Diamond Certified Company Report

TL Tillett’s Automotive

Diamond Certified Company Report

TL Tillett’s Automotive

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 125 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i

Anthony L.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

1 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do very good work, and they're honest. They're not cheap, but they are completely reliable.

Their honesty

Lucia O.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

2 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very good, very kind, and very helpful.

I guess I liked the fact that they were honest.

Connie J.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

3 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They have always been fair. I don

The people are friendly, and they treat you fairly. If you're having a lengthy car service, they always have a rental car for you to use.

Read All 125 Survey Responses at Ratings View
Diamond certified VIDEO PROFILE
Diamond certified company PROFILE

(L to R) Service Manager Andrea Tillman, Owner Joann Tillett and Owner Thomas Tillett

TL Tillett’s Automotive provides a complete range of repair and maintenance services for all models of Subaru vehicles at its Santa Rosa facility. In addition to handling everything from oil changes and tire alignments to comprehensive engine and transmission work, the family-owned and operated company carries an extensive inventory of pre-owned Subarus, all of which are carefully reconditioned before they’re sold and backed by a guarantee.

Owner Thomas Tillett says much of TL Tillett’s Automotive’s success is due to its customer-oriented approach to the auto repair process. “My technicians and I have more than 80 years of combined experience, so we know how important it is to provide first-rate customer service. We’re honest and sincere about fulfilling our customers’ needs, and we treat their Subarus with the personalized, professional care they deserve.”

TL Tillett’s Automotive strives to make the repair process as convenient as possible for its customers, from offering after-hours pickup to providing them with complimentary loaner cars while their vehicles are being fixed. “We pride ourselves on treating our customers like family, so we do whatever it takes to help them,” says Mr. Tillett.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED CAPABILITIES ON TL Tillett’s Automotive

Locations

Sonoma County

Get Directions
SERVICES PERFORMED

Service & Repair of Subaru Vehicles
Used Subaru Sales
Brakes
Transmissions
Oil Change & Lube Service
Wheel & Tire Alignment
Engine Diagnosis & Replacement

DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED ARTICLES ON TL Tillett’s Automotive

Company Profile

TL Tillett’s Automotive provides a complete range of repair and maintenance services for all models of Subaru vehicles at its Santa Rosa facility. In addition to handling everything from oil changes and tire alignments to comprehensive engine and transmission work, the family-owned and operated company carries an extensive inventory of pre-owned Subarus, all of which are carefully reconditioned before they’re sold and backed by a guarantee.

Owner Thomas Tillett says much of TL Tillett’s Automotive’s success is due to its customer-oriented approach to the auto repair process. “My technicians and I have more than 80 years of combined experience, so we know how important it is to provide first-rate customer service. We’re honest and sincere about fulfilling our customers’ needs, and we treat their Subarus with the personalized, professional care they deserve.”

TL Tillett’s Automotive strives to make the repair process as convenient as possible for its customers, from offering after-hours pickup to providing them with complimentary loaner cars while their vehicles are being fixed. “We pride ourselves on treating our customers like family, so we do whatever it takes to help them,” says Mr. Tillett.

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Company Philosophy

"We recognize that our customers' needs come first, so we're always looking out for their best interests. We want every customer to leave our shop with a smile on their face, and we accomplish that by providing them with excellent, fairly priced service and taking care of their car problems as quickly as possible."

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Comparative Summary

Maintaining customer satisfaction is a crucial aspect of any business, but it’s even more important for auto repair shops that have earned the prestigious Diamond Certified award. For TL Tillett’s Automotive, the key to achieving and maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction is simple: provide personable service that complements its professional expertise. “As a local, family-owned and operated business, a lot of our success comes from our ability to develop and maintain relationships with our customers,” says owner Thomas Tillett. “We’ve earned a reputation for friendly service, and that makes people feel comfortable bringing their cars here.”

