Gene’s Car Tips

How To Know You Need Car Air Conditioning Repair & Service?

How To Know You Need Car Air Conditioning Repair & Service?

It can get hot here, which is why it’s so important to find an auto repair shop that provides reliable car air conditioning repair & service. Believe it or not, a working air conditioning system can be essential in the winter, too! In many cars, the air conditioner plays a direct role in helping to keep your windows defrosted. Without regular service, the compressor and evaporator can start to develop problems; refrigerant leaks are also common. 

Here are some common signs it’s time to schedule car AC repair:

  • Poor airflow
  • The AC blows hot air
  • Foul odors coming from the vents
  • Burning smells when the AC system is running
  • The air starts out cool but increases in temperature within a couple of minutes
  • The AC compressor clutch doesn’t engage 
  • You hear the AC clutch engaging and disengaging frequently
  • Water leaks underneath the dashboard
  • Visible refrigerant leaks
  • Strange sounds like squealing, rattling, clinking, grinding, or groaning when you turn on the AC

Servicing Your AC Prevents The Need For Repairs

Even if your AC seems to be working fine, you should bring your car in annually to have the system inspected and serviced. Over time, the fittings, hoses, seals, and O-rings can wear out, reducing your air conditioner’s efficacy. We’ll also make sure the system has the correct lubrication and refrigerant levels. And if you find yourself putting off maintenance or repairs because it’s inconvenient to be without your vehicle, we offer low-cost rental cars for only $25 a day! Simply let us know that you need one when you make your appointment.


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.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Spark Plug Replacement

Some auto manufacturers recommend 100,000+ mile spark plug replacements; we’ve discovered that many drivers seem to believe that all cars have 100,000-mile plugs. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case! Spark plugs have become more reliable and longer lasting over the decades, and some premium spark plugs are actually designed to last up to 5 years or 100,000 miles. However, waiting too long for spark plug repair or replacement can affect the efficiency and performance of your vehicle, which is why many service intervals are significantly less—typically 30,000 miles.  

For this reason, we recommend following the spark plug replacement interval suggested by your vehicle’s manufacturer—as well as the same type of spark plugs. Using a different brand of spark plugs can cause drivability issues in some cars. It’s also important to keep your driving habits and conditions in mind when determining replacement intervals. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended service interval or ask your service advisor.

Some common signs you need spark plug repair include:

  • Difficulty starting your vehicle
  • Engine misfires
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Rough, loud idling
  • Your car struggles to accelerate
  • The check engine light is on
  • The engine sounds louder than normal

When you need spark plug replacement, visit the skilled professionals at Certified Automotive Specialists. Since 1978, we’ve prided ourselves on offering the best auto repairs and maintenance in the area. Our shop is ASE-certified and AAA-approved—we’ve also been named one of the top 10 auto repair shops in the nation by Motor Age magazine! From oil changes to engine and spark plug repair, there’s no job too big or small for our talented technicians. 


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!

What Is Scheduled Automotive Maintenance?

Scheduled Automotive Maintenance

Factory scheduled maintenance is a list of maintenance items that each vehicle manufacturer recommends at designated intervals. The intervals themselves and types of automotive maintenance can vary by make and model, so it’s always important to check your owner’s manual for specific details for your car. Typically, the intervals are at every 30,000 miles, 60,000 miles, 90,000 miles, or more. 

Keeping up with your scheduled maintenance not only keeps your vehicle running smoothly, but it also prevents expensive repairs and breakdowns. When you bring your car in for scheduled maintenance, it gives us the chance to spot minor issues that may be developing—before they can turn into a larger repair. Many drivers mistakenly believe they need to return to the dealership for their factory scheduled maintenance, but that’s not the case! We can perform any of your maintenance services and your warranty will still be valid.


If you want to keep your car, truck, or SUV running safely and efficiently, vehicle maintenance is critical. Our technicians are trained and certified to perform anything from oil changes and scheduled maintenance to performance upgrades and extensive repairs. If you have questions about the maintenance requirements for your vehicle, contact Certified Automotive Specialists and we’ll provide guidance on its various maintenance requirements.

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.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

How We Keep Your Car Going Strong in the Summer Heat

By Gene Morrill
Maintenance is easy to schedule. Breakdowns are not.

