What You Need To Know About ADAS!

ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) is a sensor program available in a lot of new cars. These sensors are there to help you in many ways, such as:

Car Sensors
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Adaptive headlights that steer with the vehicle
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Automatic headlight high-beam activation and dimming
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Parking assist/self-parking
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

These sensors sure make life easier and safer…unless they get damaged. Obviously, if you are in a major accident, you might think about the sensors and their need for replacement/recalibration. If you do not think about it, hopefully, your collision repair shop will.

Something you might not be aware of is that if you have a windshield replaced or a slight fender bender, the sensors will fail to be reliable. A suspension repair or a wheel alignment can also upset the finely tuned sensors. Once a driver realizes that something “isn’t quite right” they often never trust ADAS again.

These systems can be fixed, however. It is a time-consuming process to calibrate, which significantly raises the cost of the repair, but it can be accomplished.

We just want you to know what ADAS is, how it works, and what to do if you notice a change. Being aware helps keep you, and those you share the road with, safe! At Certified Automotive Specialists, that is always our goal!

Certified Auto Specialists: the friendlier and more helpful auto shop! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Did You Know?

Car Talk

– A little over 20 years ago, just 5,000 pages of technical information were needed to repair vehicles.  Today’s repairs require more than 1,500,000 pages! Each year, some 125,000 new pages are required.

– A well-maintained vehicle can last well over 200,000 miles!

– Federal Law prohibits new car dealers from implying or denying warranty services because routine scheduled maintenance was performed at an independent repair facility. (Magnusen-Moss Act).  Your newly purchased or leased vehicle does not have to return to the dealership for routine service.

– If you lease a car, you might want to read this! Lessee shall use each vehicle only in the manner for which it was designed and intended, so as to subject it to normal wear and use.  Lessee shall not modify or make alterations to the design of any vehicle, repaint or place any lettering, advertisement, accessories or insignias without prior written approval of Lessor.  Lessee shall maintain each vehicle in good operating condition and working order, using as a guide the maintenance program described in the Owner’s Manual supplied by the manufacturer of such vehicle, and unless otherwise provided in the Order, Lessee shall perform all preventive maintenance required by the manufacturer (including, but not limited to, any service adjustments or inspections required by the manufacturer or Lessor) to insure full validation of the manufacturer’s warranty.  All repairs and maintenance must be performed by a duly authorized repair facility, using original manufacturer equipment or equivalent quality parts.  Failure to perform all required preventive maintenance, and provide such records to dealer upon request, may result in additional charges assessed against the Lessee upon the vehicle’s return.

We are here to keep your vehicle (owned or leased) in excellent condition! 

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Do You Have An Emergency Kit In Your Car? 

Do You Have An Emergency Kit In Your Car?

Don’t Be Stuck On The Road – Be Prepared!

Here are some basics:

– Flashlight with extra batteries
– Gallon of Drinking Water
– Transmission Fluid
– Tire Inflator-Sealant
– Extra Belts
– A Few Basic Tools
– One Gallon Gas Can
– Paper & Pen
– Matches
– Dried Fruit, Nuts or Other Non-Perishable Snacks
– First Aid Kit
– Jumper Cables
– Quart of Oil
– Brake Fluid
– Fire Extinguisher
– Extra Light Bulbs and Fuses
– Electrical Tape
– Flares
– Paper Towels
– Blanket
– Cellular Phone

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!


Dipsticks – They are Disappearing

Dipsticks – They are Disappearing

I remember when we checked engine oil and transmission fluid by pulling the dipstick out, wiping it clean, putting it back in, and pulling it back out.  That simple process enabled us to check the fluid level.  We could tell many things by that dipstick, but today it isn’t that simple. Many new models don’t even come equipped with an engine oil or transmission dipstick!

Modern automobiles have become marvels of precision and durability over the years. Many transmissions have 5, 6, 7 or even 8 speeds and do not have a dipstick to allow checking or adding to the fluid level or inspecting the fluid condition, unless you have specialty tools to do so.  Some engines are following suit by removing the dipstick as well. These cars rely on the engine computer to check oil level and condition. Not sure about you, but that scares me.

Vehicles with dipstick-less engines and transmissions came about to keep people from adding incorrect fluid. A person or non-qualified shop would add or change the fluid using the incorrect type. The engine and/or transmission would fail prematurely because the less-expensive fluid did not lubricate properly, and failure was eminent. The consumer might put the fault on a poorly designed or defective car. This is happening more and more.

