Wendy and Loren Arnett are a very rare breed of married couple.
They bond over auto mechanics.
Loren Arnett, 47, has been a car mechanic for more than 30 years. Wendy Arnett, 44, grew up with a father and a grandfather who fixed cars and fell in love, too, with spark plugs, grease and camshafts. She’s been the gate manager for Washougal Motocross Park for the last 12 years.
So it was only natural that last month the couple opened Courtesy Auto Repair at 965 15th Ave. in Longview, the former home of the Brake Team. It’s the second auto business Loren Arnett has run. He shut down the first, Pinkerton Auto Mechanics, in Vancouver during a divorce.
The Arnetts, who live in Yacolt, named the business after the standards they’ve set for its service: courteous and ethical.
Loren Arnett said after working for at least 10 different auto repair shops over more than 30 years, he was tired of working for unethical people. So he went into business for himself.
“We wanted to be honest and good to people,” Wendy Arnett said.
As part of that mission, they charge flat rates — as opposed to hourly — for their jobs.
“I want somebody to come, and I want to fix whatever is wrong with their car” and not charge for extra hours, Wendy Arnett said.
For example, a full brake job (pad and rotor replacement and fluid flush) costs between $200 and $300; a basic transmission service costs $130; and a one-hour diagnostic test costs $89.89.
For now, the only service they don’t provide is wheel alignments, which they hope will happen in the next six months.
In taking over the shop, the Arnetts extended the office, redid the bathroom and ventilation system and will soon paint over the white and yellow exterior with white and red to help distinguish the new business from the former Brake Team location.
The Arnetts got their whole family together — children and grandchildren — to help out with the new business. Wendy Arnett’s daughter Cam Fairbanks works in the office as her mom’s assistant and has taken over much of her mom’s house cleaning business in the meantime.
Both Arnetts are doing what they love.
“I wanted to be a mechanic when I was a little kid,” said Loren Arnett, who is a certified Chrysler mechanic, Automotive Service Excellence certified (a standard in the repair industry) and is also licensed to do gas and emissions diagnostics in Washington. “When a car comes in on a hook, I figure it out. … When no one can fix it, they send it to me.”
As Fairbanks calls it, his skills are “an all-you-can-eat buffet.”Contact Daily News reporter Lauren Kronebusch at 360-577-2532.