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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  • ACDelco

  • Unocal 76

  • Acura

  • Honda

  • Hyundai

  • Infiniti

  • Jaguar

  • Conoco/Phillips/76

  • Delphi

  • Kendall

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

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

Broadmoor Village
Daly City
East Palo Alto
El Granada
Emerald Hills
Foster City
Half Moon Bay
La Honda
Loma Mar
Menlo Park
Moss Beach
Palomar Park
Portola Valley
Princeton by the Sea
Redwood City
San Bruno
San Carlos
San Gregorio
San Mateo
Sharp Park
South SF
West Menlo Park


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
Decide What Car Repair Services You Want from San Mateo Vehicle Repair Shops

To find the best auto repair shop in San Mateo for you, start looking for an auto repair shop in by narrowing down the characteristics that are important to you.

You may be unsatisfied with your current auto repair facility and need a new mechanic for routine maintenance. Knowing exactly what you’re dissatisfied with in your previous San Mateo County auto shop will help you find a new auto repair shop that has all the qualities you’re looking for. That’s because you’ll have a better idea of which questions to ask to ensure your next shop is better than the last. You’ll also be aware of potential problems, so you’ll know to look for shops that offer high quality auto repairs rather than cheap fixes or temporary repairs.

If you are experiencing car problems, you’ll need your vehicle diagnosed by a good auto repair shop in San Mateo County right away. If so, it’s in your best interest to write down exactly what you’re experiencing and when it’s happening before you start your search for an auto mechanic. That way, you’ll be able to evaluate each technician’s response and settle on which shop is best suited to repair your vehicle.

Be able to confirm:

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified vehicle repair center that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • What vehicle problems are you experiencing? (Car engine problems, lit warning lights, uneven tire wear, vehicle sounds, car starter problems, etc.)
  • How long has the problem been occurring?
  • Is the car trouble irregular or constant?
  • Do you notice a pattern that seems to cause the car problem?
  • Does the vehicle pull to one side or do you feel vibrations when you drive?
  • Has your vehicle’s performance decreased?
  • Do you have to replace or add auto fluids more often? If so, which ones? (Automotive oil, starter fluid, antifreeze, etc.)
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What To Ask In Person
Question to Ask San Mateo Auto Repair Mechanics In Person

The next step is to interview local vehicle repair shops in San Bruno, Pacifica, Daly City, Redwood City, South SF, Menlo Park and other areas of San Mateo County. Questions you may want to ask the mechanics include:

  • How long will it take your mechanics to complete my automotive repairs?
  • If my vehicle needs repairs you cannot do (body work, auto electrical diagnostics and repairs, warranty work or car painting), will you coordinate with other San Mateo County auto repair shops to have the repairs completed?
  • Do you warranty repairs those other shops perform, or will they be responsible to provide any warranties?
  • What contact information do you need in order to reach me with updates about my car or truck repairs?
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  • What To Ask References
    Learn from Previous Auto Repair Customers in San Mateo County, Including the Smaller Cities of Broadmoor Village, La Honda, Moss Beach, Sharp Park, Montara and San Gregorio

    How can you tell that auto repair facilities in San Mateo County are as good as they claim to be?

    Independent research and scientific surveys can prove their assertions and give you the proof you need to choose the best shop for you.

    All Diamond Certified auto repair shops have undergone a ratings process that most other vehicle repair centers can’t pass. If you want quality from a repair shop in San Mateo County 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. All research is performed by live telephone interviews of a large, random sample of real customers, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified car repair shop within reach, you’ll need to do some research on your own. Even if you’re in a hurry to have your vehicles repairs done immediately, it is still a good idea to take time to check references. If you do, the auto repair shops in San Mateo County you call should be willing to give you a list of recent customers. Keep in mind, though, that references provided by the shops are not equal in significance to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references are cherry-picked, not randomly selected from all customers, so shops are likely just giving you a few satisfied customers to call.