Some of these engines and transmissions are filled with what the manufacturer says is “long life” fluid, claiming it does not require changing for many miles. I recommend you find a trust worthy service center and use the manufacturer recommendations along with your service advisor recommendations to make the final decision on when to service your car.

With rules regulating the automotive manufacturers that mandate fuel mileage be increased every year, vehicles require very specific synthetic fluids. The cost of today’s fluids can be staggering, ranging from $6.00 to $26.00 per quart. Adding the wrong fluid will damage the internally lubricated parts over time.

Please do your homework when having any service performed; it can be devastating if the wrong fluid or incorrect fill procedure is performed.

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

The Role of the Check Engine Light

Car Talk

Your car has many computers that monitor your engine for the best performance, your transmission for proper shifting, your braking system for safe stopping, and it monitors many other devices to make sure they are working properly. If a system detects a problem, it needs to alert you, so you can bring the car in for service. This is the role of the check engine light.

The check engine light looks different from car to car.  It is usually a yellow or orange color. It will rarely be red. Most of the time it illuminates in the shape of an engine. If the check engine light comes on solid (not blinking), you can continue to drive the car until you have a chance to bring it in. This does not mean you should ignore it.

When the check engine light is on, the car defaults to a backup system that controls all the important systems. Driving around for a short time until you can set up an appointment is no problem, but continuing to drive more than 20 miles is a bad idea.

If the check engine light is blinking rhythmically, this indicates a serious problem! A computer system has had a major malfunction that will damage the catalytic converter. If you notice a blinking check engine light, you do not need to stop in the middle of the bridge and call a tow truck, but you do need to stop driving as soon as it is practical. Whether the check engine light is solid or blinking, it’s a good idea to drive gently.

The modern car is more complex than ever, and many folks believe a small hand-held code reader will tell you what’s wrong with the car. This is incorrect information. It is called a code reader for a reason; it reads the trouble code for the major systems only. A code reader will not tell you the complete story of the car’s condition.

Please don’t diagnose or replace parts based on a code reader device. The only way to correctly find all the issues with your car is to use a scanner. The scanner does what it says; it scans all the modules and systems of the car, instead of a select few that a code reader does. Most cars have 20 to 100 modules; a code reader is not set to read even half of those.

Quick story; we recently had a car come in with a catalytic converter code. It would be easy to recommend and replace the part. The cost was $1200.00. Testing and analysing the system with scan data revealed that an oxygen sensor (one of the four that are on this car) was the culprit. The cost was $400.00. We felt good doing a proper diagnosis and repair. The customer was also happy!

No one wants to pay for expensive testing, but it beats changing parts and losing that hard-earned cash we all want to spend elsewhere. Please use a shop that is well equipped and don’t rely on the old code reader any more.

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Is Your Automotive Service and Repair Shop Certified?

Is Your Automotive Service and Repair Shop Certified?

In a recent study of several hundred people, the question was asked, “Does the auto shop you use have certified technicians?” The vast majority said they assumed that they were.

The shop you use may have certified people, but the reality is there is no mandatory certification required to own or operate an auto repair shop in California. To be an auto shop owner, you must have a state license issued by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), which any person can apply for and receive with no automotive experience at all.

To apply and receive an automotive repair dealer’s license (ARD), just show up to the Bureau of Auto Repair (BAR) with $200.00, a name for the company and a tax ID. Wala! You’re in the automotive repair business, no proof of insurance, no tools and no experience necessary.

This is one part of our industry that I would like to see reviewed. A professional that cuts hair or fingernails is required to be state certified, but a mechanic who works on tires, engines or brakes doesn’t need a single day of training or any tools to do so.

The only certification system we have is voluntary, with the exception of being a smog station. Smog technicians are licensed by the state and require continuing education.

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers a series of tests that a technician can take to be certified in many different areas of the car. All tests are voluntary, not required. At my shop, I require all staff to be ASE certified and I know many other shops do as well. ASE tests are all written tests and it does not necessarily mean a person is competent to work on a car.

AAA Approved auto shops must have ASE certified technicians employed as well as have a minimum set of tools for the cars they work on. I recommend using an AAA approved shop due to their tough standards, and you have a voice through the arbitration system, should you have a concern with the service or repair.

