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?

Vehicles on lifts being repaired in a clean, organized auto repair shop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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John Vanek is a 43-year veteran of the auto repair industry and manager of Orinda Motors, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (925) 709-4934 or by email.

John Vanek

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

John Vanek: Auto Motivated

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ORINDA — While people become involved in the auto repair industry for a variety of reasons, John Vanek’s motivation came primarily from the heart. “I’m one of those guys in the business who really loves cars,” he affirms. “I love working on them, driving them and just about everything else. Even when I’m not at the shop, you’ll often find me working on one of my personal restoration projects at home, which include a 1953 Chevy pickup and a 1936 Ford sedan.”

Thanks to a close family connection in the industry, John was able to jumpstart his automotive career at an early age. “When I was a kid, my older brother opened his own repair shop,” he remembers. “I started out sweeping the shop when I was 15, and I eventually worked my way up to servicing the vehicles.” After 24 years working at his brother’s business, John moved on to the shop he currently manages, Orinda Motors, Inc.

A native of the East Bay, John was born in Berkeley and now lives in El Sobrante, where he appreciates the outdoor opportunities afforded by the local landscape. “My wife, Barbara, and I enjoy going on walks and hikes so we can take in scenic views while getting fresh air and exercise,” he says. “There are a lot of places to do that here, including Tilden Regional Park, which is pretty close to our house.”

Outside of work, John engages in a variety of hobbies and pastimes, from restoring old cars to playing music. “Besides cars, music is my biggest passion. My main instrument is the drums, but I also play guitar and bass.” John also keeps up with his and Barbara’s grown children, Kyle and Sarah, both of whom live locally. Furthermore, as members of the local Elks Lodge, he and Barbara invest a significant amount of time into giving back to their community. “The Elks Lodge does a lot for local charities, including annual fundraising events like dances and pasta feeds, so it’s very rewarding to be a part of that.”

In his life and career, John espouses the importance of treating others fairly and honestly. “I treat people the same way I like to be treated, which is a big part of living with honesty and integrity. Auto repair is an expensive investment, so I always try to use my knowledge and experience to help my customers make good decisions and hopefully save some money in the process.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, John says he’d take some time to go exploring. “I’d probably go on a big backpacking trip—nothing outrageous, maybe just some trails around Yosemite. There’s also a trail up north called the Lost Coast Trail that I’d like to do. Other than that, I would spend more time working on my cars and playing music.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A Datsun 510.

Q: If you could drive any car, what would you choose?
A: A 2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My Tonka trucks.

Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: The Ibanez acoustic-electric bass guitar my wife gave me for our 20th anniversary.

Read more

The Importance of Properly Functioning Shocks


ORINDA — Shocks are an important yet often overlooked aspect of a vehicle’s operation. The basic function of shocks is to absorb the turbulence (bumps and jolts) of driving on the road—not only to provide a more comfortable ride, but… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Suspension System Awareness and Safety

Complete Video Transcription:

ORINDA — Host, Sarah Rutan: To keep your car running smoothly, it’s important to know how each part of its system works. Today, we’re in Orinda with… Read more

Kacey Copeland is owner of autoTech Blackhawk, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 388-6924 or by email.

Kacey Copeland

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Kacey Copeland: Taking the Next Step

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

DANVILLE — For Kacey Copeland, starting an auto repair business was simply the logical next step in his professional career. “After several years in the automotive industry, I was considering what my next move would be,” he remembers. “By that point, I felt like I’d become an expert in my field and was just treading water, unsure what direction I should go in. Around that time, the owner of the shop I worked at had another location come available. He didn’t think anyone wanted to buy it, so he was just going to sell the property. To me, it was a sign that this was my next step—to have my own business. Not long after, I was the new owner of autoTech Blackhawk.”

As Kacey recounts, the seeds for his automotive career were planted two generations prior. “My grandfather started a Phillips 66 Service Station in 1966, just outside of Denver, Colorado, where I’m from. My dad started working there after he graduated high school, and I started when I was eight years old. It was a full-service gas station, so when a customer drove up, I’d walk out, pump their gas, check their tires and oil, and wash the windows. Learning how to interact with customers at a young age was definitely beneficial for the development of my social skills, which is something I appreciate looking back.” Following high school, Kacey attended Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, where he earned his professional certification. A few years later, he relocated to California.

