Marin – Auto Repair

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70 Gate 5 Road
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 484-5469

Serving all of Marin County including Mill Valley, San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, Corte Madera, Belvedere, Tiburon, Larkspur and Fairfax.

Services include minor & major auto repair, smog testing & repairs, electrical system testing, diagnostics and engine repairs. Brands include Chevy, Pontiac and Ford...
License 224398 | DCID4153325460
123 Jordan Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 690-7955

Serving all of Marin County including San Rafael, Novato, Mill Valley, San Anselmo, Larkspur, Corte Madera, Tiburon, Sausalito, Fairfax and Ross.

Services include Brakes, Domestic, Foreign, Maintenance, Repair, Smog Certification. Brands include .
License 192161 | DCID4154531262
48 Front Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 347-5928

Serving all of Marin County including Mill Valley, San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, Corte Madera, Belvedere, Tiburon, Larkspur and Fairfax.

Services include engines, general repair, maintenance, smog certification and transmissions. Brands include Toyota, Honda and Acura...
License 176767 | DCID4152589376
7000 Redwood Blvd
Novato, CA 94945
(415) 754-3969

Serving all of Marin County including Mill Valley, San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, Corte Madera, Belvedere, Tiburon, Larkspur and Fairfax.

Services include Brakes, Computer Diagnostics, Digital Wheel Alignment, Electrical Repair, Exhaust System Repair, Factory-Scheduled Maintenance, Mufflers, Shocks & Struts, Steering & Suspension, Tires. Brands include CarQuest, Napa,...
License 184645 | DCID4158981700
781 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
San Anselmo, CA 94960
(415) 493-8926

Serving all of Marin County including Mill Valley, San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, Corte Madera, Belvedere, Tiburon, Larkspur and Fairfax.

Services include brakes, electrical, maintenance starters, transmission, tires, charging systems, engine repair, smog checks, auspension, tune-ups and alignment. Brands include AC Delco, Behr, Bosch, Motorcraft...
License 194315 | DCID4154535801
68 Woodland Avenue, Suite B
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 742-1964

Serving all of Marin County including San Rafael, Novato, Mill Valley, San Anselmo, Larkspur, Corte Madera, Tiburon, Sausalito, Fairfax and Ross.

Services include Auto Repair & Maintenance, Brake Work, Computer Diagnostics, Engine & Cooling System Overhauls, Engine Tune-Ups, Suspension Repair. Brands include .
License 212982 | DCID4154592273
55 Lovell Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 742-1934

Serving all of Marin County including San Rafael, Novato, Mill Valley, San Anselmo, Larkspur, Corte Madera, Tiburon, Sausalito, Fairfax and Ross.

Services include vehicle inspections, car repairs, mechanical repairs, brakes, headlight replacement and engine repair. Brands include Toyota, GM, Dodge, GMC and VW...
License 162641 | DCID4154576050
Map of these Diamond Certified companies
Cities: Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, Sausalito, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Tiburon
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Researched Articles
Why Trust Diamond Certified Auto Repair Shops Rated Highest in Quality?
Vehicles on lifts being repaired in a clean, organized auto repair shop.

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose an auto repair shop that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified automotive repair center. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated auto repair service and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you'll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you'll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

How to Choose
How to Find a Good Marin County Auto Repair Shop You Trust

We depend on our cars and trucks to get us where we need to go. And because we rely so heavily on our vehicles, car trouble is a stressful inconvenience we all want to avoid. Choosing a good Marin County auto repair shop will give you peace of mind and get your car back on the road in no time.
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We depend on our cars and trucks to get us where we need to go. And because we rely so heavily on our vehicles, car trouble is a stressful inconvenience we all want to avoid. Choosing a good Marin County auto repair shop will give you peace of mind and get your car back on the road in no time.

There are many vehicle repair centers in the North Bay to choose from, including auto repair shops that serve the major cities of San Rafael, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo and Larkspur, as well as all the smaller towns of Ross, Belvedere, Stinson Beach, Terra Linda, Greenbrae and Bel Marin Keys.

So how do you choose the shop that’s right for you and your car?

Research and correct information are key. Read the following articles to find out how you can be confident in your choice of a good car repair shop in Marin County.

Look for Licensed Car Mechanics in Marin County
Not all auto repair mechanics are the same. They have different skills, experience and personal approaches to auto repair. It’s your right to choose a qualified, honest auto repair shop in Marin County that will repair your car, truck, van or minivan correctly and keep it running well over the long-term.

All auto repair shops operating in California and Marin County must be licensed by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair. Consumers can the license and complaint status of local auto repair shops by visiting the Bureau of Auto Repair web site. Any violations, consumer complaints and disciplinary actions appear on a shop’s license.

Diamond Certified companies have already been thoroughly vetted for you, including license verification. But if you’re unable to choose a Diamond Certified car mechanic in your area of Marin County, you’ll have to do the research yourself.

Marin County automotive technicians in San Rafael, Larkspur, San Anselmo, Mill Valley, Tiburon and Novato who have earned certifications such as Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and completed advanced auto repair training may be better able to repair and maintain your vehicle according to the manufacturer’s specifications. That’s because shops and certified car mechanics have taken courses and passed examinations proving they have knowledge and skill other mechanics may not.

There are even green auto repair shops in Marin County. These vehicle repair facilities have completed courses and earned certification as environmentally responsible auto maintenance services. If these credentials are important to you, ask the auto repair shops in your area for a list of industry recognition and qualifications they’ve attained.

