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 and Helpful Expertise®?

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 and Helpful Expertise® 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 and Helpful Expertise®–a 90+ on a 100 scale–and pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified Resource eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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Walee Gon is a 27-year veteran of the automotive industry and president of Faxon Garage, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 830-8930 or by email.

Walee Gon

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Walee Gon: The Gift

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO – Looking back on his life and career, Walee Gon attributes much of his success to the wisdom and inspiration he’s drawn from others, both in person and in print. The sum of these positive influences amounts to what he considers the greatest gift he’s ever received: self-actualization. “This gift has helped me realize my full potential,” says Walee. “It wasn’t given to me by just one person, but rather by several inspiring individuals, including friends, mentors, teachers and authors. I think it’s the best gift I’ve ever received because it showed me what I was capable of and empowered me to achieve it.”

While Walee’s career achievement was bolstered by inspirational influences, his gravitation toward auto repair initially sprang from a simple boyhood fascination. “As a child, I looked at cars as the ultimate toys,” he remembers. “To this day, I consider myself a lover of the automobile.” It’s no surprise that Walee’s first foray into the industry held more than mere financial motivation. “I got my first part-time job while in high school, working at an auto parts store,” he recalls. “In addition to making some extra money, it gave me an opportunity to learn about cars and the industry.”

Just a couple years later, Walee took the knowledge and experience he’d acquired and struck out on his own. “I started an automotive accessories and performance business in 1993, which I ran until 2005,” he explains. “It was at that point I decided to go in another direction and expand to the servicing side of the business. I purchased Faxon Garage, and that’s where I am today.”

A first-generation Chinese immigrant, Walee came to the United States at a young age and was raised in San Francisco, where he still lives with his wife, Betty, and their children, Kenneth and Olivia. “We’re a very classic American family,” he says. As busy as his work keeps him, Walee says family remains his top priority. “I try to take every opportunity I have to spend time with my kids. I even play racing video games with my son, though I’ll often slip in some educational points about the automotive industry.”

Following from his gratitude for the positive influences in his life, Walee says one of the things he enjoys most is sharing the gift with others. “I really enjoy working with people and seeing them develop and realize their potential. Every chance I get, I try to find ways to invest in my fellow teammates at the shop.” Walee’s penchant for empowering others also informs his thoughts about future retirement. “People have different definitions of retirement, and in my case, it doesn’t mean going off somewhere to relax and do nothing for the rest of my life,” he says. “Rather, I would invest more time into supporting the people in my life and being there to offer a helping hand.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1978 Ford Fairmont.

Q: If you could drive any car, what would it be?
A: I would like to drive a car that’s more comfortable than fancy, like a Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: “One Moment in Time” by Whitney Houston.

Q: What’s your favorite season and why?
A: Either spring or fall, because I like the temperature.

Q: Who do you think is the best James Bond?
A: Sean Connery, although Pierce Brosnan is a close second.

Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: It’s a three-way tie between The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and You Can Sell Anything by Gary Goodman.

Read more

Maintaining Your Shocks


SAN FRANCISCO — A car’s tires may be “where the rubber meets the road,” but another important aspect of a vehicle’s traction is its shocks. Unfortunately, unlike tires, shocks tend to be overlooked, which is why the first time you typically hear… Read more

How to Maintain Your Tires


SAN FRANCISCO — Tires are a vital component of any vehicle, which is why keeping them properly maintained is so important. In addition to optimizing both fuel economy and the tires’ lifespan, properly maintained tires ensure maximum safety on the road.… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Maintaining Your Shocks

Complete Video Transcription:

SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: Even though they’re commonly overlooked, shocks play a critical role in vehicle safety and performance, which is why proactive maintenance is a… Read more




