Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dedham Super Service: Mechanics You Can Trust

“Why wouldn’t I go there?” I asked myself. Convenience is about the only answer that comes to mind.

“What’s the secret of your success?” I asked him. He laughed and said “Lucky” and then added, because he knew, “People trust us, I guess”.

Dedham Super Service, or D’Amore’s as most people know them, is the town car repair shop in Dedham, which my family has been going to for over 50 years. For a while, I would take my cars to a place around the corner from where I lived in Dorchester or to the shop nearest to my job. Sometimes I thought I was getting a decent price at those places (although I could never really be sure of this) and sometimes I thought they were trustworthy, honest people (again I could trust my gut instincts, but was never really sure). Over time I’ve figured out that there’s something much more “convenient” about truly trusting the person who is fixing my car. I spend a lot of time in my car. My kids spend a lot of time in my car. I work in my car, chill out and stress out in my car. It needs to work. It needs to be safe and I need to be able to afford keeping it that way. So now, for anything other than an oil change, it is always much more convenient to bring my car to D’Amores at 490 High Street in Dedham than to the shop down the street.

Maybe it’s because my family’s loyalty to them is proven with a third generation now bringing their cars to their shop, but D’Amores trustworthiness is something I have yet to find anywhere else. In for an oil change at a Meineke shop recently, I waited an extraordinarily long time. When I called them, they told me I needed a “serpentine belt” and, when I asked what that was, they gave me a slick and complicated answer, along with a shocking estimate for the job. They also informed me that I needed new brakes. I told them I’d think about it and would call them back. When I called D’Amore’s, David D’Amore matter of factly told me exactly what a serpentine belt was and what it would cost. Not only was it at least $100 less than Meineke, but when he checked my brakes, he told me that no, I didn’t need to replace them now. They would be good for another 5 – 6,000 miles.

Louis D’Amore was a young man in 1937 when he first started working at the shop he would eventually buy. He was a mechanic in the U.S. Air Force in World War II and when he returned from the war to the shop, he saved his money and eventually bought in it 1953. My family has been going there since 1956.

Some will tell you Louis, now 93 years old, was a grumpy guy who told off color jokes, and he was. But he was a good mechanic and my father trusted him, so my brothers and sisters and I all trusted him too. Over time, he mellowed. His sons, David and Richard, took over the shop some years back and learned the trade from their father. Experienced and competent mechanics themselves, they too have earned our trust. Like their father, they get right to the point and tell you what’s what. Unlike car dealerships and bigger shops, there’s nothing high tech or slick about them. No bells and whistles here; they still do all their invoices by hand. Open only Monday through Friday and closing promptly at 5pm, the shop is always busy, but can usually take care of you and your car within a day or two of your call. They know most people who come into the shop by name. After dropping off my car, either David or Richard is more than willing to drive me to my mother’s house, if I ask. My mother doesn’t have to ask.

Don’t get me wrong. D’Amore’s prices are competitive and definitely not always the cheapest. But I believe that when I write a check to Dedham Super Service I’m not paying for anything extra and, like everyone else who’s been going back to D’Amores year after year, I trust them completely. D’Amores will do the job you need, tell you if you need more, and refuse to do extra work if they think it isn’t needed. When my sister wanted to have her tires rotated, David told her he wouldn’t do it because it wasn’t time yet. When my husband’s front wheel fell off a mile from our house, he didn’t have his truck towed to the mechanic down the street. He brought it to D’Amores, 10 miles away in Dedham. His assessment of D’Amores: “The good thing about them is that you call them when you need them and they’re there. And not only do you have David and Richie working on your car, but Louis is still there, watching over the shop.”

Procrastinating because of the inconvenience and the money, I finally brought my car into D’Amores this morning to get a headlight repaired that has been out for months. Louis was there, snoozing in the chair. David was greeting a customer and moving cars around. Sweating and clearly not wanting to waste time chatting with me, he popped in the headlight bulb in less than 5 minutes. It cost me $15.00

Richard and David D’Amore at Dedham Super Service are mechanics you can trust. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

Dedham Super Service
490 High Street
Dedham, MA

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