Timely Service


Why Timely Service Is So Important

I’m often asked about why timely service is so important.  I hope you find the answers to the questions below helpful too!


Q:  I’m always being told I need my filters changed.  What’s that all about?

A:  Oil, fuel and air filters all work hard to improve your engine’s running condition.  When they get dirty, contaminants enter the system.  This causes rough idling, loss of acceleration, decreased power and lower gas mileage.


Q:  I usually fill up with gasoline when my car is almost on empty.  I was told that isn’t necessarily a good thing.  What’s wrong with that?

A:  The gasoline in the tank is the cooling agent for the pump.  When the level is low, the pump is exposed and runs too hot.


Q:  My car is “chugging” after I turn the ignition off.  What is wrong?

A:  This is called dieseling for “after-run.”  This can be caused by inferior gas, excessive idle speed or carbon in the combustion chamber.


Q:  I have heard that “exchanging” transmission, radiator, brake and power steering systems are a good idea?  Why?

A:  In all cases, mileage and use means more contaminants and breakdown of important fluid additives which help prevent wear and corrosion.  When the systems are exchanged and new, clean fluid is added, you now have the protection of new fluid loaded with additives and without harmful contaminants that are creating excessive wear.  When you consider the cost of a transmission, radiator, an ABS brake system or power steering units, fluid exchange, next to oil changes, is the best bargain out there!


Q:  If I have a concern about a noise, or notice that my car is just acting different, what should I do?

A:  Call your car care provider as soon as possible. If they think it needs immediate attention they will tell you to bring it in.  Safety comes first and they will never advise you to drive a vehicle that needs attention now.


Q:  What can I do to lower repair costs?

A:  Maintain components before they become major problems.  This is the key to saving money.  When you bring your car in for service, your car care provider can alert you to future repair needs or replacement parts so you can budget accordingly.


Q:  I am so busy I sometimes forget to have my car serviced.  What is an easy way to remember?

A:  Try to preset an appointment and ask to be called a day or two in advance.  If your car care provider doesn’t offer this service, think of the calendar by seasons.  On the first day of spring, summer, fall, winter call and schedule an appointment.


Q:  What’s the deal with diagnostic testing?  Doesn’t that cost me more money?

A:  No, it actually saves you money.  Trying to diagnose today’s computerized vehicles without the proper training or diagnostic equipment can result in misdiagnosis costing you $100 or $1000 in unnecessary repairs (known as parts swapping).


Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at www.CertifiedAutoCA.com.


Hometown Service You Can Count On!

The Magic Box


Two times today I had calls from customers wanting an estimate and they were concerned because we charge a fee to test before we do any actual repairs. One wanted to know why their car’s check engine light was on, especially as the car was running just fine. They said a neighbor came over and offered advice and a diagnosis of what he thought the problem might be.

I appreciate the helpfulness of friends, neighbors and tow truck drivers as they care enough to try to figure out what a car problem might be. Many times they have been right but just as many times they have been wrong. Whatever their diagnosis might be…it is still just a guess! Professionals (whether it is an auto repair shop, home air conditioning repair, the dentist or doctor), would never give a diagnosis or attempt “a repair” without first testing circuits, components or in humans taking temperatures, blood pressure, drawing blood, taking x-rays and more to see what the problem really is.

The customer then asked me to “just plug in that box” that tells you what’s wrong with the car. I am to this day puzzled why so many people believe there is a “magic box” that we plug into a car that tells us what is wrong with the car! If that “magic box” were available, I would buy several and I would not need a staff of expert technicians who have years of experience, training, and over $20,000 worth of tools and equipment.  That would greatly reduce my payroll and operations cost. I could just hire low paid mechanics to replace the parts the “magic box” said were bad. I wish our business was that easy.

Please believe there is no “magic box”, but there is a scan tool that gathers information and data to point the technician in the right direction to test the circuits and components that may have failed.

What has happened over the years is many inexperienced shops or mechanics plug in the scan tool and retrieve a code. The code is what lets the technician know what item(s) need to be tested.  Here is an example. A PO300 means a random misfire has occurred in the engine. With this code alone many shops will sell you spark plugs, clear the code and hope it is fixed without any testing fee. Sometimes you get lucky and it fixes the code, other times the light returns in a few days to a week and they sell you more parts (We call these shops “parts replacers” and they keep replacing and charging their customers until they finally get it right).