  • ACDelco

  • Unocal 76

  • Acura

  • Honda

  • Hyundai

  • Infiniti

  • Jaguar

  • Conoco/Phillips/76

  • Delphi

  • Kendall

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

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

Barbary Coast
Bernal Heights
Cole Valley
Cow Hollow
Diamond Heights
Duboce Triangle
Eureka Valley
Financial District
Fisherman’s Wharf
Fort Mason
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park
Hayes Valley
Hunters Point
Inner Richmond
Inner Sunset
Jackson Square
Laurel Heights
Marina District
Mission District
Nob Hill
Noe Valley
North Beach
Outer Richmond
Outer Sunset
Pacific Heights
Potrero Flats
Potrero Hill
Rincon Hill
Russian Hill
San Francisco
Sea Cliff
South of Market Street (SOMA)
Telegraph Hill
the Tenderloin
Treasure Island
Twin Peaks
Union Square
West Portal
Western Addition


The following national and local auto repair center associations and consumer agencies websites offer additional information about automotive repairs in your area of San Francisco.

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/)
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
Decide What You Want From San Francisco Auto Repair Shops

Before you start looking for a San Francisco auto repair shop, it’s important to identify exactly what you want and expect from your new mechanic. If you’re unsatisfied with your current auto repair facility and need a new car mechanic for routine maintenance services, decide what you’re unhappy with.

Have you received poor service, noticed a lack of expertise from the technicians or been disappointed by poor quality car repairs? Knowing exactly what you’re dissatisfied with in your previous San Francisco auto shop will help you find a new auto repair shop that avoids those pitfalls. On the other hand, if you are experiencing car problems and need to have your vehicle checked out by a good auto repair shop in San Francisco right away, it’s in your best interest to take note of exactly what you’re experiencing and when it’s happening before you start your search for an auto mechanic. By taking careful notes from your interactions, you’ll be able to measure each technician’s response and decide which shop is best suited to handle your vehicle repairs. Be able to answer these questions:

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is top rated and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  • What is the exact problem I’m experiencing?
  • How long has the problem been occurring?
  • When does the car problem happen? (Is it intermittent or constant? Note specific driving conditions, road conditions, driving actions, etc.)
  • Where is that unusual sound coming from? Is it constant or intermittent?
  • Has my vehicle’s performance decreased since I started noticing the problem?
  • Do I have to add fluids more often than usual?
  • Do I feel vibrations when I drive or does the vehicle pull to one side?
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What To Ask In Person
Questions to Ask San Francisco Auto Repair Mechanics in Person

Once you’ve evaluated your reasons for selecting an auto repair shop, the next step is to interview some local shops in Bernal Heights, Excelsior District, Nob Hill and other areas of San Francisco. Questions you may want to ask include:

  • How long will it take you to complete my automotive repairs?
  • If my vehicle needs additional repairs you can’t do (body work, electrical repairs, warranty work), will you coordinate with other San Francisco auto repair shops to have the repairs done?
  • Will you warranty the repairs those other shops perform, or will they be responsible to provide any warranties?
  • What contact information do you have on file for me? What do you need in order to reach me with updates about my auto repairs?
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  • What To Ask References
    Learn From Previous Auto Repair Customers in San Francisco, Including the Smaller Neighborhoods of Golden Gate Park, Inner Richmond, Outer Richmond, Rincon Hill, Cole Valley, Jackson Square and Potrero Flats

    How can you tell which auto repair facility in San Francisco is the best choice for you? That’s where independent research and scientific surveys come in.

    All Diamond Certified auto repair shops have undergone a ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a vehicle repair shop in San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area, you’ll have confidence when choosing Diamond Certified companies. You can read Diamond Certified reports on all certified companies, including verbatim survey responses. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews because all research is performed by live telephone interviews for verified results.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified car repair shop within reach, you’ll need to carry out some research of your own. Even if you’re in a hurry to get your vehicle repaired right away, it’s still a good idea to take a little time to check references. If you do, auto repair shops in San Francisco 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 customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references are cherry-picked, not randomly selected, so the shops will likely give you a few satisfied customers to call rather than a list of random clients. When you call for references, specifically ask for a list of the shop’s most recent customers (to help avoid them giving you only customers they know were satisfied).

