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.


Read moreRead less




  • ACDelco

  • Unocal 76

  • Acura

  • Honda

  • Hyundai

  • Infiniti

  • Jaguar

  • Conoco/Phillips/76

  • Delphi

  • Kendall

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

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

Aptos Hills
Ben Lomond
Beulah Park
Bonny Doon
Boulder Creek
Camp Evers
Day Valley
Forest Park
Forest Springs
Glen Arbor
La Selva Beach
Larkin Valley
Live Oak
Mission Springs
Monte Toyon
Mount Hermon
Opal Cliffs
Paradise Park
Redwood Grove
Rio Del Mar
Riverside Grove
Rob Roy Junction
San Lorenzo Park
Santa Cruz
Scotts Valley
The Willows
Twin Lakes


Know What You Want
Decide What You Want from Santa Cruz County Automobile Repair Shops

Before you start looking for an auto repair shop in Santa Cruz County, it’s important to pinpoint what you’re looking for. You may be looking for a new shop because you’re unsatisfied with your current auto repair facility and need a new car mechanic to provide routine maintenance. If so, ask yourself what it is you are unhappy with. Is it the service you’ve received? The quality of the car repairs? Knowing exactly why you’re dissatisfied with your previous Santa Cruz County auto shop will help you find a new repair facility you’re truly happy with. That’s because you’ll have a better idea of what to ask and look for to ensure your next shop is better than the last. You’ll also be aware of what can go wrong, so you’ll know to search for shops that provide good auto repairs.

On the other hand, you may be experiencing emergency car problems and need to have your vehicle checked out by a good auto repair shop in Santa Cruz County right away. If so, it’s in your best interest to note exactly what problems are occurring and when. That way, when you interview shops, you’ll be able to gauge each technician’s response and decide which is best able to handle your car repairs.
You should think about the following questions to get started:

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • What is the exact problem you’re experiencing? (Car starter problems, auto shimmying, loud noises, engine trouble, transmission problems, etc.)
  • How long have you been experiencing the problem? Is it sporadic or constant?
  • When does it happen? (Note specific driving conditions, weather, driving maneuvers, etc.)
  • If it’s a strange sound, where is it coming from or when do you notice it? (Note specific driving conditions or maneuvers.)
  • Has your vehicle’s performance diminished?
  • Do you have to add auto fluids more often than usual?
Read moreRead less
What To Ask In Person
What to Ask Santa Cruz County 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 Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Capitola, Scotts Valley and other areas of Santa Cruz County. Questions you may want to ask include:

  • How long will it take your auto repair center to complete my car repairs?
  • If my vehicle requires added repairs you cannot do (car body work, electrical repairs, work that’s covered under warranty), will you coordinate with other Santa Cruz County auto repair shops finish the repairs?
  • Will those other auto shops be responsible to provide any warranties on their work?
  • What contact information do you have for me? What else do you need to reach me with updates about my vehicle repairs?
Read moreRead less
  • What To Ask References
    Learn from Previous Auto Repair Customers in Santa Cruz County, Including the Smaller Cities of Amesti, Chittenden, Corralitos, Gordola, Pasatiempo, the Willows, Swanton, Rincon and Larkin Valley

    Independent research and scientific surveys will assure you that the auto repair facilities in Santa Cruz County are fit to do your vehicle repairs. In truth, all Diamond Certified auto repair shops have fulfilled a ratings process that most other vehicle repair centers can’t pass. If you want excellence from a vehicle repair shop in Santa Cruz County, you’ll have assurance when choosing Diamond Certified car repair shops.

    You can read Diamond Certified reports on all certified companies, including verbatim survey responses. And you’ll never be tricked by false reviews because all research is done by live telephone interviews of a large, random section of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified car repair shop within your area, you’ll need to conduct some research of local shops on your own. Even if you’re in a hurry to get your repairs done, it is still smart to take some time to check references. If you do, auto repair shops in Santa Cruz County should be willing to furnish you a list of their latest customers you can call. Keep in mind, though, that references provided by the shops are not identical in worth to the large random sample of customers reviewed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references are hand-selected not randomly chosen from among all patrons, so shops are likely just giving you a list of pleased regulars to call.

