Exhausting all possibilities
After many years in the auto service business, Paul Knudtson knows a thing or two about cars and trucks although he readily admits he doesn’t know it all.
And, he has some good advice for folks who want to make sure their vehicle is ready for winter.
“This is a good time of year to get everything checked out before winter comes,” Knudtson says. “There are several things that should at least be looked at.”
Tires are always important. Knudtson says just checking the tire pressure and the tread is a minimum amount of checking drivers should do.
“People should also look at rotating tires now,” he adds. “And consider replacing them if they are getting to that point, before winter driving comes, and it is on its way.”
He had another point.
“Probably the cheapest and best thing you can do is to change the oil in your vehicle, all your vehicles, on a regular basis,” he says. “And to make sure the right kind of oil is going in. There are different kinds with different specifications. It is no longer just pour in some 10-30 weight oil and call it good.”
Knudtson says he is sometimes amazed when people bring in their car for maintenance or repair.
“They have warning lights all lit up on their dash,” he says. “And they tell me, nevermind that, those lights have been on for a while. No, you need to have that vehicle looked at right away.”
Knudtson has been in the vehicle service business, well, almost all of his life.
Born and raised in Rake, Iowa, he was the son of the town’s banker. His father worked in the bank for 38 years and his mother for 32 years.
However, Knudtson had other ideas of what he wanted to do career-wise and he went into business with his uncle at a young age.
“My uncle Jack and I owned Peterson’s Standard Oil Service Station in Forest City (Iowa), back then,” Knudtson says. “I learned a lot about cars and running a business and how to treat customers from Uncle Jack,” he says. “I sometimes say I went to the ‘University of Peterson’ for my education.”
Eventually Knudtson and his uncle Jack Peterson sold the service station in Forest City to Casey’s General Stores.
“Uncle Jack was ready to retire and I was ready to move on,” Knudtson says. “So I came here to Blue Earth.”
He first worked for a couple of local auto service businesses before starting his own and named it Paul’s Exhaust and Auto Service.
That was in 1995.
“It was first located in the same building as Milt King; I?rented a part of his building,” Knudtson explains. “But then, in 1997 I?built this building, that I am still in now.” It is located at 202 S. East St., across from the Blue Earth Stockyards.
Since he started his business in 1995, that means Knudtson is approaching his 25th anniversary of being in business in Blue Earth.
“Best thing I ever did was move here to Blue Earth, and start my own business,” he says. “Of course, being in business for yourself is not real easy; you wind up investing a lot of time in it.”
But, he adds, he has been blessed with some very loyal and great customers over the years. He also admits to being a really big Blue Earth booster. In fact, the day of this interview he was wearing his 2012 Blue Earth Area Buccaneer Football State Championship shirt.
“Blue Earth is such a great town, and a great place to live; it is full of nice, friendly people,” Knudtson adds. “The school is great and really deserves our support. The hospital is also terrific and we have several nice industries here we are very lucky we have these places. We need to keep these things here, and we all need to support the town.”
Knudtson and his wife, Colleen, raised their two daughters here Hannah and Hailey. Hannah lives in Mankato with her husband and two children Knudtson’s red-headed grandsons, Lucas and Stephen.
Hailey lives at home in Blue Earth with her parents, Paul and Colleen.
Paul Knudtson says he has learned a lot about vehicles over the years, and is always learning something new.
“With the ways cars are these days, with lots of computers in them, you have to keep learning,” he says.
So, if you need some help and advice on things you need to get done to your vehicles, follow the words of Paul Knudtson.
“You want to get things checked out before you have trouble during the winter,” he says. “It is better to do it now.”
And, he adds, he specializes in exhaust systems, so if that is an issue with your car or truck, stop in he will help you quiet that loud exhaust noise.