SCHENECTADY — The Falvo family has been fixing cars for about 80 years.
When Nick Falvo’s grandfather started Schenectady Auto Service in the 1940s it was located across the street from its present location at VanVranken Avenue and Maxon Road. And while auto repair has changed over the last eight decades the fundamentals of running the business has not.
“If you are an honest person and do things the right way and don’t try to take advantage of anyone you build a good reputation and people will come back to you,” he said. “Reputation is all about honesty and communication. We have a lot of repeat customers for that reason.”
A few decades ago, he said, auto repair was all about nuts and bolts and simply swapping one part out for another. Today, the industry is much more technical and computer driven.
“Now-a-days, you have to know electronics and be able to read wiring diagrams and have the proper tools to diagnose problems,” he said. “It’s a lot different than it used to be. If you look at it from an older person’s point of view it’s for the worse, but from a young person’s it’s a little better.”
Cars today, he said, are made better than in decades past. The mechanical parts like the engine and transmission are more solid and whereas cars used to require a tune up twice a year, spark plugs today will last 60,000 miles or more.
A cars longevity is a two-fold story, though. People seem to take better care of them than before and take a preventative approach to maintenance rather than wait until something breaks.
The garage works on foreign and domestic cars bumper-to-bumper, including front-end work, brakes, inspections, AC work, tires, wheel alignments, starters, batteries, general maintenance, electrical work, trouble shooting, radiator work and is equipped with up to date equipment to handle the dreaded check engine light.
“We have been in business a long time, and we have done well over the years and that is because we do well by our customers,” he said.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.