff Jones is the service writer. The Broemmer family is very invested in the business. Chip’s wife, Megan, works part-time as bookkeeper. Chip’s twin daughters, Claire and Mackenzie, are working in the summer on alternating days as assistants to Jeff.

From niche to all-around

Chip’s original idea for the shop was to specialize in a few import transmissions, and he chose a building that had three-phase electricity to accommodate a dynamometer for testing rebuilt units. However, he needed a way to move more volume of work through the shop. They were rebuilding transmissions, which required 3-5 days on the lift, as did tearing down engines. They moved into R&R transmission work.

“It was an efficiency issue with how we use our bays,” he said.

Chip also took on general repairs and tire sales. The turnaround time for vehicles became just one day or less.

Becoming an authorized installer for Certified Transmission was a profitable step, Chip said. Customers want the nationwide, three-year, 100,000 mile warranty.

Responding to the demand from contractors, Advanced Car Care Center became a one-stop shop for maintenance and repair of fleets, which has become 30-40% of the shop’s work. Many of the vehicles are F-350 and F-450 models for lawn care, delivery trucks and vans, and church buses. The biggest lift at the shop is 14,000 lbs., so it can handle the buses and trucks, but the shop does not service school buses or dump trucks.

Tires are part of the one-stop demand for contractors and a plus for retail customers. While expanding into tire sales, Chip had no need for inventory. “That’s the beautiful thing: All of these tire distributors are in the industrial park or have same-day delivery. So we’re three miles from every major tire distributor here,” he said.

The technicians find themselves frequently diagnosing electrical problems, which can take varying paths through a vehicle. They must decide whether the problem calls for an R&R or a fix from the outside, such as a solenoid or speed sensor. “Once we determine it’s major mechanical, then it’s going to get a reman unit,” Chip said.

The state of the work force

At Advanced Car Care Center, employees have a benefit package including a matching retirement program, tools provided, paid uniforms, and paid-for training online and hands-on. Chip also has instilled a sense of professionalism that includes the policies of the business and more prestige for the technician.

Chip recommends a formal mentorship program for entry-level techs and a licensing program similar to that of Canada’s. The province of Ontario, he said, requires 6,500 hours of hands-on apprenticeship and 720 hours of school for a license. Why? Because the automobile has become an increasingly complex machine, with new safety systems, high-level electronics and intricate transmissions.

“I believe that I have some very talented people working for me. I think it’s time for the job description to get more respect, and I think it does from a lot of our customers.

“There’s still this idea in the public that I can take my car anywhere and I can get a ‘box of car repair’ off the shelf, and it doesn’t matter who made the box of car repair – they’re all the same. But we all know that’s not true. More and more customers are recognizing that this is not true. So I feel that the job description is slowly but surely gaining the respect of a lot of our customers anyway.

“I talk to a lot of guys who say, ‘I can’t find anybody.’ Well, what are you doing to help a kid down that path? What are you doing to foster their growth into this really technical environment? We expect magically these employees to drop out of the sky, and it’s just not going to happen. …

“If you see a technician struggling with a difficult problem, they need support, they don’t need, ‘Is it done yet? Is it done yet? Is it done yet?’ And if you’ve been a technician, you know how aggravating that is. That’s not helpful.

“You wouldn’t do that to somebody working on your computer in your house. You’d let them do their job until they get it done. We have to take some of that pressure off and let them do their jobs. If not, they’ll go somewhere else.”

Business goals

Chip wants to cultivate relationships with companies in the industrial park. That would require an expansion. The options:

• Installing two more lifts in the current shop
• Buying an adjacent building up for sale
• Moving to a larger facility

In any case, Chip is pleased with the progress so far, especially with the evolution of the shop into general repair.

“We’ve been blessed and led into some of these areas,” he said. “The location we wound up in for that three-phase, but it turned out it was a great location. And the employees we have and the team we built has been a blessing. The growth of the business itself is a blessing. I’m really happy the way things are turning out.”

You May Also Like

Outgrowing the walls: The story of EVT Transmission Parts

There’s an interesting business, one of our industry’s success stories, located in the greater Los Angeles area city of Compton, CA. Walter Quintanilla is the owner of EVT Transmission Parts, which supplies a full line of parts and supplies to rebuilders in the area and beyond. The company began as a Los Angeles transmission shop

January-cover2-1400

There’s an interesting business, one of our industry’s success stories, located in the greater Los Angeles area city of Compton, CA. Walter Quintanilla is the owner of EVT Transmission Parts, which supplies a full line of parts and supplies to rebuilders in the area and beyond. The company began as a Los Angeles transmission shop owned by Vince Hall (See Transmission Digest, April 1993). In 1995, Hall decided to broaden the scope of his involvement in the industry by opening the distribution business in nearby Compton.

Spotting different 68RFE designs through the years to avoid issues

The Chrysler 68RFE has had several changes through the years. Its four-speed predecessor began with a noisy solenoid pack identified by a black colored pass-through case connector (seen in Figure 1).  Related Articles – Valve body and component suppliers: A comprehensive list – Shift Pointers: Failures caused by incorrect tire sizes – Understanding lube flow

Valve body and component suppliers: A comprehensive list

Looking for a comprehensive list of the industry’s valve body and valve body component suppliers for 2024? TD has you covered. Below, find a list of suppliers including contact information, addresses, etc. Related Articles – How reading through service bulletins can turn a technician into the customer’s hero – Sometimes, you should sweat the small

Shift Pointers: Failures caused by incorrect tire sizes

For years ATSG has produced a wide range of issues related to improper tire sizes on vehicles. Even under-inflated tires have been known to cause issues. Problems such as premature failure with an active 4WD transfer case will occur with incorrect tire sizes. Related Articles – Shift Pointers: Focused DTCs – Vote for the Top

Shift-Pointers-Jan-Figure-1-1400
Understanding lube flow control valves in Toyota/Lexus UA/UB80 transmissions

The Toyota/Lexus UA80 and UB80 transmissions first came out in 2017 in Highlanders and Siennas. The UA80 is used in V6 applications, and the UB80 is paired with four-cylinder versions. They have been called Toyota New Global Architecture type transmissions, and alternately referred to as the “Direct Shift 8AT” eight-speed automatic transmission. This transmission was

Tasc-Tip-December-Figure-1---LFC-Valve-OE-Partial-Circuit-Diagram-1400

Other Posts

Shift pointers: High-mileage transmissions and the aches and pains of age

Among the most common four speed-transmissions keeping shops busy today are the Ford 4R70E/W, the GM 4L60-E and the GM 4L80-E. In most cases, this typically equates to working on high-mileage vehicles. Aches and pains come with age and/or high mileage. In fact, when we see a person who looks beat and tattered, some may

Shift-Pointers-November
Toyota/Lexus UA/UB series: Critical wear areas and vacuum test locations

Sonnax has provided the following guide on critical wear areas and vacuum test locations for the Toyota/Lexus UA and UB lines of transmissions. Technicians working on these models should find this guide helpful. Related Articles – 6T40 delayed engagements after overhaul – GM 6T70/75 slips and delays in first – How to fix GM 6T70/Ford

Tasc-Tip-Nov-Featured-Image
Looking for the cause of repeated 6T40 torque converter failure

The converter clutch was applied just enough to drag but not enough to kill the engine.

Tech-Talk-Q4-Figure-4-1400
6T40 delayed engagements after overhaul

The problem lies in the compensator piston that a generation two clutch housing uses compared to the generation one housing.

Tech-Talk-Q4-Figure-7-1400