South Salem Auto Care is devoted to providing the local community with a friendly alternative to expensive car dealerships. Our goal is to ensure your vehicle is in the safest mechanical condition to help you confidently drive anywhere.
We offer many of the same services dealers do, only in a more personal environment, with all work completed by experienced, well-trained professionals. We are devoted to meeting the needs of our customers and employees. We believe those needs are best met by maintaining relationships that are characterized by honesty, open communication, trust, and mutual satisfaction.
Elsias came to South Salem Auto in 2005, trained under Jimmy O'Connor for 10 years, and continued working here. Before joining South Salem Auto, Elsias worked for a tree company doing maintenance on their equipment. He is an expert on brakes, ignition suspension, transmission, differentials, timing belts, engines, and clutches. He has an excellent knowledge of mechanical and electrical components.
Elsias is the quiet one that always seems to have the answer to the problem. He enjoys cooking on the grill, fishing, and spending time with his family in his off time.
Matt joined us for our second shift. He is here from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm and on Saturdays. Matt runs another shop in Westchester, grew up in South Salem, and graduated from John Jay high school. His 30+ years of experience in automotive diagnostics and repair, as well as fabrication and welding (aluminum and steel), takes us to a new level in meeting our customer's expectations for evening and weekend service.
Matt is also a fleet supervisor, preventive maintenance specialist, and licensed NYS vehicle inspector for automobiles and heavy trucks.
James is Matt's son and also works in another garage in Westchester. James is well-versed in automotive diagnostics, repair, and fleet maintenance. James joins us for the 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm second shift. Additionally, James is an NYS-licensed vehicle inspector.
John is also Matt's son and is our trailer and hydraulics technician. John has extensive knowledge of horse trailers, car trailers, landscape trailers, boat trailers, snow plows, and mounts, lift gates, trailer electrical wiring, trailer electric brakes, and surge brakes. John also joins the second shift for evening hours and Saturdays. John's meticulous wiring is something to be seen.
Bruce's automobile experience started at 14 when a neighbor gave him a 1962 Hillman with a blown engine. Never having seen the inside of an engine, he took it apart and figured out what was wrong, repairing a spun crankshaft bearing with the help of a machine shop. He kept the car in his father's backyard until he turned 16 and passed his road test. After realizing more power meant more speed, he eventually replaced the 4-cylinder Hillman engine with a Chevrolet 283 V-8, and a hot rod was born. From the Hillman to muscle cars of the 60s, Bruce was hooked on cars.
After graduating high school, Bruce served in the Navy as a Boiler Technician aboard the USS Sierra during the Vietnam conflict working with very powerful but dangerous "super-heated" steam. After the Navy, Bruce went to work for Westchester County as a Stationery Engineer operating high-pressure computer-controlled steam boilers—never losing his love for automobiles. Eventually, he began his 40+ year career in interstate trucking.
Owning, operating, and maintaining mechanical equipment under mission-critical conditions has taught Bruce the importance of preventive maintenance for safety, reliability, and longevity.
In 1976 Bruce jumped from cars to tractor-trailers, becoming a Certified Caterpillar Diesel Technician. He worked for Denver, (Colorado) Peterbilt performing all aspects of repair and maintenance on Peterbilt trucks and other brands (much of the same parts as cars, just bigger). After moving back to New York in 1987, he started his transport company.
From 1988 to 2011, Bruce established a successful freight brokerage with its fleet of Peterbilt trucks and refrigerated trailers hauling produce all over the US. Matt Harisch maintained those trucks. When Bruce sold his equipment to concentrate on brokering, each had over 1.2 million miles, for a combined 9.6 million miles. The trucks Bruce and Matt maintained never saw a tow truck's hook. They always came home under their power.
Still, with a passion and love for cars, Bruce again branched out by buying a 1911 Stanley steam car. For 1911 the Stanley was indeed a hot rod, as many cars of that era could only go 30 - 40 MPH. Stanley did 60+ MPH. Pretty impressive for 1911! FYI, Stanley set the world's land speed record at Ormand Beach, Florida, in 1906, reaching a speed of 127 MPH! The land speed record for steam stood until 2009! It took 103 years of technology to beat it.
In 2017 Bruce purchased the assets of South Salem Auto Repair and renamed the shop South Salem Auto Care, continuing with the same core employees and the same excellent service at reasonable costs long-time customers have grown to expect. Matt, James, and John Harisch, with a combined 50+ years of automotive/trailer and fabrication knowledge, cover weekends and evening hours to complement an already knowledgeable staff. In addition, Bruce has improved the workspace and incorporated new vendors and products to serve the customer better.
If our background impresses you, connect with us today for car parts, tune-ups, or oil changes.