We recently had the privilege to sit down and talk with Luke Adams, who founded Auto Smart Mechanical back in 2013. Since then, he has steadily grown the business out and turned it into one of Perth’s top mobile mechanic businesses.
In between jobs, we got the chance to ask him a couple of questions to learn a bit more about him and discover what makes him tick.
You have quite an interesting and unique background. Tell us more about it.
I’ll start with the most interesting one. I was born and raised on Norfolk Island. It’s a tiny little island out in the Pacific Ocean with a population under 2,000. Growing up on such a small island with a strong sense of community gave me a good grounding. And the different views around the island were pretty cool too.
Perth has been my home for almost 13 years now. I moved here in 2007, working in the mines and really enjoy the lifestyle here. Dare I say it, but Western Australia is the envy of other states ☺
After a couple of years in the mines, the time felt right to go back into mechanical work. I’d completed my mechanic apprenticeship back on Norfolk Island and wanted to go back into an industry I was truly passionate about.
I founded Auto Smart Mechanical, which is still going strong seven years later.
When did you decide you wanted to become a mechanic?
I was lucky because I knew that I wanted to be a mechanic from about the age of 12.
My dad had a few motorbikes in the garage and I was always intrigued by what made them run, the different parts and how to tinker with them so they could go a lot faster.
This led me to pursuing a mechanic apprenticeship on Norfolk Island and I’m so glad I did it.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, the day would feel a lot longer if I didn’t start with a coffee, which I keep close by when I head out to different jobs. In a typical day, I usually get around to 3 or 4 jobs.
Considering how bad Perth traffic gets during the week, you don’t want to overcommit.
What are the common mistakes car owners make when caring for their car?
Unfortunately, a lot of cars are not serviced correctly. There are cheap mechanics then there are good value mechanics. A cheap mechanic may save you $100 today but could possibly cost you way more over the long run because some things aren’t addressed properly. Make sure you are comparing apples with apples when comparing quotes.
One of the most worrying things I see are car owners who wait too long to replace their timing belt and brakes. Not having these replaced damages your car and makes them vulnerable to wear and tear in other areas too.
Utes and SUVs are pretty popular in Australia at the moment. Why do you think this is and what does it say about Australians?
Aussies love a do-it-all vehicle. We enjoy getting to go exploring and see the country.
How has the automotive industry changed since you began your career?
The most noticeable shift I’ve observed is that cars are becoming increasingly complex and more expensive to service and maintain.
If you look back to the cars which were around in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the technology in the cars was very limited. Cruise control was very rare, there wasn’t parking assist in standard vehicles or the integrated technology you get in the cabin either. Today, it’s very unusual if a car doesn’t have any of those things, particularly in the SUVs and Utes.
I enjoy keeping up to date with the technology changes though. It makes Auto Smart Mechanical one of the industry leaders and gives us a competitive advantage.
One of the big talking points in the automotive recently has been around Holden’s announcement that they’ll be leaving Australia and New Zealand. What are your thoughts on this?
It’s sad that the time has come but you had a feeling it was going to happen at some stage. When Holden initially shut down their manufacturing plants in Australia, it was the beginning of the end.
They were also notorious for having terrible after sales support and their recent vehicles were terribly built; (rebadged Daewoos). They failed to keep up with market trends and in today’s customer driven business environment, you simply cannot afford to ignore the customer.
It is really sad for all the workers and I really feel for them but you could definitely see it coming.
Are there any funny questions you’ve been asked when it comes to cars?
We get a lot of “self-diagnosed” vehicles. And 95% of the time they are way off (laughs).
Finally, where can people find out more about you?
You can check out my website or visit my LinkedIn profile.
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