Today, Kacey says his favorite part of his job is the customer interaction. “When a customer comes in to my shop, it’s usually on the worst day of their year—their radiator just popped, they have a car full of kids and they need to be somewhere 10 minutes ago. I enjoy putting out the fire and reassuring them that everything will be taken care of. If they need to be somewhere, I’ll often give them a ride. Basically, I try to take someone’s worst day and turn it around into something positive.”

A resident of Contra Costa County (where he lives with his wife, Catherine), Kacey spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “Catherine and I enjoy going hiking and backpacking at places like Yosemite National Park,” he details. “We also love world travel—in recent years, we’ve been to Belize, New Zealand and Canada.” Additionally, Kacey enjoys working with wood and doing small home remodeling projects.

In regard to a professional philosophy, Kacey espouses the importance of honesty. “I like to sleep, and in order to sleep, I need to do everything with honesty and integrity,” he explains. “Often, the news I have to give my customers isn’t easy for them to receive. Believe me, it’s no fun to watch someone’s face when they realize their car needs X amount of dollars of repair work. Nevertheless, I give them the information because they need to know the reality of the situation.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Kacey says he’d head to the hills. “I would probably move back to Colorado and live in the mountains. Right now, Catherine and I live in a tiny house, so it would be pretty easy to relocate.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?

A: Burma! Burma! in Dublin.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?

A: “Suits.”

Q: What were you most known for in high school?

A: I was the kid with the big, white Jeep.

Q: Do you collect anything?

A: I used to collect shot glasses from around the world, but when we moved into a tiny house, I whittled down my collection from about 50 to four.

Q: What kinds of music do you like?

A: I like Mexican and Indian music.

Read more

Rethinking DIY A/C Maintenance


DANVILLE — If your car’s air conditioning system has stopped working, you may have considered fixing it yourself. All you need to do is add some more refrigerant, right? The truth is, A/C system maintenance is more complex than you might realize,… Read more

Is Your Car Worth Repairing?


DANVILLE — One of the most commonly asked questions at any auto repair shop is, “Is my car worth repairing?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always clear-cut. In some cases, it’s a simple matter of doing the math and taking the… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Is Your Car Worth Repairing?

Complete Video Transcription:

DANVILLE — Host, Sarah Rutan: If your vehicle is in need of substantial repair work, you’ll need to determine whether repair or replacement is a… Read more

Chester Kniss is a lifetime veteran of the automotive industry and owner of Delta Transmission, a Diamond Certified company since 2007. He can be reached at (925) 709-4984 or by email.

Chester Kniss

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Chester Kniss: A Mechanical Mind

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ANTIOCH — When asked how he got involved in the auto repair field, Chester Kniss simply replies that he’s always been mechanically minded. “I’ve been interested in cars since I was a little boy, so I picked things up pretty naturally,” he says. “At 10 years old, I was able to accurately diagnose car problems, and by age 15, I’d built my first transmission.” After high school, Chester went directly into the automotive industry, where he started out working on diesel trucks. In 1994, he was hired at Delta Transmission, and 12 years later, he purchased the business from the owner.

Today, Chester says he still finds satisfaction in pursuing his lifelong livelihood. “I just enjoy working on cars. At this point, almost every aspect of my life involves cars, so I guess it’s become a part of who I am.”

A lifetime resident of the East Bay, Chester resides in Oakley with his wife, Beverly, and their two children. Outside of work, he engages in a variety of automotive-centered activities. “I’ve been dirt track racing competitively since 1994 and continue to do that today,” he says. “My wife grew up around racing, so we both love it, and now our son races as well.” When asked what he does to relax in between races, his response is hardly surprising: “Work on cars.”

In regard to a professional philosophy, Chester espouses the importance of honesty. “Besides understanding how to do the job itself, the most important part of running a business is being honest with your customers,” he affirms. “When you’re honest and fair, customers will return, which is the lifeblood of any business—especially one like ours, where all the advertising is word-of-mouth.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Chester says he’d head back to the track. “I’d probably go racing. Right now, all the top-notch guys in my racing class are at the Super Nationals in Boone, Iowa, so I’d head up and watch that. Other than racing, I wouldn’t mind taking a trip to Hawaii.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1972 Dodge Charger.

Q: What’s your dream car?
A: Pretty much any ’60s Ford or Dodge.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Cars and car parts.

