Reprinted by permission from:
North County Times
He's Known as Honest Terry
For many drivers, the idea of
going to an auto mechanic is about as much fun as a root canal. Not only are car repairs expensive, but some mechanics may
overcharge or fool trusting customers into getting repairs they don't need. You know the drill.
Other repair shops charge
$80 or more just to diagnose a problem.
But not all auto shops behave this way. Terry Lau, owner of Terry's Nissan and
Auto Specialist in San Marcos, runs his shop differently. He tells customers exactly what their cars need to run properly,
and he does this without tacking on additional diagnostic fees. It is also why Lau is considered one of the more square-dealing
mechanics in San Marcos. And he has been for some time.
"The money comes automatically in this business," Lau
said. "You don't have to create stuff; cars break."
Lau said many auto shops charge unreasonable prices just
to diagnose a problem that takes only five or 10 minutes to find.
At Lau's place, cars are repaired the first time they
come in and are ready when his customers need them. It is this prompt, honest service that has kept Terry's in business for
30 years, said mechanic Milan Rogers, an employee.
Customers who have their cars repaired at dealerships don't get the
individual service they find at Lau's garage, Rogers said.
The majority of Lau's patrons are repeat customers, including
the mayor of Carlsbad, Claude A. "Bud" Lewis. Lewis, Lau's former high school history teacher, has gone to Lau for
the last 10 years.
"I feel very comfortable going to Terry's," Lewis says. " We have an understanding
---- he tells me what needs to be done." Period.
Another reason customers keep returning is because Lau, a friendly
man with an easy smile, will go out of his way to help them, longtime customer Paul Polito said.
Not only does Polito
bring his own car, but he also feels comfortable letting Lau's mechanics work on the cars of his college-age children. Lau
has also helped one of Polito's daughters buy a car. "He's that kind of guy; he really helped her out," Polito said.
Lau began working on cars while attending Carlsbad High School, and in 1973 opened his first shop in Carlsbad. In 1975,
he moved to San Marcos in search of more space.
"Now with a 3,500-square-foot facility, the shop services about
20 cars a day," Lau said. Even if a car isn't repaired correctly, Lau does everything he can to make it right.
"That's the best way to show customers what you can do."
Start date/time: July