Craig Zehner knows his way around a car, but it doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
“We’re talking like an hour’s worth of work which took me all day because it was cold, and the snow,” Zehner said.
That was before 417 DIY opened up this summer in Springfield. A do it yourself auto shop complete with lifts, tools and expert help, including the now employed Zehner.
“Just the ability of having the lifts alone is a milestone of not having to crawl around on the gravel or concrete, waiting for the rain to stop, then waiting for the ground to dry, or cold weather,” Zehner said.
Clients can not only use the space to fix their own car, but they can learn how to.
“When I started this, I was thinking hot roders. I was thinking car clubs, something like that. 60 percent of our clients have been female. I‘ve asked everyone here the same question. Why do you want to work on your own car? What brings you to 417? And they all give me the same answer. They’re either afraid they’re getting ripped off, knowing they’re getting ripped off, or just want to learn how to do it themselves,” Parsick said.
But soon this noise (car trying to start) won’t be the only reason you go. Parsick is working on receiving a non-for profit status for the other side of his business.
“It’ll give the kids a place to come after school or during the summertime. And it’ll give them a chance to use robotics, learn about electronics, engineering, and science,” Parsick said.
Apart from the garage, the building consists of open work spaces for engineering, woodwork, and a classroom. Most classes are free… like automotive.
“Its having the opportunity to go somewhere and learn how to work on their own vehicles. Once the non for profit portion gets going, for robotics and fabrication, It’s going to open up doors for a lot of other things for people to come and learn,” Zehner.
“It’s an extreme sense of empowerment when you can fix your own car,” Parsick said.
417 DIY is one of the first do it yourself auto garages as well as the largest in the country.