Find Auto Repair Shops that Offer the Repairs Your Car Needs in the Marin County Cities of San Rafael, Novato, Mill Valley, San Anselmo, Larkspur, Corte Madera, Tiburon, Sausalito and Fairfax
Some auto mechanics in Marin County are specialty repair shops that specialize in specific makes and models, while others offer general service for all common brands of vehicles. If you have a rare or specialized vehicle, it may be wise to hire auto repair shops in the larger cities of Sausalito, San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, Mill Valley, Larkspur or your area of Marin County that exclusively service your vehicle make. However, general auto repair facilities should have the correct tools, equipment and know-how to maintain and repair any make of vehicle they claim to service.

While researching auto repair shops in Marin County, you’ll also want to consider what type of car replacement parts each shop installs. Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM auto parts are manufactured by the same companies that build original parts, so they’re guaranteed to fit exactly. OEM parts may be higher quality parts than aftermarket parts, which are built to serve the same function as OEM parts, but usually cost less. Some discount auto repair shops in Marin County sell used, refurbished, reconditioned and salvaged auto parts. While these used car parts may be cheap, the shops usually won’t guarantee them.

If possible, visit auto repair facilities before dropping off your vehicle. Your first impression of an auto repair shop can tell you a lot about the people and the business. While you shouldn’t expect Marin County automotive repair shops to be spotless, most good mechanics take pride in presenting a neat and well-organized appearance, modern equipment and policies posted regarding rates and guarantees.

It’s also important to look for auto repair shops with staff that clearly care about their customers. You’ll find courteous, helpful, attentive, staff at good auto repair shops who are able to answer your questions. Many customers also want a convenient location so they don’t have to drive a long distance between their home and auto mechanic, especially if they’re having car trouble.

If you live in the smaller Marin County cities of Olema, Point Reyes Station, San Geronimo, Santa Venetia, Sleepy Hollow, Ignacio or Dogtown, you may not find a local auto repair shop you can call. Luckily, most shops have the ability to tow in vehicles, so car shops in larger cities can provide auto repairs so you aren’t left stranded. For example, auto repair shops in the San Rafael area of Marin County can also serve customers in Strawberry Point, Tomales, Muir Beach, Mission Rafael, Marshall and Dillon Beach.

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Know What You Want
Know What Auto Repair Services You Want from Local Vehicle Repair Shops in Marin County

It’s important to pinpoint what you want in a mechanic before you start looking for an auto repair shop in Marin County. If you're unsatisfied with your current auto repair facility and need a new car mechanic, ask yourself what it is you are unhappy with. Is it the service, the quality of the car repairs, difficulty in scheduling, or something else? Knowing exactly why you’re dissatisfied with in your previous shop will help you find a new auto mechanic that has all the qualities you’re looking for....

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It’s important to pinpoint what you want in a mechanic before you start looking for an auto repair shop in Marin County. If you're unsatisfied with your current auto repair facility and need a new car mechanic, ask yourself what it is you are unhappy with. Is it the service, the quality of the car repairs, difficulty in scheduling, or something else? Knowing exactly why you’re dissatisfied with in your previous shop will help you find a new auto mechanic that has all the qualities you’re looking for. You’ll have a better idea of what questions to ask to ensure your next shop is better than the last. You’ll also be aware of what can go wrong, so you’ll know to seek shops that offer high quality auto repairs rather than cut-rate services that leave you discontented.

If you’re experiencing car problems and need to have your vehicle checked by a good auto repair shop in Marin County, you’re wise to take note of exactly what you’re experiencing and when it happens. That way, you’ll be able to gauge each technician’s response and decide which shop is best suited to handle your vehicle repairs.
Pay special attention to these questions:

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • What is the exact car problem you’re experiencing? (Faulty engine sensor, catalytic converter problems, check engine light, car battery problems, etc.)
  • Does the vehicle pull to one side or do you feel vibrations when you drive?
  • How long has the car problem been occurring? Is the problem intermittent or constant?
  • When does the problem happen?
  • Do you have to add fluids more often than usual? If so, which fluids—engine oil, automatic transmission fluid, anti-freeze or engine coolant, brake fluid, washer fluid or differential fluid?
  • Has your vehicle’s performance decreased?
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What to Ask on the Phone
Questions to Ask Marin County Car Repair Mechanics on the Phone

Before you drop off your car, truck or van at a Marin County auto repair shop or have it towed in for repairs, call the shop to verify that they offer the repair services or auto diagnostics you need. It’s wise to have a list of questions prepared and to write down the answers the auto technicians give you while you’re talking to them. Use the following questions:...

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Before you drop off your car, truck or van at a Marin County auto repair shop or have it towed in for repairs, call the shop to verify that they offer the repair services or auto diagnostics you need. It’s wise to have a list of questions prepared and to write down the answers the auto technicians give you while you’re talking to them. Use the following questions:

  • Has your auto repair shop earned and maintained a Diamond Certified rating?
  • Does your car repair shop specialize in the car repairs my vehicle needs (auto electrical repairs, routine maintenance, car engine repair, auto brake repairs, transmission repair)?
  • How often do you repair vehicles that are a similar make and model to mine (i.e. Ford, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, etc.)?
  • Are your mechanics and auto repair technicians certified?
  • Is this a common car problem for my vehicle make and model?
  • What kind of replacement auto parts do you use? (OEM / Original Equipment Manufacturer parts, used parts or salvaged parts?)
  • Will you guarantee salvaged car parts or used auto parts, if you use them?
  • Will your Marin County automotive repair shop honor manufacturer warranties currently covering my vehicle?
  • Will the car repairs affect my manufacturer's warranty? What can I do to make sure the warranty stays in place?
  • Will you give me a written, itemized estimate?
  • How do you charge for auto repairs? (i.e., Time and materials or flat fee pricing?)
  • What guarantees do you offer on car repairs done in your facility?
  • Are there any auto repair warranty exceptions I should know of?
  • I live in _____ (San Rafael, Novato, Fairfax, San Anselmo, Corte Madera, Sausalito, Mill Valley, etc.). Do you offer courtesy cars or rental vehicles?
  • How long has your car repair shop been operating in Marin County?
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What to Ask in Person
What to Ask Marin County Auto Repair Mechanics In Person

The next step is to interview local car shops in Larkspur, Corte Madera, Tiburon, Novato, Sausalito and other areas of Marin County. Questions you may want to ask include:...

