The guys at Kleckner’s Collision Center love cars and trucks.
“That’s what makes it more fun than work,” said Loren Arth as he seam-sealed a Jeep’s back panel before painting it.
The Jeep had been struck by a dump truck, which crushed the back end, Arth said. They’ve been working on the vehicle for about two weeks and are ready to paint it so that it will look brand-new.
Earl Kleckner started his body shop business 42 years ago in a small garage on North Second Street in downtown Danville, KY.
He built a much larger, safer and environmentally friendly garage about 14 years ago on Thoroughbred Drive off of Perryville Road and now has three professional technicians working with him to repair and paint damaged vehicles.
On March 4, a massive pickup truck used to haul cattle was nearly ready to be driven out the door after extensive repair work was done. Thanks to the expert talents of Wayne VonLinger and Arth, the truck will be better than ever, Kleckner said.
The entire interior had to be removed along with the bed and all the doors so that repairs could be assessed and made.
As VonLinger lay on the concrete floor attaching a running board, he said as he’s gotten older, he can still do the work; “it just takes a little longer.”
Kleckner made a final alignment inspection and explained how the new bed had been placed on the truck. He made sure everything was aligned perfectly and demonstrated just how gently the tailgate could shut without slamming it.
“It’s a perfect fit,” he said proudly.
Kleckner said Arth is “an exemplary painter” and VonLinger is excellent with heavy mechanical work. They make a great team, Kleckner said.
Kleckner’s son, who’s also named Earl, is new to the business. He has a degree in communications, but he’s learning the body shop business, especially working with customers, suppliers and insurance adjusters and how to handle lots of paperwork, his father said.
Traditionally, late winter is a slow time around the shop, Kleckner said. “A lot of people like to wait until spring to repair damage from the winter.”