OUR MISSION IS SIMPLE

img-displayOur goal at Willie’s Automotive is to make your automotive repair experience as easy for you as possible. We offer free local pick up and drop off for repairs and if you want to wait, we offer free WiFi. 24 hr night drop. We stand by our work for 1 year, 12,000 miles (parts AND labor) on most repairs. We even have a tech that loves working on European cars!

Wilies Automotive Named Top-rated Service Center

Willies Automotive is being recognized in the third annual CARFAX Top-Rated Service Center Program. We received a 5 STAR Rating out of a possible five stars based on verified reviews from CARFAX Car Care members.

 “We are constantly striving to make it easier for car owners to feel confident about servicing their vehicles,” said Mike Liou, Head of Service Marketing at CARFAX. “We have 24 million active Car Care members, and that number is growing. These members are actively trying to take better care of their vehicles by using our maintenance and recall alerts. We used direct feedback from these verified customers to put together this list of the best of the best.”

We LOVE what we do!

2351

Cars Repaired

9562

Tires Changed

3102

Oil Changes

100%

Customer Satisfaction

MEET THE TEAM

Willie

Willie Lenhard

Owner

It all started out one day when a childhood friend got me a job at a local repair shop/gas station in my hometown. I started sweeping floors at the age of 14 years old in that gas station. I quickly became a thorn in the side of my mentor, who took me under his wing while teaching me invaluable lessons about becoming a responsible person and instilling in me the necessity of building trust as a firm and solid foundation for all of my future relationships. I eventually became one of his top performing auto technicians.

I decided to spread out from a “mom and pop” four bay garage to a large dealership, where I excelled and began looking toward ASE certifications and continuing my education. I continued to work hard at becoming the best auto technician that I could be in the corporate arena. After several years of pursuing excellence in the corporate auto technician world, I decided to move to Connecticut where my career path led me into being a service manager at a busy three bay garage while acting as a diagnostician and performing all aspects of mechanical work. I’ve always been goal oriented and I have always set goals for myself to keep me challenged and to take me as far in the automotive industry as I could go, which lead me right back to corporate auto dealerships and away from repairing cars. I stepped away from auto repair for four years as I learned the customer service end of the automotive spectrum as I accepted a position at another large dealership as a service consultant.

It was in May, 2019, when everything in my world lined up perfectly and at the right time, beginning, as all of my successful and long lasting relationships have begun…with friends. Friends encouraging me, friends giving me information and suggestions, friends referring work to me, friends supporting me. I have been blessed to have a lot of dreams come true in my life by being diligent and working hard, by setting goals, and by building all of my relationships on trust. After 30 years in the automotive business, from my humble beginnings as a floor sweeper to my ultimate success at a corporate dealership, I am so very proud and humbled to say that I have opened my own shop. Willie’s Automotive, LLC, is a dream come true.

José

José Collazo

Technician

José Collazo is an amazing ASE Certified Technician who comes to Willie’s Automotive with an extensive background in automotive repairs.  José’s experience in the automotive repair field ranges from a large dealership to the smaller shops and his extensive experience spans 17 years of automotive repair.  José is the ultimate family man and enjoy spending time with his lovely wife and their four beautiful children.  When José is not working, he and his family enjoy racing at Lebanon Valley Raceway for their own quarter mile racing team known as “Machotech Racing.”  José is very innovative and approaches mechanical repairs in a unique and progressive manner.  José has grown with Willie’s Automotive and we are proud to have him here.

Chris

Chris Bensey

Technician

I started my professional career in the automotive field right after I graduated High School in 1995, but this is not where I started developing my skills. I have been taking things apart and putting them back together since I could hold a screwdriver. My grandfather owned and operated Eddy’s Gulf, a successful repair shop on Route 1 in Southport, CT from the 1950’s until he retired in the 1980’s. My father worked there throughout high school until he joined the Fairfield Police Department. As a kid my grandfather always encouraged me to help him and I was lucky enough to inherit his fix anything gene.

Through high school I took automotive and would spend every study hall and lunch in the shop. After I graduated I decided to continue my education and successfully completed Porter and Chester Institute’s Automotive Technology course in 1998. From there I worked in a few independent repair shops and Mark Ford Mercury in New Milford until they were bought out in 2010. At this time I held ASE certifications and was a Connecticut State certified emissions repair tech. Over the years I completed numerous clinics and classes provided by automobile manufacturers, parts manufacturers, and industry experts. Because of my experience, I was hired as a fleet coordinator and promoted to fleet manager, of which I oversaw the maintenance and repairs on all the company’s light duty, medium duty, heavy duty, and off road vehicles and equipment.

I have worked on everything from your normal everyday Fords, Chevys and Volkswagens to more exotic Porsches and Morgans along with classic Jaguar E-Types and Mustangs. I have rebuilt engines and replaced transmissions. I’ve spent countless hours tracing miles of wire to find shorts that other techs gave up on.