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The next step is to interview local car shops in Larkspur, Corte Madera, Tiburon, Novato, Sausalito and other areas of Marin County. Questions you may want to ask include:

  • How long will it take to complete my repairs?
  • Will my vehicle be stored inside the shop or outside while it’s on your premises? If it’s stored outside, what steps does your shop take to guarantee its safety?
  • If my vehicle needs additional repairs you cannot do (body damage repair, auto electrical wiring, auto warranty work, auto glass repair), will you coordinate with other Marin County auto repair shops to have the repairs done?
  • Will you warranty the repairs those other shops perform, or will they be responsible to provide any warranties?
  • What contact information do you have on file for me? What else do you need in order to reach me with updates about my auto repairs?
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What to Ask References
Learn from Previous Marin County Auto Repair Customers

How can you know that auto repair facilities in Marin County will live up to their word? That’s where independent research and scientific surveys come in. All Diamond Certified auto repair shops have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t.
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How can you know that auto repair facilities in Marin County will live up to their word? That’s where independent research and scientific surveys come in. All Diamond Certified auto repair shops have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t.

If you want quality vehicle repairs from an auto shop in Marin County, you’ll have confidence when choosing a Diamond Certified company. You can read detailed Diamond Certified reports on all certified companies, including verbatim survey responses. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews because all research is carried out by live telephone interviews of a large, random sample of real customers.

If you can’t find a Diamond Certified car repair shop within reach, you'll need to conduct some research of your own. Even if you’re in a hurry, it is still a good idea to check references. If you do, good auto repair shops in Marin County should be willing to give you a list of recent customers you can call. Keep in mind, though, that references provided by the shops are not equal in value to the large random sample of previous customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references are often cherry-picked, not randomly selected from all company customers, so many shops will likely give you a the numbers of a few satisfied customers.
 

To avoid this, specifically ask for a list of their 10 most recent customers and call them. Ask general questions about their experience with the shop’s personnel as well as specific questions about the car repairs they had done and the outcome.

Sample questions you might want to ask include:

  • What car repairs did _(auto repair shop name_) do on your vehicle?
  • Were you satisfied with the automotive repairs from this Marin County auto repair shop?
  • Was your auto shop willing to tow your car or truck to their auto repair garage if you live out of town or in a smaller town such as Almonte, Nicasio, San Quentin, Sleepy Hollow, Tamalpais Valley, Woodacre or in the rural North Bay area,?
  • Were you pleased with the auto repair shop’s turn-around time?
  • Did the mechanics and service writers listen to and communicate well with you?
  • Was the price fair for the auto repairs you had done? Did it reflect the estimate the auto repair center initially provided you?
  • What did you like best about this Marin County auto repair shop?
  • Would you go back to this car repair facility if your vehicle needs additional work in the future?
  • Would you recommend this auto repair garage?
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Review Your Options
Find Good Auto Repair Services in Marin County

When your car breaks down unexpectedly, you can feel pressured to choose the nearest auto repair shop in Marin County, regardless if it’s the shop you feel most comfortable with. That’s why it’s a good idea to find a trustworthy auto repair shop before you need one.
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When your car breaks down unexpectedly, you can feel pressured to choose the nearest auto repair shop in Marin County, regardless if it’s the shop you feel most comfortable with. That’s why it’s a good idea to find a trustworthy auto repair shop before you need one.

Additionally, having a good relationship with a local automobile repair shop you trust will give you confidence when you need car repairs in a hurry. Start by researching and visiting good auto repair shops in Marin County for simple repairs and preventative maintenance. Get to know the car mechanics and build a working relationship with them so that you’ll trust them with more expensive and unexpected repairs in the future.

Try to go to the same shop for all routine maintenance services and minor repairs. That way, the auto mechanics can keep a record of your vehicle repair services, so you aren’t wasting money on repairs and scheduled maintenance items before they’re needed.

To choose the best shop for you, review the notes from your telephone and in-person interviews with local auto repair technicians and determine if one Marin County auto shop stands out from the rest. Ask the following questions to narrow down your choices to the car repair shop that most closely matches your expectations:

  • Can one of the Marin County auto repair shops you interviewed satisfy your requirements for scheduling repairs, types of car repairs needed, auto part preferences (OEM parts or aftermarket auto parts) and customer service?
  • Does car repair shop staff communicate clearly regarding needed repairs and why they’re required?
  • Is it as important to the vehicle repair shop as it is to you to safely and quickly get your car repaired?
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How to Work With
How to Get Accurate Auto Repair Estimates From Marin County Car Repair Shops

Emergency car repairs don’t have to be a major setback. Once you’ve found a local Marin County auto repair shop you trust for regular maintenance, that should give you peace of mind even for emergency car repairs.
When getting car repair estimates, you’ll first want to meet with the shop’s service writer and explain what the problem is. Bring your written list of the car trouble you’re experiencing so you can accurately describe your concerns. Be as detailed as possible.
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Emergency car repairs don’t have to be a major setback. Once you’ve found a local Marin County auto repair shop you trust for regular maintenance, that should give you peace of mind even for emergency car repairs.
When getting car repair estimates, you’ll first want to meet with the shop’s service writer and explain what the problem is. Bring your written list of the car trouble you’re experiencing so you can accurately describe your concerns. Be as detailed as possible.