Most professional shops will charge a fee to test items such as fuel pressure, the fuel injectors, coils, all the sensors, vacuum leaks, fuel trims, spark plugs and other items related to the code. Once testing is complete, an accurate repair can be performed, saving you time and money, because the concern is fixed the first time and there is no need to return for more parts.

As cars become more computerized, the systems are more difficult to test! Please beware of anyone that will just replace parts and not test to identify the concern.

Have a great day.

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at www.CertifiedAutoCA.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Important Auto Repair Tips


Belts – They Keep Us Moving


What causes failure in belts?  They do over 35 million revolutions a year, are exposed to heat, vibration and contamination.  They twist, and turn, bend and flex.  This produces heat that hardens the rubber that causes the belts to loosen and slip. The rubber then cracks and frays and the internal cords will become brittle and weak. This happens from the inside out so it isn’t visible.   Vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing belts every 36,000 miles.




What causes failure in hoses?  Tiny cracks develop in the rubber causing the hoses to split, blister and/or leak.  Contamination from oil and atmospheric ozone can accelerate the process.  Hoses deteriorate on the inside as much as the outside.  They can even look fine on the outside and be totally ruined on the inside.  Small cracks and pinhole leaks weaken hose fibers.  If you squeeze the hose near the clamps or connectors and the ends feel soft and mushy, the hose has been contaminated and needs replacing. Manufacturers recommend replacing hoses every 48,000 miles.


Anti-Aging For Your Car


We seem to be an “anti-aging” society.  Everywhere you look there is some commercial for an anti-aging herb or cream.  They all promise to keep us looking and feeling years younger. Many consumers are proving it is more than possible not only with themselves but their cars too!  They are keeping their cars going 200,000 miles and longer!  How?  By getting their vehicle’s serviced regularly.  Ask us how to keep your car’s youth!


Best Value or Just Cheap?

In today’s economy there are many businesses offering ‘cheap’ prices to get a consumer in the door.  To me, these businesses aren’t offering ‘value.’  Value is when you want to provide the best possible solution for your customers.  Now the best doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive, but it doesn’t always mean the cheapest either.  For example, when you have to replace a part on your vehicle, you want it to be a part that has good quality and a good warranty and you want that part to last you more than a month or two.  We promise value each and every time!

Q:  What does a squealing or scraping sound indicates when I apply the brakes?


A:  Most likely your brake pads are worn and allowing their wear indicators or sensor to touch the disc brake rotor. When this occurs the sensor emits that high pitch noise to warn you that your brakes need attention. Have the brakes checked out sooner rather than later before expensive damage or brake failure occurs.


Q:  What does it mean when I hear a knocking or pinging noise when my car accelerates or climb a hill?

A:  This is a sign that the gas and air mixture in your car’s cylinders isn’t burning properly. The sound you hear is the result of the fuel and air mixture combusting unevenly in the cylinder. Pinging or knocking does reduce the efficiency of your engine and over a very long period of time it can cause damage.

Q:  What does it mean when my vehicle makes a chirping sound?


A:  A cyclic chirping sound from the vicinity of a wheel often indicates a wheel bearing or axle bearing that is failing. Usually the noise will change with the speed of the vehicle. It may come and go at various speeds. This noise should not be ignored, because if the bearing fails, it may cause the wheel to lockup or come loose from your car!


Q: What is that hissing sound coming from under the hood?

A:  If you hear a hissing sound while driving or after turning the engine off accompanied by a sweet, sickly odor, it may mean your engine is overheating and/or leaking coolant from the cooling system. The temperature gauge or temperature warning light should also indicate an overheating condition. Steam may also rise from under the hood. We advise you to stop driving as severe overheating can damage your engine. Carefully open the hood. Look for any evidence of coolant leaking from the engine, radiator or heater hoses. If you see steam or smell a sweet odor, it is antifreeze leaking from the cooling system. DO NOT open the radiator or coolant reservoir cap or add coolant until the engine has cooled. Get this checked out right away.

Q:  What is that clicking or tapping noise from the engine?

