Jim Walker, owner of Walker’s Downriver Tune-Ups in Wyandotte, MI, welcomes the warmer weather as it brings more classic cars into his shop. “We love working on classic cars,” Walker told a reporter from The News-Herald. “Give me a good, old ’59 Cadillac anytime.”
Below is the article as it appeared on The News-Herald website.
WYANDOTTE: Tune-up shop celebrates 25th anniversary
Published: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
By Laura Hipshire
WYANDOTTE Jim Walker eats, sleeps and breathes cars, and has been doing so for 25 years as the owner of Walker’s Downriver Tune-Ups.
“I can’t remember the last time he took a day off,” said his son, Dennis.
“I’m a workaholic,” Walker said. “Even if I’m sick, I’m here.”
Although he admitted he has cut his hours from 60-plus to about 50 a week.
Walker, 53, always has had a passion for cars.
“I used to be a roofer, but I always had a car to work on over the weekend,” he said.
Eventually his hobby turned into a full-fledged business.
“Our customers are like family,” Walker said. “We have some that have been coming here since we opened. Our best advertising is word of mouth.”
Over the years, the need for frequent tune-ups has declined.
“They build cars now to be so efficient, with fuel-injection and emission-control systems,” Walker said. “They run more precise.”
Walker said most newer cars don’t need a tune-up until they reach 96,000 miles.
“Most manufacturers suggest 100,000 miles and up,” he said.
Admittedly, the economy is having a negative impact on his business.
“It’s been tough,” Walker said. “Business isn’t as booming as it used to be. Right now, our survival is having regular customers.”
Another big change for Walker over the years is the Internet.
“Nowadays, you can find any part you need on the computer, in just a few minutes,” he said.
Besides tune-ups, Walker’s offers complete auto care, as well as diagnostic services and towing.
Now that Cruisin’ Downriver is approaching it’ll be June 26 along Fort Street Walker said he will begin to see more classic cars coming into his shop.
“We love working on classic cars,” he said. “Give me a good, old ’59 Cadillac anytime. The old cars are simpler to work on.”
Walker said there are plenty of times when customers try the “do-it-yourself” approach, only to give up and bring in their cars.
“I remember one customer who kept replacing different parts on his own,” he said. “… He spent almost a thousand dollars in parts, and the problem turned out to be a $60 feed wire.”
Even when Walker isn’t on the job, he said people always approach him to ask questions about their cars.
“I feel like the car doctor, 24/7,” he said.
Occasionally, he breaks away from the car repair business and enjoys playing golf or darts. He also loves to sing Elvis Presley songs, and does so when he’s doing his “fun” job as a karaoke host for his other business, JJW Karaoke & DJ Service. Mostly, he plays private clubs such as American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars halls.
“People say I sound like him,” Walker said. “I listen to a lot of Elvis songs.”
Walker said he feels as if he has worked on more than 1 million cars over the past 25 years, and said he probably will be doing this for years to come.
“I feel like 35 most of the time, although some days I feel like I’m 90,” he said, jokingly.
Walker’s motto is: “Honest work at fair prices.”
“He’s real proud of that fact,” his son said.
Walker’s Downriver Tune-Ups is at 2121 Ford Ave. Its hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
To read this article on The News-Herald website, visit http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2010/04/27/business/doc4bd73462ac11c282093363.txt.