    Ask the references general questions about their experience with the shop’s personnel as well as specific questions about the car repairs to get a good feel for the services they provide and the attitude with which they deliver them.

    Questions you might want to ask include:

    • What auto repairs did _(auto repair shop name_) do for you?
    • Were you satisfied with the car repairs from this San Francisco auto repair shop?
    • If you live in a smaller neighborhood such as Laurel Heights, Potrero Hill, Russian Hill, Sea Cliff or Telegraph Hill, was your auto shop willing to tow your car or truck to their auto repair garage?
    • Were you pleased with the turnaround time?
    • Did the auto repair mechanics and service personnel listen to and communicate with you?
    • Do you feel the price was fair for the auto repairs or routine vehicle maintenance you had done?
    • What did you like best about this particular San Francisco automotive repair shop?
    • Would you go back to this car repair facility if your vehicle needed additional work?
    • Would you recommend/have you recommended this auto repair garage?
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  • Review Your Options
    Find a Trustworthy Auto Repair Service in San Francisco (Including the Sunset District, Bernal Heights, Richmond District, Mission District and Tenderloin) Before You Need Emergency Service

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

    When your car breaks down, you can feel pressured to choose the nearest auto repair shop in San Francisco, regardless of whether it’s the one you feel most comfortable with. That’s why it’s a good idea to find a reliable auto repair shop before you need one. Having a working relationship with an automobile repair shop you already trust will give you confidence when you need auto repairs done in a hurry.

    Start by researching and trying out local auto repair shops in San Francisco for preventative maintenance. Get to know the car mechanics and build a working relationship with them so you’ll trust them with more expensive and unexpected repairs. Once you’ve found a shop you like, try to go there for all of your routine maintenance and repairs. That way, the shop can keep a record of your vehicle repair services and when they were last performed, so you aren’t wasting money by having unnecessary repairs done.

    To choose a shop, start by reviewing the notes you took during phone and in-person interviews and determine if one repair center stands out from the rest.

    Pay attention to:

    • Can one of the auto repair shops in San Francisco satisfy your requirements for scheduling, auto repairs, part preferences (OEM parts, aftermarket auto parts or used auto parts) and customer service?
    • Does the repair shop’s staff communicate clearly and effectively?
    • Is the auto repair shop as devoted to safely getting your car back on the road as you are?
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  • How To Work With
    Get Accurate Auto Repair Estimates From San Francisco Car Mechanics

    Now that you’ve found a local San Francisco auto repair shop you trust for regular vehicle maintenance, emergency car repairs don’t have to be such a setback. In fact, having a reliable shop to call for repairs large and small will give you peace of mind while dealing with your mechanics, even if your repairs are unexpected.

    Before leaving your car for repairs, you’ll want to meet with the service writer and explain the problem. Use the notes you took about your vehicle’s performance so you’re able to accurately describe the concerns you have and what you’re experiencing. Be as detailed as possible and don’t let the mechanics or service writers rush you. Answer their questions and listen to their suggestions and observations, and expect that same respect from them. If you don’t understand what the repair center representative is telling you, ask for an explanation or more details. You should completely understand the trouble and the solution before leaving your vehicle at the car repair garage.

    Auto repair estimates must be provided in writing before the work begins. This estimate must include the total estimated cost for all parts and labor, an itemized list of all parts needed, and the method of repair. Remember, a good auto repair shop will never ask you to sign a blank work order. Sometimes a thorough diagnosis is needed before a repair shop can give you an accurate estimate. In this case, the estimate you sign may include only the cost of the diagnosis or the car repair diagnosis and estimated auto repair labor costs. However, if the actual costs are more than the estimate, the technicians must contact you before they do repairs.

    Sign a Contract for Auto Repair Work in the San Francisco Area
    Sign the estimate and service agreement when you’re satisfied with the information from your San Francisco repair shop. The shop must get your approval for any repairs or additional work, and your repairs will slow down or even stop if the mechanics can’t reach you to get your consent for work not listed on the original work order. So, verify that the repair shop has your phone number and can reach you at all times while your vehicle is in the shop.