In these uncertain times, saving a few dollars is always something to consider. But don’t get caught up with a low price that will cost you more later. Have a knowledgeable certified technician perform the service or repairs on your car; it will save you time and money in the long run. Before you agree to have any work performed, ask if the technician working on your car is certified. If you wonder sometimes why someone is lower in price than everyone else, there’s usually a reason.

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place!

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Hyundai Car Warranty May Be Illegal

Do you drive a Hyundai? If so, you’re probably familiar with one of their major selling points – the “America’s Best” warranty, which is one of the best in the industry. It offers drivers 10-year, 100,000 mile warranties, which is almost unheard of from any other make. However, there’s a catch. According to the fine print, to keep the warranty intact, Hyundai owners must use only Hyundai parts.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, this is illegal. Based on previous precedent and current law, a company can’t force consumers to only purchase and use their own proprietary products in order to keep a warranty intact without permission, or without offering those products free of charge. This stipulation is in place to prevent monopolizing the system. A company can’t directly tie a consumer to their products in this way without any wiggle room or prevent them from seeking auto care from a third party if they choose.

Hyundai Car Warranty May Be Illegal

The FTC has sent Hyundai a warning, along with several other companies who had similar policies. This is a disreputable practice that has only one goal – make the parent company more money by keeping repairs in house. There’s a reason we disapprove of this practice. In a free market, consumers need to be able to choose how they spend their money and which businesses they want to frequent. It’s not acceptable and is, in fact, illegal to offer a benefit like a warranty but only with the stipulation that your company is the only option.

Other companies who received a similar warning are ASUS, HTC, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. Much like Hyundai, they also had practices that required consumers to use only their parts to maintain a warranty, as well as other stipulations. This sort of behavior is damaging to competitors and smaller third-party businesses that are trying to eke out a living in a highly competitive industry. For a healthy consumer economy to exist, people need to have access to options. Warrantees like these limit or completely eliminate those options.

If you have any questions about whether you can have your car looked at by an independent auto shop or have specific parts placed in your car without voiding your warranty, feel free to come see us. We’ll be able to advise you on how to protect yourself and your car’s warranty. We can be reached by phone at 626-541-2149 with questions or to schedule an appointment.

Are You Driving with Recalled Takata Airbags?

Takata airbags are a specific type of airbag manufactured by the Takata Corporation and they’ve been subject to recall for about ten years. However, millions of people are still driving around with these defective airbags in their car. Are you one of them?

To date, fifteen people have died from injuries sustained from these defective airbags and many more have been injured, sometimes after very minor collisions. Takata airbags have been known to explode, sending shrapnel at drivers and causing serious and sometimes deadly injuries. Millions of the airbags have been recalled, but only a small fraction of drivers have had theirs replaced. Even people who have been informed of the recall may not realize their car is affected.

Are You Driving with Recalled Takata Airbags?

These airbags are used in dozens of makes and models of car, including both economy and luxury makes. Among the brands affected are Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Subaru, Lexus, Jeep, Jaguar, Honda, Acura, Ferrari, and many more. The years most frequently affected are 2006-2013, although cars made earlier or later may also contain the airbags. Some models from as early as 2001 or as late as 2016 may also be affected.

Is your car one of those subject to the Takata airbag recall? There’s a simple way to tell. Visit the website safercar.gov and input your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into their recall look-up search. Also make sure to take a close look at all your mail before you toss out “junk” because there may be a recall notice that you’ve missed included in there somewhere.

Thirty-seven million vehicles have recalled airbags and only about 40% of drivers have actually heeded the recall and brought their car in for a replacement. Airbags are meant to be explosive in nature, expanding quickly to prevent injury to drivers and passengers. In these particular airbags, however, the chemicals causing that explosion are cheap and/or defective, releasing dangerous shrapnel. Please check to see if you need a replacement – it could be a matter of life and death. It’s so sad to hear stories of minor accidents that turned deadly because a recall warning wasn’t heeded.

An airbag replacement procedure is relatively simple for a professional but very dangerous for an inexperienced auto mechanic. Especially in the case of airbags with a known defect that could cause a serious explosion, you’re going to want to bring your car in to a reputable auto service center for replacement. Our technicians are highly trained and able to take all the necessary precautions to prevent damage to themselves and your car while replacing the airbag.

Please don’t leave a potential time bomb in your car because you’re not sure whether it’s part of the Takata recall. Do a quick check or reach out to us and we’ll be able to let you know whether your vehicle is affected. It’s always to better to be safe than sorry! You can reach us at 626-541-2149 with any questions.