    If you do request a reference list, specifically ask them to give you a list of their 10 most recent customers to help avoid them giving you only customers they know were happy with the service. When you call the references, ask wide-ranging questions about their interactions with the shop’s staff as well as detailed inquiries about the car repairs.

    Questions you might want to ask auto shop references include:

    • What car repairs did _(auto repair facility name_) do for you?
    • Were you satisfied with the car repairs and customer service from this Santa Cruz County auto repair shop?
    • If you live in a smaller town such as Camp Evers, Brookdale, Brackney, Majors, Rio Del Mar or in rural areas of the Santa Cruz Mountains, was the shop prepared to tow your car or truck to their garage?
    • Were you pleased with the turn-around time?
    • Did the mechanics and service writers listen to and communicate with you effectively?
    • Do you feel the price was reasonable for the car repairs you received?
    • What did you like best about this particular Santa Cruz County automotive repair shop?
    • Did you have any complaints with the work or the service you received? If so, did the shop fix the problem or address your concerns?
    • Would you go back to this facility if your vehicle needed other repair work?
    • Would you recommend this auto repair garage to friends, family or others?
    Read moreRead less
  • Review Your Options
    Find a Trustworthy Auto Repair Service in Santa Cruz County Including the Major Cities of Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Scotts Valley and Capitola 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 select the closest auto repair shop in Santa Cruz County, regardless of whether it’s the one that makes you feel most comfortable. That’s why it’s a good idea to find a reliable auto repair shop before you need one. Having a good relationship with an automobile repair shop in the South Bay that you already trust will give you confidence when you need auto repairs done immediately.

    Start by researching and hiring local auto repair shops when you need preventive maintenance for your car, truck or van. Get to know the mechanics and build a working relationship with them so that you’ll trust them with more costly or unanticipated repairs. If possible, go to the same shop for all of your scheduled maintenance and vehicle repairs. That way, the auto mechanics can document your vehicle repairs and keep track of when you’re due for maintenance services, so you don’t wasting money having repairs done earlier than they’re needed.

    The final step in choosing a shop is reviewing the notes you took during phone and in-person meetings with the auto repair shops and determining if one stands out as the best.

    Pay mind to the following:

    • Can an auto repair shop in Santa Cruz County or the South Bay satisfy your requirements for scheduling, specific auto services, 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 vehicle repair center licensed, certified and well-referred by references?
    • Is the auto shop as devoted to safely repairing your car as you are?
    Read moreRead less
  • How To Work With
    Accurate Auto Repair Estimates at Santa Cruz County Car Repair Centers

    Emergency vehicle repairs don’t have to be a major setback once you’ve found a local Santa Cruz auto repair shop you trust for regular vehicle maintenance. That’s because it will give you peace of mind while dealing with your mechanics even when your repairs are unexpected.

    Getting correct vehicle repair estimates starts with meeting the service writer and explaining the problem. Use your notes so that you’re able to accurately describe your concerns and what you’re experiencing. Be as detailed as possible, and don’t let the mechanic or service writer hurry you. It’s imperative that you answer their questions and listen to their ideas and examination results. If you don’t understand what the repair shop is recommending, ask for clarification. You deserve to completely grasp the problem and all possible solutions.

    Sometimes a thorough diagnosis is needed before an accurate estimate can be written 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, your shop must contact you before moving ahead with the repairs.

    All estimates for auto repairs must be provided in writing before the work begins. This written estimate must include the total estimated cost for all parts and labor and an itemized list of all parts needed. Note: for your safety, never sign a blank work order or incomplete estimate.

    Sign a Contract for the Auto Repairs
    When you’re satisfied with the estimate and repairs your Santa Cruz County repair shop has suggested, sign the estimate and service agreement. Verify that the repair shop has a phone number where they can reach you while your vehicle is being repaired. They must get your approval for any additional repairs, and progress can slow down or even stop if they can’t reach you for consent to perform work not listed on the initial work order.

