Mérida, Yucatán — Keeping your car in the tropics of the Yucatán Peninsula is new territory for expats who may know more about maneuvering on ice than about protecting an engine from the heat.
And getting a tune-up or repair is even more bewildering when the driver’s first language is something other than Spanish.
The owner of a local SpeeDee auto service center franchise in Col. Mexico talked to us about the challenge. And yes, we found a mechanic who speaks fluent English.
José Fernández takes his role as proprietor of Col. Mexico’s spotless red-and-blue facility very seriously.
“I’m the owner and general manager, this is my business and I’m there every day,” says Fernández.
“When you leave your car with us, you can have confidence that the work will be done right,” says Fernández, who speaks English fluently. “One of our value-added advantages is that we work at an honest way. We really want to establish work relationships for long terms.”
“I have some expats friends that tell me some business extra charge just because the communication is in English,” says Fernández. “I can tell you this is dishonest. At my shop I’m the only one who speaks English, but since I’m normally there we can communicate without any problems.”
Clients can call ahead, email or send a Facebook message to make an appointment directly with Fernández. (Contact information is below.)
SpeeDee was established in 1992 in Mexico City and has 47 shops in 17 cities throughout the country.
Affiliating with SpeeDee allows Fernández to provide comprehensive services backed up with a “Total Satisfaction Warranty,” meaning that all work is done until it’s done correctly, without extra costs to the customer.
“Another issue that I may state is that we work with a Service Order that is recorded with local consumer-protection authorities at PROFECO. When a car comes with us, the technician checks out all of the security points of the car, such as hoses, belts, filters, brakes, gaskets, the radiator and tires before start working with the normal maintenance.”
And also up to expat standards is the waiting room, a clean, well-lit space with air conditioning, TV, candies, wi-fi and courtesy beverages.
Fernández is from Veracruz and has lived in Mérida for three years, a move he has not regretted.
But he has lived here long enough to know what challenges face expats.
The first step is prevention.
“For this I can assure that preventive maintenance must be done at the right time. Some of our customers forget to do it and sometimes it makes car malfunction or the engine starts to lose power,” said Fernández, whose crew sticks a follow-up reminder on each client’s windshield. “This helps a lot.”
To keep the engine running at the right temperature, Fernández recommends new fluids every six months.
“Yucatan weather is different from other places; here it is very hot almost all year,” he said, adding that the heat is also tough on cables and hoses.
The weather also heats the pavement, making tires more prone to cracking.
“The regular life of the tires is about five years before they start to crack,” says Fernández.
So what does the owner of an auto shop drive on his own time?
“Well, I like a lot of cars,” he says, laughing. “Right now I have a large Dodge Ram and a little Suzuki Swift so… I like all of the sizes. Also I have a Harley Davidson Breakout and love it.”
He occasionally takes time for a pleasure drive to the coast.
“My wife and I make regular road trips here on the Peninsula. This weekend we went to a place at Chelem called Lizard Joe´s and we really enjoyed the food and the relaxed atmosphere. I’m sure that we will come back soon.”
List of services
• Major tune-up service
• Oil / Lube
• Brake service: Driving wears down your brakes over time, and that can lead to big problems like screeching and slower stops. From worn brake pads and brake rotors to dirty hydraulic brake fluid, SpeeDee’s technicians know what to look for, and how to service and repair your braking system.
• Radiator and fluids: The car’s radiator works to prevent your engine from overheating, so keeping it in tip-top shape is important. SpeeDee’s technicians can identify any radiator leaks and perform any needed repairs to keep you rolling.
• Alignment and balancing: Poor alignment can lower fuel efficiency and cause your tires to wear out faster.
• Steering and suspension
• Tires, all brands
• Diagnostic a repair services
• Fluid leaks
• Starting and charging system diagnosis
• Water pump
• Belts, hoses, fluids and filters
• CV axles
• Fuel pumps
• Radiator replacement
• Serpentine drive belts, V-belts and timing belts
• Shocks and struts
• Windshield wiper blades
• Batteries and battery charging analysis
This is a promoted post sponsored by SpeeDee Col. Mexico. To learn about our promoted posts, and other ideas for giving your business exposure, see our Partner page.