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

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.

Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

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

These vehicles are being serviced at a Diamond Certified auto repair shop in Alameda County. You'll feel confident choosing among the quality auto body shops listed above because each has been rated Highest in Quality and has earned Diamond Certified. For more information on how best to choose and work with car repair shops in Alameda County, read the following articles. Photo: Dublin Autoworks (2012) Topic: Finding High Quality Auto Body Shops in Alameda County

OAKLAND — 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 Alameda County – Auto Repair CATEGORY

Glen Poy-Wing is a 33-year veteran of the automotive industry and owner of Oakland Auto Works, a Diamond Certified company since 2004. He can be reached at (510) 859-3989 or by email.

Glen Poy-Wing

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Glen Poy-Wing: An Unexpected Education

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

OAKLAND — As a young man living in Trinidad and Tobago, the last thing Glen Poy-Wing expected when he took his car in for maintenance was to receive a crash course in auto repair. “My uncle owned an auto repair shop, so I brought my car to him to have some work done,” he remembers. “He said, ‘Sure, no problem—the tools are over there. I’ll tell you how to do it, but I’m not going to do it for you.’ At first I was a little upset, but it wasn’t long before I found myself really enjoying it.”

While Glen quickly gained knowledge by frequenting his uncle’s shop on the weekends, he soon realized there was much more for him to learn. “My uncle was a self-taught mechanic—he was very good at his job, but I had so many questions that he couldn’t answer. I realized if I wanted to pursue automotive work as a career, I needed to have a more formal education, so I decided to go to school and study automotive engineering.” After earning his degree at Robert College in New York, Glen returned to his home country and opened his first auto repair shop.

After returning to the United States just a few years later, Glen immediately set about establishing himself in the local industry by working at a couple of repair shops in the East Bay Area. It didn’t take long for him to notice a disturbing trend. “I found that most shops had a tendency to dictate things to their customers rather than explain things or give them options,” he says. “In contrast, my view was that a shop should be focused on educating customers and including them in the repair process.” With this vision in mind, Glen struck out on his own and founded Oakland Auto Works in 1991.

As a resident of El Sobrante (where he lives with his wife, Elizabeth), Glen says he appreciates the cultural diversity that characterizes the Bay Area. “In the Caribbean, it’s a big melting pot, with all different types of people living together. I think that’s why the Bay Area has always felt a lot like home to me.”

Outside of work, Glen engages in a variety of active pastimes, from go-cart racing to cross training for athletic competition. “I’ve always wanted to be a triathlete, and I recently took the step of joining a local triathlon club,” he says. “I’m looking forward to competing in my first triathlon very soon.” In addition to expanding his physical abilities, Glen is broadening his artistic horizons by learning to play the steelpan, which is the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago. When he’s not occupied with one of his many hobbies, he enjoys spending time with his daughter, Danielle, and granddaughter, Kya.

When asked what his future retirement might look like, Glen says he’ll continue to find ways to stay active. “I know people who have retired, and all they do is hang around and relax, which I don’t think I could do. If I quit doing auto repair, I would have to find something else to keep me busy.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1969 Austin America.

Q: What’s your dream car?
A: One that I would build myself.

Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: The birth of my daughter.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Any type of nut—peanuts, cashews, you name it.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My remote-controlled car.

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Improve the Diagnostic Process with Good Communication

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OAKLAND — When your vehicle starts making unusual sounds or acting strangely, your first inclination should be to schedule a diagnostic appointment with your local auto repair shop. While a technician will typically be able to resolve the issue, you… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Communication with your Auto Technician

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Complete Video Transcription:

OAKLAND — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to solving a car problem, the information provided by the vehicle owner can make a significant impact. Today we’re in… Read more

Cynthia Tinkham is office manager and co-owner of Olsen’s Automotive Repair, a Diamond Certified company since 2002. She can be reached at (925) 386-6937 or by email.

