The Basics Of A Healthy Car

Healthy Car

Cars are built better than ever these days and give us miles of service.  Keeping them healthy is important and extends their life.

  • Oil is their lifeblood.  Dirty oil makes it harder for your engine to turn over and causes premature engine wear.
  • Belts and hoses are made of very durable material with relatively long lives but they do deteriorate over time.  We recommend a four-year replacement cycle.
  • Leaks are not normal except for condensation from your air conditioner.  11 different fluids keep your car running; brake fluid, antifreeze, engine oil, power steering fluid, air conditioner refrigerant, shock absorber fluid, battery electrolyte, windshield washer solvent, rear axle or CV boot lubricant and fuel.  If any of these leak, they need to be fixed right away.
  • Tires need to be kept properly inflated to save gas and tire wear and rotated every six months.
  • Coolant, when neglected can corrode and leave sediment throughout your cooling system causing clogging that results in damaging hot spots that can harm your engine.  Flushing every two years is recommended.
  • The battery needs to have the cables securely attached and free of corrosion in order to get power to the starter and accessories so the alternator receives a charge.

Keeping your car healthy means getting it serviced regularly.  Remember, we are a full-service preventive maintenance and auto repair center.  We work on all makes and models, import and domestic!

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at

Hometown Service You Can Count On!


Car Drips & Puddles

Car Drips
Those annoying under the car drips can leave your driveway and garage floor a mess…in fact everywhere you park becomes a victim to this mess.  They are also a sign that something is wrong and needs to be taken care of. The only drip you don’t need to be concerned with is the condensation from your air conditioner.  Everything else is a signal that there is a problem. The small drips are giving you fair warning that if ignored, serious problems are in your future. Here are a few examples:


  • A reddish brown drip may mean one of three things; leaking transmission, over tightened pan gasket or a leaking front seal.


  • A green or orange-red drip suggests a cooling system problem such as leaking hose or radiator.


  • A brown to brownish-black drip that is thick in consistency is more than likely engine oil.  This is not a huge problem if it is slight but when it grows to puddle size it is a sign of something serious and if not kept under control could mean severe engine trouble.


  • A leak that looks like tea and feels oily is brake fluid.  This type of drip or leak is always serious!


If you notice a puddle three inches or larger under your car don’t ignore it.  Get it to the professionals as soon as possible. A puddle between one and two inches isn’t as serious…yet…unless it is brake fluid.  Don’t put off having it looked at too long though…it could become a much more serious problem.


It is a good practice not to ignore drips because if left unchecked those drips will turn into puddles that get bigger and bigger until you no longer have a small problem, you have a major problem.  Make an appointment with us today, and your car’s health care professional at Certified Automotive Specialists will stop the drips.  Remember, minor problems come with minor price tags…major problems come with major price tags…maybe even the cost of a new engine!


Prevention is always the best medicine for your vehicle.


Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at


Hometown Service You Can Count On!


Hope For Your Vehicle’s Transmission


Transmission repairs have become an interesting phenomenon in the automotive repair industry.  I thought I would share some information with you that could result in saving you money!

  • Most cars will start to experience transmission issues around age six
  • When a check engine light illuminates, 20% of the time it is because of the transmission.
  • 50% of those issues can be fixed easily
  • 80% of repair shops, because they don’t have enough knowledge about transmissions will tell you it needs to be replaced.  That is because for them it is just easier to replace the entire thing since they don’t know enough about transmissions to fix it or don’t want to be bothered with it.

Many consumers are keeping their vehicles longer these days due to the economy.  We make sure we help in this area.  Consumers might opt to buy a different car rather than pay to repair their current one if the cost is high.  Replacing a transmission is a lot to pay for a repair and if the vehicle will need more of the same, say in six months, I am completely upfront with them.  I want them to make the right decision for them and for their budget.

If you feel you are having transmission problems, before you pay out an exorbitant amount of money to have it replaced, ask what the problem is exactly.  A really good shop, like Certified Automotive Specialists, can save you a lot of money!  The average repair shop just guesses instead of investigating.

Sometimes, of course, it really does need to be replaced but again, a shop that really knows what they are doing will give you options rather than “just replace it” as a solution.

If you suspect your vehicle is experiencing transmission problems, give us a call!  We’ll tell you upfront what the problem is!  We want to be the solution to your vehicle problems!

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at

Hometown Service You Can Count On!


If Only…

Car Knowledge

I hear customers’ day in and day out that express a wish that they knew more about cars so they would know exactly what to do if this or that occurred.  They sigh and say, “If only I had just some knowledge….”  I tell them they actually know a lot more than they give themselves credit for!  It is true!  You are more aware of your car’s little quirks.  You know when something isn’t quite right more so than anyone else.

I get calls all the time saying that their car is making a ka-thump noise or a pinging noise or it is knocking or sputtering, whining or screeching.  And you thought you didn’t have knowledge?  Of course you do. You just need to know what these noises mean…so even though I’ve said it before…here is a refresher course!

Screeching usually signifies a brake problem.  The screech is actually the sound of metal scraping.

Thudding or a low metallic thumping noise can be a loose pulley or exhaust pipe or even a worn crank shaft bearing.

