Diamond Certified Company Report

Japan Auto Repair, Inc.

Diamond Certified Company Report

Japan Auto Repair, Inc.

Diamond certified ratings dashboard
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i
Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 428 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i

Neil H.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

1 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're very reliable, dependable, and very nice to deal with.

I liked their availability.

Stefan D.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

2 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They know their stuff, and they're fair.

I felt like the guys I dealt with were honest, and they did a good job.

Matt R.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

3 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're very honest, reasonable, and timely.

I liked the honesty the best.

Read All 428 Survey Responses at Ratings View
Diamond certified VIDEO PROFILE
Diamond certified company PROFILE

Kenzo Kojima, Owner

Japan Auto Repair, Inc. services and repairs all models of Japanese automobiles at its San Rafael facility. The company handles everything from automatic and manual transmission services to smog check inspections, and its ASE Certified technicians use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to quickly and accurately assess the conditions of customers’ vehicles and pinpoint the source of any problems.

Owner Kenzo Kojima is a Master Toyota Technician who has undergone extensive training in his native Japan. Mr. Kojima stresses the importance of continual education for all his mechanics—they participate in regular training programs to learn about new technology and stay updated on the systems advancements of Japanese vehicles.

Japan Auto Repair believes in educating its clients about their car problems so they can avoid future issues and know how to identify warning signs. “If people don’t know how their cars’ systems work, we’ll explain what repairs need to be done before we start any work,” says Mr. Kojima.

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Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED CAPABILITIES ON Japan Auto Repair, Inc.

COMPANY CONTACT
Locations

Marin County
Mill Valley
San Rafael
Novato
San Anselmo
Corte Madera
Belvedere
Tiburon
Larkspur
Fairfax

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SERVICES PERFORMED

Engines
General Repair
Maintenance
Smog Certification
Transmissions

BRANDS Supported
  • Acura

  • Honda

  • Nissan

  • Toyota

DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED ARTICLES ON Japan Auto Repair, Inc.

Company Profile

Japan Auto Repair, Inc. services and repairs all models of Japanese automobiles at its San Rafael facility. The company handles everything from automatic and manual transmission services to smog check inspections, and its ASE Certified technicians use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to quickly and accurately assess the conditions of customers’ vehicles and pinpoint the source of any problems.

Owner Kenzo Kojima is a Master Toyota Technician who has undergone extensive training in his native Japan. Mr. Kojima stresses the importance of continual education for all his mechanics—they participate in regular training programs to learn about new technology and stay updated on the systems advancements of Japanese vehicles.

Japan Auto Repair believes in educating its clients about their car problems so they can avoid future issues and know how to identify warning signs. “If people don’t know how their cars’ systems work, we’ll explain what repairs need to be done before we start any work,” says Mr. Kojima.

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Company Philosophy

"Whether our customers come to us for routine maintenance or complete transmission overhauls, we give them the same courtesy, service and expert attention to detail. We don't waste their time by fixing things that don't need to be fixed or inconvenience them by keeping their vehicles longer than is absolutely necessary. We want each customer to leave satisfied, return in the future and recommend us to others."

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Comparative Summary

Auto repair companies are always looking for ways to distinguish themselves from their competition, and those that have earned the prestigious Diamond Certified award are already several steps ahead. In addition to its Diamond Certified status, Japan Auto Repair, Inc. sets itself apart by focusing solely on repairing and maintaining Japanese vehicles–a specialized approach to auto repair that’s allowed the company to develop a loyal clientele base. “I underwent extensive training in Japan to earn my Master Toyota Technician designation, and our mechanics participate in regular training programs to stay updated on the technological advancements of Japanese vehicles,” explains owner Kenzo Kojima. “Our expertise really makes our customers confident that they’ll receive the best possible service.”

Japan Auto Repair handles everything from automatic and manual transmission services to smog check inspections at its San Rafael facility. The company’s ASE-certified technicians use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to quickly and accurately assess the conditions of customers’ vehicles and pinpoint the source of any problems.