Cynthia Tinkham

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Cynthia Tinkham: Like Father, Like Daughter

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LIVERMORE – Cynthia Tinkham has always been close with her father, but she never thought she would end up working alongside him in a professional capacity, much less a permanent career. However, when she offered to temporarily fill a position at the family business two decades ago, that’s exactly what happened. “I kind of got thrown into it,” she laughs. “I was attending Los Positas College with plans to become a teacher when my dad’s secretary unexpectedly quit. I offered to fill in, and 20 years later, here I am. I’ve gone from being a temporary secretary to office manager and co-owner of Olsen’s Automotive Repair.” Cynthia says that after two decades of working together, she and her father still get along as well as ever, and that her favorite part of the job is the day-to-day interactions with customers.

Cynthia was born and raised in Livermore, where she still lives with her husband, Scott, and their three sons, ages six, three, and 11 months. While her dual role as a full-time mom and co-owner of a successful auto repair business keeps her busy, she says she appreciates the family-centered flavor of her life. “I just enjoy spending time with my family, which is usually what I’m doing when I’m not at work.”

When asked what she would do if she could retire tomorrow, Cynthia says she would probably take a long vacation. “We have friends in Europe, and my husband has never been, so we’d probably take a trip over there to hang out and see the sights.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Do you have a favorite restaurant?
A: Olive Garden

Q: What’s your favorite smell?
A: The smells of Christmas, like cinnamon, vanilla and fir trees.

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Fall, because I like watching the leaves change color.

Q: If someone was making a movie about your life, what actress would you choose to play you?
A: Meg Ryan.

Q: What’s your earliest memory?
A: Spending the holidays with my grandparents and extended family when I was three or four.

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The Importance of Proper Car Seat Installation

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LIVERMORE — A common thing seen by auto technicians is infant and child car seats that have been installed incorrectly. While some drivers might assume a cursory installation is good enough, the reality is that even a child who is completely… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Child Car Seat Safety

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Complete Video Transcription:

LIVERMORE — Host, Sarah Rutan: If your child is in a carseat, you'll want to make sure it is properly installed. Today, we’re in Livermore with Diamond Certified… 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
BMW 3 Series
Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet Equinox
Chevrolet Impala
Chevy Silverado
Dodge Ram Pickup
Ford F-150
Ford Fiesta
Ford Focus
Ford Mustang
GMC Sierra
Honda Accord
Honda Civic
Honda CR-V
Honda Odyssey
Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai Sonata
Kia Sorento
Mazda MAZDA 3
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Nissan Altima
Nissan Murano
Subaru Outback
Toyota Camry
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Prius
Toyota RAV4
Volkswagen Jetta

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

Alameda
Albany
Ashland
Berkeley
Castro Valley
Cherryland
Dublin
Emeryville
Fremont
Hayward
Komandorski Village
Livermore
Mount Eden
Newark
Oakland
Piedmont
Pleasanton
Russell City
San Leandro
San Lorenzo
Sunol
Union City

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94568
94577
94578
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94587
94588
94601
94602
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94710
94712

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/)
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/)
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) (http://www.natef.org/)
Society for the Advancement of Autodynamics (SAA) (http://www.autodynamics.org/)
Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) (http://www.sema.org/)

Know What You Want
Know What You Want from Local Auto Repair Shops in Alameda County

It’s important to pinpoint what you want in a mechanic before you start looking for an auto repair shop in Alameda County.

If you’re unsatisfied with your current auto repair facility and need a new car mechanic to provide routine maintenance, ask yourself what it is you are unhappy with. Is it the service? The quality of the car repairs? Knowing exactly why you’re dissatisfied with in your previous shop will help you find a new 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 out by a good auto repair shop in Alameda County right away, you’re wise to take note of exactly what you’re experiencing and when it happens before starting your search for a new auto mechanic. That way, you’ll be able to gauge each technician’s response and decide which shop is best suited to handle your vehicle repairs.

