The AutoBarn 2004 Ltd won the Most Improved Workshop at the November Auto Super Shoppe Annual Awards. I caught up with owner Louana and Bryan Skelton to share their automotive story and got some top tips for car maintenance at the same time.
It’s no mean feat to win a national award when 101 other mechanical shops are also in the running. The AutoBarn was recognised by the Auto Super Shoppe judges because of their excellent progress and work ethic.
We are so excited that we won this award. When our names were called out at the awards dinner we were delighted and felt very proud. The AutoBarn is an established mechanical workshop and we were recently invited to join the Auto Super Shoppe network last December. It’s a real pleasure to be recognised in this way in such a short space of time.
Louana Skelton, Owner The AutoBarn Whitianga
Louana and Bryan Skelton pictured at the Auto Super Shoppe Annual Awards
Top automotive tips
The AutoBarn's quick car tips for safety, cost savings and to increase the lifespan of your vehicle and tyres:
- Service your vehicle regularly – to prevent malfunctions, increase car performance and fuel efficiency
- Keep an eye on your tyre pressure – the correct pressure gives better handling and steering and fuel economy
- If something appears or feels wrong with your vehicle, get it checked.
- Regular wheel alignment – to make sure your tyres meet the road at the correct angle, good for better fuel efficiency and a smoother ride.
Established and recognised automotive business
Louana’s Father encouraged her and Bryan to buy the AutoBarn in 1999. It was certainly a nudge in the right direction that has stuck.
Over the last 21 years they have successfully increased the footprint of the building, grown their team of mechanics and support staff and have upgraded to some very techy workshop equipment.
Partnerships have also grown – including approaches from national brands Isuzu Utes NZ and Auto Super Shoppe asking the AutoBarn to be local agents. These are invite only partnerships and testament to the AutoBarn’s well-established reputation and service record.
Assured mechanical services
The AutoBarn are members of MTA, AA Approved Repairer and Auto Super Shoppe. They offer a raft of vehicle services:
- Authorised WOF centre
- Automotive servicing and repairs (private and fleet)
- Scan-tool diagnostics
- Tyres and wheel alignments
- Service and parts agent for Isuzu Utes NZ.
Quick fire questions:
All About Whitianga: What makes your business special?
Louana Skelton: We have great staff who really care, and they go the extra mile for our customers and us.
What are some of the key tools that you use in the workshop?
Scan tool diagnostics is a big part of the vehicle maintenance that we do. We are currently in the process of buying and installing a 3D wheel alignment machine.
What have been your key challenges this year?
Getting through the back load of COVID lockdown. Our team worked extremely hard to catch up on six weeks of delayed work.
What is your favourite car of all time?
Not so much a specific car, but we’ve always enjoyed watching rally cars and speedway cars.
What is the most common mechanical complaint that you see at the garage?
At this time of the year stones and brakes – our Coromandel roads and road works are not kind on our vehicles!
In more recent years we also have seen an increase around check engine lights on cars because of the amount of technology in newer model cars.
And relatively regularly customers come in and say, “It’s got a noise”.
What are you involved with outside of your business?
Most weekends we are involved in our daughter Fenella’s show jumping and our son Tane’s motocross.
Giving back to the community
Louana and Bryan are strong advocates of supporting local causes and have regularly sponsored Mercury Bay groups and charities.
To help over a COVID-19 year that has been particularly hard for individuals and businesses they made extra efforts to keep everything local. In July the AutoBarn gave away a vehicle makeover to a deserving family who were nominated by the public. They also support their favourite local Coghill Café by giving coffee vouchers to AutoBarn customers to use.
Bonus: local tip on a place to visit
Attend the Leadfoot Festival, Beach Hop or the Rally NZ Goldrush Rally of Coromandel.
Contact the The AutoBarn
To book a car service or for mechanical enquiries contact Bryan or Louana on the related link below.