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Story by Jay Daniels - The Oregon Herald
Published on Saturday March 19, 2011 - 11:42 AM
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Steve Drew began working on cars when he was just a kid, and for the last ten years, as owner, he's operated Steve's Auto Service in Newberg and is expanding his service and store, thanks in part to the slump in new car sales in Oregon.

According to Steve and the popular website, auto sales have fallen this year by 40 percent and the recession has helped Steve Drew's auto service business grow with leaps and bounds.

"People aren't buying new cars as much these days", reports Steve. "They're repairing their current cars and that's when they come to us."

Since 1988, Steve worked mainly for independent auto shops as a mechanic but all along believed he could "offer customers something extra; better service and better communication".

Steve Drew is personable, engaging, an intelligent man who seems to enjoy running his business to "give our customers the best possible service". He doesn't seem to fit the typical auto mechanic stereotype. The impression is that he has an open, friendly, honest look about him, which obviously helps to make his customers feel right at home.

These days car manufactures are increasingly using more specific auto fluids including transmission fluids in their newer cars. Most of the cars Steve services are 5 to 11 years old. To deal with the demand for service and to be sure Steve offers the right fluid for the right car, he has increased his stock supply.

"It's pretty demanding, what with all the different fluids, to keep up," Steve said. "It's been a real challenge but I think we're doing it even thought the use of fluids in the newer car models have become more specific today. Oils have changed so much that it's become a bit of a problem for the After Market fluids."

Steve says he's always in the process of upgrading his auto diagnostic software, which allows the diagnoses of just about any make of vehicle.

American cars depreciate quickly and perhaps that's one reason Steve drives a Volvo as seen in the photo.

Last year new car sales were up for Oregon and most of the rest of the United States. So far this year it's a different picture. The increase last year was fueled by discounts, easier customer access to credit and growing optimism about the economy.

New car sales in February fell for several months in a row.

However, there's good news. Buying a brand-new car could mean you'd end up paying less per month than if you bought a typical year-old used car, assuming you're buying the car with a loan.