Mapleton entrepreneur opens automotive care business

1 year ago

MAPLETON, Maine — What started as a hobby for Logan Huoppi has turned into a business dedicated to helping people keep their vehicles in good repair.

The Mapleton resident opened Huoppi’s Undercoating LLC earlier this month, and is the only service in the area with a focus on undercoating.

Huoppi thinks it is better to prolong a vehicle’s life by preventing problems rather than purchasing a new one when something goes wrong, especially since vehicle prices continue to rise.  

“In my opinion, especially now, vehicles are very expensive, so to me it’s a relatively cheap and preventative maintenance item that can help keep your vehicle on the road for a longer duration,” Huoppi said.

The undercoating Huoppi uses is a biodegradable lanolin spray derived from sheep’s wool, which makes it easier on the environment, he said.

He thinks a dedicated undercoating and detailing service is something the area needs, particularly with the liquid calcium salt used on the roads during the winter.

“There’s a lot of harsh chemicals that they put out on the roads nowadays. It used to be just rock salt they would put [on the road], but now it’s a brine with calcium and other stuff that literally eats away at everything,” Huoppi said.

For now, Huoppi is the shop’s sole employee, but may hire an additional employee as the business grows.

Last year, Huoppi serviced 14 vehicles from his home in Mapleton. Since opening he has serviced sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, but can also handle cars, trailers and company vehicles.

Eventually vehicles will rust, and undercoating can prolong their life, he said, adding that owners should have their vehicles serviced every year for proper maintenance.

After washing a vehicle with a hose, Huoppi waits for it to dry before tackling the undercoating spray job. 

Once the coating is set, he advises owners to drive the vehicle down a dusty road to forge a protective layer over the undercoating spray job. Huoppi recommends drivers wash their vehicles during the winter, but not with a pressure washer because it will peel the protective layer off the undercarriage, he said.

A vehicle that may have 100,000 miles on it can still benefit from an undercoating, he said. 

Huoppi’s Undercoating also offers interior and exterior detailing.

“To me it’s something I feel passionate about because I personally don’t want to go out and buy a vehicle every five or six years,” Huoppi said. “I am one of the people who keeps up with the general upkeep of a vehicle and maintains it for as long as I can.”