Be able to answer and describe:

  • 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? (Vehicle shaking, loud car sounds, squealing brakes, lit auto warning lights, car fluid leaks.)
  • Does the vehicle pull to one side or do you feel vibrations when you drive?
  • If it’s an unusual sound, where is it coming from?
  • How long has the problem been occurring? (Is it intermittent or constant?)
  • When does the problem happen? (Mention specific driving conditions, weather, maneuvers, time of day, etc.)
  • Has your vehicle’s performance decreased since you first noticed the car problem?
  • Do you have to add fluids more often than usual? If so, which fluids—oil, brake fluid, coolant, etc.
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What To Ask In Person
What to Ask Alameda County Auto Repair Mechanics In Person

The next step is to interview local car shops in San Leandro, Alameda, Union City, Fremont, Pleasanton and other areas of Alameda County.

Questions you may want to ask include:

  • How long will it take your auto repair center 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 Alameda 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 Alameda Auto Repair Customers

    How can you know that auto repair facilities in Alameda 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 Alameda 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 Alameda 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 Alameda 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 Castro Valley, Piedmont, Komandorski Village, Mount Eden, Pleasanton or in the rural Tri-Valley Area?
    • Were you pleased with the auto repair technicians’ turn-around time?
    • Did the mechanics and service writers listen to and communicate well with you?
    • Was the price was fair for the auto repairs you had done? Did it reflect the estimate they initially provided you?
    • What did you like best about this Alameda County auto repair shop?
    • Would you go back to this car repair facility if your vehicle needs additional work in the future?
    • Would you/have you recommend this auto repair garage to friends and family?
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  • Review Your Options
    Find Trustworthy Auto Repair Services in Alameda County and the Tri-Valley

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

    You can feel pressured to choose the nearest auto repair shop in Alameda County when your car breaks down, regardless of whether 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.

    On the flip-side, having a working relationship with a local automobile repair shop will give you confidence when you need car repairs in a hurry.

    Start by researching and visiting good auto repair shops in Alameda 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.
    If possible, go to the same shop for all of your routine maintenance 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.

    In order to choose the right shop for you, review the notes you took during telephone and in-person interviews and determine if one Alameda County auto shop stands out from the rest.

    Pay attention to the following questions:

    • Can an auto repair shop in Alameda County 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 the service writer at the car repair shop communicate clearly and effectively regarding which repairs are needed and why? Is the shop representative able to explain how the repairs were done?
    • Is the vehicle repair shop as devoted as you are to safely and quickly getting your car back on the road?
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  • How To Work With
    Get Accurate Auto Repair Estimates From Alameda County Car Repair Shops

    Emergency car repairs don’t have to be a major setback. The fact that you’ve found a local Alameda County auto repair shop you trust for regular maintenance should give you peace of mind even if your future car repairs are unexpected.

    First, you’ll want to meet with the service writer and explain what the problem is. Use the notes you took so you can accurately describe what you’re experiencing and the concerns you have. Be as detailed as possible, and remember, the mechanic or service writer should never rush you. It’s important to answer their questions and listen to their suggestions and observations, just as it’s important for them to listen to you and answer your questions. Ask for an explanation if you don’t understand what the repair shop representative is telling you or if they’re using language and terms you can’t understand. You should to completely comprehend the problem and the solutions before you sign an agreement or leave the shop.

    By law, all auto repair estimates must be provided in writing before the work begins. This estimate 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. For your protection, never sign a blank work order.

    Sometimes a thorough diagnosis is needed before a shop can give you an accurate auto repair estimate. In this case, the estimate you sign may include just the cost of the car repair diagnosis and estimated labor cost. 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 a Contract with the Alameda County Car Mechanics for Auto Repair Work
    Sign the estimate and service agreement when you’re satisfied with the information your Alameda County repair shop has given you and all your questions are answered. The shop must get your approval for any repairs or additional work, or if the actual repair costs exceed the estimate, and it can slow down or even stop your repairs if they can’t reach you, so verify that your repair shop has a working phone number where they can reach you at all times.

    Most mechanics in Alameda County including the larger cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, Hayward and San Leandro will allow you to see the damaged auto parts once they’ve identified the problem or needed repairs. Remember, it’s your legal right to have any and all old parts returned to you. You simply have to ask the car repair shop for them when they’re writing the service request.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good Auto Repair Shop Customer in Alameda County?