    If you do call on references, specifically ask for a list of their 10 most recent customers (to help avoid them giving you only customers they know were satisfied) and call those references. Ask general questions about their experience with the shop as well as specific questions about the car repairs the shop completed for them.

    Questions you might want to ask the San Mateo County auto technicians include:

    • What auto repairs did _(auto repair shop name_) do for you?
    • Were you satisfied with the car repairs from this San Mateo County auto repair shop?
    • If you live in a smaller town such as Emerald Hills, El Granada, Palomar Park, West Menlo Park or Brisbane, was your auto shop able to tow your van, car or truck to their auto repair garage?
    • Did the auto repair mechanics and service writers listen to and communicate with you?
    • Do you feel the price was fair for the auto repairs you had done?
    • Were you pleased with the auto repair technicians’ turn-around time?
    • What did you like best about this San Mateo County automotive repair shop?
    • Would you go back to this car repair facility?
    • Would you recommend this auto repair garage?
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  • Review Your Options
    Decide on an Auto Repair Service in San Mateo County Including the Major Cities of Daly City, San Bruno, San Mateo, Redwood City and South San Francisco

    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 shouldn’t feel pressured to choose the nearest auto repair shop in San Mateo County. That’s why it’s a good idea to find a reliable auto shop before you need one. Having a working relationship with an automobile repair shop you trust will give you confidence when you need car repairs done in a hurry.

    Start by researching and hiring good auto repair shops in San Mateo County when you need preventative auto maintenance. Get to know the mechanics so that you’ll be able to trust them when you face unforeseen car repairs. If possible, go to the same shop for all of your routine maintenance and repairs. That way, the auto mechanics can keep a record of your vehicle repair services, so you don’t waste money having repairs done before they’re needed or doubling up on routine auto maintenance that you’ve already had done.
    In order to choose a car repair shop, review the notes you took during phone and in-person interviews with the auto repair shops and determine if one stands out from the rest. Pay attention to the following:

    • Can an auto repair shop in San Mateo County satisfy your requirements for scheduling, auto repairs, part preferences (OEM parts or aftermarket auto parts) and customer service?
    • Does the service writer at the car repair shop 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
    Insist on Accurate Vehicle Repair Estimates From San Mateo Car Mechanics

    Emergency car repairs don’t have to be such a setback. In fact, you’ll have peace of mind even when dealing with unexpected auto repairs now that you’ve found a local San Mateo County auto repair shop you trust for regular vehicle maintenance.

    After you’ve chosen the vehicle repair center that is the best fit for you, schedule an appointment with the service writer and explain the car problems you’re experiencing. Use the notes you took so that you can accurately describe your concerns and what you’re experiencing. Be as detailed as possible, and don’t let the mechanic or service writer rush you. It’s important to answer their questions and listen to their suggestions and observations. If you don’t understand what the repair shop representative is telling you, ask for clarification. You should completely comprehend the problem and the solutions.

    All estimates must be provided in writing before the work begins. This estimate must include the total expected cost for all parts and labor, an itemized list of all parts needed and the method of repair. Remember, never sign a blank work order.

    Sometimes a more thorough diagnosis is needed before a repair shop can give you an accurate estimate for auto repair costs. In this case, the estimate you sign may include just the cost of the diagnosis or the car repair diagnosis and estimated auto repair labor cost. However, if the actual auto repair costs are more than the estimate, the technicians must contact you before moving ahead with the repairs. Your approval of any changes or additional repairs must be noted on the estimate and the invoice.

    Sign a Service Agreement with Your Local Auto Repair Shop
    When you’re satisfied with the information your San Mateo County repair shop has given you, sign the estimate and service contract. Verify that the repair shop has your phone number and can reach you at all times while your vehicle is in the shop. They must get your approval for any repairs or additional work, and progress on your repairs can slow down or even stop if they can’t reach you to get consent for work not listed on the original auto repair estimate.

