Don's Automotive Repair

  • 3.7 of 5 stars
8 reviews

1636 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704, us

(512) 447-9032


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They are always honest
They are competent
Their repair price is reasonable
They complete the work in a timely manner
They respond well when they screw something up
They take the time to explain the problems and necessary repairs
They treat male and female customers in the same manner
They are always honest
I would use this mechanic again
I would recommend this mechanic to others
They fix the problem the first time
The shop is located in a safe neighborhood
The hours of operation are convenient for customers
They are near public transportation (or provide loaners, shuttle bus, rides as needed)
Feb 27, 2001
I've been a customer of Don Lewis' "Don's Automative Repair" for over 25 years. Occasionally, over the years I've taken my car to a different mechanic (based on a friend's or relative's recommendation of how I might save a little money) & EVERYTIME it was a disaster. (Once I had to go to small claims court --And Don agreed to go with me to testify-- charging me Zero$ for his time--because another mechanic had put parts in backwards and then used glue to hold them in, plus the man repeatedly refused to re-do the work) Don is honest, dependable, and he gives a hassle-free guarantee on his work for 90 days. (which is 60 days more than most mechanics here in Austin). I can only remember twice when Don had to go back into a job and re-work it. He apologized. My husband and I always buy USED cars and drive them 'til they drop. So Don is not working on nearly new engines when he deals with us. We've had a couple of Toyotas, one Ford SW, an Oldsmobile, a Mazda and recently we purchased a used, cream-puff Isusu van (the one with the Honda engine). If asked, Don will suggest cars/trucks to look for, even the exact model. While I scout around through the want ads I can always call him and ask his opinion of "X" car that I'm about to take a look at. There are cars which Don REFUSES to work on: all Volkswagons and MG's are the two that come immediately to mind. Don fixes only what he agrees is in need of repairs. (And suggests to people to live with minor problems rather than pay $$ for him to make unnecessary repairs). If he discovers something extra that needs fixing, while he's under the hood, he goes no further, until he gets an okay from the owner) As a woman I really like the way Don treats me. Once my stepdaughter found him to be a little abrupt when he was explaining to her how she had woefully neglected her car's engine. So she boycotted him for about 2 years. Then, however, she came running back because she had been either treated in a chauvinistic way by other mechanics or she found their mechanical expertise to be shabby. Now she recommends him to to others. Only this a.m. I discovered your web site. I'm surprised to find no one had yet entered his name as a great Austin mechanic. Probably because most of his customers are like me: long-term, faithful, folks who would also overlook the opportunity to vote for our mom as Woman of the Year, because we take her--as we do Don--for granted.
Oct 20, 2007
My wife and I lived in Austin for three years, until recently, and Don and his shop were just up the street from us on South 1st. Not only was his shop convenient when something unexpected came up, but we also always knew he and his crew would do whatever was needed to fix the problem in a timely, reasonably/competitively priced manner. The shop is also great about honest and open communication, and willing to work with you to make big decisions. And if they miss something the first time, they gladly take a second look right away. Just good, honest folks doing the best job they can every time.
Jan 23, 2004
Cantankerous yet competent, Don is one of a kind. Can't beat his detailed to the point discourse. "Natural" mechanic and honest too. If your cheap don't bother, he charges the going rate but you pay for what you get and you get what you pay for. No bad comments about Don at all, but if you need to be kid leather gloved in posh digs while you wait, don't bother this is a true garage.
Jan 23, 2004
