WEST WINFIELD - For 34 years, Bob Ray has fixed everything from a snowblower to an SUV to a farm tractor. For him and his mechanic, Shawn Ward, every day is a new challenge. “You never know what we’ll be doing next,” he said.
Just look under the hood today. Most people wouldn’t even know how to locate the oil dipstick. There are few people in the area like Bob Ray who are still able to diagnose and fix most mechanical problems.
Bob Ray takin’ care of business at Bob’s Auto Sales located on Rte. 20 in West Winfield. (Photo by Janine Giordano)
Growing up on a farm in Sherburne, “mechanics came natural to me,” Ray said. Prior to opening his own garage, he worked in a garage in the village of West Winfield.
Vehicles these days are very high tech, and Ray has a library of tech manuals to prove it. He has all the latest in electronic diagnostic equipment.
“You have to have this or you would be out of business,” he said. “It’s not just a matter of looking at something and telling you what’s wrong.”
Without diagnostic equipment, getting to the root of a problem might not be easy. Also, since Ray and Ward work on a wide variety of makes and models, tracking the problem involves know-how. But the two said they enjoy the work.
Bob’s Auto does virtually anything and everything it takes to return vehicles to safe and operable condition, whether it be motor overhauls, changing brakes or performing inspections. They even offer towing to get your vehicle there if you can’t.
No matter how well built a car, truck, tractor, snowblower or lawnmower might be, they all eventually wind up in the repair shop for one reason or another. Brakes, transmissions, water pumps, you name it.
“We do a lot of front end alignments, suspension systems and ball joint replacements,” Ray said.
“But no matter how current you think you are, things are constantly changing,” which at times can be challenging, he said.
Much of it has been brought about in an effort to boost fuel economy. In many ways, however, automotive technology has improved, Ray said.
“It’s not like 30 or 40 years ago,” he said. “If you break down on the side of the road, there’s nothing much you can do, unless you have a bicycle in the back, except use your cell phone to call a tow truck.”
The days of back yard mechanics are over, he said.
Over the years, Bob Ray has earned a solid reputation for reliability and service – whether it’s with repairs, towing or selling a reliable used vehicle.
Years ago, working on such a vast array of makes and models of vehicles would have required a large inventory of parts. “But today, we don’t do that. Any item we need, is just a phone call away with quick delivery. We also use the Internet extensively,” Ray said.
He said, “we’re always just a phone call away” at 315-822-6763.