Texas

‘It was a godsend’: This North Texas charity fixes cars for free

At a recent gala at the Jubilee Park Community Center, mechanics Darren Brown and Tyson Forward chatted merrily to a steady stream of mostly elderly drivers driving mostly old cars. The team does not do repairs at major events. But while they were checking oil levels and topping up donated fluids, mechanics — and cousins ​​— were looking at repairs and offering advice.

Stephen Yeager was grateful for the help. The self-proclaimed “young senior citizen” said he lived on a fixed income, that he had just paid off his latest model sedan and had just paid for a radiator repair, but he still had problems. According to him, he replaced the leaking coolant with water so that it would not overheat.

He needs an oil change, Brown said—“I can already smell burning,” the mechanic joked—and he will need to inspect a leaking radiator. This is what charity can help with.

“As soon as they approve [an application] they will send an email to all the mechanics on duty and say, “Hey, I have a boyfriend… This is the background of the car. Can you fix this?’ Autocare pays for the parts, pays for the mechanic,” Brown said.

The nonprofit gets parts and fluids at a lower cost or for free through deals with AutoZone and Amazon. Autocare Haven pays mobile mechanics to do the work, which Tellez says is preferable because they don’t have the overhead of adding the cost of a conventional garage. The charity has six full-time mechanics hired to do the repairs.

The charity will solve just about any problem you need to keep your car running. Tellez said the band would not be doing cosmetics. And he doesn’t ask mechanics to rebuild engines or transmissions because it’s too expensive and time consuming. The goal is to get as many people back on the road as quickly as possible.

“find”

For Timothy Hale, Autocare Haven was a “blessing” when his wife’s 2013 Toyota Sienna needed a new water pump.

Earlier this year, according to Hale, his wife Tamara noticed something was wrong with the nine-year-old minivan. He took it apart and realized he needed a new front lower arm.

But while he was working on fixing the suspension, he discovered another problem: water was leaking from the engine. The water pump will also need to be replaced.

According to him, it will cost another $1,000, “and we just didn’t have them.”

“I thought, ‘Oh my God, is this never going to end?’ he remembered.

Hale says the family didn’t have much budgetary wiggle room to begin with, and inflation has been brutal. He’s disabled and works a couple of shifts a week as a security guard. His wife Tamara works in a pharmacy. Their adult children live with them, and they also work.

“We can’t get food stamps because we make too much money, but we don’t make enough money to live. We should go to the food bank,” he said.

Tamara also rides Uber to make extra money, so not having a minivan also meant less income.

Tamara heard about Autocare Haven from a friend who heard about it at a food bank. They applied, although Timothy hesitated a bit. Two hours later, he said, their application was approved. The mechanic came to the house and soon after fixed the water pump.

“It was lucky that they came and fixed it. They were very polite. They did the job, they did it quickly, and I still can’t believe we were able to do it,” Hale said. “I mean, it’s still like, wow.”

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