As the economy went south, Tim Miller, president of Tire and Auto Service Centers, noticed that more people began doing routine vehicle maintenance at home.

With car repair at home increasing, a light bulb went off in Miller’s head, and in July he closed the building at 67 Capri Lane (the business operates at 62 and 67 Capri Lane) in preparation of reopening that location as a do-it yourself operation. The new operation will open Feb. 1.

“It will have everything you would want in your backyard garage,” Miller said Tuesday morning from the business counter of the new project at 67 Capri Lane.

Five service bays with five vehicle lifts sat ready for customers Tuesday morning as Miller spoke from the side business office equipped with a microwave oven, refrigerator and satellite TV, which includes a Bose sound system for future customer use.

Customers will start by renting the bay for a certain amount of time — a 30-minute oil change would cost $10, an hour rental would cost $25, a half-day rental would cost $100 and a one-day rental would cost $200.

From there, the customers have a chance to use 250 piece professional tools, including air tools to complete their work in the fully equipped shop, Miller said. An Automotive Service Excellence mechanic would be available to coach the customers doing the work for $25 an hour, or customers can rent a technician for $50 an hour, he added.

It helps if the customer already has the parts, oil, transmission fluid or whatever they need to complete the work, but Miller said Tire and Auto Service Centers will order parts as needed.

The 67 Capri Lane building was finished for the fix-it-yourself operation earlier this month and Miller said he is using the time until Feb. 1 as show and tell to those interested in using the fix-it-yourself operation.

Interest seems high.

“Well over 100 people have contacted (me about the new operation),” Miller said.

While impacts of the sour economy helped drive Miller’s decision, it wasn’t the only factor that led to the new project.

In addition to the cost conscious do-it-yourself maintenance people, Miller said he also started the new project because of the local community’s high interest in tinkering on muscle or classic cars and “mobile mechanics who might be tired of working in the back of a truck or their own garage.”

Customers could save as much as 75 percent on labor costs for most repairs versus full service expenses, Miller said.

The do-it-yourself auto repair shop concept is not new, but after Miller committed to the new project he said he checked to see if other businesses around the country were doing it and found there weren’t many.

The shop will be open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Hours could change if customers are more interested in working on the weekends, Miller said. “It’s a work in progress.”

The 62 Capri Lane side of the business will continue as a full service operation, Miller said.

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