    Most mechanics in Santa Cruz County including the larger cities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, Watsonville and Scotts Valley will allow you to see the damaged auto parts they’ve removed from your vehicle. Remember, it’s your legal right to have damaged parts returned to you if you ask for them when the car repair shop is writing up the service request.

    The auto repair shop must get your approval on any changes or additions to your original estimate before moving ahead with the car repairs. Your verbal approval must be noted on the estimate and the invoice.

    Read moreRead less
  • Be a Good Customer
    Ways to Be a Good Auto Repair Shop Customer in Santa Cruz

    You may not be the one repairing your car, but you play a big part in the success of your automobile’s repair. Here are a few easy things you can do to be a good customer when you take your sports car, van, minivan, truck or family car into an auto repair shop in Capitola, Watsonville, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley or any of the other cities in Santa Cruz County.

    • Be clear with the auto repair shop representative. Explain the car problem, the outcome you’re expecting from the vehicle repairs and specific ways the car repair garage can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a pleasant smile goes a long way!
    • Restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate your understanding of the agreement before leaving your vehicle at an auto repair shop in Santa Cruz County. Most troubles with auto repair shops transpire because of a breakdown in communication. By being plain about your expectations and those of the auto repair shop, you can steer clear of most disagreements.
    • Discuss whether your service writer will call you with repair updates or if you should call to check on your vehicle’s progress.
    • Make sure the service writer has a phone number where they can get in touch with you at all times while your car or truck is in for repairs if your service writer needs to get authorizations for additional car repairs or part replacements.
    • When your shop contacts you, return their calls promptly.
    • Pay for all car repairs on time.

    What will you gain from being a good customer? Automobile repair shops in Santa Cruz County welcome customers who are straightforward, truthful and unproblematic to work with. Your good customer manners set the tone from your end and create a setting favorable to a good rapport. Your repairs may very well go smoother and problems may be more easily resolved because you’ve already proven yourself a reliable and pleasant customer.

    Read moreRead less
Check The Work
Check the Auto Repairs Against the Written Invoice

When the work is done, your mechanic must give you a written invoice that includes the following:

  • The name and physical address of the facility and its auto repair registration number.
  • A list of all work completed, including warranty work.
  • An itemized list of all replaced parts. This must state whether the new parts were OEM, aftermarket, new, used, salvaged or reconditioned auto parts.
  • The total cost, including the amount charged for labor.
  • Any relevant hazardous waste disposal fees and the shop’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) number.
  • Your vehicle’s odometer reading at drop off and pick up, if you asked for it before signing the service agreement.

Remember, you’re permitted to see or keep any original parts, but only if you asked for them when you signed the estimate. Mechanics may not be able to return to you parts that are covered by warranty as they may need to be returned to the auto parts supplier, but you have the right to see them.

Read moreRead less
Written Warranties
Written Warranties from Santa Cruz County Auto Repair Mechanics

Before leaving the auto repair shop, confirm any warranties offered by the repair shop and the auto parts manufacturer. Not all vehicle repair shops guarantee their work. But those that do should give you a written document that details:

  • The shop’s name and business address.
  • Specific warranty coverage details such as whether the shop will replace or repair failed parts or give you a refund. All exclusions must be clearly written.
  • Your liability in the case of parts malfunction and what you need to do in order to cash in any warranties.
  • How long the warranty is applicable, and whether it concludes on a specific day, at a certain mileage count or if it is prorated.
  • If you may transfer the automotive repair warranty coverage to the new owner in the event that you sell the motor vehicle.
Read moreRead less
Top 10 Requests
Popular Santa Cruz County Auto Repair Services

Automotive repair shops in Santa Cruz County provide various vehicle maintenance and auto repair services. However, some repairs are more common than others. The following are the most common requests for local auto repair shops in and around Santa Cruz.

