How to Guide: J&L Automotive: Choosing the right mechanic | Business

As one of few certified, full service repair shops in East Texas, J&L Automotive, located at 1914 East Houston Street in Marshall, offers customers a wide variety of automotive services.

Specializing in AC repairs, heavy duty repairs such as engines and transmissions, shocks, struts, brakes, oil change and lube, plus much more the 22-year-old business offers reliable, dependable and warrantied services.

The business, owned by James Lester and named after James and his wife Laura, was started by Lester after he found his passion in life — repairing old cars. He is the proud owner of a restored cherry red 1966 Chevrolet truck.

“I enjoy working on cars,” he said.

Lester got his start in the automotive industry after receiving a Fingerhut tool kit at home which piqued his interest. He worked for several years at Walter’s Auto Repair and then opened his own business and his 11,000 square foot shop.

When choosing the right mechanic, a number of factors are important.

Making sure the repair shop has a good reputation and will stand by both the labor and parts is essential.

“We serve the public and do an honest and fair job,” Lester said. On Yelp, the auto repair shop has a four star rating, meaning many customers have left positive reviews. Many of the reviews praise the automotive shop for helping them out during times of duress and for their honesty of being upfront with customers about repair costs.

“We also discuss with our customers how to save money on their vehicles in the long run, keep them on the road and give them the best value for their money,” he said.

With being a certified auto repair shop, J&L Automotive also offers a coast-to-coast warranty. This warranty is for 36 months/36,000 miles on most any repairs including AC, heating and climate control systems, brake systems, engine cooling system, electrical system, engine performance, drivability services and repair, exhaust, ignition, electronic engine management and on-board computer, cruise control, steering/suspension systems, clutches, differential repair and other minor repairs.

“This is one of the best warranties in the business,” he said. It’s extremely helpful for those who, for example, travel to another state on vacation and have automotive trouble. With this warranty, you are able to get your vehicle fixed anywhere in the U.S.

Once coming into the automotive repair shop, a diagnosis on the vehicle will be made. In most circumstances, one of nine employees at J&L will drive the vehicle to see if they can determine what is wrong based on the customer’s complaint.

After diagnosing the issue, they will get fees for parts and labor. They present this estimate for work to the customer.

“Then and only then, after receiving approval, do we begin work on the car,” Lester said.

Repairs are usually done on the same day and J&L does offer customer pick-up and delivery to those who want to drop their car and then head on to work or home in Marshall.

As part of being ASC certified master techs, Lester and his staff are continuously learning about improvements and changes in the industry. Up to 10 times a year, they will take training classes.

“We stay updated on the education aspect,” he said.

For financing, J&L partners with both Dignify and Synchrony, outside car financing companies. Synchrony Car Care, for example, allows customers to open a credit card, which will charge no interest if repairs are paid off within six months.

The shop also accepts all major credit cards.

This year has presented many challenges for local businesses and for Lester, staying incredibly busy has been appreciated. Due to customers receiving stimulus and tax returns, many are repairing problems on their cars, including AC.

“This time of year we are seeing many people come in with AC issues,” he said. “It’s hot and we are happy to help them out.”

For more information about J&L Automotive call 903-938-8400 or go to They are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Katherine E. Ackerman

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