    It’s your auto repair shop’s responsibility to perform accurate and careful car repairs. But you play a big part in the success of your automobile’s repair too.

    Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when you take your minivan, van, truck or car into a local auto repair shop in Alameda County.

    • Be upfront with the auto repair representative about the problem you’re experiencing, what outcome you’re expecting from the vehicle repairs and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way.
    • Before you leave your car, truck or van at the Alameda 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 a breakdown in communication, so you can avoid most conflicts by being clear about the expectations you and the auto repair shop have.
    • Ask your service writer whether they will call you or if you should call them for updates on your vehicle repair progress.
    • 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 car repairs. Your auto repairs will move more smoothly when the shop can reach you with updates or necessary authorizations for car repair work.
    • When your auto shop contacts you, return calls right away.
    • Pay for the car repairs as soon as you pick up your vehicle.

    Why would you want to be a good auto repair shop customer? Car repair shops in Alameda County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates a positive environment conducive to a good relationship. Your responsible, friendly behavior may help your repairs go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Verify the Completed Car Repairs Against Your Written Invoice

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

  • The name and physical address of the shop.
  • The shop’s auto repair registration number.
  • A list of all work completed, including warranty repairs done at no charge.
  • An itemized list of all replacement parts. This must state whether the parts installed were new auto parts, used, salvaged car parts, reconditioned, or rebuilt vehicle parts.
  • The total cost for your auto repairs, including the amount charged for labor.
  • 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.

Remember, it’s your right to have any original car parts returned to you, but only if you asked for them before the repairs when you signed the estimate. Mechanics may not be able to return to you parts that are under warranty as they may need to return them to the supplier for a refund, but you still have the right to see them to verify the damage.

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Written Warranties
Protect Your Investment with Written Warranties from Alameda County Auto Repair Mechanics

Before leaving your auto repair shop with your vehicle, confirm the warranties offered by the repair shop and the parts manufacturer. Any warranties can be voided or your ability to demand appropriate 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. However, those that do must give you a written warranty document that details the following:

  • The auto repair shop’s name and physical address.
  • The car mechanics' state license numbers.
  • Parts covered by warranty and the extent of that coverage. This should include whether the shop will replace or repair failed parts or give you a refund in the event of parts failure. All exclusions must be explicitly stated.
  • Your responsibility in the case of auto part failure or a problem with the auto repairs, including actions you must take in order to redeem the warranty.
  • How long the warranty is valid, whether it expires on a specific day and time, or if it is prorated.
  • If the automotive repair warranty coverage is transferrable to a new owner if you sell your vehicle. And, if so, what steps need to be taken to transfer said warranty.
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Top 10 Requests
Common Auto Repair Requests from Car Repair Shops in Alameda County

Car repair shops in Alameda 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 Alameda County, including those in Hayward, San Leandro, Berkeley, Oakland and Fremont and the surrounding areas.

Routine Vehicle Maintenance
Routine vehicle maintenance is the regular check-up schedule recommended by vehicle manufacturers at 30-, 60-, and 90,000 mile intervals. Routine maintenance usually involves replacing air filters, fuel filters, cabin filters and spark plugs. Most car mechanics in Alameda County will also check, flush and refill car fluids and ensure the engine, exhaust and electrical systems are functioning properly. Routine vehicle maintenance checks, also known as a car tune up, can prevent expensive car repairs by repairing 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 Alameda County are for alternator repairs, the component that continually charges your car battery. 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.

Automobile Brake Repair
Brake repairs are a common request made of local auto repair mechanics in Hayward, Newark, Pleasanton and all throughout Alameda 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

Vehicle Brake Replacement
Like brake repair, auto brake replacements are common car repairs in Alameda 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.

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 Alameda County that specialize in automotive engine repairs.

Auto Ignition System Repairs
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 Repairs
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 Alameda County.

Auto Fuel System Repairs
Clogged fuel pumps are a common problem for Alameda County drivers who regularly run on less than ¼ 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 Hose Repair and Replacement
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.