Routine Vehicle Maintenance
Also known as a tune-up, routine vehicle maintenance is the regular check-up schedule recommended by vehicle manufacturers. Routine maintenance usually includes checking and replacing air filters, fuel filters, auto cabin filters and spark plugs. Most mechanics in Santa Cruz County will also check, flush and refill auto fluids and ensure engine, exhaust and electrical systems are performing accurately. These routine vehicle checks help auto repair mechanics prevent pricey car repairs by repairing small problems before they become major car repairs.

Automobile Brake Repair
Brake repairs are a common request made of local auto repair mechanics in Scotts Valley, Capitola, Watsonville and throughout Santa Cruz County. This is because brakes wear down as you use them and need to be replaced in time. Most brake repairs are simple replacements of the brake pads, and are relatively inexpensive. Because you rely on them to stop your car on time, brakes should be checked regularly, especially if you experience any of these signs:

  • The brake pedal feels hard when you step on it
  • A brake pedal that is suddenly spongy or low-feeling
  • Continuously-lit brake warning light
  • Squealing or grinding when you depress the brake

Auto Electrical Repair
Late model vehicles are more computerized and complex, so it makes sense that auto electrical repairs are more common than ever before . Most auto electrical repairs are required for the alternator, 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.

Vehicle Brake Replacement
Like brake repair, auto brake replacements are common car repairs in Santa Cruz 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 lit Check Engine lights, vehicle engine problems also present as car sputtering, choking, fast or rough idling, slow acceleration or the vehicle not starting even though the ignition turns over. Because there is a wide range of engine problems that cause these symptoms, few car owners try do-it-yourself engine repairs. There are automobile mechanics throughout Santa Cruz County that concentrate on automotive engine repairs.

Auto Electrical Repairs
Auto electrical problems can be as simple as blown fuses or burned-out headlights or as serious as electrical problems that keep you from safely driving your vehicle. Because these auto repairs demand special equipment, tools and repair methods, most auto electrical repairs are best left to automobile electrical repair technicians in Santa Cruz County.

Auto Fuel System Repairs
Clogged fuel pumps are a familiar problem for Santa Cruz County drivers who frequently run on less than ¼ tank of fuel. Other auto fuel system problems include clogged fuel filters, engine flooding and choking sounds. Auto fuel system repairs are usually best performed by expert car mechanics who have the knowledge and tools to clean, repair and replace fuel system components.

Auto Ignition System Repairs

Automobile ignition system repairs are those involving the car battery, vehicle starter and car ignition. New car starters and ignition replacements can be expensive, but they are necessary to guarantee that your car will start reliably.

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 well. Signs that may point to a problem with belts and hoses include squeaking under the hood, leaks, warning lights and engine overheating.

Mobile Auto Repair (Mobile Mechanic)

Mobile mechanic shops in Santa Cruz County are more and more popular. Instead of towing vehicles into local car repair shops, many customers have licensed mechanics come to them. From tune-ups and routine maintenance to auto electrical repairs and belt and hose replacement, mobile mechanics visit your home or place of business by appointment to service ailing vehicles.

Read moreRead less
Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Auto Repair Terms for Santa Cruz Car Repair Customers

The key auto repair terms and descriptions below can help you steer your way through your auto’s repair from beginning to end.

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

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

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

auto repair shop
An automotive repair shop that maintain and repair the internal working parts of automobiles. Some 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

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 electrical repair
Auto repairs to the electrical system of a vehicle, including 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 services

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

Also known as: cat, catcon

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

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

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

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

The largest engine section, the crankcase contains the crankshaft.

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.

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.

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

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 (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

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

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

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

Also known as: idling

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 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
Auto parts made by the vehicle producer. While they may cost more than aftermarket auto parts, OEM parts usually fit and perform better, last longer and have better warranties than other auto parts.

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, RPMs, revs, Rs

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 auto parts
Auto parts taken from recycled vehicles are called salvage parts. These are often cheap vehicle repair parts, but they usually don’t come with warranties because they haven’t been repaired or altered so their dependability can’t be assured. Salvage auto parts are often a final option for vehicle owners looking for hard-to-find parts for unusual 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 also called multi-vee or multi-rib belts. They are a long, continuous belt that runs several automotive engine components, indulging the alternator, power steering pump, air pump and water pump.

