Diamond Certified Company Report

Above All Smog

Diamond Certified Company Report

Above All Smog

Diamond certified ratings dashboard
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i
Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 100 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i

Oliver S.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

1 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They had a great, friendly staff. They were lightning quick.

Nothing, just the overall was good.

Melissa M.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

2 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were great and quick, but hard to find. Beyond that, they were good, in and out.

They were good.

Monica S.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

3 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I thought they were good. I don't have any complaints.

They were friendly and professional. The shop was really tidy and clean.

Read All 100 Survey Responses at Ratings View
Diamond certified VIDEO PROFILE
Diamond certified company PROFILE

Chris Mari (L) and Mike Mari are owners of Above All Smog.

Above All Smog performs smog inspections on all types of vehicles at its San Ramon facility. The family-owned and operated company uses state-of-the-art equipment to ensure its customers’ vehicles are within California’s emissions standards, and it also offers free re-tests if cars fail due to undiagnosed “check engine” lights, low tire pressure or other issues.

Owners Chris and Mike Mari say their honest approach to smog testing has allowed Above All Smog to develop a base of loyal clients who are quick to refer the company to others. “Not everyone knows about what should and shouldn’t happen during a smog inspection, so we focus on guiding our customers through each step of the process,” affirms Chris. “They really appreciate how straightforward and genuine we are.”

Above All Smog utilizes its small size to provide a personalized experience for every person who visits its shop. “We’re very attentive when a customer walks in—we greet them, listen to their needs and make sure they’re comfortable before we start working on their car,” says Mike. “Some people have a tainted view of the smog testing industry, but we aim to change those perceptions with each job.”

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED CAPABILITIES ON Above All Smog

Locations

Alameda County
Contra Costa County

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SERVICES PERFORMED

Smog Inspections

DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED ARTICLES ON Above All Smog

Chris Mari (L) and Mike Mari prepare to smog test a customer’s vehicle.

Company Profile

Above All Smog performs smog inspections on all types of vehicles at its San Ramon facility. The family-owned and operated company uses state-of-the-art equipment to ensure its customers’ vehicles are within California’s emissions standards, and it also offers free re-tests if cars fail due to undiagnosed “check engine” lights, low tire pressure or other issues.

Owners Chris and Mike Mari say their honest approach to smog testing has allowed Above All Smog to develop a base of loyal clients who are quick to refer the company to others. “Not everyone knows about what should and shouldn’t happen during a smog inspection, so we focus on guiding our customers through each step of the process,” affirms Chris. “They really appreciate how straightforward and genuine we are.”

Above All Smog utilizes its small size to provide a personalized experience for every person who visits its shop. “We’re very attentive when a customer walks in—we greet them, listen to their needs and make sure they’re comfortable before we start working on their car,” says Mike. “Some people have a tainted view of the smog testing industry, but we aim to change those perceptions with each job.”

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Company Philosophy

“Building long-term relationships with customers is a crucial aspect of our business, so we always treat them with respect and do whatever it takes to ensure their satisfaction. Our ultimate goal is to make every customer so satisfied with their experience that they never have to look for a smog inspection station again.”

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Comparative Summary

Maintaining customer satisfaction is a crucial aspect of any business, but it’s even more important for smog inspection shops that have earned the prestigious Diamond Certified award. For Above All Smog, the key to keeping customers happy is simple: always put their needs first. “We’re extremely attentive to our customers,” affirms co-owner Mike Mari. “For example, when they arrive for their appointments, we take the time to go out and greet them. It sounds simple, but we find that people really appreciate our efforts to make them feel welcome.”

Above All Smog provides smog inspection services for all types of vehicles at its San Ramon facility. The family-owned and operated company utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to make sure every customer’s vehicle is within California’s emissions standards, and it also offers free re-tests if cars fail due to issues like low tire pressure and undiagnosed “check engine” lights.

Unlike smog shops that expand their services beyond testing and create potential conflicts of interest as a result, Above All Smog focuses on providing honest, impartial service. “Things can get a little dicey with test and repair shops because there’s clearly a conflict of interest,” says Mr. Mari. “Since we’re a test-only shop, our customers can be confident that our diagnoses are based on honest results, not an attempt to take advantage of them.”

Another distinguishing feature of Above All Smog is its comfortable waiting room, which Mr. Mari says isn’t always a given at smog test facilities. “We provide a nice waiting room for our customers to relax in while their cars are being tested. Whether they have their kids with them or they just want to get out of the rain, we have them covered.”

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Industry Info

If you have a smog test coming up, make sure you and your vehicle are fully prepared.

A vehicle can fail a smog inspection for many reasons, so being prepared will minimize the chances of this happening. Here are a few tips:

If your car was manufactured before 2000, warm it up before testing. While vehicles manufactured after 2000 undergo a computer-based test, pre-2000 vehicles are tested via tailpipe. Since the tailpipe emissions test requires a vehicle’s catalytic converter to be hot, a cool engine can result in a failure to pass.

