The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Wrenches and Wisdom: Belmont mechanics stand strong through a quarter-century

Alex Hall
Most cars only have a lifetime of about 10-14 years, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Driving down Belmont’s Old Country Road, building after building lie dozens of old auto shops, their tattered yards and flaked paint testifying to their age.

But inside these weathered exteriors lie something more profound: a continued existence of family legacies, all weathering past the throes of time.

Mechanics here have seen a generation of people come and go, some handing shops down to their children and others seeping into retirement.

Yet the shops still stand.

Meet two of the people behind them: Hassan Eghdami and Ned Batshon.

Both mechanics grew up with fathers in the business, becoming involved in the world of automotive repairs as children.

For Eghdami, the lead mechanic at his Shell Service Station, his journey into auto repair began in Iran at a young age.

“I started working on cars when I was around 13 or 14, back home in Iran,” Eghdami said.

During school, Eghdami studied mechanical engineering – but during summers out of class, Eghdami began to work at a local garage, changing tires and oil. Eghdami’s career as a mechanic had been sparked by his father, watching his father repair small bits and bobs from a large truck.

Slowly, Eghdami began to learn more and more about the workings of cars until he migrated to the US in 1999, when he bought the very auto shop he still works in today.

Batshon, owner of Five Star Auto Service of Belmont, also traces his roots to his father’s service station in the city.

Batshon’s father had been a mechanic his entire life, involving his children once he’d started a family.

“Me & my brother used to work with my father in the city on his service station when we were kids back in 1988, and we’ve been involved in the business ever since,” Batshon said.

Running a family-owned auto repair shop comes with its challenges, however, both mechanics have confronted failures in their decades-long experiences, from new technologies to dubious job markets.

One of the main problems that have developed, Eghdami notes, is increasingly long durations that cars have been developed to go without service over the years.

“In the old days, technologies weren’t that perfect – the cars weren’t running as clean and smooth as the cars are running right now,” Eghdami said.

And with the aftershocks of the pandemic compounding upon the current labor market, both business owners point out the struggle to find dedicated mechanics to work in their shops.

“The main problem right now, I think, is employees… at times, there’s not enough to keep up with the work,” Batshon said.

In Eghdami’s shop, he notes that several of his employees were trained from scratch by him, some having worked with him for a decade or more.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has faced the job market issue multiple times throughout his career, trying to solve this very problem.

“State-Level U.S. Labor Market: Supply and Demand” by The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, used under CC-BY. Sourced from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

“Looking back, we can see that a significant and persistent labor supply shortfall opened up during the pandemic—a shortfall that appears unlikely to fully close anytime soon,” Powell said.

However, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently points towards a rebalancing of the supply and demand of the labor market as the years pass.

“As labor market tightness has eased and inflation has declined, the risks to achieving our employment and inflation goals have moved toward better balance,” Powell said.

Electric cars and increasing amounts of technology in vehicles have also introduced new complexities for the shops.

“It’s not how it used to be. Back in the day – cars were easier to work on. Nowadays, they’re real tough. We need computers and scanners, you know. The equipment isn’t cheap, either,” Batshon said.

But despite these challenges, the two have remained committed to their work.

“Sometimes it takes six, seven hours of diagnosis until we find the problem. But I still like the challenge,” Eghdami said.

Having worked for so long in their respective businesses, Eghdami and Ratshon are stewards of not only a business, but also a family of employees.

“We’ll go out for dinner once in a while, maybe do some activities together. Even then, we’ll go and buy lunch together or even, after work, kick back and BS for a half hour or so. You need to keep up morale, you know?” Ratshon said.

Among the challenges and triumphs of running their family-owned auto repair shops, Hassan Eghdami and Ned Batshon embody a sort of spirit for the mechanic, one of perseverance and dedication.

“I just love helping people. I always encourage people that if you want to do something, just give it your all. I’ve learned a lot over the years… it’s been a good experience,” Batshon said.

In both of their sentiments, both Batshon and Eghdami highlight their continuation of a lesser-known role of the mechanic – the responsibility of not simply making a difference in the car, but also in people’s lives.

“The job of the mechanic is not only to repair, but also to educate the customers. I’ve been right here for 25 years,” Eghdami said.

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About the Contributor
Alex Hall
Alex Hall, Staff Writer
Alex Hall: The man, the myth, the legend (in progress). Alex (Class of 2026) covers news in Carlmont Journalism, enjoys programming, and is a proud Carlmont Robotics member. You'll find him complaining about Spanish or "expanding his horizons" on the internet. He loves taking pictures of local flora, although he might run away if you catch him.

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