Letter to the Editor: Auto repair shop owner offers insight, pointers

Published 11:49 am Thursday, July 13, 2023

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I guess this could be a Public Service Announcement.

I have Dale’s Auto in Salvo and the last few years the number of visitors has increased but the amount of auto repair facilities has declined.

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Everyone who visits here comes by car or truck of some type. There are but a small handful of repair shops available to locals and visitors alike. It is very easy for a shop to be overwhelmed with people needing repairs.

Locals can generally get by a few days but visitors are held to time constraints of leaving on a weekend, usually Saturday or Sunday. As with other businesses, essential personnel to keep things moving efficiently has declined.

If you are calling and needing vehicular services or repairs, here are a few pointers:

#1 – Call as soon as you think you have a problem.

#2 – Be prepared to be told there may be a week to two-week wait to get in depending on what you may need. Some problems are simple and can be handled in minutes and others may take days.

#3 – There are two auto parts suppliers on Hatteras Island so parts availability may be at least a day wait if not more.

#4 – There are only three major brand dealers and all are in Manteo/Kill Devil Hills/Kitty Hawk areas: a Ford dealer in Manteo, a Chevrolet dealer in Kitty Hawk and a Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer in Kill Devil Hills. If you own any other make such as an Asian, German or other manufacturer’s vehicle the closest dealers are 2½ hours away.

#5 – When you call, be kind, be courteous. We understand the situation you are in is a problem that needs resolved and will do our best to make that happen. It may take a few phone calls to get through to most shops in peak season. Rest assured we are working as quickly as possible to be able to service as many vehicles as can safely be handled. We will recommend other shops possibly that may be able to help you if we are not able to. I do at times wear a Magician’s hat but at other times I wear the hat of the Vehicular Mortician.

In my shop I work long, strange hours. I have worked 27 hours straight to make sure a customer was able to leave on time, and an occasional all night thrash to get someone on the road is not unusual, at least for me, it’s what we do.

I still cover as many calls as possible but at 68 I am slowing down a tad but not giving up, yet.

I hope this bit of insight is helpful in some way if only to make one aware and understand a little better.

Please stay safe in your travels and island adventures.

Dale Stump
Dale’s Auto, Salvo