I had the good fortune of learning from some very brilliant techs early on in my career. They taught me some very valuable lessons a lot of mechanics never learn. Things like if it is in your way don’t work around it – move it, always double and triple check your work, manufacturers want to save every penny they can so there are no extra parts, and most of the time tight enough doesn’t cut it – there are torque specs for a reason. Working in the indie shops early on in my career, many techs did not like working on the German vehicles. Since I was the young guy I got assigned most of them. I developed my love for VW when I saved a Mk2 Golf from the scrap yard. From there I owned a W8 Passat which I flew to Birmingham Alabama to purchase and drive back. A few years later I got 2 puppies which outgrew the rear seat so I turned it in for my current vehicle – a Tiguan.

Joe

Joe

Service Manager

With the arrival of 2022 my experience in the automotive industry will span four decades. In 1982 I started out as a full-service gas station attendant working part time after school at Ted’s Service Station on South St. In Danbury. This was a great position for a young hot-rod enthusiast and I spent many off hours building engines and working on my various Camaros and Mustangs. I didn’t know it then, but it was the beginning of a career path that would lead me to my present position at Willie’s Automotive.

After graduating from Joel Barlow High School in Redding, CT. it was time for a full-time job and I was eager to start earning. There wasn’t opportunity at that time for advancement at Ted’s Service, but right next door was Kovac’s Tire Shop. Here I would learn the profession of commercial truck tire repair, which back then consisted of swinging a 10-pound sledge hammer all day long to break down tube-type split rim mounted truck tires for repair or replacement. It was hard labor but my eighteen-year-old self relished the workout! This is also where I discovered a passion for tow trucks. After a little on the job training, I was out of the tire shop on occasion picking up disabled vehicles and towing them in for repair. I found that I enjoyed the work so I focused on becoming a skilled operator and eventually took a position specializing in towing and recovery at DRS Towing Division, A-1 Service Center, also in Danbury. For the next five years I gained knowledge of my chosen trade and eventually moved up to manager of the towing division. I also worked as a repair technician during this time.

As 1991 rolled around I found myself looking to expand my horizons and at the suggestion of my boss, I began thinking about military service. Thus began my time in the US Coast Guard. Upon completion of basic training, I was transferred to the 14th Coast Guard District in Hawaii and assigned to Hawaiin Armed Services Police (HASP) as a military liaison to the Honolulu PD and the Hawaii State Judiciary. In this capacity I assisted the civilian authorities with arrested military personnel and kept track of their judicial proceedings. At the same time never far from my roots, I also had a part-time job at Aiea Shell Service pumping gas, fixing tires, and driving the shop tow truck all over Oahu. It was an awesome side hustle! After two years at HASP I was awarded a Commandants Letter of Commendation for exemplary service and received orders to attend Machinery Technician (MK) School in Yorktown VA. Here I was back in my mechanical element and I learned the finer points of marine diesel engine repair and maintenance. After graduation from MK-A School I was promoted to Petty Officer 3rd Class with a rating of Machinery Technician and moved on to my next assignment at USCG Station Beach Haven, NJ.

The Coast Guard is a small service and Coasties typically are responsible for multiple jobs. At this assignment I utilized all of my acquired skillsets. On shore I was in charge of patrol boat maintenance both diesel and outboard engines. I stood communications radio watch and also qualified as Officer of the Day (OOD) duty. Within the engineering department I handled our parts inventory and maintained auxiliary equipment as well. On the water I was qualified as a heavy weather search and rescue boat crewman, underway boat engineer, and as a law enforcement boarding officer. It was an exciting and rewarding tour of duty! I wouldn’t trade my time in the Coast Guard for anything and the life lessons learned there have served me well. Oh, and guess what else? I also had a part-time job driving tow trucks for Undertow Amoco on Long Beach Island, NJ.

After my enlistment was up, I returned home to Connecticut and briefly took a job as a marine technician on Lake Candlewood at Brookfield Bay Marina, which of course ended with the boating season, and left me looking for work. Thanks to leadership skills developed in the Coast Guard I was able to get a management position at Zeller Tire Company. Here as a “hands on” manger I became proficient at vehicle suspension and alignment, eventually moving onward and upward to a new management position at Belardinelli Tire in Bethel where I became ASE Certified in steering/suspension/and brake systems. We also had a small towing service at Belardinelli and it didn’t take long for me to become involved with towing again.

After a few years in the tire business, I returned to a management position in the towing industry at my old employer, A-1 Service Center. As always, I spent many hours engaged in the business of towing and recovery, managing from the driver’s seat more often than from my desk. During my time there we grew from a four-truck light duty fleet, to nine trucks offering service for cars thru heavy duty trucks.