TL Tillett’s Automotive has been repairing and maintaining all types of Subaru vehicles since 2004–it started in Windsor and moved to its current Santa Rosa facility in 2009. The company has the training and equipment to handle everything from oil changes and tire alignments to engine and transmission work, and it also carries an extensive inventory of pre-owned Subarus, all of which are fully reconditioned before they’re sold and backed by a guarantee.

Unlike auto repair shops that have a general knowledge of auto repair but have to pass on certain work that requires specialized training, TL Tillett’s Automotive utilizes its extensive Subaru expertise to handle all types of repairs that would normally require multiple shops. “Since we primarily work with one kind of vehicle, we know it inside and out, from its maintenance needs to its quirks and sensitivities,” says Mr. Tillett. “We’re the only shop in Sonoma County that specializes in Subarus, so we’re very effective at solving their specific problems and maximizing their lifespans.”

Another unique feature of TL Tillett’s Automotive is its ability to facilitate used vehicle sales for its customers. “Sometimes a customer won’t want to invest in having their car repaired, so we’ll offer to purchase it and make the necessary repairs to bring it back to good working condition,” explains Mr. Tillett. “We never planned on selling cars, but it has turned out to be a good thing for us. We get a lot of referrals from customers who’ve bought their cars here.”

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Industry Info

If you’re a Subaru owner, you should be aware of an issue with head gaskets. While maintenance is crucial to extend the lifespan of any vehicle, owners of Subarus need to be even more intentional about this due to a commonly occurring problem. “The number one issue that Subarus have is failure of the cylinder head gasket,” explains Tom Tillett, owner of TL Tillett’s Automotive in Santa Rosa. “The factory gaskets have a coating that deteriorates over time, which can lead to fluid leakage, intermittent overheating and, eventually, full-blown failure. Unfortunately, it’s a common problem, and it’s one of the most expensive things to fix on a Subaru.”

According to Mr. Tillett, head gasket failure is more likely than not to occur in most Subaru models, but he says there are things you can do to delay it. “There are four crucial steps to prolonging the life of your Subaru: change your oil on time, make sure you have coolant in your car, service your cooling system every 30,000 miles and keep an eye on the temperature gauge.”

If your engine starts to overheat, Mr. Tillett says acting quickly can keep a bad situation from getting worse. “If you see your temperature gauge rising, pull over immediately, stop the car and call a tow truck. When your engine is overheating, the longer you continue to drive, the more damage you’ll do.”

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you work on other cars besides Subarus?

A: About 95 percent of our work is on Subarus, but we sometimes repair other makes and models. However, if an issue requires specific diagnostic equipment that we don’t have, we’ll refer the customer to another reputable shop.

Q: Do you have loaner cars?

A: Yes, we have about 30 loaner cars for our customers’ convenience if needed.

Q: Can I drop off my car at night and get a loaner car?

A: Yes, as long as you arrange it with us ahead of time. We’ll take down your information, fill out a loaner agreement and let you know where to pick up the keys. All you have to do is park your vehicle and leave us a signed copy of the loaner agreement.

Q: Can I bring in my car today?

A: It depends on the nature of the repair and how busy we are. If you need something like an oil change, we can usually do it same-day, but if it requires more than an hour of service, you may need to schedule an appointment for the next day or later in the week.

Q: Can you perform a pre-purchase inspection on a used Subaru that I’m thinking about buying?

A: Yes. We highly recommend bringing the vehicle here for a pre-purchase inspection so we can give you some insight into any potential issues before you buy it.

Q: How often should I change the oil in my Subaru?

A: We recommend having your oil changed every 4,000 miles, or every 3,750 miles for older models. Manufacturers are setting oil change intervals at 7,500 miles for newer models, but we feel it’s a bad idea to go that long because the oil can get too thick and damage the engine.

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SELECTED PHOTOS FROM TL Tillett’s Automotive

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR ADVICE & TIPS FROM Tom Tillett

Expert CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE
  • Tom Tillett is a veteran of the auto repair industry and owner of TL Tillett’s Automotive, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 902-3910 or by email.