    Once they’ve identified the problem or necessary repairs, most mechanics in San Mateo County including the larger cities of Daly City, South San Francisco, San Mateo, Redwood City and San Bruno, will allow you to see the used auto parts they’ve removed from your car. Remember, it’s your legal right to have damaged parts returned to you if you ask for them when you authorize the service request.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    Easy Ways to Be a Good Auto Repair Shop Customer

    It’s the auto repair shop’s responsibility to perform thorough and complete repairs on your car, truck or mini-van. But you also play a big part in the success of your automobile’s repair. 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 frank and honest with the auto repair representative. Let them know what the problem is, what outcome you’re expecting and ways they can satisfy your expectations. And remember, a friendly smile goes a long way.

    • Before leaving your car, truck or van at an auto repair shop in San Mateo County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate your understanding of the service agreement. Most disagreements with auto repair shops occur when communication breaks down. By being clear about the expectations you and the auto repair shop have, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Confirm that the service writer will call you with updates on the progress of your auto repairs.
    • Your repairs will move along more smoothly if your service writer can reach you for any necessary updates or authorizations for car repair work, so be sure your service writer has a phone number where they can reach you at all times.
    • Return calls from your vehicle repair center promptly to keep the auto repairs on schedule.
    • Pay for the car repairs promptly.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Auto repair shops in San Mateo County value customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment favorable to a good relationship. Your repairs may very well go more smoothly and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Verify Finished Auto Repairs Against the Written Invoice from San Mateo County Mechanics

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

  • The name and physical address of the shop and their auto repair registration number.
  • A list of all work performed, including warranty work done at no charge.
  • An itemized list of all replaced parts. This list must state whether the parts installed were new, used, salvaged or rebuilt.
  • The total cost, including an itemized amount 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.

Remember, you’re also permitted to have original parts returned to you, but only if you asked for them when you authorized the auto repair estimate. Mechanics may not be able to return to you parts that are under warranty as they may need to be returned to the supplier, but you still have the right to see them.

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Written Warranties
Protect Your Vehicle with Written Warranties

Before leaving the auto repair shop, confirm any warranties offered by the repair shop or the parts manufacturer. Not all auto repair shops offer guarantees on their work. But those that do should give you a written warranty document that must detail:

  • The auto repair shop’s name and physical address.
  • What the warranty covers. This should include 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 a product failure and what you need to do in order to redeem the warranty.
  • How long the warranty is valid, and whether it expires on a specific day or if it is prorated.
  • If automotive repair warranty coverage extends to the new owner in the event that you sell the vehicle.
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Top 10 Requests
Most-Requested Vehicle Repairs in San Mateo County

Automotive repair shops in San Mateo County provide many auto maintenance and vehicle repair services. The following are the most familiar requests for local auto repair shops in and around San Mateo.

Auto Electrical Repairs
Auto electrical problems can be small, like blown fuses or burned-out headlights, or as serious as electrical problems that keep you from safely operating your vehicle. Because these auto repairs require special equipment, tools and repair techniques, most auto electrical repairs should be left to professional automobile electrical repair technicians in San Mateo County.

Auto Fuel System Repair
Clogged fuel pumps are a common problem for San Mateo County drivers who regularly drive their cars with low fuel. Other auto fuel system problems include clogged fuel filters, engine flooding and vehicle choking sounds. Auto fuel system repairs are usually best handled by professional car mechanics who have the experience and tools to flush, repair and replace fuel system components.

Auto Belt and Hose Repair / Replacement
Vehicle belts and hoses including the drive belt, fan belt, serpentine belt, timing belt, heater hoses 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 Mechanics)
Mobile mechanic shops in San Mateo County 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 electrical repairs and belt and hose replacement, mobile mechanics come to customers’ homes or places of business by appointment to service vehicles.

