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

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Auto Repair Shops Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: Renson Automotive, Inc. (2012)

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

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.

 

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Santa Clara County – Auto Repair CATEGORY

Bill Faulconer is a 39-year veteran of the automotive industry and president of Renson Automotive, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (408) 840-3977 or by email.

Bill Faulconer

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Bill Faulconer: A Foundation of Integrity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CAMPBELL – According to Bill Faulconer, his lengthy career in the automotive repair industry reflects a twofold passion. “My initial experience with auto repair was working on a Mustang with my father in our driveway, during which I discovered a fondness for working with my hands,” he remembers. “Later, when I became professionally involved with the industry, I developed a love for customer service. To this day, I’m not sure what I enjoy more: working on cars or helping people.”

After 30 years with Renson Automotive, Inc., Bill says he appreciates the long-term relationships he’s developed with his customers. “In addition to working on their vehicles, I enjoy getting to know my customers on a deeper level. There are some whose cars I’ve been servicing since I started here in 1985, and I’m even servicing some of their children’s cars, which is a really neat thing.”

Originally born in Roseville, Bill eventually settled in the Bay Area, where he says he has a great appreciation for the local versatility. “We have everything here. From the weather to the people to the natural beauty, there’s nothing that California doesn’t offer, and the Bay Area exhibits the heart of that.”

Outside of work, Bill spends a substantial portion of his time with family. “My wife and I have two grown children and four grandchildren—this June, we’re expecting our fifth,” he says. “We’re fortunate to have them all living in close proximity, which enables us to be a big part of their lives.” Bill also enjoys traveling and has recently picked up photography as a hobby. “My daughter is a professional photographer, so I try to keep up with her.”

In addition to family and hobbies, Bill makes it a point to stay actively involved in his local community. “I enjoy volunteering at local outreach centers,” he says, “and I also meet weekly with a group of people who are focused on helping the less fortunate.”

In both his professional and personal life, Bill emphasizes the importance of integrity. “There are a lot of auto shops that know how to repair cars, but what distinguishes mine is the fact that my integrity has never come into question,” he says. “Integrity is everything—it’s what my whole reputation and life is based upon.”

When asked what his future retirement might look like, Bill says he’d spend more time with his children, both at home and abroad. “My wife and I sponsor a couple of kids in Uganda, so in addition to spending more time with my grandchildren here, we’d love to have the opportunity to meet them.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: Definitely a dog person—we have two golden retrievers.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Sit in front of a real wood-burning fire.

Q: Do you have any nicknames?
A: When I was a child, my nickname was Bill-Bill. Since my dad and I share the same name, Mom got tired of calling one Bill and having us both answer.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Easter, because of my faith.

Q: If you could time-travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The past. There were a lot of quality people who came before us, and I think we could gain a lot of insight from them.

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Do-It-Yourself Vehicle Maintenance

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CAMPBELL — Many aspects of auto maintenance are best left to a professional, but there are some things you can easily do yourself. Here are two do-it-yourself measures you can take to improve your driving experience: Tire pressure maintenance While regulating… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: At-Home Auto Care

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Complete Video Transcription:

CAMPBELL — Host, Sarah Rutan: Two important parts of caring for your vehicle include tire pressure and air filters. Today, we're in Campbell with Diamond Certified Expert… Read more

Cliff Do is a 26-year veteran of the auto repair industry and owner of A1 Performance Auto Repair, a Diamond Certified company since 2004. He can be reached at (408) 827-8949 or by email.

Cliff Do

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Cliff Do: A Dynamic Development

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SUNNYVALE – Cliff Do’s career as an auto repair professional started small, but it developed gradually as he worked his way up from the basics to the big leagues. “I’ve loved auto repair since I was a kid,” he says. “As a teenager, I worked on motorcycles and scooter bikes, and from there I moved to diesel and gasoline engines. I was never satisfied doing just one thing; rather, I wanted to learn how to work on all types of cars, from domestic to European and Japanese. So, that’s what I did!” To increase his knowledge and achieve his occupational goals, Cliff attended Skyline College in San Bruno and earned his ASE Master Certification. In 2000, he established A1 Performance Auto Repair in Sunnyvale, where customers continue to benefit from his extensive automotive expertise.

Originally from Vietnam, Cliff came to the San Francisco area in 1990, where he still lives today with his wife, Jennifer, and their children, Stephen and Tristan. Cliff loves living and working in the Bay Area, not least because certain aspects of it remind him of his home country. “The weather here is similar to where I’m from,” he says. “There’s also a great community—a real melting pot. The people are very friendly and there are great schools and other community resources.”

