Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Smith Auto Parts & Sales in Fairfield has been going strong ever since it was founded in 1969 by Wayne Smith.
Today, Wayne’s son Tim owns the company, which focuses on selling recycled parts with the availability to offer new aftermarket replacement parts. Tim has worked with cars his whole life, attending Indian Hills Community College’s trade school for automotive mechanics before working as an automotive technician at Ford and Chevrolet dealerships in Fairfield, and finally ending up at the business his father started.
“In the 30 years I’ve worked here, I’ve seen just how much the business has changed,” Tim said. “It used to be that you could take a part off one make of vehicle, say a Chevy, and make it fit any other Chevy, like a part from the engine or alternator. That’s not true these days.”
Tim said automotive manufacturers realized they could make more money by making each piece unique to that make and model of vehicle, because it forces car owners to purchase the piece new rather than swapping it with the same piece on a similar vehicle. Insurance companies are also pushing for more and more pieces on a car to be replaced with new parts rather than used. This has impacted Tim’s job because the business buys vehicles to sell their parts.
As the years went by, Wayne slowly got out of the body shop business and turned his attention more toward auto recycling. Tim said he sells parts to a number of body shops in a 120-mile radius, but he’ll sell to people all over the country, who learn of his parts through the internet.
Smith Auto Parts & Sales also offers new parts such as windshields, batteries and after-market sheet metal.