    If the actual repair costs exceed the amount agreed upon on your estimate, the auto repair shop must get your approval before moving ahead with the car repairs. Your approval must be noted on the estimate and the invoice.

    Once they’ve identified the problem and outlined the needed repairs, most mechanics in San Francisco, including the larger Sunset District, Tenderloin, Richmond District, Mission District and Bernal Heights District, will show you the damaged auto parts. Remember, it’s your legal right to have your old car parts returned to you if, while they’re writing up the service request, you ask the car repair shop to return them.

    You may also request an odometer reading for pre- and post-pickup, if you request it when dropping off your vehicle for repairs. This is important to some customers, so if it’s important to you, remember to ask for the odometer reading when the service writer is creating your contract.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good San Francisco Auto Repair Shop Customer?

    It’s the auto repair shop’s responsibility to perform a thorough and complete repair job on your car. 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 van, minivan, truck or car into an auto repair shop.

    • Be clear and upfront with the auto repair representative.
    • Outline the problem, the outcome you’re expecting from the vehicle repairs and specific ways the repair facility can satisfy your expectations.
    • Before you leave your car, truck or van at an auto repair shop in San Francisco, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the auto repair technicians your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with auto repair shops occur because of a breakdown in communication. Being clear about the expectations you and the auto repair shop have can help you avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your service writer if you should call to check on the progress of your vehicle repairs or if they will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your service writer has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while your car or truck is in for car repairs.
    • When your shop contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the repairs on schedule.
    • Pay for the car repairs promptly.

    What advantages will you get from being a good customer? Just like most consumers like to hire personable companies, auto repair shops in San Francisco appreciate customers who are honest, friendly and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Your repairs may very well go smoother and problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Verify the Completed Auto Repairs Against the Written Invoice

When the work is completed, your mechanic is required to give you a written invoice. This must include:

  • The name and physical address of the shop.
  • Their state-issued auto repair registration number.
  • A list of all work performed, including warranty work or repairs done at no charge.
  • An itemized list of all replaced parts. (This list must state whether the parts installed were new, used, salvaged, reconditioned or rebuilt.)
  • The total cost of the auto repairs, including the amount charged for labor.
  • Any applicable hazardous waste disposal fees and the shop’s Environmental Protection Agency number.
  • Your vehicle’s odometer reading at drop off and pick up, if you asked for the reading before signing the service agreement.
  • Return of the original parts if you asked for them when you signed the auto repair estimate. The mechanics may not be able to return parts that are under warranty (they may need return them to the supplier), but you still have the right to see them if you wish.
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Written Warranties
Ask for Written Warranties From San Francisco Auto Repair Mechanics

Before leaving the auto repair shop, confirm warranty coverage offered by the repair shop or the parts manufacturer on the repairs and new auto parts your vehicle received. This written warranty must include:

  • The auto repair shop’s name and physical address.
  • What the warranty covers, including whether the shop will replace or repair failed parts or give you a refund.
  • Any exclusions must be explicitly stated.
  • Your responsibility in the case of product failure, including what you need to do to redeem the warranty.
  • How long the warranty is valid, whether it expires on a specific day or if it is prorated.
  • If you can transfer the automotive repair warranty coverage to the new owner in the event that you sell the vehicle.
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Top 10 Requests
Top Auto Repair Services in San Francisco

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

Auto Electrical Repairs / Car Electrical Repairs
Auto electrical problems include blown fuses, burned-out headlights and serious electrical problems. Because auto electrical malfunctions are serious and require special equipment, tools and repair methods, most auto electrical repairs should be entrusted to automobile electrical repair technicians in the San Francisco area.