Unlike less experienced auto repair shops that make exaggerated claims about the merits of their services only to provide their customers with mediocre results, Japan Auto Repair prefers to take a modest approach to promoting its abilities and lets its work speak for itself. “We don’t spend a lot of time talking to our customers about what we can do,” says Mr. Kojima. “Instead, we clearly explain their car problems and show them our skills through the finished repairs.”

To further differentiate itself from its competition, Japan Auto Repair strives to save its customers money by using its specialized training and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to complete each repair as quickly and efficiently as possible. “We know our customers want a good value, but they also don’t want to have their time wasted, so we make sure to perform their repairs correctly the first time,” says Mr. Kojima. “When their cars are fixed properly and they’re able to save money, they’ll be satisfied and willing to refer us to others.”

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Industry Info

If your car is under warranty and needs warranty-related repairs, you may have to go to a dealership repair center or authorized repair shop. However, most of us have the freedom to choose any type of shop to repair and service our vehicles. Before deciding which type of repair shop is best for you and your car, consider the following tips:

Specialty shops service specific vehicle makes. Dealership repair centers often provide services solely for the vehicles they sell, so you can be assured the technicians in those shops are trained to repair your type of vehicle. However, there are some independent specialty shops that also only work on certain makes and models. These companies are good choices for people who have rare vehicles or want auto technicians who have more experience working on their makes and models. “A shop that specializes in a certain type of car can save its customers money by diagnosing and fixing problems much quicker,” confirms Kenzo Kojima, owner of Japan Auto Repair, Inc. in San Rafael. “Since the mechanics are experts in specific types of cars and systems, they can provide valuable maintenance information and answer any questions you may have.”

The freedom to choose parts. Dealership repair shops are required to install Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, but independent auto repair centers can use any parts they feel are best for your vehicle or any parts you request. That means they can install aftermarket parts, which may be less expensive than OEM parts but still function the same way. In fact, some aftermarket parts have been engineered to improve upon original parts by including changes to design and wear flaws. Specialist shops often have a better understanding of which parts have the most common problems and why. This can enable them to give better advice and help you select the best parts for your vehicle and driving needs.

Pricing differences. Many dealership repair centers charge a flat rate for repairs. Some people like this because it lets them know their fees upfront, but it can also encourage technicians to cut corners to fit in more jobs or avoid working on vehicles with which they have little experience. Flat rate car repairs can cost more if the job takes less time than expected, because the customer is paying a rate that’s estimated at the start of the job. Conversely, customers can save money if the job takes longer than expected, because they still only pay the flat rate promised at the start of the job.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long will it take to fix my car?

A: If you bring in your car in the morning, you can usually pick it up that afternoon. The only time it takes longer is when we need to special order parts—that can take a couple of days.

Q: How often should I change my oil?

A: For newer cars and cars that have less than 100,000 miles, you should change the oil every 5,000 miles. After 100,000 miles, you should change the oil at least every 4,000 miles. As cars start to get older, oil can get into the crankcase and damage the engine, so frequent oil changes are important.

Q: Why do Japanese vehicles seem to run longer and better than others?

A: We believe it’s because the quality of the parts is better. Small companies manufacture the parts and send them to car manufacturers, and these companies have very high standards—if the parts aren’t good, they reject them.

Q: Why is it better to bring my Japanese car to a specialist repair shop?

A: A repair shop that specializes in one type of car will often have the experience to diagnose and fix common problems much faster than a general auto shop.

Q: Do you perform pre-buyer inspections on vehicles?

A: Yes, and we can usually do them the same day. We charge $100 for a thorough inspection that takes about an hour. We’ll look at the car, tell you how well maintained it is and give you advice on what to do next.

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SELECTED PHOTOS FROM Japan Auto Repair, Inc.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR ADVICE & TIPS FROM Ken DeMartini

Expert CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE
  • Ken DeMartini is a certified auto mechanic at Japan Auto Repair, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (415) 347-5928 or by email.

Ken DeMartini: Beyond the Shop

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN RAFAEL — When asked what drew him to a career in auto repair, Ken DeMartini credits a lifelong fascination that began in his childhood. “I got my first car magazine when I was five or six years old and that was pretty much the beginning,” he remembers. “It was the 1960s, so cars were all the rage. I started doing automotive work as soon as I was old enough to drive, and it just came naturally to me, so I stuck with it. I took auto shop in high school and continued to pursue it in college. Thirty-five years later, I’m still working on cars.”

