About O’Brien Tire & Auto Care
Route 66's Oldest-Running Auto Repair Shop
The O’Brien Tire and Auto Care Story
Just like many businesses along Route 66, O’Brien Tire and Auto Care started out as a dream, and for the last 90 years the owners still keep a small, old fashioned service approach. With so many travelers driving the Mother Road in days gone by, it was clear that they needed a trusted, reliable mechanic and service station to help provide repairs, big and small. For the Illinois stretch of Route 66, O’Brien Tire and Auto Care was their beacon.
From Humble Beginnings to Today
Built long before the 1920s, the service station (or garage as they were called back then) was ran by Klug brothers and then was subsequently purchased on St Patrick’s Day in 1932 by an Irishman named James O’Brien. It seemed only fitting that over the years the business keep its namesake as homage to its history even though, 50 years later, it remains owned by the Buenger family. Although the business has been through only 3 different owners over the years, it has maintained its historic identity as the go-to service station and tire shop on this stretch of the Route.
A Reminder of Simpler Times
Part of the aesthetic and appeal of O’Brien Tire & Auto Care and other small businesses on historic Route 66 is how they remind us of simpler times. Back before the world seemed to move so fast--with countless distractions separating us from what really mattered--travelers hopped in their cars and jetted along the paved Route as a family road trip to see this beautiful country without a care in their mind. From Chicago to the Pacific Coast Highway in California, historic Route 66 connected America and brought people from the heartland to the coastal beaches together.
One of the Original Mom and Pop Shops
Long before big box stores and national chains, small mom and pop shops were king. There was always something different about the experience of going to a shop like O’Brien Tire and Auto Care. You didn’t feel like you were getting the same canned customer service or lesser quality work. Instead, you could trust that the person working on your car really cared about doing the job well… and doing it right! There was a sense of pride that was there, and it showed in the results. O’Brien Tire and Auto Care is proud to still be the “standard bearer” along the Route for the last 90 years and to continue the legacy pushing onward.
From the early days of the Klug brothers, to the 21 years with James O’Brien, to the next 15 years with Alvin Bruce Marler, to the now 50 years plus the Buenger family has kept the business moving along, the fast, friendly, reliable service and family-oriented customer service is what has made O’Brien Tire and Auto Care different than any other “garage”, including the expansion of national auto service centers, as well. While many mom and pop businesses have been unable to compete with these national chain stores, O’Brien Tire and Auto Care has stood tall in the face of their challenges by continuing to do what it does best: Treat customers like family and provide fast, friendly, reliable service.
A Legacy Still Honored Today
It’s this dedication to service and quality work that has served O’Brien Tire and Auto Care well over the years. They’ve established a reputation few auto shops along the entirety of Route 66 have enjoyed, and it is why they’re the longest-running auto repair on Route 66. Today, they are bigger and offer many more services than they originally did back in 1920s and are well-equipped to handle any of your auto repair needs. Whether you need an oil change, some routine maintenance, a major repair, or tire service, they have you covered from bumper to boot.
Not only is O’Brien Tire and Auto Care the longest-running auto repair on Route 66, it holds another distinction as the only “Triple Crown” auto facility in Metro-East St. Louis. This means that they are not only a AAA-approved auto repair facility, but they are also a TechNet Auto Care Center. Lest not to be overshadowed by these 2 distinctions, another hallmark is they provide their customers with the best nationwide warranty on repairs available that will keep you safe on the road.
Come See the Shop!
Since the 1920s, the O’Brien Tire and Auto Care business has grown extensively, with several expansions over the years, as a testament to its investment in the community. Starting as a garage and gas station, it evolved from an appliance and tire store to the 4-bay auto repair service center / 3- bay tire shop / roadside service business you see today. Come inside and see the shop for yourself, an enjoyable, relaxing step back in time. Say “hello,” we’re happy to have you. Just look for biggest tire along Route 66 and you’ll find us!
Best Fix on Route 66
O’Brien Tire & Auto Care is a locally owned and operated automotive service center. We strive to deliver quality products to our customers. For auto repairs or new tires, come see us in person or request a quote online. We are the only “Triple Crown” facility in the Metro-East, being a AAA-approved auto repair facility and a TechNet Auto Care Center with ASE mechanics on staff.
As a TechNet Professional Automotive Service® provider, we offer a 36-month/36,000 mile nationwide warranty on parts for qualifying services and a 24-month/24,000 mile nationwide warranty on labor for qualifying services. Talk with a member of our team for terms and conditions.