As a business owner and family man, Cliff’s daily schedule is usually packed, but he says he doesn’t mind too much. “Most of my time is spent running my shop and being with my family, but since I love what I do and I love my family, that’s not such a bad thing.” When Cliff does get some free time, he likes to take advantage of the lush Bay Area surroundings by fishing in the bay and hiking along the San Francisco skyline.

Looking back on his life and career, Cliff cites hard work and determination as essential ingredients of his success. “In order to better yourself and accomplish your goals, you have to work hard,” he says. “Coming from a very poor family, I had to take things into my own hands and apply myself in order to get where I am today.” However, while Cliff’s resolute mentality was instrumental in achieving his accomplishments, he also acknowledges the shaping influence of the people in his life, which is why he says after retirement he’d like to give back to his community. “I would get involved with doing some volunteer work and just help people in need. I would also take care of any needs that my own family may have.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1978 Toyota Celica. I bought it for $300 and it lasted four years.

Q: What’s your favorite movie genre?
A: I like kung fu movies.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: Being a leader. I’m good at running things, organizing people and counseling them.

Q: Q: If you could drive any car, what would you drive?
A: I like German cars, so any kind of BMW or Porsche would be nice.

Q: If you could live in the city or the country, which would you choose?
A: I don’t want to live in the city, but I like being near it, so if I could live in the country about 5 or 10 miles outside of the city, that would be ideal.

Q: What’s your favorite season and why?
A: Spring, because the weather is so fresh and clear and the flowers are in bloom.

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How to Tell if You Need New Brakes

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SUNNYVALE — Brakes are one of the most important components of any vehicle, which is why it’s vital to proactively maintain them. A crucial part of brake maintenance is being able to tell when they need to be replaced altogether. To… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Caring for Your Brakes

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Complete Video Transcription:

SUNNYVALE — Host, Sarah Rutan: Depending on the type of car you have, there are a couple of ways to tell when its time for new brakes. Today… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

  • ACDelco

  • Unocal 76

  • Acura

  • Honda

  • Hyundai

  • Infiniti

  • Jaguar

  • Conoco/Phillips/76

  • Delphi

  • Kendall

Acura MDX
Honda CR-V
Mazda MAZDA 3
Chevrolet Equinox
GMC Sierra
Honda Accord
Honda Civic
Kia Sorento
Honda Odyssey
Toyota Prius
Chevrolet Camaro
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Nissan Murano
Subaru Outback
Toyota Corolla
Chevrolet Impala
Chevy Silverado
Dodge Ram Pickup
Ford F-150
Ford Fiesta
Ford Focus
Ford Mustang
Toyota Camry
Hyundai Elantra
BMW 3 Series
Volkswagen Jetta
Toyota RAV4
Hyundai Sonata

domestic auto repair
foreign car repair
air conditioner repair
car tire repair
muffler repairs
auto tune-up
auto diagnostics
mobile auto repair
car window repair
auto radiator repair
transmission repair
auto smog repairs
rough idling
fuel injection repair
full engine overhauls
engine rebuilding
clutch repairs
automobile oil change
auto ignition repairs
car problem diagnostic
mechanical auto repairs
auto electrical repair
auto brake repair
European auto repair
Japanese auto repair
auto engine repairs
carburetor service
timing problems
hose replacement

Alviso
Blossom Valley
Campbell
Coyote
Cupertino
East Palo Alto
Gilroy
Holy City
Los Altos
Los Altos Hills
Los Gatos
Milpitas
Monte Sereno
Monte Vista
Morgan Hill
Mountain View
Mt Hamilton
New Almaden
Palo Alto
Permanente
Redwood Estates
San Jose
San Martin
Santa Clara
Saratoga
Stanford
Sunnyvale

94022
94023
94024
94035
94039
94040
94041
94042
94043
94085
94086
94087
94088
94089
94301
94302
94303
94304
94305
94306
94309
95002
95008
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95011
95013
95014
95015
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95026
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95035
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95042
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95046
95050
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95070
95071
95101
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95106
95108
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95110
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95164
95170
95172
95173

Visit the websites of these national and local auto repair center associations and consumer agencies for more information about car, truck and van repairs in your area of Santa Clara County, including the largest cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Milpias, Palo Alto, Cupertino, Gilroy, Campbell and Morgan Hill.