It’s important to answer the auto shop staff’s questions and listen to their suggestions and observations, just as it’s important for them to listen to you. Ask for an explanation if you don’t understand what the repair shop representative is suggesting or if they’re using terms you aren’t familiar with. Remember, the mechanic and service writer should never rush you. You should completely grasp the problem and solution before you sign any agreement or leave your vehicle at the shop.

By law, auto repair shops must provide written auto repair estimates before the work begins. Estimates must include the total (estimated) cost for parts and labor, an itemized list of all parts needed and a description of the method of repair. Never sign a blank work order.

Sometimes a thorough diagnosis is needed before a shop can give you an accurate estimate. In this case, the estimate you sign may only include the cost of the car repair diagnostics and labor. However, if the actual auto repair costs end up being more than the original estimate, the technicians must contact you before they move ahead with the repairs.

Sign an Auto Repair Contract with the Marin County Car Mechanics
Only when you’re satisfied with the information your Marin County repair shop has given you and all your questions are answered should you sign the estimate and service agreement. The shop must get your approval for any additional repairs or if the actual repair costs exceed the estimate. It can slow down or even stop progress on your repairs if the service writer can’t reach you, so verify that your repair shop has a phone number where they can reach you at all times.

It’s your legal right to have old auto parts returned to you. You simply have to ask for them when the auto repair shop is writing up the initial service request. Most mechanics in Marin County, including those in the larger cities of San Rafael, San Anselmo, Novato, Mill Valley and Larkspur will allow you to see the damaged auto parts once they’ve identified the problem. If the shop you’re considering tells you this isn’t possible, you may want to ask them to explain why or reconsider choosing that shop. Understand that mechanics may need to return to the supplier parts that are under warranty, so they may not be able to return them to you, but you still have the right to see them.

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Be a Good Customer
Simple Ways You Can Be a Good Auto Repair Shop Customer in Marin County

It's your auto repair shop's responsibility to perform accurate and careful automobile repairs. But you play a big part in the success of your car’s repair too. Take these easy steps to be a good customer when dropping off your minivan, van, truck or car at local auto repair shops in Marin County:...

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It's your auto repair shop's responsibility to perform accurate and careful automobile repairs. But you play a big part in the success of your car’s repair too. Take these easy steps to be a good customer when dropping off your minivan, van, truck or car at local auto repair shops in Marin County:

  • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way.
  • Carefully explain to the auto repair representative the problem you’re experiencing, what outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy you.
  • Before you leave your car, truck or van at the Marin County auto repair shop you’ve chosen, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local auto repair shops are due to miscommunication, so you can avoid most conflicts by being clear about the expectations you and the auto repair shop have.
  • Be sure your service writer has a working phone number where they can reach you at all times while your car or truck is in for repairs. Ask your service writer whether they will call you with vehicle repair updates or if you should call them.
  • Return calls right away when your auto shop contacts you,.
  • Pay for the car repairs promptly.
  • Why would you want to take steps to be a good auto repair shop customer? Car repair shops in Marin County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship and may help your repairs go smoother and more easily resolve any problems.
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Check the Work
Check Completed Car Repairs Against the Written Invoice

When your auto repairs are completed, your mechanic is legally required to give you a written invoice that includes:...

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When your auto repairs are completed, your mechanic is legally required to give you a written invoice that includes:

  • The auto repair shop’s name, physical address and auto repair registration number.
  • A list of all work completed, including repairs covered under warranty.
  • An itemized list of all replacement parts. This list must also clearly state whether the replacement auto parts were new, used auto parts, salvaged car parts, reconditioned auto parts, or rebuilt parts.
  • The total cost for your auto repairs, including itemized labor charges.
  • Any hazardous waste disposal fees and the shop’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) number.
  • The vehicle’s odometer reading at drop off and pick up, if you asked for the confirmation of the numbers before signing the service agreement.

And remember, it’s your right to have any original car parts returned to you, but only if you asked for them when you signed the estimate before the repairs.

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Written Warranties
Insist on Written Warranties from Vehicle Repair Mechanics in Marin County

Confirm the warranties offered by the repair shop and the parts manufacturer before you pay for the work or remove your vehicle from the auto repair shop. Warranties can be voided and your ability to demand warranty coverage on repairs can be limited if you don’t confirm warranties before leaving the premises.

Not all auto repair shops guarantee their work, and they are not required to. However, those that do must give you a written warranty document including:...

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Confirm the warranties offered by the repair shop and the parts manufacturer before you pay for the work or remove your vehicle from the auto repair shop. Warranties can be voided and your ability to demand warranty coverage on repairs can be limited if you don’t confirm warranties before leaving the premises.

Not all auto repair shops guarantee their work, and they are not required to. However, those that do must give you a written warranty document including:

  • The repair facility name and physical business address.
  • Parts under warranty and the extent of coverage, including whether the shop will replace or repair failed parts or give you a refund in the event of auto parts failure.
  • Your responsibility in the case of product failure, including actions you must take in order to redeem the warranty.
  • How long the warranty is valid, if it expires on a specific day, or if it is prorated.
  • Whether the automotive repair warranty coverage is transferrable to a new owner if you sell the vehicle. And, if it is, what steps you need to take to transfer the warranty.
  • All exclusions must be explicitly stated.
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Top 10 Requests
Top Marin County Auto Repair Services

Car repair shops in Marin County provide all types of maintenance and automotive repair services. However, some repairs are more common than others. The following are the most familiar requests for local auto repair shops in Marin County, including those in Mill Valley, Larkspur, San Anselmo, San Rafael and Novato and the surrounding areas.