Give your battery time to reset following an outage. On most modern vehicles, the onboard computer system takes a day or two to fully reset after a power outage. So, if your battery dies, you should give it a couple of days before bringing it in for a smog test.

Complete any temporary repairs. Every smog test includes a visual portion wherein the technician inspects the integrity of the engine. For this reason, temporary or improperly performed repairs (such as loose hoses affixed by electrical tape) can lead to a test failure.

Make sure aftermarket parts are labeled. Any aftermarket engine replacement parts should be labeled with a legal EO (Executive Order) number issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which signifies the organization’s approval. While an unlabeled part may not constitute an automatic failure, your smog technician must be able to verify that the part meets CARB’s standards.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to make an appointment?
A: We recommend making an appointment to ensure efficient service, but we accept walk-ins as well.

Q: Can my vehicle pass if the “check engine” light is on?
A: No. In order for a vehicle to pass the smog inspection, its ‘check engine’ light must be off and not come on during testing.

Q: Can any other dashboard lights affect my smog test results?
A: No—the only one that matters is the ‘check engine’ light.

Q: Does my vehicle need to be warmed up before it’s tested?
A: It depends on its age. Since vehicles manufactured prior to 2000 undergo a tailpipe emissions test, they should be warmed up to normal operating temperature prior to testing. In contrast, vehicles manufactured after 2000 don’t require a tailpipe test, so it doesn’t matter if they’re warmed up.

Q: I recently bought a new car. When do I need to start doing smog tests?
A: A new vehicle is exempt from smog testing for the first six years following its manufacture date. After that, smog tests are required every other year. The DMV will notify you when your vehicle is due for its first smog test.

Q: Can you recommend a repair shop if I need smog repairs?
A: Unfortunately, we can’t—it’s a conflict of interest. However, we can provide you with a list of repair shops in the area and you can make a choice from there.

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SELECTED PHOTOS FROM Above All Smog

DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR ADVICE & TIPS FROM Mike Mari

Expert CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE
  • Mike Mari is owner of Above All Smog, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 456-4964 or by email.

Mike Mari: Smog Star

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN RAMON — Mike Mari was always driven to succeed, but after partnering with his brother in the smog testing industry, his career went into overdrive. “Growing up, my brother, Chris, and I both loved cars, and each of us ended up working in the automotive industry,” he recounts. “After Chris got involved in smog testing, I started to look into it as well. I was interested in the technology, as well as the important role smog testing plays in maintaining air quality in California. Pretty soon, I decided to get into the smog testing field myself. A couple of years later, Chris and I were discussing our jobs and realized that, with our experience, we could partner up and start our own business. After plenty of research and preparation, we opened our smog testing shop in San Ramon in 2016.”

Today, as owner of Above All Smog, Mike says his favorite part of his job is giving customers a positive experience. “No one looks forward to having their vehicle smog tested—it’s right up there with going to the dentist or filing your taxes. Chris and I understand that, which is why we go out of our way to create a positive experience for every customer. Even if they come in with a frown, we hope to have them smiling by the time they leave.”

A resident of San Ramon, Mike spends most of his time outside of work with his wife, Marissa, and their two children. “As a father of young kids, most of my free time is devoted to family,” he affirms. “We like going hiking, riding bikes and taking trips to kids’ museums.” Additionally, Mike pursues personal hobbies like auto maintenance and sports, often in the company of his brother. “Despite running a business together, Chris and I still like to hang out, work on our cars and watch sports, which is our other shared interest. When we get a chance, we like going to San Francisco Giants and 49ers games.”

In his life and career, Mike espouses the importance of treating people with respect. “Respect goes a long way when dealing with people,” he affirms. “To me, showing someone respect means not putting yourself above that person, but approaching them at their level and trying to understand where they’re at. Whether I’m dealing with a customer, a friend or a family member, I think showing respect is the best way to ensure a positive interaction.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Mike says he’d spend more time with his family. “I’m a simple man—I enjoy hanging out and being with my wife and kids, so if I were to retire, I’d probably just do more of that. From now until the day I really do retire, I think that’s one thing that won’t change much for me.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Street Outlaws.”

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1988 Honda CRX.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Chocolate chip cookies.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Car parts.

Q: Did you play any sports in high school?
A: I played football—I was a cornerback.

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Expert articles
  • Understanding Smog Testing Methods

    SAN RAMON — When it comes to smog testing a vehicle, the method of testing varies depending on the vehicle’s age. To know what your upcoming smog test will involve (as well as some ways to prepare), read the following breakdown:

    Vehicles 2000 and newer

    Vehicles manufactured after 1999 are smog tested via their On-Board Diagnostics (OBD), the computerized system that manages emissions and other important vehicle functions. The test also includes a visual inspection of the vehicle’s emission components, as well as verification that the tailpipe isn’t emitting any visible smoke.

