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David Balla, supply systems analyst, Logistics Capabilities Center, Marine Corps Logistics Command, and retired Marine, takes advantage of the Auto Skills Center as he performs routine maintenance on his vehicle, Aug. 28.

Photo by Nathan L. Hanks Jr.

Vehicle maintenance: Auto Skills Center employees help save money

4 Sep 2014 | Nathan L. Hanks Jr. The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Whether a beginner or do-it-yourself enthusiast, the Auto Skill Center’s staff is willing to assist authorized patrons in performing basic vehicle maintenance or can even do the work themselves, at a nominal fee when compared to prices off base.

Mel Scoggins, general manager, Auto Skills Center, Marine Corps Community Services, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, has been working at the center for more than 20 years and brings a wealth of experience.

“We are here to provide a safe environment for active-duty and retired service members and Department of Defense civilians to perform repairs on their vehicles,” Scoggins said.

He said it is important to have such a resource on base because there are those people who only put gas in their car and change the oil.

“Having looked under the hoods of thousands of cars, some just scared me knowing I was going to meet them on the road the next day,” Scoggins said.

“Everybody wants to spend the least amount of money they can keeping the car they picked out going,” he added.

David Balla, supply systems analyst, Logistics Capabilities Center, Marine Corps Logistics Command, and retired Marine, uses the center every other month to perform routine maintenance on his vehicles.

“I bring all my vehicles here because it is convenient, cost effective and the people here have a lot of knowledge and are willing to share it,” Balla said. “If I have any advanced (questions), they can walk me through it. I am glad to have this resource on base.”

Rhonda F. Pettit, weapons systems support manager, Ground Transportation and Engineering Services Division, LOGCOM, and retired Marine, recently bought tires for her vehicle from the Auto Skills Center.

She enjoys educating personnel on the different services the Auto Skills Center has to offer at an economical price.

“The gentlemen who work in the (Auto Skills Center) are very friendly and I encourage women to take advantage of the different services to include classes,” Pettit said. “It will make (them) a better informed consumer when it comes to the maintenance of their vehicles.” 

Her husband recently visited the center and found it had the best price options for tires, which included mounting, balancing and disposal. 

Only new tires are sold at the center and there is no sales tax. Tires can be delivered the next business day for a $4 fuel surcharge.

Pettit’s daughter recently received her learner’s permit and is anxious to get behind the wheel, she noted. 

“I explained to her that it’s more to it than just driving,” Pettit said. “I told her that she would be better equipped if is she could perform certain preventive maintenance on her own such as changing oil, checking tire pressure and knowing how to read the different meters and gauges.”

Pettit plans to enroll her daughter in the next available auto skills class when offered. 

Customers are reminded services are performed on a first come, first serve basis and those who don’t want to do the work themselves can request the skills center’s personnel to do the maintenance for a fee.

The center is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The Auto Skills Center is closed Sundays, Mondays and federal holidays.

For more information, call 229-639-5226.