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/)
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/)
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/)
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/)

Know What You Want
List the Auto Repair Services You Want from Santa Clara Vehicle Repair Shops

Before you start looking for an auto repair shop in Santa Clara County, it’s important to pinpoint what characteristics you want from your new shop and the staff there.

If you’re unsatisfied with your current auto repair facility and need a new car mechanic to provide routine maintenance, start by asking yourself what it is you are unhappy with. Is it the service? The quality of the car repairs? Maybe it’s the lack of communication. Knowing exactly what you’re dissatisfied with in your previous auto shop will help you find a new shop that better meets your expectations. With less positive experiences under your belt, you’ll have a better idea of what questions to ask to ensure your next shop is right for you.

Even if you’re experiencing car problems and need emergency car repairs, it’s in your best interest to take note of exactly what you’re experiencing and when it’s happening before you start your search for an auto mechanic. That way, you’ll be able to gauge each technician’s response and decide which Santa Clara County car repair center is best suited to handle your vehicle repairs. The following questions will get you started.

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • What is the exact problem you’re experiencing? (Car starter problems, rattling or auto noises, leaking auto fluid, engine problems, etc.)
  • How long has the problem been happening?
  • Are the signs intermittent or constant?
  • When does the car trouble happen? (Note specific driving conditions, driving maneuvers, time of day, after sitting idle or after a long trip, etc.)
  • If it’s an unusual sound, where is it coming from?
  • Has your vehicle’s performance decreased?
  • Do you have to add fluids more often than usual?
  • Does the vehicle pull to one side?
  • Do you feel vibrations or does your steering wheel shake when you drive?
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What To Ask In Person
What to Ask Santa Clara County Auto Repair Technicians In Person

Now that you’ve done some initial phone interviews, the next step is to visit some local shops in Milpitas, Palo Alto, Gilroy and other areas of Santa Clara County. A personal visit will give you a chance to meet with the service writer and mechanics and can give you a glimpse into the customer service, communication style and facilities that set each shop apart.

Questions you may want to ask while visiting local auto repair shops include:

  • How long will it take your auto repair center to complete my automotive repairs?
  • If my vehicle needs additional repairs you cannot do (body work, car transmission overhauls, auto electrical repairs, auto repairs under warranty), will you coordinate with other Santa Clara County auto repair shops to complete the repairs? Or is it up to me to find a shop for items you cannot repair?
  • 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 do you need in order to reach me about my auto repairs?
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  • What To Ask References
    Learn from Previous Auto Repair Customers in Santa Clara County, Including the Cities of Morgan Hill, Cupertino, Gilroy, Campbell, Milpitas, Palo Alto and Mtn View

    Independent research and scientific surveys can assure you that the auto repair facilities in Santa Clara County you’ve interviewed are all they say they are.

    In fact, all Diamond Certified auto repair shops have undergone a ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a vehicle repair shop in Santa Clara County and the greater Bay Area, you’ll have confidence when choosing Diamond Certified companies. All Diamond Certified companies have Diamond Certified reports you can read, including verbatim survey responses. And all research is performed by live telephone interviews of a large, random sample of real customers, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified car repair shop within reach, you’ll need to conduct some research. Even if you’re in a hurry to get your vehicle repairs done right away, it is still a good idea to take time to check references. If you do, auto repair shops in Santa Clara County should be willing to give you a list of recent customers you can call. However, references provided by the shops are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because shops rarely randomly select references, and are likely just giving you the names of a few satisfied customers to call. So specifically ask for a list of their 10 most recent clients and call them.

    You’ll want to ask general questions about their customer service experience as well as specific questions about the car repairs. Such questions might include:

    • What auto repairs did you have _(auto repair facility name_) do?
    • Were you satisfied with the car repairs from this Santa Clara County auto repair shop?
    • Was the auto shop willing to tow your car or truck to their auto repair garage if you live in a smaller town such as Alviso, Monte Sereno, Permanente, Redwood Estates or Coyote or in rural Santa Clara County,?
    • Were you pleased with the auto repair technicians’ turn-around time?
    • Did the auto repair mechanics and service writers listen to and communicate with you?
    • Was the price was fair for the car repairs you had done?
    • What did you like best about this Santa Clara County automotive repair shop?
    • Would you recommend this auto repair garage?
    • Would you go back to this car repair facility if your vehicle needed additional work?
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  • Review Your Options
    Choose a Good Auto Repair Service in Santa Clara County Including the Major Cities of San Jose, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Mountain View

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    When your car breaks down, don’t feel pressured to choose the nearest auto repair shop in Santa Clara County. Instead, you should hire the one with which you feel most comfortable.