    Prior to bringing your vehicle in for a smog test, have any illuminated dashboard lights checked out at your local repair shop. Also, if your battery has recently died or been disconnected, give your car at least a couple of days before bringing it in, as it can take that long for the OBD system to reset.

    Vehicles 1999 and older

    Vehicles manufactured prior to 2000 are smog tested via tailpipe. A smog technician will take emissions samples while the vehicle is running at speeds of 15 and 25 miles per hour. An OBD test and visual inspection are also included in the test.

    Prior to the tailpipe test, vehicle owners should make sure their vehicles are warmed up to normal operating temperature, as the catalytic converter needs to be hot to get an accurate reading. It’s also smart to have any upcoming preventative maintenance (such as oil changes or spark plug replacement) performed prior to your smog appointment so you can increase your vehicle’s chances of passing.

    Vehicles 1995 and older

    Vehicles manufactured prior to 1996 require a couple of tests in addition to the tailpipe test, including a Low Pressure Fuel Evaporative Test (LPFET) and an ignition timing test.

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Expert video tip
  • Video: Smog Test Tips

    Complete Video Transcription:

    SAN RAMON — Host, Sarah Rutan: Did you know the method used to smog test your car may differ depending on its age? To learn more, we’re in San Ramon with Chris Mari of Above All Smog, speaking on behalf of Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Mike Mari.

    Chris Mari: So, our tips for vehicles 2000 and newer is to, if you’ve had any maintenance reminders or any lights that are popping up on the dashboard, make sure to go take them to your local repair shop. Have those checked out before coming in for smog. And if you’ve had a battery replacement or if your vehicle has had a dead battery recently, make sure you drive it a little bit because the vehicle does need to reset its computer. And that’s done through driving.

    So, for vehicles 1999 and older, make sure that the vehicle is at normal operating temp. We do advise our customers to make sure that they get some driving done and make sure that the vehicle’s completely warmed up. Also, we do advise our customers to do any preventative maintenance prior to your smog check. If you know it’s due for an oil change or, you know, spark plugs, be sure to get that done prior, as it gives you the best chance to pass.

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

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Above All Smog WEBSITE AND EXTERNAL FEED
Diamond Certified RATINGS ON Above All Smog
Diamond certified ratings dashboard
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i

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

Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 100 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i
Above All Smog : Average 9.8 out of 10 based on 100 unique customer surveys of customer satisfaction.

Oliver S.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

1 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They had a great, friendly staff. They were lightning quick.

Nothing, just the overall was good.

Joe S.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

2 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They are really good. I would highly recommend them.

Just honest and good guys

Valerie H.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

3 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were fast and efficient.

They were really nice, and there was a very little wait time.

Mr. B.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

4 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

Well, it was a smog, so there wasn't much to it. They were quick and professional.

I liked that I only had to wait 15 minutes and was gone.

Lauren R.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

5 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I thought they did a good job. It was a very nice and clean shop with great people.

The price, for the area

Mr. E.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

6 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I thought they were fast. They also lived up to the advertised price.

They lived up to their pricing without any questions.

Gerry Z.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

7 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

The prices were good, and I liked the service that they provided.

The provided a really good service. It was quick and easy.

Mr. G.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

8 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would recommend that people use them.

They were very presentable and upfront about the fees.

Mrs. C.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

9 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

You should definitely go to them, because it's hassle-free, very clean, and they did what they said they would do.

The price was as advertised, no surprises. They were quick, in and out. It was sparkling clean, even the customer waiting area was really pleasant.

Fidel M.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

10 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They are very professional. They run a very efficient and clean shop.

I really liked their enthusiasm. Typically in this kind of business, you don't see too many happy people working in car shops. Above All Smog is different. It's run professionally by really good guys.

Pat M.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

11 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They handled business. I didn't have any issues whatsoever.

I don't know. They were actually quick.

Elizabeth H.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

12 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were fast and courteous.

They have a clean shop.

Brian J.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

13 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

Tthe prices are great for this area.

Clean shop, hard to find, but really clean, there is free Internet and Sports T.V. It's a very nice place. I'm pickey about shops, but this one is a nicer shop, so I will be going back.

Mr. W.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

14 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It was quick, clean, and they were friendly.

They were friendly.

Mr. P.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

15 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It's the best smog place that I have ever been to.

Professional about what they do

Ms. Z.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

16 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It's a clean shop, and the guys there are really nice.

They were fast and courteous.

Mr. C.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

17 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were professional and had a really nice shop.

Nothing, just the general experience was good.

Mr. W.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

18 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

Good service and fair value

I don't really remember, but they had good service.

Kirby F.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

19 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It was very transactional, in the fact that it only took 10 minutes or so. They were professional and very friendly.

They were super quick.

Donald B.

VERIFIED Above All Smog CUSTOMER

20 of 100

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They did well. They were fast and very friendly.

Nothing that I can remember. It was a simple smog.

Read All 100 Survey Responses at Ratings View