A knocking noise signifies loose bolts in the torque converter or a bad connecting rod or even a worn crankshaft main bearing.

Pinging noises seem to very common and your car either needs a tune-up or the fuel octane may be too low for your car’s engine.

Tapping or clicking can be many things such as a bent or loose fan blade, loose hubcap, bad wheel bearing or low level of engine oil.

Clunking can be mean your transmission fluid is low or your car has a bad universal joint or rear differential.

Squealing is usually the result of under-inflated tires, poor wheel alignment, a loose power steering fan or air conditioner compressor belt.

Squeaking noises can be caused by worn suspension bushings, bad drum-brake linings, or a chassis in need of lubrication.

I hope you find this translation helpful.  Regular vehicle checkups prevent these noises from happening and keep your vehicle healthy.  Now, if your vehicle is doing any of these things listed above, call us today!  We will make it all better in no time!

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at

Hometown Service You Can Count On!


Don’t Believe Everything You Read Online!

“They can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true!”  It is sad how many gullible people believe that! Many consumers don’t want to work on their car themselves but they want to buy the parts themselves and have us install them because they found them online somewhere a little cheaper. I want what is best for my customers and I don’t want to embarrass them but I won’t be putting on cheap parts they find on the Internet either.  I have a reputation to uphold and I warranty my work. I’ve been ordering parts for years and have trusted parts suppliers.  I don’t go get them out of the junk yard or buy a part that will last only three months.  I buy parts that will withstand the rigors of driving and weather, that are reliable, and the pricing is competitive.  I put my customers’ safety first.


I appreciate the Internet as much as anyone, but it doesn’t have the expertise that we have when it comes to ordering the right parts and repairing cars.  It doesn’t care about keeping consumers safe. I know the automotive repair profession isn’t alone when it comes to this frustration.  Everyone suddenly thinks they are the expert even though they didn’t go to school for years to be the best at this job nor do they have to have constant education to keep current.


I know I’m in good company, though, as doctors complain about the same issue.  It seems consumers also trust their health to the self-diagnosis they do with the help of the Internet.  Well…just like the doctor isn’t going to write a person a prescription based on a diagnosis a patient found on the Internet, I’m not going to order a part or put on a part a customer found themselves.  I’m a trained professional in my field with certification to prove it.  Doctors are the professionals in their field and they too have the credentials to prove it.


Some consumers have taken it a step further.  They believe so much in what they read on the Internet they not only purchase the parts themselves, they try to fix it themselves.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to “undo” the damage of do-it-yourself repair.  Of course the Internet provided step-by-step instructions but somehow it wasn’t as easy as it looked.  The really sad thing about this scenario is the consumer was trying to save a few dollars and they ended up paying so much more as it is often more expensive to undo the damage the cheap fix cost.


Thankfully, the majority of my customers trust us to do the job right at a very competitive price.  I promise if you tried to do-it-yourself and failed, we will never reprimand or cause you to feel uncomfortable.  We will undo the fix and not say a word. I do worry, however, about what will happen when consumers start doing surgery on themselves or loved ones because the Internet provided easy, step-by-step instructions! Scary!


Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at


Hometown Service You Can Count On!


Using the Right Motor Oil Is Imperative


Those of us in the automotive service and repair business understand why having oil in a vehicle’s engine is important, but few drivers actually understand the labeling and codes that are found on motor oil packaging. At Certified Auto Specialists we are very conscientious about using the correct oil for each vehicle and there are many different types out there.  Sometimes consumers wonder why the pricing is different on their oil change from car to car…this is the reason why.  Different makes and models require different oils.

The Bare Bones of Oil
Most everyone understands that engine oil keeps the engine parts lubricated in both low and high temperatures and it helps protect the emission system and provides enhanced fuel economy. They have heard for years that engine oil is the lifeblood of a vehicle. Many find out the importance of oil at an early age because they mow lawns.  Additives are added to the oil to make sure seals stay conditioned in older car’s engines or to help aid in better fuel economy. Manufacturers of the most popular makes and models basically deal with three types of motor oil.

Conventional oil, or refined crude oil makes up 75 percent to 80 percent of the mix, and then additives are put into the mix to distinguish one type of conventional motor oil from another. Full synthetic oil is a popular alternative to conventional oil and its purpose is to provide enhanced engine protection. It enables a car’s engine to maintain good viscosity at all temperatures, although it also has characteristics that prevent solidification at lower temperatures. The third type is a blend of synthetic with conventional.

The various additives are necessary to engine performance. These additives include such ingredients as detergents, antioxidants, viscosity index improvers and many more. Their functions do everything from stopping oil oxidation, keeping the oil at the right thickness, to keeping high-temperature surfaces clean. They also collect dirt and contaminants to prevent buildups on engine parts. Additives for older cars are also available and they have special seal conditioning ingredients that rejuvenate internal seals in order to stop internal oil leaks and also help to keep the seals soft enough to be pliable.