Mobile Auto Repair (Mobile Mechanic)
Mobile mechanic shops in Alameda County including those in Piedmont, Livermore, Hayward and Castro Valley are increasingly popular. Instead of having vehicles towed to 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 place of business by appointment to service your vehicle.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Auto Repair Terms Used By Local Mechanics

Below are key auto repair terms and descriptions that will help you navigate your way through your car repairs. Always be sure to ask your mechanic for more information or explanations for any service, term or estimate/billing item you don't understand.

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

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

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

auto repair shop
An automotive repair shop that maintain and repair the internal working parts of automobiles. Some Alameda 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 Alameda 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 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 isolates exhaust particles and burns them before they leave the tailpipe.

Also known as: cat, catcon

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

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.

Also known as: rear differential

domestic auto repair shops
Auto repair garages in Alameda County that specialize in repairs on domestic vehicles are known as ‘domestic auto repair shops’. General Motors, Ford, 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

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
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 Alameda 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, 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, 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

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, slow idle, fast idling, automotive 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
Alameda County mechanics who repair vehicles on-site are considered mobile auto repair services. Mobile auto repair shops in Oakland, Fremont, Berkeley, San Leandro and Hayward 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
The speed at which the engine crankshaft is turning.

Also known as: revolutions per minute

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 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 it’s said to be sluggish or have sluggish performance.

Also known as: auto hesitation, vehicle loss of power, sluggish automotive performance

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
Auto Repair FAQ

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Auto Repair Shop?
A: We end the guessing game by offering a list of top-rated local companies 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: Is it a good idea to choose a local auto repair shop that has certifications such as ASE certification and Diamond Certified?
A: While certifications don’t guarantee you’ll get better repairs or better service at the Alameda 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) and memberships in automotive service organizations show that the car mechanics have sought and attained a higher level of professionalism.

Only the best auto repair shops in Alameda County earn the Diamond Certified award by scoring Highest in Quality in the most accurate and rigorous ratings process anywhere. Most shops can’t pass this test. Thousands of local auto repair customers have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only automotive repair centers that scored 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 cuts out mediocre and poorly performing companies.

Q: What rights do I have as a consumer in Alameda 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 OEM auto parts?
A: OEM auto parts, also known as Original Equipment Manufacturer parts, are made by the same manufacturer that produced the original auto parts in your vehicle. Most automobile manufacturers rely on outside companies 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 Alameda County, OEM parts can be much less expensive than when sold through the car dealer.

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 auto repair shops in Alameda, Oakland, Berkeley and other areas of Alameda 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 carefully redesigned to fit and function better than OEM parts, so your auto repair shop may recommend them as a good alternative.

Q: Should I request my Alameda County auto repair shop install OEM parts or aftermarket auto parts?
A: Because aftermarket parts are often cheaper than OEM parts, some auto repair garages in Alameda 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: What is the difference between independent auto repair shops in Alameda County and car 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 Fremont, San Leandro and the rest of Alameda 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, auto dealership repair shops may have an edge in repairing newer makes and models, as their car repair technicians are usually trained in maintenance and 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 really important to take my car to a local repair shop for regularly scheduled maintenance?

A: Regularly-scheduled auto maintenance may seem unnecessary, especially when your vehicle is running well. However, it’s the most cost-effective way to avoid expensive car repairs in the future. Your car’s maintenance schedule should be listed in the owner’s manual, and your Alameda County auto repair shop can help you decide when your car is due for regular tune-ups and vehicle maintenance visits.

Q: Can I save money by hiring a discount auto repair garage in Alameda County for c repairs and routine maintenance?
A: It may only look like you’re saving money by going to a cheaper auto repair shop. Keep in mind that margins are tight for most auto repairs and there are only a few ways shops can offer dramatically lower prices than the competition. They may install used auto parts or salvage parts, or they may hire Alameda County mechanics that don’t have much auto repair experience. This might make their rates seem lower, but you can end up having to replace parts sooner and can even cause lasting damage to your vehicle, costing you much more down the road. Some auto repair shops have been known to advertise low hourly rates, but purposely take longer to repair your car and leave you with a higher bill than if you had gone to a shop with experienced technicians.

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