Routine Vehicle Maintenance
Routine vehicle maintenance is the regular check-up schedule recommended by vehicle manufacturers. It’s also known as a tune-up and is usually recommended at 30,000-, 60,000-, and 90,000-mile intervals. Routine maintenance usually involves checking and replacing air filters, fuel filters, cabin filters, and spark plugs. Most car mechanics in San Francisco will also check and refill auto fluids and do a cursory overview of the engine, exhaust and electrical systems to ensure they’re functioning correctly. Some mechanics even take vehicles for a test drive to verify the cars are driving correctly. Routine vehicle maintenance checks allow auto repair technicians to prevent expensive car repairs by seeing small issues before they become big problems.

Auto Engine Repair

Often signaled by a lit “Check Engine” light, vehicle engine problems can also present themselves as sputtering, choking, fast or rough idling, slow acceleration, or the vehicle not starting even though the ignition turns over. Because there is such a range of engine problems that can cause these symptoms, few car owners attempt do-it-yourself engine repairs. There are automobile mechanics throughout San Francisco that specialize in automotive engine repairs.

Auto Fuel System Repairs

Clogged fuel pumps are a common problem for San Francisco drivers who regularly run on less than a quarter tank of fuel. Other auto fuel system problems include clogged fuel filters, engine flooding and starter choking or coughing sounds. Auto fuel system repairs are usually best handled by professional car mechanics who have the experience and tools to clean, repair, and replace fuel system components.

Auto Ignition System Repairs / Vehicle Ignition Repairs

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

Auto Electrical Repair

Auto electrical repairs are more common because vehicles are more computerized and complex than ever before. Most auto electrical repairs impact vehicle alternators, the component that continually charges your 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 appear to be electrical in nature.

Automobile Brake Repair

Brakes wear down as you use them, so it makes sense that brake repairs are a common request at local auto repair mechanics in Mission District, Sunset District, North Beach, Nob Hill, The Tenderloin or Bernal Heights and all throughout San Francisco. Most brake repairs are relatively inexpensive brake pad replacements. Because you rely on your brakes to stop your car, brakes should be checked regularly, especially if you experience:
Squealing or grinding sounds when you depress your brake pedal
Your brake pedal feels hard when you press it
Low or spongy-feeling brake pedal
A continuously lit brake warning light

Mobile Auto Repair (Mobile Mechanic)

Mobile mechanics in San Francisco 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 mechanic shops come to you by appointment to service your vehicle.

Vehicle Brake Replacement
Like brake repair, auto brake replacements are common car repairs in San Francisco. Full brake replacements (including the brake disc, drum and rotor) can be costly, but they may be necessary if you’ve been driving with worn or damaged brakes that have warped or damaged the brake system.

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, fluid leaks, auto warning lights and car engine overheating.

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Glossary Of Terms
Vehicle Repair Glossary

Below are key auto repair terms and descriptions that will help you navigate your way through the auto repair process from beginning to end at shops in San Francisco.

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

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

all-wheel drive

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

Also known as: AWD, all-wheel drive, allwheel drive

Liquid in the cooling system that disperses heat is known as antifreeze. Automotive antifreeze prevents car fluids from freezing during winter, cools the engine in summer, and protects the car’s cooling system from corrosion and rust.

Also known as: coolant, auto coolant, antifreeze, anti freeze

auto electrical repair
Auto electrical repairs are repairs to vehicle electrical systems. Auto electrical repairs include alternator repair, ignition repair, auto starter repair, and auto electrical wiring repair and replacement.

Also known as: automobile electrical repair, automotive electrical repair, car electrical repair, auto electrical service

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

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

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

Also known as: cat, catcon

car chassis
The undercarriage of a vehicle is known as the chassis. The chassis carries all power train and suspension parts.

Also known as: framework, auto case, auto frame, auto undercarriage, chassis

control arms
Auto control arms are the moving suspension parts mounted between the vehicle frame and the car wheels.

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

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

Also known as: crank, crank-shaft

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

domestic auto repair shops
Auto repair garages that specialize in repairs on domestic vehicles. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are considered domestic vehicle manufacturers.

