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OnlineMechanix: schedule car maintenance online, “like OpenTable for auto repair”

It started with a busy signal. John Formento, Jr. was trying to schedule a car inspection but he couldn’t get through to his repair shop. When he finally got through, he thought, wouldn’t it be easier if you could just do this online? You wouldn’t have to deal with a busy signal and mechanics wouldn’t […]

It started with a busy signal.

John Formento, Jr. was trying to schedule a car inspection but he couldn’t get through to his repair shop. When he finally got through, he thought, wouldn’t it be easier if you could just do this online? You wouldn’t have to deal with a busy signal and mechanics wouldn’t need to stop working to pick up the ringing phone.

So Formento, along with his father and a former Microsoft employee, started OnlineMechanix. Formento, 23, describes it as “OpenTable for auto repair.”

Launched this past April, it’s aiming to be exactly that.

You can schedule an appointment with any OnlineMechanix-affiliated repair shop. The startup is based in Oaks, Pa., where Formento and his father live, but Formento says it’s got member repair shops in 13 states and more than 10 cities, including Philadelphia.

Right now, many bigger name shops, like Pep Boys, allow you to schedule appointments online, but your neighborhood shop might not offer that feature, or even have a website.

OnlineMechanix will also store all your maintenance records if you create an account.

A former NextDocs intern, Formento grew up in the Philly suburbs. He graduated last year from Schreyer Honors College at Penn State with a degree in business administration and marketing. His father, John Formento, Sr., previously worked in business development for companies that sold software to the pharmaceutical industry.

And, we asked Formento, be honest: What it’s like working with your dad?

No dirt here. It’s great, he said, we’re more like best friends than father and son.

For more, check OnlineMechanix out on the Montgomery County Times Herald.

Previously on Technically PhillyYourMech.com: connecting car owners and mechanics for discounted repairs

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technical.ly Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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