K & K Tire & Auto Center – how we came to be

We got started back in 1978 when Karen & Roger Kackley (my parents) purchased a bulk delivery service for gas and diesel. They supplied many farmers, contractors, and even homes. Back then, many people burned fuel oil for heat.

Then in 1980, they took even a bigger gamble and purchased the gas station located at the junction of Hwy 23 & 25 here in Foley (it was closed at the time). This also had a 2-bay automotive shop attached to it. The name it was given was K & K Service – which stood for Karen & kids!

With four young girls at home to care for, this was a very scary thing for them. But with a lot of hard work, the gamble paid off.

With the business growing, they eventually moved the automotive and tire shop to the building behind the gas station that was initially built for storage of the bulk trick and semi transport they also purchased. Still only being a 2 bay shop. That’s when the name K & K Tire & Auto Center got started – K & K Service stayed with the gas station.

A parts store was built in 1991 that was attached to the repair shop.

In 1996 that gas station sold, and that’s when I moved out to the parts store to continue to work for my parents. And boy, I knew nothing about parts or cars or tires. I’ll never forget when I had an older gentleman ask me for rear brake linings, I had no clue what that was. I had to go ask, and it was just an older name for rear brake shoes. Even brake shoes are not typical anymore. Most vehicles run brake pads and rotors all the way around now. Throughout the years, I had many questions working the parts counter, and I learned a lot.

In 2013 we sold parts inventory out to NAPA Central, and they currently lease that part of the building from us.

The shop was up to four bays in 2013, and with focusing on only one business, we now have grown into a 6-bay shop.

Oh, and by this time, I am the only daughter that works for my parents, so I like to say K & K now stands for Karen & Kathy!! My sisters did all work for my parents at some time or another, but they all went onto different career paths. I have people tell me they watched me grow up because of my presence at K & K was there a lot. It’s funny how things go, now some of those customers got to know my children because they too have to hang out with me once in a while at work.

As the business grew, so did the services that we provide.

We do pretty much everything from general maintenance ad repair – tire – alignments – diagnostic. We even did maintenance on ATV’s – installed carb kits in a customer’s generator – that kind of work we don’t really advertise to do, but there is not much we turn away.

With today’s vehicles and technology, we send our techs to several different pieces of training every year to try and keep up with the ever-changing automotive world. Back 20-30 years ago, most of our business was plugs, wires, caps, rotors, brakes, starters, alternators, belts, etc. – everything that wore out – well guess what, nowadays those parts generally last much longer. For example, spark plugs used to get changed every 20-30 thousand miles, today it’s every 100,000 miles. Wow!

But what we have today is many more sensors and solenoids that we didn’t have before. The emission parts we didn’t have before. Which means most people can’t fix their own vehicles anymore. The majority of business now is diagnostic, with that comes more tools and spendy ones. TPMS sensors – tire pressure monitoring system – without the correct tool to program them, you can’t even rotate your own tire if you want them to read the correct position on the vehicle.

Do you know the average now of a vehicle on the road in the US is like 11.3 years old, and they predict that to cap at 13-years. Vehicles are lasting much longer now. With that, vehicle maintenance is essential, especially tranny service, flushes – in light trucks, differential, transfer case fluids. Changing them may keep your transmission or rear end last just as long as the engine. Kind of like we all know what happens if we don’t change our motor oil – the engine won’t last. Kind of the same concept. Now some vehicles make it to 200 thousand plus miles where an owner will say never touched a thing, yep may be true. There is also customer’s that replaced expensive trannys because it burnt up. It’s like putting a little insurance on it.

We have seen many things over the years – the most significant thing we see is how much damage a little mouse can do to your vehicle. They can get in places they shouldn’t and sometimes die in those places, and the odor is very tough to get rid of, especially if you can’t find the hiding place they chose. They chew wiring, and when the vehicle is running improperly, it usually takes a good diagnostic technician to locate those wires. I brought an example of a wiring diagram they sometimes have to follow to locate the problem. I have a picture of a blower motor, what happens when a mouse is in it when the vehicle gets turned on. This was just last Wednesday! – Tire repair – the best one I thought of is when a customer wheeled in their flat tire off his truck with a deer antler sticking out of it. I saw one time when a brake pad was inside the tire. Lots of crazy things happen.

My ideal referral is anyone looking for a trustworthy automotive repair shop and anyone who may be in the market for a set of tires. Winter is coming, and we had some very nice weather so far, so I think winter is going to hit us fast and people won’t be prepared for it. I have here a letter that I had on my desk yet from a lady who happened to break down in Foley. We also have many great reviews on surecritic.com, or there is a link on our website to click on to see the reviews. We currently have 287 reviews, and 85% are 5 stars & 11% 4 stars.

We do offer vehicle pick up in Foley, which works really well for our customers that work in Foley.

Thank you so much for your support