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

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

four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive is a drive system that powers all four wheels and provides better traction during off-road use and poor weather conditions.

Also known as: 4WD, 4×4, four by four, sport utility vehicle

front-wheel drive
A driving system that powers the front wheels of the vehicle. Front-wheel drive systems can be automatic or manual shift.

Also known as: FWD

fuel injection
The fuel delivery system where injectors (also known as nozzles) spray fuel into the cylinders, giving better fuel control and efficiency.

Also known as: electronic fuel injection (EFI)

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, auto hesitation

Mechanical horsepower is the amount of energy produced by a vehicle’s engine, and is generally defined at 745.7 watts, or the equivalent to moving 550 foot-pounds per second. Horsepower originally compared the output of steam engines with that of draft horses.

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

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

Also known as: automotive idling, car idling, idling, vehicle idling, idling vehicle

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

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

mobile auto repair
A mechanic who repairs vehicles onsite is considered a mobile auto repair service. Mobile auto repair shops can often do minor and major repairs and tune-ups.

Also known as: mobile auto mechanic, mobile car repair, mobile auto repairs

OEM auto parts
Auto parts made by the vehicle manufacturer. While they may cost more than aftermarket auto parts, OEM parts usually fit better, last longer and are covered by warranties.

Also known as: Original Equipment Manufacturer parts, stock vehicle parts, stock parts

power loss
When an engine runs at reduced speed or requires more throttle to maintain speed.

Also known as: auto power loss, low power output, automobile hesitating

power train
The term referring to the transmission and engine, the parts that deliver power to the vehicle.

The speed at which the engine crankshaft is turning.

Also known as: revolutions per minute, engine RPM, engine revolutions per minute, car rpm, car rpms

rebuilt auto parts
Rebuilt auto parts are used auto parts that have been remanufactured, reconditioned and restored.

Also known as: salvage auto parts, salvage car parts, salvaged parts, used auto parts, replacement parts, used car parts, refurbished auto parts, rebuilt auto parts

rough idle
Rough idling is when the engine shakes and vibrates while the vehicle is running and stationary.

Also known as: vibrations, auto choking, engine sputtering

salvage parts
Auto parts taken from other vehicles (usually damaged in accidents or suffering from irreparable or major repairs that leave many car parts usable) are called salvage auto parts. Salvage parts often make for inexpensive auto repair parts, but they usually don’t come with warranties because they aren’t new, so their reliability can’t be guaranteed. However, salvage auto parts may be a good option for vehicle owners looking for hard-to-find parts for rare or older vehicles.

Also known as: salvage auto parts, salvage car parts, salvaged parts, used auto parts, replacement parts, used car parts

serpentine belt
Serpentine belts are also called multi-vee or multi-rib belts. They are long, continuous automotive belts that run several vehicle 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, car shimmying

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

Also known as: auto hesitation, vehicle loss of power

The shock absorbers and springs that create a smoother ride by dampening the motion of a vehicle as it drives.

Also known as: suspension system

timing belt
The timing belt is a toothed belt that is operated by the crankshaft and drives the camshaft in a vehicle. Broken timing belts cause valves to remain open and can cause engine damage when the valve is struck and bent by a piston.

Also known as: auto timing belt, cam belt, bad timing belt, broken timing belt

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

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

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

Also known as: auto water pump, truck water pump, car water pump, vehicle water pump

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Frequently Asked Questions
San Francisco Auto Repair Questions

Q: Why should I choose a Diamond Certified auto repair shop in San Francisco?
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. In fact, most vehicle repair shops can’t pass, so only local auto repair shops rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise® earn the Diamond Certified award. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with in-depth and ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified auto body shop for your vehicle repair.

Q: What rights do I have as a consumer in San Francisco when it comes to automotive repair?
A: The Automotive Repair Act of 1974 entitles all auto repair shop customers to a written estimate, detailed invoices, and the return of the old auto parts if customers request their return before the work is performed. For more information about your rights as a consumer, visit the Bureau of Auto Repair’s website.