Routine Vehicle Maintenance ...

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Car repair shops in Marin County provide all types of maintenance and automotive repair services. However, some repairs are more common than others. The following are the most familiar requests for local auto repair shops in Marin County, including those in Mill Valley, Larkspur, San Anselmo, San Rafael and Novato and the surrounding areas.

Routine Vehicle Maintenance
Routine vehicle maintenance is the regular car check-up schedule recommended by vehicle manufacturers. Routine maintenance occurs at regular intervals and typically involves replacing air filters, fuel filters, cabin filters and spark plugs. Most car mechanics in Marin County will also check, flush and replace car fluids and ensure the auto engine, car exhaust and vehicle electrical systems are functioning properly. Routine vehicle maintenance checks are also known as a car tune up. Vehicle tune-ups can prevent expensive car repairs by fixing small issues before they become big problems.

Auto Electrical Repair
Auto electrical repairs become more common as vehicles become more computerized and complex. Most auto electrical repairs in Marin County are for alternator repairs. Vehicle starter repairs are also common. Experts recommend checking your entire auto electrical system every two years and whenever you experience drivability problems that may be electrical in nature.

Auto Engine Repair

Often signaled by a lit Check Engine light, vehicle engine problems can also present themselves as sputtering, choking, fast or rough idling, slow acceleration or the vehicle not starting even though the ignition turns over. Because there is such a range of engine problems that can cause these symptoms, few car owners attempt do-it-yourself engine repairs. There are automobile mechanics throughout Marin County that specialize in automotive engine repairs.

Auto Ignition System Repair

Automobile ignition system repairs include battery, starter and car ignition replacements. Starters and ignitions can be expensive, but they are necessary in order to guarantee your car will start reliably.

Auto Electrical Repair

Auto electrical problems can be as simple as blown fuses or burned-out headlights or as serious as electrical problems that keep you from safely driving your vehicle. Because these auto repairs demand special equipment, tools and repair methods, most auto electrical repairs are best left to automobile electrical repair technicians in Marin County.

Automobile Brake Repairs

Vehicle brake repairs are a common request made at local auto repair shops in Mill Valley, Fairfax, Sausalito and all throughout Marin County. This is because car brakes wear down with use. Most brake repairs are relatively inexpensive brake pad replacement. Because you rely on your car or truck brakes to stop your vehicle, brakes should be checked regularly. Bring your car in for brake inspections immediately if you experience any of these signs:

  • The brake pedal feels hard when you press it
  • Low or spongy-feeling brake pedal
  • The brake warning light stays on continuously
  • Squealing or grinding sounds when you brake

Vehicle Brake Replacement
Like brake repair, auto brake replacements are common car repairs in Marin County. Full brake replacements, including the brake disc, drum and rotor can be costly, but may be necessary if you’ve been driving with worn or damaged brakes that have warped or damaged the brake system.

Mobile Mechanic (Mobile Auto Repair)

Mobile mechanic shops in Marin County including those Belvedere-Tiburon, San Anselmo, Santa Venetia, Greenbrae, Fairfax and Corte Madera are increasingly popular. Instead of having vehicles towed to repair shops, many customers opt to have licensed mechanics come to them. Mobile auto repair services provide auto tune-ups, routine maintenance, auto electrical repairs and belt and hose replacement.

Auto Fuel System Repairs

Clogged fuel pumps are a common problem for Marin County drivers who regularly run on less than a quarter tank of fuel. Other auto fuel system problems include clogged fuel filters, engine flooding and choking sounds. Auto fuel system repairs are usually best handled by professional car mechanics who have the experience and tools to clean, repair and replace fuel system components.

Auto Belt and Automotive Hose Repair / Replacement

Vehicle belts and hoses including the drive belt, fan belt, serpentine belt, timing belt, heater hose and fuel hose keep your engine and vehicle systems running smoothly. Signs that can indicate problems with belts and hoses include squeaking noises, vehicle fluid leaks, warning lights / check engine lights and car engine overheating.

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If Things Go Wrong
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee

All Diamond Certified auto repair shops are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the auto repair shop is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Know Your Rights as a Marin County Auto Repair Shop Customer...

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All Diamond Certified auto repair shops are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the auto repair shop is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Know Your Rights as a Marin County Auto Repair Shop Customer
The auto repair industry has been stained with a dishonest reputation. But most auto repair shops in Marin County are honest and take pride in looking out for their customers’ interests.

Still, you should know what to do if you are ever dissatisfied with your local auto repair shop or automotive repairs. If you are concerned about your car repairs or have a complaint about the service you received, immediately ask to speak with the vehicle repair shop service manager. Resolving conflicts directly with the auto repair shop management is often the best way to minimizing disagreements and still your repairs done properly and on time.
When talking with the auto shop’s service manager or owner, remember:

  • You have rights. As an auto repair customer in Marin County, California’s Automotive Repair Act entitles you to a written estimate for all repair work, a detailed invoice of work completed and the parts supplied, and the return of old auto parts if you request them when you place the work order.
  • Remain calm and polite. Becoming angry or lashing out will only make you appear irrational and can hinder the shop’s willingness to work with you to solve the problem.
  • Explain your grievance and detail what you view as a fair outcome.
  • Clearly explain to your auto mechanic that you’re willing to compromise or negotiate a mutually-beneficial agreement.
  • Document in writing your concerns with the auto repair service and take photographs of your vehicle and the parts used if you have worries about the quality of the auto parts or installation. Write down the auto repair shop’s response to your complaints in case you need records for future arbitration.
  • If you can’t reach an agreement, tell the automotive repair shop you are going to file a complaint with the Bureau of Automotive Repair and do so.
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Glossary of Terms
Auto Repair Glossary of Common Terms

Below are key auto repair terms and descriptions that will help you communicate more effectively with your marin County auto repair shop and navigate your way through your auto's repair from beginning to end.

air filter
Auto air filters are paper or synthetic filters that block dust, dirt and debris as air enters the vehicle engine.