Tom Tillett: Enginuity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

SANTA ROSA — When Tom Tillett got a job working as a gas station attendant in high school, he didn’t think it would amount to anything other than a steady paycheck. However, when an opportunity arose to demonstrate his technical ingenuity, it served as the initial step toward a lifelong career in auto repair. “The gas station I worked at also had a mechanical shop, and one day the owner pulled me in to lend a hand,” he recounts. “The mechanic was really surprised at my ability and asked me how I knew what to do. I shrugged and replied, ‘It’s just common sense,’ which was how it seemed to me anyway. From then on, the station owner had me working full-time in the shop.”

Today, Tom has established himself as Sonoma County’s resident Subaru specialist, but he previously specialized in a different vehicle make. “I was a Volvo technician for 26 years,” he says. “After Volvo was bought out by Ford, the quality started going downhill and, as a result, so did my interest in working on them. As it happened, I had a friend who worked on Subarus out of his garage, and when he decided to close up shop and move away, he asked if I was interested in taking over his business. Pretty soon, I switched to working on Subarus.”

As owner of TL Tillett’s Automotive, Tom says he takes pride in his shop’s reputation for exceptional service. “We’re here to do honest work and take care of our customers, which means we never sell anything that isn’t needed. I think the fact that so much of our business comes from referrals really speaks to the high level of workmanship and service we provide.”

Outside of work, Tom engages in a variety of recreational activities. “My two main hobbies are playing golf and competing at car shows with my ’37 Ford Coupe hot rod,” he says. “My wife, Joanne, and I also like to travel—we love Hawaii, as well as going on cruises to Alaska and the Caribbean.” Tom says he also enjoys spending time with family, including his grown daughters, Andrea (who is general manager at the shop) and Janelle.

When asked what his future retirement might look like, Tom says he’ll probably be doing more of the activities he currently enjoys. “Golf and vacation basically—maybe a combination of the two,” he laughs. “Of course, I also want to spend more time with my grandkids. Our first was born this year, and our other daughter is expecting, so we’re looking forward to this next phase of our lives.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A ’62 Ford pickup.

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: A cat person.

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Summer, because I love the heat.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Rutherford Grill in Yountville.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

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Expert articles
  • One Important Aspect of Subaru Maintenance

    SANTA ROSA — The Subaru is an all-wheel drive vehicle, which is not to be confused with a four-wheel drive vehicle. With four-wheel drive, the driver has to shift into gear to get all four wheels spinning, whereas with all-wheel drive, the wheels are automatically running all the time. This feature gives Subaru vehicles superior road traction, especially in inclement weather—in many cases, drivers don’t even need to put on tire chains in snowy conditions.

    While its all-wheel drive characteristic gives a Subaru optimum handling and control, it also makes certain aspects of maintenance especially critical. In particular, a Subaru’s transmission fluid needs to be closely monitored and well-maintained. Since all four wheels are always spinning, the transmission has to work really hard, so maintaining it is crucial to avoid engine problems.

    Read moreRead less
Expert video tip
  • Video: Subaru Maintenance Tip

    Complete Video Transcription:

    SANTA ROSA — Host, Sarah Rutan: While a Subaru’s all-wheel feature drive has its benefits, it also requires close attention to maintenance. Today, we’re in Santa Rosa with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Tom Tillett of TL Tillett’s Automotive, to learn more.

    Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Tom Tillett: Okay. The Subaru is all-wheel drive. It’s not a four-wheel drive vehicle. Four-wheel drive vehicles you have to shift them into gear to make them all-wheel drive. Subaru, it’s full-time. You don’t have to touch anything. It’s all four wheels are spinning at the same time. Helps as far as traction. Helps you in climate conditions, in the snow especially. A lot of times you don’t have to chain up if it’s not that severe. Much better control of the vehicle on the road.