A:  A metallic tapping or clicking sound means your engine may be low on oil, or is not developing normal oil pressure. The clicking noise is coming from the valve train. If the oil pressure is low due to low oil level in the crankcase or there is a problem with the oil pump, the hydraulic lifters that open and close the valves may collapse creating an increase in valve lash. This creates the clicking or tapping noise. Stop the engine, let it sit a few minutes (so the oil can run back down into the crankcase), then check the oil level on the dipstick. If low, add oil as needed to bring the level back up to the full mark. If the noise does not go away, and/or the oil pressure gauge or warning light indicates low oil pressure, it’s not a good idea to keep driving your vehicle. Loss of oil pressure can cause extensive and expensive engine damage.

Q:  Why is my exhaust system roaring?

A:  If your exhaust system has a leak, you will hear a roar coming from under your vehicle that is loudest when accelerating. The noise means your exhaust system needs repairs. The dangerous part is if the leaking exhaust gases, which contain carbon monoxide, get inside the passenger compartment. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killer. It takes only a small amount of carbon monoxide inside the passenger compartment to affect your alertness, ability to concentrate and react to changing driving conditions. A very small amount can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, and bring on stupor in two hours. A one percent concentration of carbon monoxide can kill a person in less than three minutes!

Q:  Why do my tires make a thumping noise?


A:  You may have a tire out of balance.  This causes it to impact with road in a slapping sort of manner, causing the thumping noise.  Get it looked at as soon as possible as a neglected tire causes flat spots and eventually ruins your tires.


Buyer Beware

By now most of us have had a strange telephone call telling us our “extended auto warranty” is about to expire.  If you are on a no call list at home, they may have reached you on your mobile phone. Some have been very puzzled because they knew they didn’t have an extended warranty.  Some though, assumed it was a call from their dealership, incorrectly as it turned out. Consumer Reports states that whether a service plan is offered by a broker, car dealer, or manufacturer, they recommend skipping it. These ads promoting extended auto warranty may sound good but if they don’t deliver consumers’ have wasted their money.  Don’t become a victim. If you really want an extended warranty plan, read the fine print, do your research and don’t be pressured by a fast-talking salesperson.


Does Your Ride Have A Mind Of Its Own?


We get calls from consumers complaining that their car seems to have a mind of its own.  It wants to bounce and rock and drift and sway.  We know exactly what the problem is when we hear these complaints.  It is either your vehicle’s shocks or struts.  Usually they wear out slowly and you don’t notice that they are aging, then suddenly, it seems like you can’t keep your tires on the road!


How Are Your Wiper Blades Holding Up?

Wiper blades are one of the most neglected components on vehicles today. Many blades are cracked, split, torn, brittle, worn or otherwise in obvious need of replacement. Others may look okay, but does a lousy job of wiping when put to the test. Ninety percent of all driving decisions are based on a clear unobstructed view of the road, which means good visibility is absolutely essential.  All wiper blade materials fall victim to environmental factors. Exposure to sunlight and ozone causes the rubber to age, even if the wipers aren’t used much. Then when the wipers are needed, they streak and chatter because they’ve taken a set and won’t follow the curvature of the windshield. It can be very annoying as well as dangerous. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months to a year so you are always prepared when you need them.



When Looking For A New Shop, What Questions Should I Ask?



Keep in mind that the automotive industry doesn’t have any standards for service or repairs. The owner nor mechanic do not have to be certified. This makes it vitally important that you do your research very carefully. Remember…no matter what price you are quoted, someone else can always come in lower but make sure they are a reliable shop that doesn’t just undercut on price…you don’t want them to undercut on service or repair (low bidder is not always a good value). The internet is a great place to start! Look at reviews to help you make your decision. These are some questions that you may want to ask any shop you call for an estimate.

Question #1 Does your shop offer a Warranty?
Warranties are varied. Some range from as short as 90 days to as long as two years or more or 4,000 to 50,000 miles. A longer warranty is always better. Also ask if the warranty covers nationwide break downs, which could be very important if you travel or are on vacation.

Question #2 Does your shop have a Guarantee the repair policy?

I can’t believe the amount of calls we receive from consumers who have had a repair that cost them a lot of money and yet the car wasn’t fixed properly. If the shop did not find, explain and fix your concern, why do you pay for it? You should feel completely in control and understand the tests and repairs being performed or just say no and go somewhere you feel good about. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean you save money.

Question #3
Are ALL of the technicians at your shop ASE certified?

There is no certification required to work on your car. Being certified is voluntary only, so when the shop has ASE or other certifications, I believe they are a cut above a shop with non-certified employees.

