Two lifelong Auburn residents have parlayed their love for automobiles into a business. Wayne Trimble and Rick Wallen opened Auburn Auto Doctors in September.

Wallen provides the technical know-how and Trimble runs the office.

“I work with the customers and Rick works with the cars,” Trimble said. “Between the tw

o of us we have a pretty complete shop.”

Trimble has a business degree and has worked in the parts industry for 12 years. Wallen is an ASE-certified mechanic who previously worked for Gold Rush Chevrolet and Gold Rush Subaru.

“My dad was a mechanic,” Wallen said. “I grew up around cars. I spent a lot of time on a creeper side by side with my dad under cars as a kid. I’ve always been mechanically inclined. Anyone my age who needed something (mechanical) fixed, I fixed it. I always had a drive for the automotive field and wanted to open a shop one day — and here I am.”

The shop handles the full range of automotive needs, “from the simplest oil changes to brake jobs and engine work,” Trimble said. “We have pretty much the top of the line diagnostic equipment. …We work on all makes and models. Rick is fully certified on Subarus, but he can work on anything you have.”

The shop is part of the Certified Auto Repair Network that certifies repairs on a nationwide basis for 12 months or 12,000 miles.

Beyond the range of maintenance and repairs, the duo operates one of only a few dozen green-certified repair stations in the state and the only one in Auburn, Trimble said.

The program, through the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Bureau of Automotive Repair, puts procedures in place to eliminate waste, offer recycling and limit hazardous waste.

“We looked into it and because we were building the shop from scratch, we could build it to conform to the guidelines,” Trimble said. “It took a few months, but we got all our construction done and (obtained) all the certifications.”

For example, instead of using a solvent for cleaning tools, they use an aqueous (water-based) solution.

“When you heat it to 110 degrees, it works almost as well as a solvent,” Trimble said. “It is definitely a much safer product. It is safer for the environment and something good to do.”

For Trimble, owning a business in his hometown is part of being community focused.

“We’re members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Think Auburn First program,” he said.

Customer Karen Padilla met Wallen and Trimble just as they were opening the shop. Now she takes all four family cars — two Subarus, a Toyota and a Chevy — there for repair and maintenance.

“What I really like about them is their customer service skills are excellent,” Padilla said. “They make time for you. They return phone calls promptly. They call us immediately when the work is done … They have great communication between the two of them. They keep each other in the loop constantly.”

Padilla has had work done on brakes, engine lights, clutches and smog issues.

“They go above and beyond and will tell us what needs to be done in the future — critical safety issues,” she said. “They’re very honest about it. They’ll say, ‘It doesn’t need to be done today, but within the next six months.’ They get it. They get that doing business in Auburn is (working in) a small town and word of mouth is everything.”

Trimble and Wallen’s passion for cars goes beyond working hours. Wallen enjoys four-wheeling. Trimble races stock cars and sprint cars.

As someone who works on cars daily, Wallen offered some common sense advice.

“The No. 1 concern I see is lack of general maintenance and oil,” he said. “If you just check oil more often when you fill the gas tank — I see more engine failures from no oil or low oil conditions than probably anything else. Checking oil and fluids is the No. 1 thing to keep up on.”

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