Routine Vehicle Maintenance
Also known as a tune-up, routine vehicle maintenance is the regular check-up schedule recommended by vehicle manufacturers. This usually involves inspection and replacement of air filters, fuel filters, cabin filters and spark plugs. Most mechanics in San Mateo County will check, flush and refill auto fluid and ensure the engine, exhaust and electrical systems are functioning correctly. These routine vehicle maintenance checks allow auto mechanics to prevent costly car repairs by seeing small issues before they become big problems.

Auto Electrical Repairs
As vehicles become more complex, auto electrical repairs become more common. Most auto electrical repairs involve the alternator, the component that charges your auto battery. Vehicle starter repairs are also common. Experts recommend performing auto electrical system inspections every two years and anytime you experience drivability problems that appear to be electrical in nature.

Automobile Brake Repairs
Brake repairs are a common request made of auto repair mechanics in Redwood City, Foster City, Menlo Park, San Mateo and all throughout San Mateo County. This is because brakes wear down as you use them. Most brake repairs are actually brake pad replacement, and are relatively inexpensive. Because you rely on them to stop your car on time, have your brakes checked regularly, especially if you experience:

  • Your brake pedal feels hard when you step on it
  • A brake pedal that feels low or spongy
  • A continuously-lit brake warning light
  • Squealing or grinding sounds when you brake

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

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

Auto Ignition System Repair
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.

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Glossary Of Terms
Car Repair Terms Used in San Mateo County Auto Shops

Below are key auto repair terms and descriptions that will help you navigate your way through your auto’s repair from beginning to end.

aftermarket auto parts

Auto repair parts not made by the original manufacturer are commonly referred to as aftermarket auto parts. Aftermarket parts fit and function like original parts, but they’re often less expensive than OEM parts. Some aftermarket auto parts are redesigned to increase vehicle performance.

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

auto repair shop

An automotive repair shop that maintain and repair the internal working parts of automobiles. Some 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 are general repair garages that do all types of maintenance and service repairs.

Also known as: car repair shop, auto mechanic shop, car mechanic shop, automobile repair shop, auto repair garage

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, allwheel drive, all wheel drive


Liquid in the cooling system that dissipates heat. Antifreeze prevents freezing during winter, cools the engine in summer and protects the cooling system from corrosion and rust.

Also known as: coolant

auto 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

auto electrical repair

Auto repairs to the electrical system of a vehicle are simply known as auto electrical repairs. Vehicle 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, vehicle electrical repairs, auto electrical diagnostics

auto mechanic

An auto mechanic is a professional auto technician who repairs and maintains vehicles. Auto mechanics may be factory-trained or may work on any type of vehicle.

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

car 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

car catalytic converter

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

Also known as: cat, catcon


The largest engine section, the crankcase contains the crankshaft.


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

Also known as: crank


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

Also known as: auto differential, rear differential, car differential, vehicle differential repairs

domestic auto repair shops

Auto repair garages that specialize in repairs on domestic vehicles. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler (also known as The Big Three) are considered domestic vehicle manufacturers.

Also known as: American car repair, domestic car repairs, domestic auto repairs, factory-trained domestic auto repairs

fast idle

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

Also known as: vehicle fast idle, fast idling, auto idling fast, car idling fast, racing idle

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 perform repairs and maintenance on vehicles manufactured by foreign car companies, including some models 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

fuel injection

The fuel delivery system where injectors, known as fuel-injector nozzles, spray fuel into the cylinders for better fuel control and fuel efficiency.

Also known as: electronic fuel injection, EFI


Hesitation is the brief loss of power during acceleration that causes a vehicle to hesitate or lag when gaining speed.

Also known as: engine hesitation, auto hesitation, acceleration hesitation engine sputtering, auto stumbling, vehicle lagging, engine lag


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

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


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

Also known as: idling

mobile auto repair

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

OEM auto parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer)

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

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

power loss

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

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

power train

Referring to the transmission and engine of a vehicle, the powertrain is an inclusive term that defines the parts of the vehicle that deliver power.

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

revolutions per minute

The speed at which the engine crankshaft is turning.

