Less than a block from I-45 on West Montgomery Street sits a red brick building adorned with bright yellow letters and a matching yellow awning over the front door. The name on the sign, Kwik Kar Lube & Tune, aptly describes the activity in and around the building. While customers sit leisurely in the waiting room, mechanics are speedily working non-stop on cars that are streaming in and out of the bays at a steady pace. The shop maintains roughly 60 to 65 cars a day, with a record of 120.
Since its inception in 2003, Kwik Kar Lube & Tune Willis has become a top spot for automobile service that is both high quality and fast. Its efficient service doesn’t take away from its personal touch, however. The business has been owned by long-time Willis residents Steve and Sharon Burrow for the past 13 years, and their son Jarrett works alongside them in the business as the store manager.
When customers come into the waiting area, they are greeted by a friendly receptionist, and the room is stocked with refreshments and reading material. Each full-service oil change comes with a full 20-point inspection plus a courtesy car window cleaning. The company’s website not only lists all its services, but also includes tips for customers on how to save money as well as how to keep their vehicles well-maintained.
“We want to make it a relaxed and easy place to do business,” said Sharon Barrow. “Our lube techs offer a one-on-one review of services and explanation of manufacturer recommendations. We also maintain customers’ vehicle history records within the shop, which can be accessed in order to keep up with regular service intervals and warranty requirements.”
Barrow says that one of the reasons so many people choose Kwik Kar over its handful of competitors in Willis is that it is a one-stop shop.
“We do very fast oil changes, although we can’t say they’re done in 10 minutes anymore, because it’s not possible to do an oil change in 10 minutes these days. Vehicles have changed. They have evolved and are a lot more complicated than they used to be,” she said. “But we do all the preventative maintenance services, plus we do state inspections, and we have fully licensed mechanics.”
Kwik Kar Willis has about a dozen employees, which includes a mix of younger and more experienced lube technicians and certified mechanics who are qualified to provide comprehensive oil change services and engine maintenance. Their expertise not only includes gasoline-powered vehicles, but also diesel engines, and technicians keep current on new technology and engine repair techniques by completing periodic continuing education courses.
“Some of our mechanics have been here as long as we have been open,” Barrow said. “Then we have a couple of students from Lone Star and Universal Technical Institute, as well as one from the high school, who are doing internships here.”
Barrow said one of the effects COVID-19 has had on the automotive industry is that people are keeping their cars longer because of the economic downturn, new-vehicle supply shortages, and higher used-car prices. As a result, people are paying more attention to preventative maintenance.
“We’re doing more transmission service, engine flushes and brake flushes,”
Barrow said, adding that some parts and services wear down more quickly in the Texas heat.
Stephen Bayardo, the service manager at Kwik Kar Lube & Tune Willis, says one of the key benefits the business offers its customers is its use of BG products.
“If a customer’s vehicle has below 75,000 miles, each service using BG products comes with a 30,000-mile warranty,” Bayardo said. “Then if they continue to service their vehicle at 30,000-mile intervals, the warranty can be maintained for the life of the vehicle; and if they sell their car, the warranty is even transferrable.”
In addition to working on cars, trucks and SUVs owned by individuals, Kwik Kar Lube & Tune of Willis also offers fleet services for commercially owned vehicles.
“They may be a local company and have 10 or 15 vehicles they service through us. We also work with national companies like Enterprise and GE Fleets. The drivers may be from out of state and are just passing through, but they know we’re a designated fleet repair shop and so they will stop in,” Barrow said.
While business slowed down in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, automobile service is considered an essential service, so Kwik Kar was never forced to close. They offered drive-through oil changes where the customers did not have to get out of their cars. Barrow says that now they are back up to their usual volume of vehicles, but with COVID still circulating, they still offer health and safety precautions to their customers.
“We give our customers a choice. If they want to stay in their car the whole time, they can stay in the car. If they want to come inside, they can sit in the lobby. If they prefer to sit outside, they can do that. We want them to be comfortable,” she explained.
As Montgomery County continues to grow at a rapid rate, Kwik Kar Lube & Tune is keeping up with that growth. “Our pricing is competitive and customer satisfaction is our number one priority, and so we enjoy having a lot of repeat customers,” Barrow said.
Kwik Kar Lube & Tune is located at 808 West Montgomery Street (FM 1097) in Willis. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on its services, visit it on the Web at http://willis-kwikkar.com.