    That’s why it’s smart to find a reliable auto repair shop before you need one. Having a working relationship with an automobile repair shop you already trust will give you confidence when you need auto repairs done right away. Start by researching and trying out local auto repair shops in the Santa Clara area when you need preventative maintenance.

    Once you get to know the car mechanics and build a working relationship with them, you’ll know you can trust them with more expensive fixes and unexpected repairs.When you find a shop you like, take your car in for all of your auto service needs. That way, the auto mechanics can keep an accurate record of your vehicle repairs, so you’ll know when your services are due and they’ll have a baseline with which to recommend repairs or auto part replacement.

    In order to choose a shop, review the notes you took during phone and in-person interviews with the auto repair shops and determine if one stands out from the rest. Pay attention to the following:

    • Can an auto repair shop in Santa Clara County satisfy your requirements for scheduling, auto repairs, part preferences (OEM parts or aftermarket auto parts)?
    • Does the service writer at the car repair shop communicate clearly and effectively?
    • Is the auto repair shop as devoted to safely getting your car back on the road as you are?
    • Did one shop stand out above the rest in terms of customer service and quality of repairs.
       
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  • How To Work With
    Auto Repair Estimates from Santa Clara County Car Mechanics

    Once you’ve selected a local Santa Clara County auto repair shop for regular vehicle maintenance, it will give you peace of mind while dealing with your mechanics even when you’re facing unexpected repairs.

    Whether your car needs emergency repairs or routine maintenance service, you’ll want to meet with the service writer in person. Use the notes you took to accurately describe the concerns you have and what you’re experiencing. Be as detailed as possible, and don’t let the auto technician or service writer rush you. It’s important to answer their questions and listen to their plan of action. If you don’t understand what the vehicle repair shop representative is telling you, ask for an explanation. You should to completely grasp the problem and the solutions before signing an estimate.

    By law, shops are required to provide a written estimate before the work begins. This estimate must include the total expected cost for parts and labor, an itemized list of needed auto parts and the method of repair. Your mechanic should never ask you to sign a blank or incomplete work order.

    Sometimes a thorough diagnosis is needed before a repair shop can give you an accurate estimate. In this case, the estimate the shop asks you to sign may include only the cost of the diagnosis, or the car repair diagnosis and estimated auto repair labor cost. However, if the actual auto repair costs exceed the original estimate, the technicians must contact you before performing those repairs.

    Sign a Contract with Your Vehicle Repair Shop for Auto Repair Work
    When you’re satisfied with the information your Santa Clara County repair shop has given you and ready to move forward with the repairs, sign the estimate and service agreement. Verify that the service manager has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while your vehicle is in the shop. They must get your approval for any additional repairs, and it can slow down or even stop progress on your car, truck or van if they can’t reach you to get consent. Your approval for added work must be noted on the estimate and the invoice.

    Once they’ve identified the problem and needed repairs, most Santa Clara County mechanics including those in the larger cities of San Jose, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Milpitas will allow you to see the damaged auto parts. Remember, you have the legal right to ask to have damaged parts returned to you when signing the service request.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    You Can Be a Good Car Repair Shop Customer in Santa Clara County

    It’s your auto repair shop’s responsibility to carry out thorough and complete vehicle repairs on your car, truck or minivan. But you also play a part in the success of your automobile’s repair. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer.

    • Be clear and upfront. Let the auto repair shop know what the problem is, what outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Before you leave your car, truck or van at an auto repair shop in Santa Clara County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the auto repair technicians your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with auto repair shops occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about the expectations you and the auto repair shop have, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your service writer if they will call you with updates or if you should call to check on the progress of your vehicle repairs.
    • Be sure your service writer has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while your car or truck is in for car repairs. Your repairs will move along more smoothly if they can reach you with necessary updates or for authorizations for car repairs.
    • When your shop contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the repairs on schedule.
    • Pay for the car repairs promptly.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way if you face complications or conflict.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Auto repair shops in Santa Clara 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 atmosphere conducive to a good relationship. Your repairs may very well go smoother and problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Corroborate the Auto Repairs Against the Written Invoice

When the vehicle repairs are done, your mechanic is required to give you a written invoice that includes:

  • The name and physical address of the shop.
  • Their state auto repair registration number.
  • A list of all work performed, including warranty work done at no charge.
  • An itemized list of all replaced parts. This list must state whether the parts installed were new, used, salvaged, reconditioned, or rebuilt.
  • The total auto repair cost, including the amount charged for auto repair labor.
  • Any applicable hazardous waste disposal fees and the shop’s EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) number.
  • Your vehicle’s odometer reading at drop off and pick up, if you asked for the reading before signing the service agreement.

