The work is in your hands
STERLING – Backyard mechanics with a less-than-desirable backyard now have a new place to tinker. No tools? No problem.
Falco Weitz, 26, owns Do It Yourself Auto Garage, 16418 Prairieville Road, with his father, Werner.
They have four automatic lifts for cars and trucks, as well as one for motorcycles, which can ease the stress of having to bend, twist, and lay horizontal to make a repair.
Falco runs the shop’s day-to-day operations. He’ll walk customers through the lift process and help them set up the points for each lift, and give instructions on how to use it.
“It’s safe that way, and it makes the customers happy knowing that they are safe, and their car,” Falco said.
The lifts, which can hold vehicles ranging from small cars to large passenger trucks, tower almost to the top of the garage, which has the look of a warehouse, but there’s no acrobatic flexibility to be done once the vehicle is up.
“It’s better than laying on the ground, a gravel driveway, or anything like that,” Falco said. “You can stand up and it won’t hurt your back, your neck won’t hurt, and your arms won’t hurt. It’s a big job, and you can be comfortable doing it.”
The Weitzs immigrated from Dusseldorf. Germany 11 years ago, and Falco is a 2008 graduate of Sterling High School. He’s worked on cars his whole life, and has seen similar shops set up in larger cities like Chicago.
Falco and his father rent the garage space, which was initially filled with junk and had no insulation.
New walls, a clean concrete floor, and fire-proof insulation were put up in the last 5 months, and it has heat and air conditioning.
The grand opening was March 18, punctuating an idea 10 years in the making.
“We’ve been talking about it here and there,” Falco said. “Finally we got the opportunity to do it. We did it right – everything’s up to code, and we’re fully insured.”
The shop also offers free oil disposal, and plans to add more services.
“In the future, when it starts getting busy, we want to add on,” Falco said. “We want to get a sandblaster and a tire-changing machine.”
The Weitzes intend to have a home garage-like atmosphere, with plans to have a pop machine, a microwave and a computer to help customers look up parts and repair instructions.
It’s a place where anyone can work, and Falco takes pride in knowing that even the disabled can work on their vehicles once they are secured on the lifts. It’s a takeaway inspired from an automotive TV show he once saw.
“I’ve seen people on wheelchairs on TV who do work in their own garages. There was a garage rehab, and they remodeled the whole garage to where the office and everything became handicapped-accessible.”
Weitz rents the property, and customers rent lift space and tools, if needed.
Lifts cost $20 an hour, and $5 for every quarter-hour after, cash, debit or credit card.
Customers can bring their own tools, or rent them from the shop’s office for a nominal fee.
The motorcycle lift, which can be operated by foot pump or air controller, cost $15 an hour.
Customers must sign a liability waiver before working on their vehicle.
Just because it’s a do-it-yourself place doesn’t mean that Falco is hands-off after demonstrating the lift process; he says he’s always available to help, and noted that those at other lifts can also be of assistance as well if something happens.
“We want people to come here and get their hands dirty,” Falco said. “I think some people are scared to do it themselves, but they have the knowledge.
If you’re here, you can ask questions, and we’ll walk you through it.”