Also known as: auto air filters, auto cabin air filter, car air filter, performance air filter, auto air filter replacements


aftermarket auto parts
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Below are key auto repair terms and descriptions that will help you communicate more effectively with your marin County auto repair shop and navigate your way through your auto's repair from beginning to end.

air filter
Auto air filters are paper or synthetic filters that block dust, dirt and debris as air enters the vehicle engine.

Also known as: auto air filters, auto cabin air filter, car air filter, performance air filter, auto air filter replacements


aftermarket auto parts

Auto repair parts not made by the original manufacturer. Aftermarket auto parts are made to fit and function like original parts, but they’re frequently less expensive than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Some aftermarket auto parts are redesigned to increase performance in high-performance vehicles.

Also known as: aftermarket parts, functionally-equivalent auto parts, off-brand auto parts, off-make auto parts, performance aftermarket parts


auto repair shop

An automotive repair shop that maintain and repair the internal working parts of automobiles. Some Marin County auto repair shops specialize in specific repairs, such as auto electrical repair shops, automobile brake shops, muffler repair shops and automobile engine repair shops. Other vehicle repair centers in Marin County are general repair garages that do all types of maintenance and service repairs.

Also known as: car repair shop, automobile repair shop, auto mechanic shop, car mechanic shop, auto repair garage

all-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive systems increase wheel traction on slippery roads and during off-road driving. All-wheel drive is different from 4-wheel drive because drivers cannot disengage AWD systems.

Also known as: AWD

anti-freeze
Liquid in cooling systems that dissipates heat is known as anti-freeze. Antifreeze prevents freezing during winter, cools the engine in summer and protects the cooling system from rust and corrosion.

Also known as: coolant, auto anti-freeze, antifreeze

auto electrical repair
Auto repairs to the electrical system of a vehicle. Auto electrical repairs may include alternator repair, auto starter repair, ignition repair, and auto electrical wiring repairs or replacement.

Also known as: automobile electrical repair, automotive electrical repair, car electrical repair, auto electrical service

catalytic converter
A vehicle’s catalytic converter separates exhaust particles and burns them before they leave the tailpipe, ensuring cleaner auto emissions

Also known as: catcon, cat

chassis
The undercarriage of a vehicle is known as the chassis. The chassis carries all power train and suspension parts.

Also known as: framework, auto case, auto frame, auto undercarriage, car chassis, auto chassis

control arms
The moving suspension components mounted between the vehicle frame and the wheels are known as control arms.

Also known as: car wishbone, auto double wishbone, vehicle suspension, car control arms, vehicle control arm repairs

crankcase
The largest engine section, the crankcase contains the crankshaft.

Also known as: crank case, automotive crank-case

crankshaft
The rod that transfers power from the engine to the transmission.

Also known as: crank, crank-shaft

differential
The differential is important for turning and cornering. It’s the gear system that allows one wheel to rotate faster than the other.

Also known as: rear differential

domestic auto repair shops
Auto repair garages in Marin County that specialize in repairing domestic vehicles are known as ‘domestic auto repair shops’. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler (also known as The Big Three) are considered domestic vehicle manufacturers.

Also known as: repair for domestic cars, American-made car repairs, domestic automobile repair

engine hesitation
The momentary loss of power on acceleration that causes a vehicle to hesitate when gaining speed.

Also known as: car hesitation, engine sputtering, auto stumbling, vehicle hesitation

fast idle
When a vehicle’s engine runs fast while the vehicle is stopped and idling.

Also known as: fast motor idle speed, fast idling, car idling fast

flooded engine
A vehicle engine is said to be flooded when too much fuel is in the cylinders and makes starting difficult or impossible. Flooded engines can be a sign of fuel system problems or can be driver error.

Also known as: engine flooded with gas, car flooded, engine stall, flooded vehicle

foreign auto repair shops
Foreign auto repair shops in Marin County perform repairs and maintenance on vehicles manufactured by foreign car companies, including some automobiles built in the United States, including BMW, Toyota, Honda and Lexus.

four-wheel drive
4WD is a drive system that powers all four wheels and provides better traction during off-road use and poor weather conditions.

Also known as: 4WD, 4x4, four by four, sport utility vehicle

front-wheel drive
A driving system that powers the front wheels of the vehicle. Front-wheel drive systems can be automatic or manual shift.

Also known as: FWD, front wheel drive, frontwheel drive

fuel injection repairs
The fuel delivery system where injectors (also known as nozzles) spray fuel into the cylinders, giving better fuel control and efficiency.

Also known as: electronic fuel injection (EFI), fuel injection system repairs

horsepower
The amount of energy produced by a vehicle’s engine.

Also known as: HP, mechanical horsepower, car horsepower, vehicle horsepower, electrical horsepower

idling
Idling is the term used to describe a vehicle that is stationary but running.

Also known as: auto idle, slow idle, fast idling, automotive idling, car idle speed

mechanic
An auto mechanic is a professional who repairs and maintains vehicles. The best mechanics are those that have a combination of natural ability, training, experience and professional certifications.

Also known as: auto mechanic, automobile mechanic, auto repair technician

mobile auto repair
Marin County mechanics who repair vehicles on-site are known as mobile auto repair services. Mobile auto repair shops in San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, Larkspur and Mill Valley can often do minor and major repairs and tune-ups.

