KAMLOOPS – When your heavy equipment is also your livelihood, or your personal vehicle requires care, you only trust experts to handle your service needs.
Thus, the greatest endorsement Southgate Radiator and Auto Service has is 28 years of keeping the region’s heavy equipment, trucks, and personal vehicles on the road. Southgate provides radiator service and manufacturing throughout south-central BC from Kamloops north to Williams Lake, southwest to Princeton, and east to Golden – plus all points in-between.
For truckers and heavy equipment operators, the company is a trusted resource able to service radiators and repair air conditioning systems. Stuart McDonald, a ticketed radiator and air conditioning tradesman who founded the company in 1992, is now passing his 40 years of cooling system and mechanical expertise to the dedicated staff and to new owner Steve Wanless.
Earlier this year Wanless moved from customer to owner, based on his own positive experience with Southgate. As owner of CheckMate Fire Prevention Inc. in Kamloops, he uses Southgate to service his fleet of 10 trucks.
“CheckMate was so happy with the service that I bought the company,” he said. It was also a good fit because his company served the same industrial, mining and forestry clients as Southgate.
He is expanding the reach of the business. While continuing to service the big rigs and provide fleet maintenance, Southgate’s automotive service division is backed by a 12-month, 20,000 km warranty. Added bonuses for Southgate clients are a year of roadside assistance and, for major repairs, financing available through Fairstone.
Core Business Built on Custom and Big Rig Radiator Servicing Kamloops and Beyond
Southgate offers regular vehicle maintenance plus repairs and replacements for every driveline component of your vehicle, from tires to transmissions to engine and drivetrain Another popular service, especially in Kamloops over the summer, is expert repairs to air conditioning.
All of this occurs in Southgate’s 5500 square foot shop or through the company’s mobile service truck. The company employs 12 people, including two qualified journeyman mechanics.
“We are a full automotive repair shop,” said Service Manager Cal Siemens, who has been in the industry for 21 years.
Southgate’s core expertise is designing and installing custom radiators. Custom radiator systems are is a key service for large heavy equipment from dozers to haul trucks, who often need more than off-the-shelf solutions.
“In some cases, we build a much better custom radiator that is designed to serve the specific needs of that work environment,” Stuart said. The company has an estimated 200 to 300 clients for its radiator repair and replacement division.
For industrial vehicles, repair and customization of radiators continues to be essential because the cost of buying a new radiator can far exceed the repair cost.
Southgate can offer the same customized radiator systems for personal vehicles, which is a unique option because so many radiator shops have vanished in the last decade, driven out of business by plug-and-play radiator replacement.
Shop founder Stuart watched the radiator shops vanish. At one point, he said, there was a radiator shop in almost every community. Now there are fewer than 200 and only four in south central B.C.
“The next rad shop between here and Prince George is in Prince George,” he said.
Although he has sold the business, Stuart still shows up two or three days a week. He is a valued resource for the team, continuing to coach and pass on his specialized knowledge and decades of experience. Presently Southgate has two journeyman automotive mechanics, two radiator technicians, and a trainee as well as a mobile air conditioning tech.
One reason Stuart appreciates Steve as the new owner was because of Steve’s commitment to maintaining Southgate’s standards. “Steve’s plan, going forward, was to keep everyone employed, take care of the customers, and make sure the employee and customer relationship was maintained,” Stuart said.
Steve’s focus is also on the customers, many of whom have supported Southgate for decades. “We have a great group of automotive customers. They have supported this company for the past 28 years and are continuing to support us going forward.”