    Maintenance on these cars is critical. I mean, all cars are. But Subaru, in particular, with the all-wheel drive, it’s really important that you keep the fluid clean in the transmissions. It’s an all-wheel drive car. That transmission’s working pretty hard. We find that if you maintain that transmission really well, it’s going to last you a lot longer.

    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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TL Tillett’s Automotive WEBSITE AND EXTERNAL FEED
  • TL Tillett’s Automotive SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS
COMPANY WEBSITE
www.tltilletts.com
Diamond Certified RATINGS ON TL Tillett’s Automotive
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 125 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i
TL Tillett’s Automotive : Average 8.8 out of 10 based on 125 unique customer surveys of customer satisfaction.

Anthony L.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

1 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do very good work, and they're honest. They're not cheap, but they are completely reliable.

Their honesty

Lucia O.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

2 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very good, very kind, and very helpful.

I guess I liked the fact that they were honest.

Connie J.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

3 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They have always been fair. I don

The people are friendly, and they treat you fairly. If you're having a lengthy car service, they always have a rental car for you to use.

Mary S.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

4 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

Their service is performed with expertise and courtesy. They return the vehicle in better shape than when it was delivered and in perfect operating condition unless otherwise noted.

Tom, his wife, and their daughters

Diane W.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

5 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're terrific, honest, and it's a family run business. They know what they're doing, and they also go the extra mile. I got a loaner car while mine was being repaired, and when I returned it, I asked if I could have the same kind of steering wheel the loaner had. I asked for that same padded steering wheel, and he said I'll swap it out for you. They always do something extra. Courtesy is from the top down, if the administration has customer service and courtesy as a priority, everyone down the line is the same way. When I have gotten some bozos at the bottom end of a company before, and I contacted the CEO or Director, they're the same way. I was referred to them by the smog place.

Really the service, and they're just terrific. They have good customer relations, and they know what they're doing. They're honest and not going to charge you for something that you don

Bonnie S.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

6 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're truthful in their diagnosis. When you go in for a repair, they also see other things, but don't say it's an imminent repair if it doesn't need to be done for 9 months.

Their loaner cars

Olivia H.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

7 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It's quality work. They take time with the customer and let them know what's going on with their car.

They're very personable and get to know the customer. They are very informed about Subaru's.

Juliana B.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

8 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It is the epitome of customer service, but not driven from a desire to meet standards. It's a genuine desire to provide the best they know how and go further to find out more if they don

The best thing was their friendliness.

Mark S.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

9 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It's a great place

They were quick, efficient, and they do things right. They offer a free loaner car, and they are available in a short amount of time. They do very good work.

Valerie H.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

10 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It

I really like their loaner cars.

Laurie E.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

11 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would recommend them highly. They do excellent work.

I like their expertise, because I have confidence in it. I like the way they treat me.

Amanda R.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

12 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

The shop is clean, they are reputable, and they are willing to work with you.

I feel like I can trust them.

Angela B.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

13 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They are awesome.

Their customer service, and they are family-owned and local. They are awesome.

Astrid A.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

14 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They are very reliable and very honest.

They are on time, and they do good service.

Austin V.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

15 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

Reliable and honest

Reliable and honest, as far as repair people go, and they have a good-sized business.

Brad D.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

16 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It's worth paying the extra money to get the service there.

They were really personable, they worked with me, and I liked the fact that they have loaner cars.

Brier W.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

17 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They are very articulate, they are very reassuring, and they give me a lot of different options in terms of what I could do within my price range.

They worked with my budget.

Bryan S.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

18 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do quality work, and they stand by their work.

They explain everything to you before they do it.

Bud B.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

19 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I like the fact that they are a family-owned business. I know their history, they always answer the phone, and they don't leave you on hold. Your car is always ready when they promise, and they are good people in general.

They are on time and reliable.

Cari C.

VERIFIED TL Tillett’s Automotive CUSTOMER

20 of 125

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They really care about their work and what they're doing. They want to make sure that your car is well taken care of.

They're pretty flexible. When you call, you can get an appointment pretty quickly.

Read All 125 Survey Responses at Ratings View