Question #4 – Does the shop have insurance?
Again, believe it or not, there is no requirement for a shop to carry insurance. If the shop has an accident with your car and has no insurance, you get to pay for it. Most shops are ethical and have insurance, but it never hurts to protect yourself. Always ask when you are shopping around for a new shop.

Question #5 – What brand of parts do you use?
There are many manufacturers of parts. Take brakes for example; I can buy brake pads for as little as $10.00 or as much as $60.00 for the same car. That makes getting an estimate over the phone tricky. The brand of part, the experience or certification of the mechanic replacing the part, is it the right part for your make and model, all have to be considered. This makes prices vary a great deal. I personally would never let our customers leave with inferior parts on their car.

I hope all these points help you the next time you are calling for estimates.  Oftentimes, the great deal costs you more in long run!

Please email or call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at www.CertifiedAutoCA.com.


Hometown Service You Can Count On!


I Did It!


I did it! The Automotive Service Association (ASA) held its Automotive Management Institute (AMI) graduation and award ceremony Saturday August 12th in Anaheim, CA. It was an awesome event.

I was honored to be included in the 1st graduating class, earning the new A.M.A.M. degree (Accredited Master Automotive Manager). 49 people graduated by accumulating 180 credits though many accredited management classes. Others in attendance earned the Accredited Automotive Manager (A.A.M.) degree with 120 credits as well.

I work hard to be the best I can be and support our industry, thank you ASA

Your Filter’s Job

Glendora endured fire and smoke and it took its toll on all of us. We are thankful it wasn’t worse. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their homes. It is a very sad time in Glendora history.

We can see much of the damage the fire and smoke caused. Most of us know we need to change the filters in our homes but some might not realize that they also need to change the filter in their cars. In vehicles built in 2007 and later you will find 80 percent of them have a cabin air filter and its function is to protect drivers and their passengers from contaminants such as pollen, mold spores, dust and other small and annoying particles. We have recently experienced a lot of particles in the air and you can be sure the air filter did its best to capture as much of it as possible.

The cabin air filter is located on the passenger side of the vehicle and is most often, but not always tucked behind the dash around the glove compartment area. Whenever you turn on your defroster, air conditioning or heater it captures the debris so it doesn’t get into the cab of your vehicle. It is a very busy part and needs to be replaced at least once a year. If you or a passenger has severe allergies you may want to get it replaced more often. A clean cabin filter also helps prolong the life of your vehicle’s heating and air-conditioning system because it keeps debris and corrosion away from the evaporator core. After what we just experienced, this filter will definitely need to be replaced.

We get calls when customers turn on their heater fan wanting to know what that annoying rattling noise is from time to time. It is usually captured leaves or food stuffs left behind by rodents. Next time you get your cabin air filter changed you might ask to have a look at it. You will be very amazed about what it has collected and very thankful too that all that debris didn’t circulate into the cab of your vehicle.

Cabin air filters are becoming more sophisticated…some even eliminate odors. The good news is that it is usually a quick item to replace (depending on where the manufacturer placed it) and it is inexpensive. Next time you have your car serviced, don’t forget to get this part replaced. You’ll breathe easier…I guarantee it.

Ethics of Automotive Repair in Glendora

We’re going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair. It seems like news outlets really like hit-and-run reporting; they hit everyone from groceries stores to retail to physicians. And the Glendora automotive service and repair industry hasn’t been given a pass either.

Unfortunately, every profession in Glendora has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. On the automotive side, industry associations and professional licensing organizations are very committed to high ethical standards.

Yet some people remain uncomfortable with Glendora automotive service and repair. It may start with the fact that our vehicles are a big investment and we rely on them for so much in our lives. That alone guarantees our attention. And how well we understand the recommendations really impacts our comfort level.

If we understand what’s recommended and the benefits of taking care of the work – and the pitfalls of putting it off – we’ll have more trust in the recommendation. So communication is key. It’s like going to the doctor; If she’s using medical jargon and takes a lot of basic medical knowledge for granted, we have a hard time following her train of thought. It can be like that with your Glendora service advisor too. He’s so familiar with all things automotive, he may forget you don’t know a PCV from an EGT.

If you don’t understand what your doctor’s talking about: ask some questions. If you don’t understand what your Glendora automotive advisor’s talking about: ask some questions.