Q: Why choose San Francisco area auto repair shops that are certified?
A: While certifications don’t guarantee you’ll get better repairs or better service at San Francisco vehicle repair centers, they are often an indicator of how serious an auto repair shop is about satisfying customers and performing reliable 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.

Q: What are OEM auto parts?

A: OEM parts are made by the same manufacturer that produced the original auto parts in your vehicle. Most automobile manufacturers do not make auto parts; instead, they rely on outside companies to design and produce the parts. After a certain time, these OEM parts are available for resale through wholesale distributors. Once available through auto part wholesalers in San Francisco, OEM parts are often much less expensive than when sold through the dealer.

Q: What are aftermarket auto parts?
A: Aftermarket parts are not produced by the original parts manufacturer, but they are made to perform and fit like the original parts. Aftermarket parts may look or feel different than original parts since they’re manufactured on different equipment. Because of this, aftermarket parts are often less expensive than OEM parts. Some auto repair shops in Excelsior District, Sunset District, Tenderloin and other areas of San Francisco use aftermarket parts to lower the price of their repairs, so it’s important to ask your car mechanic what type of parts they’re installing. However, some aftermarket parts have been redesigned to fit or function even better than OEM parts, so your auto repair shop may recommend them as an alternative based on functionality rather than low price.

Q: Is there a reason I should request OEM parts instead of aftermarket auto parts?
A: Because aftermarket parts are often cheaper than OEM parts, some auto repair garages in San Francisco install them to make car repairs less expensive. However, some aftermarket parts are lower quality than the original manufacturer parts, so they can end up costing you in the long run because you’ll have to repair or replace them sooner. And, if the aftermarket parts don’t fit correctly, they can even cause expensive damage to your vehicle.

However, some aftermarket parts are designed to fit and function better than original parts. Your mechanic should be able to explain why they recommend specific auto parts. If it’s to provide cheap auto repairs, you may be better off requesting OEM parts. But if it’s for better performance, aftermarket parts may be a wise choice.

Q: Is there a difference between independent auto repair shops and dealership repair shops in San Francisco?

A: Where you take your vehicle for maintenance and repairs is a personal decision based on where you feel most comfortable and where your car receives the best repair service. However, there are differences between independent auto repair shops and dealerships located in Richmond District, Bernal Heights and the rest of San Francisco. Local independent repair shops have the freedom to use any brand or quality of parts they choose. They’re can install used or salvage parts based on their customers’ preferences. This, along with the fact that they usually have lower hourly rates for car repairs, can mean big savings.

However, dealerships may have an edge when it comes to training on newer makes and models, as their car repair technicians are usually trained in maintenance and repair methods months and even years before those classes are available to independent shops. Many newer cars are also still under warranty, meaning some repairs can be done for free at a dealership. In fact, in some cases, having warranty repairs done at an independent automotive repair shop can void any further warranties.

Q: Is it really important to take my car to a local repair shop for regularly scheduled maintenance?
A: It may seem that regularly scheduled maintenance is unnecessary, especially when your vehicle is running well. However, it’s the easiest and most cost-effective way to keep your car running and avoid expensive repairs in the future. Your car’s maintenance schedule should be listed in your owner’s manual, and your local San Francisco auto repair shop can help you decide when your car is due for regular tune-ups and maintenance visits.

Q: Car repairs and routine maintenance are so expensive—can’t I save money by going to a discount auto repair shop in San Francisco?
A: Margins are often tight for auto repair shops and there are only a few ways car repair centers can offer prices considerably lower than the competition. To lower prices, shops may install used car parts or salvage parts instead of new parts. They may also hire mechanics that aren’t certified or who are auto repair novices. This might make their rates seem lower in the short term, but you can end up replacing your car parts sooner and can even cause lasting damage to your vehicle, costing you much more in the future. Some auto repair shops have even been known to advertise low hourly rates, but purposely take longer to repair your car.

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