OEM auto parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
Auto parts made by the vehicle manufacturer. While they may cost more than aftermarket auto parts, OEM parts usually fit better, last longer and are covered by warranties.

Also known as: Original Equipment Manufacturer parts, stock vehicle parts, stock parts

power loss
When an engine runs at reduced speed or requires more throttle to maintain speed, a car is suffering power loss. This can be indicative of an engine problem or auto electrical issue. See your mechanic for accurate auto diagnostics when it comes to vehicle power loss.

Also known as: auto power loss, low power output, automobile hesitating

power train
The term referring to the transmission and engine, the parts that deliver power to the vehicle.

revolutions per minute
The speed at which the engine crankshaft is turning.

Also known as: RPM

rebuilt auto parts
Rebuilt auto parts are used auto parts that have been remanufactured, reconditioned and restored.

Also known as: salvage auto parts, salvage car parts, salvaged parts, used auto parts, replacement parts, used car parts, refurbished auto parts, rebuilt auto parts

rough idle
Rough idling is when the engine shakes and vibrates while the vehicle is running and stationary.

Also known as: vibrations, auto choking, engine sputtering, engine idling roughly, rough engine idling, rough idle repairs

salvage auto parts
Auto parts taken from recycled vehicles are called salvage auto parts. These are often inexpensive auto repair parts, but they usually don’t come with warranties because they haven’t been repaired or altered so their reliability can’t be guaranteed. Salvage auto parts are often a last resort for vehicle owners looking for hard-to-find parts for rare or older vehicles.

Also known as: salvage parts, salvage car parts, salvaged parts, used auto parts, replacement parts, used car parts

serpentine belt
Serpentine belts are long, continuous belts that run several automotive engine components, indulging the car alternator, power steering pump, air pump and vehicle water pump.

Also known as: multi-vee belts, multi-v belts, multi-rib belts

shimmy
The term for a side-to-side motion that causes a vehicle’s tires and steering wheel to shake is shimmy. All vehicle vibrations, including car shimmying, should be diagnosed by a qualified auto repair technician to rule out major vehicle problems.

Also known as: car shaking, vehicle vibrations

suspension
The shock absorbers and springs that create a smoother ride by dampening the motion of a vehicle as it drives.

Also known as: suspension system

timing belt
The timing belt is a toothed belt that is operated by the crankshaft and drives the camshaft in a vehicle Broken timing belts cause valves to remain open and can cause engine damage when the valve is struck and bent by a piston.

undercarriage
The underside of a vehicle that supports the car and creates the framework.

Also known as: automobile framework, car body, auto frame, vehicle chassis, car undercarriage, automotive undercarriage, undercarriage repairs

vacuum hose
A hose that creates vacuum suction force in the engine. Vacuum hoses move fluids from one part of the engine to another.

water pump
The pump that moves coolant (antifreeze) through the radiator and engine.

Also known as: car water pump, car coolant pump

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions about Vehicle Repairs in Marin County

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Auto Repair Shop in Marin County?...

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Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Auto Repair Shop in Marin County?
A: We end the guessing game by offering a list of top-rated local companies that 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 body shop for your vehicle repair.

Q: Should I look for a local auto repair shop that has certifications such as ASE certification?

A: While certifications don’t guarantee you’ll get better repairs or better service at the Marin County vehicle repair centers that hold them, they are often an indicator of how serious the auto repair shop is about satisfying customers and doing good auto repairs.

Certifications such as ASE (Automotive Service Excellence), professional recognition and memberships in automotive service organizations show that the car mechanics have sought and attained a higher level of professionalism.

Q: What rights do I have as a consumer in Marin County when it comes to car repairs?

A: The Automotive Repair Act of 1974 entitles all auto repair customers to a written estimate for all vehicle repair work, a detailed invoice that lists all work done and an itemized parts list, and the return of the old car parts if customers request their return when placing the work order. For more information, visit the Bureau of Auto Repair website.

Q: What are aftermarket auto parts?

A: Aftermarket parts are those not produced by the original parts manufacturer, but 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 aftermarket parts have been carefully redesigned to fit and function better than OEM parts, so your auto repair shop may recommend them as a good alternative.

Some auto repair shops in Corte Madera, San Rafael, San Anselmo and other areas of Marin County use aftermarket parts to lower the price of their repairs, so it’s important to ask your car mechanic what quality of parts they’re installing.

Q: What are OEM parts?

A: OEM auto parts are Original Equipment Manufacturer parts and are made by the same manufacturer that produced the original auto parts. Most automobile manufacturers rely on separate auto parts manufacturers to design and produce auto parts. After a certain time, these OEM parts are available through wholesale car parts distributors. Once available through auto part wholesalers in Marin County, OEM parts can be much less expensive than when sold through the car dealer.

Q: Should I request OEM parts or aftermarket auto parts?
A: Because aftermarket parts are often cheaper than OEM parts, some auto repair garages in Marin County install them to make car repairs less expensive. However, aftermarket parts may not be the same quality as original manufacturer parts, so you’ll have to repair or replace them sooner. And aftermarket parts can cause expensive damage to your vehicle if they don’t fit properly. However, some aftermarket auto parts are designed to fit and function better than original parts. Your mechanic should be able to explain why they recommend certain auto parts. If it’s to provide cheap auto repairs, you may be at an advantage by requesting OEM parts. But aftermarket parts may be a wise choice if it’s for better performance.