Remember, you’re permitted to have original parts returned to you, but only if you asked for them when you signed the auto repair estimate. Mechanics may not be able to return parts that are under warranty as they may need to be sent back to the supplier, but you still have the right to view them and confirm the damage or wear.

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Written Warranties
Get Written Warranties from Santa Clara County Auto Repair Mechanics

Before leaving the auto repair shop, verify any warranties offered by the repair shop or the parts manufacturer. Not all auto repair shops offer guarantees. But those that do should give you a written document that details:

  • The auto repair shop’s name and physical address.
  • Details of warranty coverage. This should include whether the shop will replace or repair failed parts or give you a refund.
  • Your responsibility in the case of a product failure and what you need to do in order to redeem the warranty.
  • How long the warranty is valid, and whether it expires on a specific day or if it is prorated.
  • If automotive repair warranty coverage is transferrable to the new owner in the event that you sell the vehicle.
  • All exclusions to the above must be explicitly stated in the written warranty.
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Top 10 Requests
Auto Repair Services Frequently Requested in Santa Clara County

Automotive repair shops in Santa Clara County provide all types of maintenance and vehicle repair services. However, some repairs are more common than others. The following are the most familiar requests for local auto repair shops.

Auto Electrical Repair
Most auto electrical repairs are alternator repairs and vehicle starter repairs. Experts recommend examining your complete auto electrical system every two years and whenever you experience drivability problems that appear to be electrical in nature.

Routine Vehicle Maintenance
Routine vehicle maintenance is also known as a tune-up. It is the regular vehicle check-up schedule recommended by manufacturers. It is usually recommended at 30-, 60-, and 90,000 mile intervals. Routine maintenance usually includes checking and replacing car air filters, fuel filters, vehicle cabin filters and auto spark plugs. Checking, flushing and refilling auto fluid and ensure the engine, exhaust and electrical systems are functioning correctly are often included. These routine vehicle maintenance checks allow auto repair mechanics to help prevent expensive car repairs.

Vehicle Brake Replacement
Full brake replacements, including replacing the brake disc, drum and rotor can be costly, but may be necessary if you’ve been driving on worn or damaged brakes that have warped or damaged the brake system.

Automobile Brake Repair
Brake repairs are a common request made of local auto repair mechanics in Santa Clara, Campbell, Gilroy and all throughout Santa Clara County. This is because brakes wear down as you use them. Most brake repairs are simple replacements of the brake pads, and are relatively inexpensive. Because you rely on them to stop your car on time, brakes should be checked regularly, especially if you experience any of these signs:

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

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 Santa Clara County that specialize in automotive engine repairs.

Auto Belt and Hose Repair
Vehicle belts and hoses including the drive belt, fan belt, serpentine belt, timing belt, heater hose and fuel hose keep your engine and other vehicle systems running smoothly. Signs that may indicate a problem with belts and hoses include squeaking noises, leaks, warning lights and engine overheating. If you see or hear any of these problems, it may indicate that your auto belts or auto hoses should be checked.

Mobile Mechanic (Mobile Auto Repair)
Mobile mechanic shops in Santa Clara County are popular. Instead of towing vehicles to their repair shops, many customers opt to have licensed mechanics come to them. From tune-ups and routine maintenance to auto electrical repairs and belt and hose replacement, mobile mechanics come to your home or workplace by appointment to service your vehicle.

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

Auto Electrical Repairs
Auto electrical problems include blown fuses, burned-out headlights and serious car electrical problems that keep you from safely operating your vehicle. Because auto electrical repairs demand special equipment, tools and repair methods, most auto electrical repairs are best left to automobile electrical repair technicians in Santa Clara County.