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

shimmy / car shaking
Shimmying is a side-to-side motion that causes a vehicle’s tires and steering wheel to shake while driving.

Also known as: car shaking, vehicle vibrations

When a vehicle does not accelerate smoothly or quickly enough.

Also known as: auto hesitation, vehicle loss of power, sluggish performance

Shock absorbers and auto springs that create a smoother ride by dampening the motion of a vehicle as it drives is known as the auto suspension system.

Also known as: suspension system, vehicle suspension

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

Also known as: auto timing belt, main belt

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.

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

Also known as: auto water pump, car water pump, cooling pump, radiator pump

Read moreRead less
Frequently Asked Questions
Santa Cruz Auto Repair FAQ

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Auto Repair Shop in Santa Cruz County?
A: End the guessing game by choosing from a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Most companies can’t pass the Diamond Certified ratings process, so only local auto repair shops rated Highest in Quality earn the Diamond Certified award. American Ratings Corporation also observes every Diamond Certified company with in-depth and ongoing research and ratings. And your investment is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified auto repair shop for your vehicle repair.

Q: What rights do I have in Santa Cruz County when it comes to automotive repair?

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 is certified by national car associations and automotive organizations?

A: While certifications don’t guarantee you’ll get better repairs or improved service at Santa Cruz County vehicle repair centers, they are often an gauge of how serious an auto repair shop is about satisfying customers and performing dependable repairs. Certifications such as ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) and memberships in automotive service associations show that the car mechanics have sought after and accomplished higher levels of professionalism than the competition

Q: What are Original Equipment Manufacturer automotive parts?

A: OEM parts are made by the same manufacturer that created the original auto parts in your vehicle. Most automobile manufacturers do not build auto parts, instead they rely on external companies to devise and create the parts. After a time, these OEM parts are accessible through wholesale distributors. Once available through auto part wholesalers in Santa Cruz County, OEM parts are often less expensive than when sold through the auto parts 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 Watsonville, Scott’s Valley, Santa Cruz, Capitola and other areas of Santa Cruz County use aftermarket parts to lower the price of their repairs, so ask your car mechanic what type of parts they recommend and install. However, some aftermarket parts have been redesigned to fit or function even better than OEM parts, so your auto repair shop may suggest them as a substitute based on functionality rather than 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 Santa Cruz County install them to make car repairs less expensive. However, some aftermarket parts aren’t the same quality as original manufacturer parts, so they can end up costing you money 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 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 Santa Cruz County?
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 Watsonville, Scott’s Valley, Capitola, Santa Cruz and the rest of Santa Cruz County and the South Bay. Local independent repair shops can use any brand or quality of parts. They’re also able to install used or salvage parts based on customers’ preferences. This, along with the fact that they typically have lower hourly charges for car repairs, can mean big savings.

However, dealerships can have an edge in training on newer makes and models, as their car repair technicians are usually taught 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: Car repairs and routine maintenance are so expensive. Can’t I save money by going to a discount auto repair garage in Santa Cruz County?

A: While it may look like you’re saving money by going to a cheaper auto repair shop, 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’s. They may install used or salvage parts instead of new OEM / Original Equipment Manufacture parts. They may also hire inexperienced mechanics. This might make their rates seem lower, but you can end up having to replace parts sooner and can even cause lasting damage to your vehicle. Some auto repair shops have even been known to advertise low hourly rates, but purposely take longer to repair your car, leaving you with a much higher bill than if you would have gone to a shop with more experienced technicians.

Q: Is it necessary to take my car to a local repair shop for regular maintenance?

A: It may seem that regularly scheduled maintenance is pointless, especially when your vehicle is running well. However, it’s the easiest and most cost-effective way to keep your car running and avoid pricey repairs down the road. Your car’s maintenance schedule should be listed in the owner’s manual, and your local Santa Cruz County auto repair shop can help you settle on a timeline for regular tune-ups and maintenance visits.

Read moreRead less