Also known as: rpm, RPM, RPMs

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 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 auto parts, salvage car parts, salvaged parts, used auto parts, replacement parts, used car parts

serpentine belts

Serpentine belts are the long, continuous belts that run many automotive engine components, such as the alternator, power steering pump, air pump and car water pump.

Also known as: multi-vee belts, multi-v belts, multi-rib belts

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 run by the crankshaft. The timing belt drives the vehicle camshaft. Broken timing belts cause engine valves to remain open and can cause engine damage if the valve is struck and bent by a piston.


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

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

vacuum hose

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

vehicle control arms

The moving suspension components mounted between the vehicle frame and the wheels.

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

vehicle vibrations

Side-to-side motion that causes a vehicle’s tires and steering wheel to shake is typically known as vehicle vibrations or car vibrations.

Also known as: car shaking, shimmying, car shimmy, car shaking

water pump

Auto water pumps are the engine pump that moves coolant (antifreeze) through the radiator and engine.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Vehicle Repairs in San Mateo County

The following are the most common frequently asked questions at auto repair shops in San Mateo. Read on for the answers you’re looking for.

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Auto Repair Shop?
A: End the guessing game by choosing among the vehicle repair shops on the Diamond Certified list of top-rated local shops. The vehicle repair centers listed on this page 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 be confident choosing a Diamond Certified auto body shop for your vehicle repairs.

Q: What rights do I have as a customer at car repair shops in San Mateo County?
A: The Automotive Repair Act of 1974 entitles all customers to a written estimate for all repair work, detailed invoices that list work done and parts supplied, and the return of the old auto parts if customers request their return when placing the work order. For more information, visit the Bureau of Auto Repair website.

Q: Is it a good idea to choose an auto repair shop that has certifications?
A: While certifications don’t guarantee you’ll get better repairs or better service at San Mateo County 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 Mateo County, 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 Pacifica, Daly City, South San Francisco and other areas of San Mateo 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 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: Should I request OEM parts or aftermarket auto parts?

A: Because aftermarket parts are often less expensive than OEM parts, some auto repair garages in San Mateo County install them to make cheaper car repairs. Aftermarket parts are said to be made to fit and work exactly like OEM parts. However, some of the cheapest aftermarket parts aren’t the same quality as original manufacturer parts, so they can end up costing you in the long run because you’ll have to repair or replace them sooner. If the aftermarket parts don’t fit exactly, they can damage 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 the specific auto parts they do. 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 Mateo County?

A: You should choose the shop you rely on for maintenance and repairs based on where you feel most comfortable and where your car receives the best repair service. However, there are functional differences between independent auto repair shops and dealerships located in San Mateo, San Bruno and the rest of San Mateo County that may also impact your decision. Independent repair shops and family-run auto 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. But these shops may not specialize in certain vehicles or be able to offer repairs on new vehicles or vehicles that are still under warranty.

In that respect, 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. Factory-authorized auto repair shops also tend to have higher hourly rates because their technicians are so highly-trained, and because they are required to use OEM parts direct from the manufacturer.

Q: Why should I take my car to a local repair shop for regularly scheduled maintenance?

A: Regularly scheduled maintenance is the easiest and most cost-effective way to keep your car running at peak performance and avoid expensive repairs in the future. Your car’s maintenance schedule should be listed in your owner’s manual, and your local San Mateo County 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 I save money by going to a discount auto repair garage in San Mateo County?
A: Keep in mind that margins are often tight for auto repairs and there are only a few ways shops can offer prices dramatically lower than the competition. Shops that promise very low prices may install used or salvage parts instead of new OEM parts. They may also hire undertrained mechanics that aren’t certified or who are new to auto repair. These shortcuts might make their rates seem lower, but end up forcing you to replace parts sooner and can even cause lasting damage to your vehicle, meaning bigger repairs down the road. Some auto repair shops have even been known to advertise low hourly rates, but take longer to perform the repairs, leaving you with a much higher bill than if you would have gone to a shop with experienced technicians.

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