Let’s go back to those ethical standards; when we hear a repair recommendation, we always ask ourselves, “Is this really necessary?” Well, here’s the industry standard:

If a technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

  1. The part no longer performs its intended purpose
  2. The part does not meet a design specification
  3. The part is missing

For example, it you take your car in for a grinding noise when you step on the brakes, you may just think you need new brake pads. After the inspection, the technician at Certified Automotive Specialists says that you have a cracked rotor and need to replace it.

If you tried to get him to simply put new pads on, he would say that if you didn’t want to replace the rotor; Certified Automotive Specialists would ethically have to refuse the repair.

To just put pads on a cracked rotor would have been very wrong. The brakes could’ve failed at anytime and needed to be repaired – not just have a band-aid slapped on them.

Now, looking at something not so serious, the technician may suggest repair or replacement if:

  1. The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
  2. To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
  3. To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer
  4. Based on the technician’s informed experience

Of course, the technician has the burden of making ethical recommendations and properly educating their customers. For the customer, if you are uncomfortable with a recommendation, ask some questions. More information is always a good thing.

On Board Diagnostics For Your sedan

Make an appointment with Certified Auto Specialists to have your on board diagnostics analyzed.
476 Vermont Avenue
Glendora, California 91741

Today we’re going to talk about on-board diagnostics and the questions we hear from folks around Glendora California who need answers about diagnostic services. They want to know what diagnostics are, what’s involved and what the benefits are. They really want to understand the value of diagnostic scans by a trained technician in Glendora California.

These are valid concerns. If you don’t understand something it’s really hard to know its value. Let’s start with some history.

Since 1996, all cars and light trucks in Glendora California have been required to use a standardized diagnostic system to help repair technicians determine what’s wrong with your vehicle. The diagnostic system works with the vehicle’s Engine Control Module – the computer that controls many engine functions.

The computer monitors dozens of components and processes. Depending on what the sensors read, the computer will make adjustments to compensate for conditions and minor problems. When there is a condition that it can’t adjust for, the computer will turn on the check engine light.

It is also called the ‘service engine soon’ light on some vehicles. The warning light signals you to get into your Glendora California service center so that the trouble code can be read and the problem can be fixed. Your service center will have a scan tool and powerful software that will help the technician diagnose the problem.

If you’ve searched for check engine light on the internet, you may have seen that you can buy an inexpensive scanner or go to an auto parts store to have the trouble code read to tell you exactly what’s wrong.

That’s a common myth. The code itself doesn’t tell you what’s broken. It starts you looking in the right place. It tells you what engine parameter is out of range – but it won’t tell you what’s wrong or how to fix it.

Let’s say you think your daughter has a fever. You take her temperature and it reads one 102 degrees. You’ve confirmed a fever, but you don’t know what’s causing it. Is it a 24 hour flu, an infection, appendicitis or leukemia? A fever is a symptom of all of these medical problems, but it takes a skilled physician’s examination and additional diagnostic tests to find out what is actually causing the fever.

An example of a trouble code could be: P0133, which reads ‘Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response’. This means that the front oxygen sensor has a slow response time to changes in the air-fuel mix. If that’s all you knew about cars, you would think your oxygen sensor was broken and would replace it. Now, it could be the oxygen sensor – but it could also be a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, exhaust leak, electrical problem, an intake manifold leak or any of a number of other things.

You can imagine a lot of oxygen sensors have been replaced because of that code. So the on-board diagnostics point the way to where the trouble lies, but it takes some skill and high-tech equipment to actually pinpoint the problem. The cheap scan tools that a consumer can buy do not have the ability to retrieve some of the operating history that’s stored in the engine control computer. That history’s very helpful in diagnosing the problem. Service centers like Certified Auto Specialists invest a lot of money in high-end diagnostic tools to help solve the mystery and get you back on the road as soon as possible without replacing a lot of parts that don’t need replacing.

So, on-board diagnostics provide a powerful starting place for a highly-trained, well-equipped technician to get to the bottom of your problem. When your check engine light comes on, get it checked at Certified Auto Specialists. If the light burns steady – don’t panic. Get in to Certified Auto Specialists soon to have the engine scanned. A flashing check engine light means that there is a severe engine problem. Get in as soon as you can – waiting too long can lead to very expensive damage.

And try to not drive at high speed or tow or haul heavy loads with a flashing check engine light.

We Are Open To Serve You.  Please Call 626.541.2149 For Service.

We Will Pick Up and Deliver Your Vehicle For Service At No Additional Charge Upon Request.