Diamond Certified

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Frequently Asked Questions
Solano County Auto Repair FAQ

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Auto Repair Shop?
A: We end the guessing game by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Most companies can’t pass, so only local auto repair shops rated Highest in Quality earn the Diamond Certified award. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with in-depth and ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified auto repair shop for your vehicle repairs.

Q: What rights do I have as a consumer in Solano County when it comes to automotive repair?
A: The Automotive Repair Act of 1974 entitles all customers to a written estimate for all repair work, detailed invoices that list work done and parts supplied, and the return of the old auto parts if customers request their return when placing the work order. For more information, visit the Bureau of Auto Repair website.

Q: Is it a good idea to choose an auto repair shop that has certifications?
A: While certifications don’t guarantee you’ll get better repairs or better service at Solano County vehicle repair centers, they are often an indicator of how serious an auto repair shop is about satisfying customers and performing reliable repairs. Certifications such as ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) and memberships in automotive service organizations show that the car mechanics have sought and attained a higher level of professionalism.
Q: What are OEM auto parts?
A: OEM parts are made by the same manufacturer that produced the original auto parts in your vehicle. Most automobile manufacturers do not make auto parts, instead they rely on outside companies to design and produce the parts. After a certain time, these OEM parts are available for resale through wholesale distributors. Once available through auto part wholesalers in Solano County, OEM parts are often much less expensive than when sold through the dealer.

Q: What are aftermarket auto parts?
A: Aftermarket parts are not produced by the original parts manufacturer, but they are made to perform and fit like the original parts. Aftermarket parts may look or feel different than original parts since they’re manufactured on different equipment. Because of this, aftermarket parts are often less expensive than OEM parts. Some auto repair shops in Dixon, Vallejo, Suisun City and other areas of Solano County use aftermarket parts to lower the price of their repairs, so it’s important to ask your car mechanic what type of parts they’re installing. However, some aftermarket parts have been redesigned to fit or function even better than OEM parts, so your auto repair shop may recommend them as an alternative based on functionality rather than low price.

Q: Is there a good reason to request OEM parts instead of aftermarket auto parts?
A: Because aftermarket parts are often cheaper than OEM parts, some auto repair garages in Solano County install them to make car repairs less expensive. However, some aftermarket parts aren’t the same quality as original manufacturer parts, so they can end up costing you money in the long run because you’ll have to repair or replace them sooner. And, if the aftermarket parts don’t fit correctly, they can even cause expensive damage to your vehicle. However, some aftermarket parts are designed to fit and function better than original parts. Your mechanic should be able to explain why they recommend the specific auto parts they do. If it’s to provide cheap auto repairs, you may be better off requesting OEM parts. But if it’s for better performance, aftermarket parts may be a wise choice.

Q: Is there a difference between independent auto repair shops and dealership repair shops in Solano County?
A: Where you take your vehicle for maintenance and repairs is a personal decision based on where you feel most comfortable and where your car receives the best repair service. However, there are differences between independent auto repair shops and dealerships located in Fairfield, Benicia and the rest of Solano County. Local independent repair shops have the freedom to use any brand or quality of parts they choose. They’re also able to install used or salvage parts based on the customers’ preferences. This, along with the fact that they usually have lower hourly rates for car repairs, can mean big savings.
However, dealerships may have an edge when it comes to training on newer makes and models, as their car repair technicians are usually trained in maintenance and repair methods months and even years before those classes are available to independent shops. Many newer cars are also still under warranty, meaning some repairs can be done for free at a dealership. In fact, in some cases, having warranty repairs done at an independent automotive repair shop can void any further warranties.

Q: Is it really important to take my car to a local repair shop for regularly scheduled maintenance? Isn’t that just a way for them to make more money?
A: It may seem that regularly scheduled maintenance is unnecessary, especially when your vehicle is running well. However, it’s the easiest and most cost-effective way to keep your car running and avoid expensive repairs in the future. Your car’s maintenance schedule should be listed in your owner’s manual, and your local Solano County auto repair shop can help you decide when your car is due for regular tune-ups and maintenance visits.

Q: Car repairs and routine maintenance are so expensive. Will I save money by going to a discount auto repair garage in Solano County?
A: While it may look like you’re saving money by going to a cheaper auto repair shop, keep in mind that margins are often tight for auto repairs and there are only a few ways shops can offer prices dramatically lower than the competition’s. They may install used or salvage parts instead of new OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts. They may also hire mechanics that aren’t certified or who are new to auto repair. This might make their rates seem lower in the short term, but you can end up having to replace parts sooner and can even cause lasting damage to your vehicle, costing you much more in repairs down the road. Some auto repair shops have even been known to advertise low hourly rates, but purposely take longer to repair your car, leaving you with a much higher bill than if you would have gone to a shop with more experienced technicians.