Support the Troops (and their cars)!!!

Illustration for article titled Support the Troops (and their cars)!!!

We ask a lot of our uniformed service members and their families, particularly in this Post-9/11 world. One particular benefit offered to military members, their families, and retirees is the Auto Hobby Shop. At some bases it might be called something different, but typically that's what they call the automotive service center on America's bases. For many soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines rely on the Hobby Shop to keep their rides in good shape.

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Illustration for article titled Support the Troops (and their cars)!!!

The beauty to the Auto Hobby Shop is that the military provides trained mechanics not to do the work, but to teach and guide service members how to turn wrenches. Typically, the staff mechanics will review the work done to ensure safety and the quality of work.

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In order to get the work done, the shop provides hydraulic lifts, complete sets of tools, and a vast array of speciality tools - basically everything any mechanic would need to get most any job done. Patrons get a set of "chits" which are used to trade in for specialty tools such as torque wrenches or special sockets.

Not only can members do their own work, the Auto Hobby Shops typically offer a menu of services including alignments, air conditioning service, compressing struts, mount tires, spin balancing tires, and more depending on the location.

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Illustration for article titled Support the Troops (and their cars)!!!

It's not all free. There are fees to use the facility, but they are pretty reasonable. A service bay can run from $4 to $6 per hour depending on whether it is simply a flat stall or has an hydraulic lift. They charge a whopping $1 a day to store a motor.

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There's not much a civilian can do to contribute, unless of course somebody thinks this would be a nifty place to cut costs in the era of sequestration. In that case, get out a pitchfork and plant yourself in front of your Member of Congress' office. Okay, maybe leave the pitchfork at home and just write a letter.

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