Brunswick’s new Rad Air location offers a radically different auto repair experience

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Chris Frank had the dream of opening his own auto repair shop. When the opportunity to launch Rad Air in Brunswick came about, he jumped at the chance to bring his years of expertise to the area. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Mimi Vanderhaven

From fixing cars, to selling parts, to customer service, Chris Frank has done just about everything in the auto repair business. When he got the opportunity to own his own Rad Air Complete Car Care and Tire Center in Brunswick, Chris says it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“It’s always been my dream to own my own shop,” Chris reveals.

“My wife and I have talked about it off and on over the years, but we never pulled the trigger. When this opportunity came up, we knew that it was the right fit.”

Rad Air’s trustworthy reputation, he says, is what made the difference.

“I’ve learned through the years that trust is the most important thing in this business,” Chris says. “If you violate a client’s trust, it is almost impossible to get it back. That falls right in line with Rad Air’s long-time philosophy.”

The new Brunswick Rad Air on Pearl Road, just south of Route 303, opened in early September.

The main reason why clients trust Rad Air, Chris says, is the way it does business.

“Many local chains and auto shops—and virtually all of the larger national and retail chains—pay their techs at least partly on commission,” he says. “That,” he cautions, “offers a temptation to recommend and over sell clients parts and services they may not really need just to pad their paychecks.”

“That’s why we pay our technicians by the hour,” Chris explains.

“It completely changes the way technicians look at the job. If they are concerned about their commission, naturally they’re going to want to get the job done as quickly as possible so they can move on to the next one and make more money. Paying them hourly lets them concentrate on fixing the problem and take the time to get the job done right. It just seems to work out better for everybody.”

You may notice a lot of “help wanted” signs when you drive by many repair shops. The technicians at Rad Air, Chris says, didn’t just walk in off the street.

“I’ve known Steve Siket, our lead technician, for a long time,” Chris says.

“We’ve worked together at a few shops over the last 15 years and I’m delighted to have him with us here in Brunswick. Steve introduced me to our other technician, Andrew Tomkins, whom he thought would be a really good fit. He was right. He has been fantastic. Steve and Andrew have worked together before, and Andrew has worked at another Rad Air shop.”

That means Andrew is well acquainted with Rad Air’s four (4) Golden Rules:

  1. Fix the vehicle right the first time.
  2. Charge a fair price.
  3. Never recommend a service or repair the client doesn’t need at this time.
  4. Make sure the client is happy before he or she walks out the door.

That’s the formula that grew Rad Air from a single location in Parma Heights to a family of 11 shops throughout Northeast Ohio, he says.

It’s easy for Rad Air to follow those Golden Rules, Chris says, because:

  • Rad Air managers are certified, experienced automotive technicians; not salespeople.
  • Rad Air makes company values of honesty and integrity its highest priority.
  • Rad Air’s technicians receive up-to-date, expert training and education various times throughout the year.
  • Rad Air stands behind its work and provides an excellent limited lifetime warranty.

Chris’ interest in fixing cars started at a young age. After completing his automotive tech training at Polaris Career Center in 1993, he worked as a mechanic for 14 years before moving behind the parts counter.

“After working on the parts side for a while, I moved into the service side, where I got to work directly with customers,” he says. “I enjoy explaining the repairs we do and the difference between the various qualities of parts.”

Rad Air offers a limited lifetime warranty on almost all repairs, Chris emphasizes. The warranty covers OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) quality parts.

“If the part fails, it’s covered,” he says. “That’s on top of our two-year, 30,000-mile base warranty on all of our parts and labor. Our warranty is far better than any other in this area. Most others and new car dealer warranties are only 12 months, 12,000 miles.”

Rad Air began as a radiator and air conditioning specialty shop back in 1975—hence the name— in 1986, Rad Air became a full-service shop that can handle everything from routine oil changes to major repairs like engine and transmission work.

“We’re experts at solving any mechanical problem that can go wrong in your vehicle,” Chris says.

That’s why Rad Air is the ideal neighborhood shop to make sure your vehicles are running safe and sound this winter.

“Winter can be the toughest season on your car, and nobody wants to be stranded in the cold, blustery weather,” he says.

That’s why Chris suggests Rad Air’s Super Maintenance Special that will keep you and your vehicle safely on the road this winter. The Maintenance Special costs $99.95 for most cars through Tuesday, January 15, and includes:

  • Castrol Synthetic blend lube, oil and filter
  • Four-Wheel / Tire Rotation
  • Four Wheel / Tire Balance
  • Four Wheel Alignment check
  • Heater/Defroster performance check
  • Battery and Charging system Check
  • Inspect and Top-Off Fluids
  • 39 Point Vehicle Health Report and Safety Check

To be sure everything is up to speed with your vehicle, you can visit Rad Air Complete Car Care and Tire Center, at 1404 Pearl Road, in Brunswick. You also can visit for more information, or to set up an appointment online. You can call Rad Air at 330-754-3422