Always seeking new challenges, I moved on again to Hilario’s Service Center in Newtown, where again I worked as a “hands on” manager of towing operations and gained certifications in heavy duty towing & recovery. During my time at Hilario’s, I became more involved in the overall management of the business to include multi-location supervision of heavy truck repair, road service, heavy equipment hauling, and automotive services. This was also an exciting and rewarding position, but after thirty years of working in a 24-hour business it was finally time to hang up my tow truck spurs and concentrate on service management.

From 2012 to 2021 I was employed as service manager at Ness Automotive, however this was still a “hands on” management position. I was involved in performing automotive repairs which also included snow removal equipment installation, truck body installation, and aftermarket accessories. It was during this time that I met Willie Lenhard. Willie was looking for an experienced service manager just when I was looking for a more administrative position and everything fell into place. I’ve been a Southbury resident since 2009 and working in the local community is such a pleasure! I immediately felt right at home at Willie’s Automotive and with an all-star team of technicians in the shop I can finally devote all of my attention and years of experience to providing the highest level of customer service possible. I look forward to seeing you and assisting with all your automotive maintenance needs!

Eric

Eric

Technician

My name is Eric Dutkiewicz, i was born in New Jersey and moved to CT when i was 2. I went to school here my whole life and graduated from Seymour High School in 2017. Then i graduated from NVCC community college with a degree in auto tech. I always loved working on cars and bikes ever since i was a kid so i decided to take it up as a job and im liking it so far and im glad to be part of the Willy’s community!

Saffi

Saffi

General Manager

Saffron “Saffi” Monsoon Lenhard is the daughter of the owners of Willie’s Automotive and holds the title of General Manager.  Saffi hails from Patillas, Puerto Rico, where she lived under a pharmacy with her 5 sisters and her mother.  She was rescued by an amazing lady named Belmarie, who, through an organization called Love4Satos, rescued, fostered, and loved our Saffi.  Saffi was given her Freedom Flight to the Mainland by Bel Ma, who tearfully placed her on an airplane in 2019 so that we could adopt her through Happy Life Animal Rescue.  Saffi has an extensive education ranging from Kindergarten, Middle School, and High School, as well as her continuing education in Agility by her amazing teacher, Donna McNerney, who teaches at The Exceptional Pet in Newtown, CT.  Saffi’s hope is to continue her education through the therapy program with the hope of volunteering her time for special needs children, libraries, and elderly community facilities where she will gladly accept a snuggle or a cookie as payment.

Joseph lenzen
2021-12-12
Old fashioned values and great quick service make Willie's and gem in Southbury
Sean G
2021-12-09
On the drive home from Philadelphia, my Range Rover Evoque started smoking and giving me all sorts of low fluid/engine overheating warnings. I limped off the highway. Stopped at the nearest gas station to let it cool down. A friendly local suggested I bring it down to Willie’s. Not only did he save the day….but he did it in about 2 hours. I couldn’t be happier with the service and professionalism. I would certainly recommend Willie to anyone in the Southbury area.
Floren Schertzer
2021-11-05
Great service as always. Willie and staff are pleasant and friendly. They are very thorough with your car and will certainly fix what is wrong or broken.
Ellen Zenhye
2021-10-27
With all the great reviews, I decided to give Willie's a try. Speaking with Sherri, I couldn't get an appointment for an oil change for a week. She said drop the car off. Well, I don't have a ride to and from (I'm used to waiting for my oil changes) so I asked to wait. I was told "then you must be here by 8am!". Ok, no problem, they're busy. I got there at 7:45 just to find I was not on the list. I offered to reschedule but they were nice enough to put me in as scheduled. I felt bad that now I stressed the technician as they were swamped, but it wasn't my fault. Aside from this, they still took the time to do a thorough assessment of the vehicle and include a tire rotation as part of routine oil change service; I find this exceptional!!! I was given a checklist, advised how long for brake service and left feeling confident I was in good hands. After being taken advantage of by other repair services many times, it feels great to finally find an accommodating, thorough, honest, caring and fair priced repair shop. I can now get my recall done and know with confidence I can't be told I need additional repairs. I'm so happy to have found Willie's who go above and beyond with their service to their customers. My thanks to Chris (Technician), Maggie (such a sweetheart, hard worker) and Sherri (providing updates). Great service!!
Janine Frinton
2021-10-26
One of the most honest car repair places I have ever found don't take advantage of their customers and give them great value for what they pay I will definitely be a repeat customer!
Brad Heistand
2021-10-01
Willie is really nice along with his employees.
Bob Bachman
2021-09-30
Excellent car care services at very reasonable prices...They are very talented mechanics... Willie is the BEST...!
Julie Moyaux
2021-09-30
Willies is a wonderful automotive shop. The owner is super friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. His shop fixed my sons car under budget and on time. Can’t say enough great things about this place…. Go there… you won’t be disappointed.
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