After 20 years as a mechanic at Japan Auto Repair, Inc., Ken says he enjoys the dynamic of working at an independently run shop. “We don’t have to deal with the politics of a big dealership, so we’re able to focus on what matters most: doing great work and taking care of our customers.”

Ken resides in Marin County with his wife, Sue, where he appreciates the temperate Bay Area climate. “The weather here is not only nice to live in, it also affects my work,” he says. “I lived in Alberta, Canada for several years, and the extreme cold caused a lot of rust issues with the cars. When you’ve worked in those kinds of conditions, you realize that the climate here is pretty accommodating.”

Outside of work, Ken extends his love of cars beyond the shop to his personal life. “I do some hobby racing, which is the least expensive form of car racing you can do,” he explains. “We built our car from a 1985 Toyota MR2, and we race locally at the Infineon Raceway at Sears Point.” When he’s not on the racetrack, Ken enjoys spending time with his family, including his and Sue’s three children and two grandchildren.

In his professional career, Ken espouses the importance of keeping his customers’ best interests at heart. “We always try to look at things from the customer’s perspective, especially when it comes to costs,” he says. “That’s why we only recommend repairs that are really necessary, which isn’t always how the dealerships operate. Customers will often come to us after being told by a dealership what they needed, and we just shake our heads.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Ken says he’d spend more time in the shop—the one in his garage at home, that is. “When you’re obsessed with cars, you tend to accumulate parts, usually for future projects. If I retired tomorrow, I would probably start going through my parts collection and get it sorted out. Once I finished that, I’d get to work on a few car projects I’ve been putting off.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1967 Chevrolet Impala.

Q: What’s your “dream car”?
A: A Jaguar XKE.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco Giants.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Fast N’ Loud.”

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: French bread, butter and salami.

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Expert articles
  • How to Prevent Catastrophic Engine Failure

    SAN RAFAEL — Most catastrophic engine failures stem from a lack of lubrication, whether engine oil or transmission fluid. In either case, being proactive about ongoing fluid maintenance is the key to maximizing the life of your vehicle’s engine.

    Engine oil
    One of the most important aspects of vehicle maintenance is having your oil changed at regular intervals—after all, a $75 service may save you $5,000 for a rebuilt engine. You should also make a habit of checking your oil level in between oil change appointments (at least once every 500 miles). Don’t wait until the red oil light comes on, which warns of an imminent catastrophic engine failure. If your oil light does come on, stop immediately and call for a tow to an auto repair shop.

    Transmission fluid
    Another critical part of engine lubrication is automatic transmission fluid. In the past, vehicle owners were advised to have their transmission fluid changed every 15,000 miles, but with today’s sophisticated technology, manufacturers are now saying it will last the lifetime of the transmission. That being said, your transmission’s lifetime won’t be very long if you don’t change the fluid; like any other engine fluid, it breaks down over time. To maximize your transmission’s lifespan, change its fluid every 30,000 miles.

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Expert video tip

Video: Engine Fluid Maintenance

Complete Video Transcription:

SAN RAFAEL — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, one of the most important things you can do is pay attention to vital engine fluids. Today we’re in San Rafael with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Ken DeMartini of Japan Auto Repair to learn more.

Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Ken DeMartini: I’d like to talk today about engine catastrophic failures and how to prevent them. So, I have an engine here completely disassembled and another one to my right completely disassembled. Both of them failed because of lack of lubrication. I had this engine here held eight quarts, two full gallons, of oil and there was less than a coffee cup of oil when I drained out of the oil pan. Needless to say the engine seized up completely. A $75 oil change cost the gentleman $5000. Oil changes and maintaining the oil level in between oil changes is critical. Checking the oil at least once every four, 500 miles is critical. Don’t wait till the red oil light comes on. Red oil light means stop. There may be a case when you cannot stop and then you’re going to have a catastrophic failure. So, another critical point is automatic transmissions.