Auto Fuel System Repairs
Clogged fuel pumps are a common problem for Santa Clara County drivers who regularly run on low fuel. Other auto fuel system problems are clogged fuel filters, flooded engines and choking sounds. Auto fuel system repairs are best done by professional car mechanics who have the experience and tools to clean, repair and replace fuel system components.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Auto Repair Terms for Santa Clara Consumers

Below are key auto repair terms and descriptions that will help you navigate your way through your auto's repair from beginning to end.

aftermarket auto parts
Auto repair parts not made by the original manufacturer. Aftermarket parts are made to fit and function the same as the original parts, but they’re often less expensive than OEM parts. Some aftermarket auto parts are redesigned to increase performance.

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

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

Also known as: AWD

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

Also known as: coolant

auto 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

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

automobile repair shop
An automotive repair shop that maintain and repair the internal working parts of automobiles. Some 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 are general repair garages that do all types of maintenance and service repairs.

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

catalytic converter
A vehicle’s catalytic converter isolates exhaust particles and burns them before they leave the tailpipe.

Also known as: catcon, cat

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

Also known as: car wishbone, auto double wishbone, vehicle suspension

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

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

Also known as: crank

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

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

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

filter
A paper or synthetic filter that blocks dust, dirt and debris as air enters the engine is known as a vehicle air filter.

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

flooded engine
When too much fuel is in the cylinders and makes starting difficult or impossible.

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

foreign auto repair shops
Foreign auto repair shops in Santa Clara County perform auto repairs and maintenance on vehicles manufactured by foreign car companies, including some models 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, 4×4, 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

fuel injection
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)

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

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

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

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

idle
The term used to describe a vehicle that is stationary but running.

Also known as: idling

mechanic
An auto mechanic is a professional who repairs and maintains vehicles.

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

mobile auto repair
A mechanic who repairs vehicles on-site is considered a mobile auto repair service. Mobile auto repair shops 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.

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.

RPM (Revolutions Per Minute)
The speed at which the engine crankshaft is turning.

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

salvage auto parts
Auto parts taken from recycled vehicles are called salvage parts. These are often cheap car repair parts, but they usually don’t come with warranties because 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 auto parts, salvage car parts, salvaged parts, used auto parts, replacement parts, used car parts

serpentine belt repair / replacement
Serpentine belts are also called multi-vee or multi-rib belts. They are a long, continuous belt that runs several automotive engine components, indulging the alternator, power steering pump, air pump and 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.

Also known as: car shaking, vehicle vibrations

sluggish performance
When a vehicle does not accelerate smoothly or quickly enough.

Also known as: auto hesitation, vehicle loss of power

suspension system
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 and creates the automobile framework.

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

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Frequently Asked Questions
Santa Clara Auto Repair FAQ

The following questions are some of the most frequently asked at auto repair centers in Santa Clara County. Read on for answers about auto repair parts, how to choose a shop and what to look for in a vehicle repair shop.

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 body shop for your vehicle repair.

Q: What are my rights as an automotive repair consumer in Santa Clara County?
A: The Automotive Repair Act of 1974 entitles all customers in California 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: 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 they’re available through auto part wholesalers in Santa Clara County, OEM parts are often much less expensive than 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 Palo Alto, San Jose, Mountain View and other areas of Santa Clara 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: Should I request my auto repair shop install OEM auto parts instead of aftermarket parts?

A: Aftermarket parts are often cheaper than OEM parts, so auto repair garages in Santa Clara County can install them to make car repairs less expensive or at customer request. However, aftermarket parts aren’t always the same quality as original manufacturer parts, so you may have to repair or replace them sooner. And aftermarket parts that don’t fit correctly can even cause vehicle damage.
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 an intelligent choice.

Q: Is there a difference between independent auto repair shops and dealership repair shops in Santa Clara 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 Sunnyvale, Milpitas and the rest of Santa Clara 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, dealership car repair technicians are usually trained in maintenance and repair methods months and even years before those classes are available to independent shops. Many late model cars are also still under warranty, so some repairs can be done for free at a dealership. In fact, in many 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?
A: It may seem that regularly scheduled maintenance is unnecessary, especially when your vehicle is running well. However, it’s the most cost-effective way to keep your car running and avoid expensive future repairs. Your car’s maintenance schedule should be listed in your owner’s manual, and your local Santa Clara County auto repair shop can help you decide when your car is due for regular tune-ups and maintenance visits.

Q: Can’t I save money by going to a low-cost auto repair garage in Santa Clara 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 take longer to perform car repairs, leaving customers with a much higher bill than if you had first gone to a shop with experienced technicians.

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