Q: What kinds of movies do you like?
A: I like “The Fast and the Furious” series.

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: Both. I’m up early and I go to bed late.

Read more

Transmissions: To Flush or Not to Flush?


ANTIOCH — Much like a “quick stop” oil change, a transmission flush provides a fast and affordable means of maintaining a vital vehicle component. However, upon closer inspection, this convenient service may not be as good an idea as it appears.… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Rethinking Transmission Flushes

Complete Video Transcription:

ANTIOCH — Host, Sarah Rutan: A transmission flush is a popular service, but according to some automotive professionals, it may not be such a good idea. Today… Read more

Eric Zugnoni is owner of Antioch Napa Auto Care, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 257-4631 or by email.

Eric Zugnoni

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Eric Zugnoni: A Student of the Industry

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ANTIOCH — Most auto mechanics attend ongoing educational courses, but few can be classified as true students of the industry. Eric Zugnoni falls into this classification, and his educational enthusiasm is a big part of what propelled him to professional success. “During my early years as a technician, I attended a lot of industry-related classes,” he says. “I heard about a teacher in Concord who was highly recommended, so I started attending his classes on topics like advanced drivability and emissions. He became a mentor to me, and when I was laid off by Bank of America, he hired me to help him teach, which I did for about 10 years. Eventually, I decided it was time to have my own auto repair shop. I started out in a little gas station shop on 8th Street in Antioch, and I’ve since moved to our current location at NAPA Auto Parts in Antioch.”

Today, as owner of Antioch Napa Auto Care, Eric says his favorite parts of his job are diagnosing problems and interacting with customers. “After all these years, I still enjoy working on cars, although I don’t get to do it as often as I used to. I’m especially interested in diagnostics, so whenever I get a chance to flex that muscle, I’m a happy guy. My other favorite thing is dealing with customers. I really enjoy building and fostering relationships with customers and making them feel good about bringing their vehicles here.”

A resident of Antioch (where he lives with his wife and business partner, Jodi), Eric spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I’m an avid fisherman, so I enjoy going kayak fishing at local lakes and deep sea fishing in my boat. I’m also a knife collector and master sharpener, and I like doing auto detailing in my spare time.” When he’s not engaged in one of his hobbies, Eric likes spending time with his and Jodi’s two adult children and one grandchild.

In regard to a professional philosophy, Eric espouses the value of communication. “I often get complimented by customers for my honesty and communication,” he says. “They really appreciate getting an explanation for why certain work needs to be done on their vehicles. A lot of auto shops don’t do this, which can leave customers wondering if the work was really necessary. So, we like to put their minds at ease by explaining what needs to be done and why.”

When asked what his life might look like if he were to retire tomorrow, Eric says he’d spend more time enjoying his hobbies and family. “I’d definitely go fishing more often. Jodi and I both love boating and fishing, so we’re hoping to retire in an area that’s near water. I’d also be interested in starting a small car detailing business, and of course, I would spend more time with family.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?

A: The San Francisco Giants.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: New Zealand.

Q: Coffee or tea?

A: Coffee.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?

A: Peanut butter cookies.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?

A: I was voted the nicest guy in my class.

Read more

An Unintended Consequence of Extended Oil Change Intervals


ANTIOCH —As automotive technology continues to evolve, vehicle maintenance needs are changing as well. One of the biggest examples of this is oil change intervals. For many years, the standard oil change interval was 3,000 miles, but the past decade… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: The Problem With New Oil Change Intervals

Complete Video Transcription:

ANTIOCH — Eric Zugnoni: One of the biggest tips I have for people is later model cars -- they have extended the interval between oil… Read more




  • ACDelco

  • Unocal 76

  • Acura

  • Honda

  • Hyundai

  • Infiniti

  • Jaguar

  • Conoco/Phillips/76

  • Delphi

  • Kendall

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

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

Bay Point
Bethel Island
Discovery Bay
El Cerrito
El Sobrante
Hilltop Mall
Los Medanos
North Richmond
Pleasant Hill
Point Richmond
Port Chicago
Port Costa
Rheem Valley
San Pablo
San Ramon
Tara Hills
Vine Hill
Walnut Creek
Walnut Heights
West Pittsburg


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 Contra Costa County.

