When Zachary Anderegg was in the Marine Corps, he took advantage of a service the military offered people to make their own vehicle repairs.
"Essentially, it was a do-it-yourself repair shop," he said, adding that it offered tools and equipment people could check out for a fee to work on their cars, trucks, boats or other vehicles.
It was that experience that prompted him to open what he hopes will be the next big thing in do-it-yourself auto repair.
"A lot of people, including myself, know how to do their own work and actually enjoy it," Anderegg said. "But do you really want to move the wife's car out of the garage, get your car in there … (while) the kids' bikes are in the way and (no equipment) you need is there?
"It's not a fun experience. I used to hate it."
Now, for all those frustrated people who have thought they could save money by fixing their own vehicles if they only had the tools and space to do it, the answer has arrived: the Wrench-it Center.
It's a fully equipped, 40-bay, climate-controlled garage that allows do-it-yourselfers — or folks willing to try — access to virtually everything they could need to make almost any vehicle repair.
Somewhere, Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor is grunting with joy.
Located at 1245 S. 700 West in Salt Lake City, with more information online at www.wrench-it.com, the center offers a new idea in car repair. For a rate of $12 to $18 an hour, customers are assigned a bay and given access to a 200-piece tool set, with a variety of other tools available for a nominal hourly fee, including tire machines, transmission jacks and a cherry picker to swap out engines.
In addition, customers can order parts at cost and have them delivered to the center at no additional cost.
"You're saving anywhere from 50 to 80 percent on a given job," Anderreg said.
"It's everything but specialized (work) … (no) alignments (or) body work," he said., although he is looking into some equipment for minor body repairs.
While the shop is designed to serve the typical do-it-yourselfer who has some mechanical knowledge, Anderegg said customers also have free online access to original equipment manufacturers' instructions on most repairs for most vehicles.
He said one BMW owner came into his shop recently after being told a relatively minor repair would cost $1,200. Figuring it could done cheaper, the car owner, who had no previous mechanical experience, researched the repair using the online resource at the shop and was able to complete it himself in a couple of days for about $600.
That kind of savings and having a controlled work environment is what piqued the interest of customer Mike Jeppson of Provo, an experienced do-it-yourselfer, who swapped out an engine on a recently purchased used pickup.
"It's winter time, and I have a gravel driveway at home," he said. "I saw an ad and thought, 'There is an indoor place I could work. It's clean. It's got concrete floors.' "
When the project is complete, Jeppson figures he will have saved about $1,400 versus taking the truck to a traditional repair shop.
"(It) makes the purchase of this vehicle with a bad motor a good deal for me," he said.
In a tough economy, Anderegg said he hopes the idea of a budget-friendly way to repair your own vehicle will be a concept that resonates with people and blossoms into a profitable business.
"All the things that anyone who is moderately mechanically inclined, we have everything for them," he said. "Eighty to 90 percent of what can be done on a car, can be done here."