Automatic transmission fluid – in the old days we used to change it every 15,000, once a year. Like everything else, everything has become electronic and more sophisticated and manufacturers are saying that transmission fluid is lifetime of the transmission. Well, that may be true if you – if the transmission self-destructs at 75 or 100,000 miles. But if you changed it every 30,000, it would extend it maybe to 150 to 200,000. So, yes, they say the transmission fluid lasts the lifetime of the transmission, but let’s make the transmission last longer by servicing it. So, part of the 30,000-mile service is to change the fluid. A lot of the manufacturers don’t recommend changing it. Every automatic transmission builder in this country, I guarantee you, will say that is ridiculous. Transmission fluid breaks down. The additives break down. They – transmission fluid gets hot. So, you need to change the transmission fluid on your automatic transmission.

Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local top-rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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  • Japan Auto Repair, Inc. SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS
Diamond Certified RATINGS ON Japan Auto Repair, Inc.
Diamond certified ratings dashboard
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i

Each surveyed customer was asked, “If you needed any helpful expertise, did this company provide that expertise?” To calculate this score, total “Yes” responses were divided by total responses (excluding those that stated they hadn’t needed any expertise).

Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 428 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i
Japan Auto Repair, Inc. : Average 9.3 out of 10 based on 428 unique customer surveys of customer satisfaction.

Neil H.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

1 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're very reliable, dependable, and very nice to deal with.

I liked their availability.

Stefan D.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

2 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They know their stuff, and they're fair.

I felt like the guys I dealt with were honest, and they did a good job.

Matt R.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

3 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're very honest, reasonable, and timely.

I liked the honesty the best.

Debra H.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

4 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're fair, honest, and timely.

I liked how honest and fair they were.

Pattie J.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

5 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're experts in their field, and they're very professional.

If I have any problem I can just drive in there and they'll look at it immediately, because I'm on good terms with them. I'm also very confident in their work, but the fact that they're so accommodating is the reason I keep going back.

Jeff M.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

6 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would say to try them out.

They know what they're doing, and the prices are reasonable.

Mike P.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

7 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It's a good place to go.

They are very convenient.

Elizabeth S.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

8 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

The owner is very professional and helpful. He's all about service rather than making a profit. He's generous and helpful. He was honest about what I did and didn't need to do, unlike a lot of other auto shops.

I like that they are service oriented and competent technically.

William F.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

9 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would recommend them.

I like the owner the best.

Matt V.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

10 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would recommend them if someone had a Land Cruiser.

I like that they specialize in Land Cruisers.

Harry B.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

11 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They've given me good service for years.

I like that I can get in and get out.

Chuck S.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

12 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I think they're trustworthy.

They know what they're doing.

Edward B.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

13 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would say to go there, because it's better than the dealership.

They're honest.

Julie M.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

14 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I think they are an honest business. I've been using them for 10 years, and they're as honest as they come. They are also reasonably priced.

The pricing is my favorite thing.

Ed C.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

15 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I recommend them if someone has a Japanese car. They're reliable. I always get good service, and I am confident in their abilities.

I like the reliable service. I go in, they diagnose what's wrong, and they fix it in a prompt manner.

Alex W.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

16 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

My family and I have been taking our cars to Kenzo for the last 20 years. I now live over thirty minutes away, yet there is still no one else I will bring my car to. Even if I lived over an hour and a half away, I would continue to bring my car to Kenzo. He's that good.

The mechanics are all very knowledgeable about what they are doing. Kenzo is a real, honest, straightforward, knowledgeable, trustworthy mechanic. He's also a really smart businessman.

Bill P.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

17 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do good work and you can trust them.

They know what they are doing, they communicate well, and they give a fair price.

Brian T.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

18 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They seem to recommend services that are actually necessary and they do the work for a reasonable price.

They are trustworthy and knowledgeable.

Caroline K.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

19 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I will definitely use them again. I just feel like Kenzo is extremely honest, and the guys there always do a good job. I've never had to bring my car back to them once it's been fixed. It is a good quality repair shop.

Kenzo is really honest and always willing to work with you.

Catherine M.

VERIFIED Japan Auto Repair, Inc. CUSTOMER

20 of 428

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They have reasonable prices and good service.

They were just good and I liked the service. Kenzo was great to deal with.

Read All 428 Survey Responses at Ratings View