I had a 60K maintenance plus brakes done on a 2000 Land Cruiser that the dealer was talking about $1200 for a similar job. Don said he would do what he would do to his own vehicle. He replaced the brakes (he did not turn the rotors at additional expense because he said they were worn evenly and did not need turning). He did not flush the brake system or the transmission because he said the fluids appeared clean. He did flush the radiator and relaced filters etc. The job eneded up costing about $450. A nother dealer told me that I needed an alignment because my tires were wearing unevenly. Since I did a five way rotation every 10K miles I thought he was blowing smoke and Don confirmed this. Our Infinity J30 had been showing a check engine light that I had scanned at Autozone (free). The code came up as a valve on the vapor recovery canister. Hoy Fox Dealership (El Paso) gave me all sorts of other things that were probably needed (throtle body for example) at $700, plus they said I needed struts at $582. They also said there was nothing wrong with our A/C controller that I complained about. Don was able to fix the check engine light by relacing the valveon the canister plus find that there was a bad temperature sensor (one of four) in the A/ C system and said my struts were fine. The A/C now works fine and the check engine light is off. Cost $450 rather than dealership estimates of $1200 or more that would not have fixed the A/C. Between the two repair jobs I probably saved $1200 or more plus I got the job done to my satisfaction.
Dec 23, 2004
Don is very communicative. He offered solid advise and talked me out of some unnecessary maintenance. He got me in in a couple of days and had the maintenance done as promised. The prices were reasonable and about half of what what I was expecting. Highly recommended! Brian P. Austin, Texas
Nov 20, 2008
I've been going to Don for years. He embodies everything a great mechanic should aspire to. I recently Googled Don's to find his phone number for my wife. Out of a mixture of boredom and curiosity I went ahead and clicked through to his site. His "about" page is astounding: you will never read a more thoughtful and transparent repair shop policy. It blew me away. I'd love to get Tom and Ray's take on it. I bet they would be impressed. The reason people feel ripped off by mechanics sometimes is that they're never sure they are getting what they need and whether they are paying a fair price. That is never a problem with Don. You know that if Don says you need it, you do, and that what he charges you will be fair. Highly recommended.
Sep 06, 2009
We are moving from Austin to Colorado, and my 106K Toyota Tundra 4WD needed better brakes. Generally a great truck, but Toyota grossly under-designed the brakes. The rotors warp, and the result is a horrible vibration when braking from 50 to 40 mph. There was a service bulletin, but my truck was long out of warranty. I found Don's on this list and sent him an email asking if there was a reasonable fix for the problem. He responded by email with a couple of suggestions. He priced the upgrade before I took the truck there. When I took it in, they first did a general inspection to make sure there were lots of miles left in the Tundra. Then, they upgraded the brakes, modifying the job described in the service bulletin to save several hundred bucks. Now, no more vibra-brakes and a truck with lots of life left in it. Thanks Don.
Jan 11, 2018
  • nellc
I have been a customer at Don’s Auto for 15-20 years. On Dec. 15, my car had a breakdown which required a multi-day, multi-thousand dollar repair. Don could not complete this huge repair before his shop closed for winter break between Christmas and New Year’s. I considered going to another shop, but a friend had agreed to loan me a car, so I Ieft my car at Don’s while he was closed. I anticipated that it would be first-in-line for service when he opened on Jan. 2. Don’s shop was swamped when he reopened on the 2nd and he chose to service other customers ahead of me. On Jan. 8 I had to return the loaned car and get a rental. I sent an email, Don replied and explained his policy: “In the time that removing, dismantling, assembling and reinstalling this engine requires, we could keep 15-20 other cars on the road.” I replied and literally begged Don to work on my car. Don defended his policy but agreed to start work on my car the next day. I should have left it at that, but in my reply I unfortunately used the words “It’s not right” in reference to his prioritizing other customers ahead of me. Don wrote back that he was reassembling my car and I could pick it up to take it to another shop. I drove the 25 miles into town to speak to Don personally, so he could hear my voice when I said that I wasn’t accusing him of being unethical. (Don is very ethical, but I believe he is wrong about the issue of prioritizing and that he has problems with communication.) I even apologized to Don, not because I thought I was wrong, but because I felt sorry for him seeing the state that he was in. He was locked in his own world and determined to show me that he would not deal with a customer who said that he did things that weren’t right. On Jan. 10, after waiting since before Christmas for Don to work on my car, I had my car towed to another shop. Don did not charge me anything.

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