© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
‘Sound of Us’ tells stories Northeast Ohioans want to tell — in their own voices.

Painesville mechanic's job is 'to make grown men act like kids'

For Jared Peters of J&J's Custom Car Care in Painesville, each car is a new puzzle to be solved.
Lauren Green
Ideastream Public Media
For Jared Peters of J&J's Custom Car Care in Painesville, each car problem is a new puzzle to be solved.

This story is part of a series of on-the-street interviews conducted by Xeaiver Bullock, a student at Lake Erie College and a 2022 Ideastream Public Media summer intern, as part of Ideastream Public Media's "Sound of Us" initiativeto tell stories Northeast Ohioans want to tell.

Jarad Peters, a car mechanic, co-owns J&J's Custom Car Care in Painesville with his wife, Jennifer.

He spoke to Xeaiver about the craft of fixing cars — which he says is as much about emotion as machinery.

Jarad: I was actually born in North Carolina, but raised and brought up since three years old near Massillon, Ohio, in Jackson Township, where I went to Jackson High School. I got my certifications as a technician there and went to college at Stark State College.

Xeaiver: Can you give me a broad perspective of what it's like to be a mechanic?

Jarad: Puzzles, pretty much. You're sitting down at a table doing puzzles every day, trying to figure out what's going to work on this car that didn't necessarily work as well in the last. Different owners of the vehicle are going to make the jobs a little bit easier or harder, depending on how they take care of it. So it's going by what you know and what you think can work.

Xeaiver: What's a very interesting puzzle that you remember?

Jarad Peters owns J&J's Custom Car Care in Painesville.
Jarad Peters
Jarad Peters owns J&J's Custom Car Care in Painesville.

Jarad: I have a truck that I'm working on right now, this '92 Dodge, outside. Customer drops it off, tells me, 'Hey, I want it to look like this. You do what you think.' And he allows me to use what I know to build something that he would get giddy and happy over. My job is to pretty much make grown men act like kids.

Xeaiver: I've seen you work a lot of hours. How many cars do you work on in a week?

Jarad: My average work volume is anywhere between eight to 27 cars in a week.

Xeaiver: That's a lot of cars. So on average, how long does one car take?

Jarad: It really depends on the job. Your basic cars, you get in and out within an hour and a half for brakes, rotors, oil changes, and then you get into your shock, struts or lighting. It all depends. So the average runs between an hour and a half up to about six and a half, seven hours.

Xeaiver: What's one of your favorite things to do to a car?

Jarad: I like doing anything custom. I like taking old things and making them work and look new. For example, there was a '74 Impala. The thing was beat up and it came to me and I spent about two years on and off doing the car. I would get one thing fixed. He'd drive it for a while, bring it back, and I put everything from digital gauges into it to rims. It was a new car.

Xeaiver: What does working in Painesville mean to you?

Jarad: It's community. It's the family. I deal with probably close to 30 different small businesses throughout Painesville. Every single one of them treats every one of them like family. Every one of them are willing to help out the next, the donations, the advice, their help. You can call on about 50 different people in Painesville and they'd be there in a drop of a hat.

Xeaiver: How much effort do you put into breaking down something to a customer when they have question?

Jarad: I put my foot in my mouth sometimes because I try to act like they don't know what even a brake caliper is or a rotor is or a pad is. I can take videos or photos or anything to show, 'OK, this is why this is going on.' And if I can show that, then I've done my job correctly. It builds that trust. 'OK, he's an open book and he is at least knowledgeable.' And then you get the people that are familiar with cars that ask you questions because they want to know that they can trust you. So it's important for me to break down into what's going on with cars, so customers understand why I have to do what I have to do.

Xeaiver Bullock is from from Fayetteville, North Carolina and currently lives and goes to school at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio where he is studying communications and is quarterback on the football team. He will graduate in December of 2022.