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
Know What You Want Before Hiring a Local Auto Repair Shop in Contra Costa County

It’s essential to identify what you want in a mechanic before you come to a decision on an auto repair shop in Contra Costa County. If you’re experiencing car problems and need to have your vehicle checked out by a good auto repair shop in Contra Costa 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.

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 with what you’re dissatisfied in your previous shop will help you find a new mechanic that has all the qualities you want. You’ll have a better idea of what questions to ask to make certain your next shop is better than the last. You’ll also be conscious of what can go wrong, so you’ll know to inquire about shops that offer high quality auto repairs rather than low-priced services that leave you unhappy.

Be able to answer and describe:

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified auto repair facility that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • What is the exact car problem you’re experiencing? (Loud exhaust sounds, squealing or shimmying brakes, auto warning lights, rough idle.)
  • Does the vehicle pull to one side?
  • Do you feel vibrations or car shaking when you drive?
  • If there are unusual sounds, where are they coming from?
  • How long have you been noticing the problem? (Is it intermittent or constant?)
  • When did the problem start?
  • When does the problem happen? (Cite driving conditions, maneuvers ,etc. that make the problem occur.)
  • Has your vehicle’s performance decreased since you noticed the problem?
  • Do you have to add fluids more often than usual? If so, which fluids?
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What To Ask In Person
What to Ask Contra Costa County Mechanics In Person

Next, you’ll want to interview local car shops in cities such as Pittsburg, San Ramon, Danville, Richmond, Brentwood and other areas of Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa 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?
  • Do you have my contact information on file?
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  • What To Ask References
    Learn from Auto Repair Customers in Contra Costa County, Including Those in Smaller Towns Such as Port Costa, San Pablo, San Ramon, Walnut Heights, Byron, Canyon and Crockett

    How can you trust auto repair facilities in Contra Costa County to live up to their promises?

    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 car repairs in Contra Costa County from a good auto repair shop, 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 Contra Costa 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 shops often cherry-picked their best customers and give those names as references, rather than randomly selecting customers, so many shops likely give you only the numbers of a few satisfied customers.

    To avoid this, ask for a list of the vehicle repair shop’s 10 most recent customers. When you call the references, ask general questions about their experience and the auto mechanics as well as questions about the car repairs they had done and their impression of 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 Contra Costa 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 Bay Point, Lafayette, Los Medinos, Maltby, West Pittsburg, Moraga and Alamo?
    • Were you pleased with the turn-around time?
    • Did the auto mechanics and service writers listen to you and communicate well with you?
    • Was the price was fair for the vehicle repairs you had done? Did the final price reflect the estimate they initially provided you?
    • What did you like best about this Contra Costa County auto repair shop?
    • Would you go back to this car repair facility if your vehicle needs additional work in the future?
    • Would you recommend this auto repair garage to friends and family?
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  • Review Your Options
    Find Good Auto Repair Services in Contra Costa County Including the Major Cities of Concord, Pittsburg, Richmond, Antioch and Walnut Creek Before You Need Emergency Vehicle Repairs

    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 Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa 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 you can, go to the same shop for all routine maintenance services and vehicle repairs. That way, the auto mechanics will have a record of your vehicle repairs, so you aren’t wasting money by having items done before they’re required.

    In order to choose the right shop for you, review the notes you took during telephone and in-person interviews and determine if one Contra Costa County auto shop stands out from the rest. Pay attention to the following questions:

    • Can an auto repair shop in Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa County Car Repair Shops

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

    First, 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.

    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.

    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.

    Sign a Contract with the Contra Costa County Car Mechanics for Auto Repair Work
    Sign the estimate and service agreement when you’re satisfied with the information your Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa County including the larger cities of Concord, Walnut Creek, Richmond, Antioch and Pittsburg 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 Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa 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.
    • 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. So before you leave your car, truck, van or minivan at a Contra Costa County auto repair shop, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate your understanding of the contract.
    • 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.
    • Ask your service writer whether they will call you or if you should call them for updates on your vehicle repair progress.
    • When the auto shop contacts you, return their calls right away to keep repairs on schedule.
    • 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 Contra Costa 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
Check Completed Auto Repairs Against Your Written Invoice

When the car 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 state auto repair registration number.
  • A list of all completed work, 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.
  • 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.

You have the right to have original car parts returned to you, but you must ask for them when you sign the estimate. Vehicle mechanics may not be able to return parts that are under warranty as they may need to ship them to the auto parts supplier for warranty purposes, but you always have the right to see the parts to verify damage.