The American Petroleum Institute (API)
To avoid confusion about motor the various motor oils, the API has developed a “donut” label that helps certified technicians and shop managers make educated decisions. For example, “API Service GF4” means that the motor oil is approved for use in most gasoline engines by API. The middle of the donut should say “SAE,” and is followed by a code such as 5W-30. SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers, and the number code refers to the motor oil’s viscosity.

Viscosity simply refers to the oil’s flow capability at various temperatures. It also refers to as the motor oil’s weight, or the “W” in the code. The first number shows how well an engine will start in cold weather. The lower the number tells us that this oil will start up in winter weather, and shows us how well engine parts will be lubricated in colder temperatures. The second number indicates the high-temperature viscosity or how much thickness the oil has at high temperatures. The bottom half of the donut indicates that the oil has met or exceeded energy conserving requirements.

Make Sure Your Shop is Certified
How can you know that the motor oil you’re getting from your provider is really intended for use in all vehicles? An ASE Certified Shop knows what oil to use in each vehicle it services. That is why we go to continuing education classes…so we are up to the minute to provide our customers with the right products for their cars, SUV’s and light trucks.  Improvements are being made all the time and we have to stay current in this constantly changing industry we specialize in.

Using the Wrong Oil
If a shop or quick lube uses the wrong oil in your vehicle you probably won’t notice an immediate problem but it will develop if it is repeated time and time again. Metal on metal contact or heat damage is serious and can cause major damage.  It also lowers fuel economy. Our goal is to keep our customers’ cars healthy and running for many miles to come!

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at


Hometown Service You Can Count On!

The Ever Changing Car – What You Need To Know


AAA Findings – The technology of our cars is constantly changing supposedly for the better…yet AAA recorded a record number of breakdowns in 2015 (32 million) despite all the advances. This isn’t just with older vehicles but vehicles that are under five years of age.  Why is this happening?  According to AAA, they are seeing a lot of battery, tire issues and key problems.  The electronic key and ignition systems drain the battery.  The elimination of a spare tire to get better fuel economy is also being felt.  The inflator kit can’t fix everything.  What is another surprising problem?  Over half a million drivers ran out of gas last year!


GDI Engines – Gasoline direct injection engines or GDI increases our vehicle’s fuel economy and controls emission levels…however…it also causes carbon build up on the intake valves which hurts our fuel economy and causes our ride to be sluggish.  Currently, all gasoline will leave a deposit.  The engine is located in the combustion chamber where the temperature is over 500 degrees, and under a great deal of pressure, resulting in carbon buildup.  If your vehicle has a GDI engine, it is important that it have a complete fuel system cleaning to remove these deposits.


Refrigerant – In order to help reduce global warming from air conditioning refrigerant, the USA is starting to phase out R-134a refrigerant by 2021 in new cars.  Some manufacturers are already phasing in the replacement, R-1234yf.  It comes with some challenges, however.  Apparently, R-1234yf can be a fire hazard.  Daimler says it will add an under hood fire extinguisher that will spray the lines to keep leaking refrigerant from igniting.


Coolant – Using the correct coolant is vitally important to your car’s health.  Use the wrong type for your car and it can cause serious damage over time.  Low coolant levels can also cause a lot of distress for your car.  Did you know that 95% of water pump failure is due to never flushing/exchanging the coolant in your car?  Even clean looking coolant can collect abrasive particles that cause damage.  It starts by eroding the water pump seal…then the impeller.  Then it starts on the radiator/heater core.  Next up is the head gasket.  Even with all the additives to give coolant long life…over time the additives will fail.


Vehicle Inspections – Why do we like to inspect your vehicle when you visit…even if you are there for “just an oil change?”  We want to keep your car going for miles to come. The technicians at Certified Auto Specialists are experts in keeping your car healthy and they know what to look for.


Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at


Hometown Service You Can Count On!


Always Moving Forward

When you own, manage and work in the auto repair business one thing you learn, and you learn quickly, is that you always have to keep moving forward. Sometimes people refer to us as “car doctors” and that is true…but I will say that although “people doctors” certainly have to keep moving forward with ever- changing advances in medications and disease control, “car doctors” have to keep moving forward to keep pace with the ever-changing vehicle! The human body comes in two makes and they don’t change…cars come in several makes and models and they change all the time.

Myself and my employees never stop training. If we stopped, we would soon be out of business because today’s vehicles are getting more and more sophisticated and computer/software run. It takes a whole lot more talent than being good with a wrench…we have to be computer experts to keep pace.

Being the owner of an auto repair business means much more than hanging out a sign. Owners have to hire the right talent to begin with…then we have to make sure that talent is willing to keep training. That is one of the hardest things we owners have to contend with…keeping our workforce inspired to learn more. Motivation is the full-time job of ownership.

Thankfully, there are ways for me to keep training so I can manage my business to help motivate me and my staff. I recently completed training (for now) and graduated. Yes…I still have to go to school and graduate. 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 through 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. I just wanted my readers to know that we do this to better ourselves, motivate our staff and be the very best we can be for our customers. When a shop keeps striving to be the best, you will see many degrees and certifications hanging on the walls. Most of this training takes place after hours but it is so necessary. We can never rest on our laurels…we take a deep breath and then sign up for the next training event that comes along. Here’s to always moving forward!

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

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