Q: Is there a difference between independent auto repair shops in Marin County and dealership repair shops?
A: Which shop you choose for vehicle maintenance and car repairs is a personal decision based on where your car receives the best repair service and where you feel most comfortable. However, there are differences between independent auto repair shops and vehicle dealership repair centers located in Novato, Larkspur and the rest of Marin County. Local independent repair shops have the freedom to use any brand or quality of parts they choose. This, along with the fact that they usually have lower hourly rates for car repairs, can mean big savings.
Auto dealership repair shops may be better choices for owners of newer makes and models, as dealership car repair technicians are usually trained in new vehicle maintenance and car repair methods long before classes are offered to independent shops. Many newer cars are also still under warranty, meaning some repairs can be done free at a dealership. In fact, in some cases, warranty repairs at independent automotive repair shops can void warranties.

Q: Is it important to take my car to a local repair shop for regular maintenance?
A: Regularly-scheduled auto maintenance is the most cost-effective way to avoid expensive car repairs. Your car’s maintenance schedule should be listed in the owner’s manual, and your Marin County auto repair shop can help you decide when your car is due for regular tune-ups and vehicle maintenance visits.

Q: Will I save money by hiring a discount auto repair garage in Marin County?
A: When choosing a car repair center, keep in mind that margins are tight for most auto repairs. There are only a few ways shops can offer radically lower prices than the competition. They may install used auto parts or salvage parts, or they may hire mechanics and auto technicians that have little experience. So on the surface, their rates may seem lower, but their lack of experience and dedication to quality can mean you’ll have to replace parts sooner. Shoddy repairs can even cause permanent damage to your vehicle, creating larger repair bills and lowering its resale value.
The same warnings ring true for auto repair shops that advertise low hourly rates. While some are honest shops that have lower overhead or other factors that decrease their bottom lines, some are shady shops that can purposely take longer to repair your car and leave you with a higher bill than if you had gone to an honest auto repair shop with experienced technicians.

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Consumer Agencies
Consumer Agencies & Associations for Auto Repair Centers in Marin County

National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) (http://www.asecert.org/)
American Salvage Pool Association (ASPA) (http://www.aspa.com/)
Automotive Warehouse Distributor Association (AWDA) (http://www.awda.org/)
American Automobile Association (AAA) (http://www.aaa.com/)
Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) (http://www.carcrash.org/)...

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National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) (http://www.asecert.org/)
American Salvage Pool Association (ASPA) (http://www.aspa.com/)
Automotive Warehouse Distributor Association (AWDA) (http://www.awda.org/)
American Automobile Association (AAA) (http://www.aaa.com/)
Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) (http://www.carcrash.org/)
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) (http://www.aftermarket.org/)
Alliance Of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) (http://www.autoserviceproviders.com/)
Automotive Composites Alliance (ACA) (http://www.autocomposites.org/)
Association of Diesel Specialists (ADS) (http://www.diesel.org/)
Engine Builders Association (AERA) (www.aera.org)
Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) (http://www.aiag.org/)
Automotive Recycler's Association (ARA) (http://www.a-r-a.org/)
Automotive Service Association (ASA) (http://www.asashop.org/)
California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) (http://www.autorepair.ca.gov/)
California Service Station and Automotive Repair Association (CSSARA) (http://www.cssara.org/)
Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) (http://www.i-car.com/)
Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) (http://www.jama.org/)
Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) (http://www.mema.org/)
National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF)

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Industry Information
Marin County Auto Repair Information
Popular Vehicle Makes & ModelsTypes of Auto Repairs Available in Marin County Cities Served by Auto Repair Shops in Marin CountyMarin County Auto Repair Shops Serve These Zip Codes
Acura MDXair conditioner repairAlmonte
Bel Marin Keys
Belvedere
Belvedere Tiburon
Black Point
Bolinas
Corte Madera
Dillon Beach
Dogtown
Fairfax
Forest Knolls
Greenbrae
Ignacio
Inverness
Kent Woodlands
Kentfield
Lagunitas
Larkspur
Lucas Valley
Marin City
Marinwood
Marshall
Mill Valley
Mission Rafael
Muir Beach
Muir Woods
Nicasio
Novato
Olema
Point Reyes Station
Ross
San Anselmo
San Geronimo
San Marin
San Quentin
San Rafael
Santa Venetia
Sausalito
Sleepy Hollow
Stinson Beach
Strawberry Point
Tamal
Tamalpais Valley
Terra Linda
Tiburon
Tomales
Woodacre
94901
94903
94904
94912
94913
94914
94915
94920
94924
94925
94929
94930
94933
94937
94938
94939
94940
94941
94942
94945
94946
94947
94948
94949
94950
94956
94957
94960
94963
94964
94965
94966
94970
94971
94973
94974
94976
94977
94978
94979
BMW 3 Seriescar tire repair
Chevrolet Camaromuffler repairs
Chevrolet Equinoxauto tune-up
Chevrolet Impalaauto diagnostics
Honda Odysseyclutch repairs
Hyundai Elantraautomobile oil change
Hyundai Sonataauto ignition repairs
Kia Sorentocar problem diagnostic
Mazda MAZDA 3mechanical auto repairs
Mercedes-Benz E-Classauto smog repairs
Nissan Altimarough idling
Nissan Muranofuel injection repair
Subaru Outbackfull engine overhauls
Toyota Camryengine rebuilding
Toyota Corollacarburetor service
Toyota Priustiming problems
Toyota RAV4hose replacement
Volkswagen Jettadomestic auto repair
Chevy Silveradoforeign car repair
Dodge Ram Pickupauto electrical repair
Ford F-150auto brake repair
Ford FiestaEuropean auto repair
Ford FocusJapanese auto repair
Ford Mustangauto engine repairs
GMC Sierramobile auto repair
Honda Accordcar window repair
Honda Civicauto radiator repair
Honda CR-Vtransmission repair