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Written Warranties
Protect Your Investment with Written Warranties from Contra Costa County Auto Mechanics

Before leaving your auto repair shop with your vehicle, confirm the warranties offered by the repair shop and the parts manufacturer. 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 car repair shop’s name and physical address.
  • Parts covered by warranty and the extent of that coverage, including 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 product failure, 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 transferable if you sell the repaired vehicle, and what steps need to be taken to transfer the warranty.
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Top 10 Requests
Ten Most Common Auto Repair Service Requests

Car repair shops in Contra Costa County provide all types of maintenance and automotive repair services for vans, trucks, cars and minivans. The following are the most common requests handled by local auto repair shops in Contra Costa County, including those in Antioch, Pittsburg, Walnut Creek, Concord, El Cerrito, Danville and Richmond and the surrounding areas.

Auto Electrical Repair
Auto electrical repairs become more common as vehicles become more computerized and complex. Most auto electrical repairs in Contra Costa 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.

Routine Vehicle Maintenance

Routine vehicle maintenance is the regular check-up schedule recommended by vehicle manufacturers at 30,000, 60,000, and 90,000 mile intervals. Routine maintenance for cars usually involves replacing fuel filters, cabin filters, air filters, spark plugs and other heavy-wear items. Many good car mechanics in Contra Costa County will also check and refill auto fluids and ensure that the engine, exhaust and electrical systems are functioning properly. Routine vehicle maintenance checks, also known as a car tune up, help prevent expensive car repairs by fixing small issues before they become big problems.

Automobile Brake Repair
Brake repairs are a common request made of local auto repair mechanics in Antioch, Martinez, Brentwood and all throughout Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa 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 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 wide range of engine problems that can cause these symptoms, you’re wise to not attempt do-it-yourself engine repairs. Instead, call one of the many good automobile mechanics throughout Contra Costa County that specialize in automotive engine repairs.

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 Contra Costa County including those in Piedmont, Livermore, Antioch 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.

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 serious enough electrical problems to 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 Contra Costa County.

Auto Fuel System Repairs
Clogged fuel pumps are a common problem for Contra Costa 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.

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Glossary Of Terms
Auto Repair Key Terms

Below are key auto repair terms used at most Contra Costa County car repair shops, including descriptions that will help you navigate your way through your auto’s repair.

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, car air filter replacements, auto cabin air filters

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 Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa 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, allwheel drive

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

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

The largest engine section, the crankcase contains the crankshaft.

Also known as: crank case, crank-case

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

Also known as: crank shaft, crank

The differential is gear system that allows one wheel to rotate faster than the other, and it is important for steering, turning and cornering.

Also known as: rear differential

domestic auto repair shops
Auto repair garages in Contra Costa 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

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 Contra Costa 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

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

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

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

The term used to describe a vehicle that is motionless and running.

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

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

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

mobile auto repair
Contra Costa County mechanics who repair vehicles on-site are considered mobile auto repair services. Mobile auto repair shops in Concord, Richmond, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg and Antioch 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, stock auto 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.

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

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, auto shimmying

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

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, auto suspension

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.

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

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

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

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

Also known as: car water pump, car coolant pump

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions of Mechanics In Contra Costa County

The following are questions often asked by customers of auto repair garages in Contra Costa county.

Q: Why should I 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?
A: While certifications don’t guarantee you’ll get better repairs or better service at the Contra Costa 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. Diamond Certified is also a certification that many consumers look to for vetted, safe choices for vehicle repair shops.

Q: What rights do I have as a car repair consumer in Contra Costa County?
A: The Automotive Repair Act of 1974 entitles all auto repair customers to written estimates 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: Should I request my Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa 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 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 Contra Costa 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 San Ramon, Concord, Walnut Creek and other areas of Contra Costa 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: What is the difference between independent auto repair shops in Contra Costa 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 Richmond, Pittsburg and the rest of Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa County auto repair shop, including those in San Ramon, Pittsburg, Alamo, Antioch, Orinda and San Pablo 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 Contra Costa County for car repairs and routine vehicle 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 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 more down the road. Some auto repair shops have been known to advertise low rates, but take longer to repair your car and leave you with a higher bill than if you had simply gone to a shop with experienced technicians.

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