Home » Helpful Hints » Gene’s Car Tips

We know we can feel our energy ooze out of us in the summer heat and your car feels it too! Just imagine sitting there day after day on the hot pavement while the relentless summer sun shines down on you. Car’s components such as rubber are very sensitive to heat and tend to become brittle and crack. Here are just a few things we at Certified Automotive Specialists look for when we service your vehicle for summer:

• Batteries take a beating.  Between the car’s vibrations and heat, they usually only last five years.  It is always a good idea to have them tested and our technicians can help determine how much life they have left in them.

Cooling systems are very susceptible to summer heat.  You will notice more cars sitting on the side of the road with steam pouring out from under the hood during the summer months.  We always check your cooling system thoroughly to make sure the coolant isn’t contaminated.  We also check the rubber components for cracks and frays.  If they are past their prime, we will recommend replacing them so you don’t end up on the side of the road. 

• Tires need the proper inflation to function well. They don’t operate well if they are over-inflated or under-inflated.  They need to be just right!

• Fluids and filters need to be checked and replaced if needed.  They do a lot of work to protect our vehicles.

Air-conditioning systems are a must and need to be looked at so you and your passengers stay comfortable no matter how high the outside temperatures climb.  We make sure to check the refrigerant and other components.  

We are here to help your car face the challenges that come with hot days. Give us a call. You and your car will be glad you did! 

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!

The Sound of Silence

Car Mufflers

The job of a muffler is to keep your vehicle quiet.  There is a lot involved for a piece of equipment that doesn’t look too intricate.  It silences the noise of your car in these ways:

  • Changes the pressure pulses
  • Dampens the pressure pulses
  • Absorbs the pressure pulses


The noise is measured in decibels and the muffler dissipates the level of sound.

There are two types of mufflers; direct-fit or universal.  A direct-fit muffler doesn’t require modifications.  A repair shop just has to line it up and bolt it on.  They are, however, not readily available for all vehicles.

A universal muffler is easy to find and usually requires some modifications.  This is done by lengthening or shortening pipes or even replacing them.  New hangers are a must to keep the new equipment from rattling. Thankfully, these modifications are not difficult or expensive; they just take more time.  If you are replacing a direct-fit muffler with a universal muffler, don’t expect it to muffle the noise as well as the direct-fit.  It will be acceptable, but different.  

It is hard to imagine the noise level if we didn’t have mufflers on our vehicles!  If yours needs replacing, just give us a call.  The sound of silence can be golden.

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!

Longevity 

car maintenance

At Certified Automotive Specialists, we emphasize that preventive maintenance is the key to longevity for your vehicle. One of the vital ingredients to give your car long life is the use of proper lubricants.  

I’m sure most drivers know that replacing a car’s engine or transmission is very costly.  We hope you never have to find out first-hand. To prevent that, the oil needs to be changed regularly as do other fluids. 

Oil lubricates all the moving parts of your vehicle while you are driving it. This keeps every part moving smoothly and prevents jamming which leads to part failures.  Oil that isn’t changed regularly gets dirty and the buildup of contaminates can also lead to the failure of parts. Clean oil is essential.

Your driving habits can affect how often the oil in your car needs to be changed.  If you aren’t sure how often your particular car’s oil needs to be replaced, we can help.  There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to oil changes.  

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.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Unnecessary Service

auto repair service

I hear the phrase unnecessary service and wonder what that means. We visit the doctor for physicals, we visit the dentist for cleanings, we have our home air-conditioning unit cleaned and checked, a yearly eye exam and of course, the car needs a checkup too.

All of these professionals recommend some kind of service or checks to keep everything working properly. Most shops recommend services on cars that come in to their bays using the guidelines set out by the manufacturers or from the shops’ experience of early component failures. Sometimes there are a few recommendations and sometimes there are many service recommendations.

We recommend service to keep your car safe and reliable, just like the dentist tells you about issues developing with your teeth and gums. We know no one likes to spend hard earned dollars on maintenance services, especially when after these services are performed the car seems to run as usual with no noticeable differences. 

I have found there is basically two types of philosophy on maintenance. The people who believe in maintaining and those who believe it’s better to wait until it breaks, then fix it. There are at least 30,000 parts on the average new car and over 5,000 of them are moveable parts. All moving parts require a clean source of lubricating oils, coolant or greases along with filters set in place to catch harmful materials. In addition, we have electronic parts that can be affected by poor maintenance habits. Today’s electronics are so sophisticated that cars may run well even when there are serious failures in progress. The systems have enough authority to mask developing problems. By the time you have a detectable malfunction, one that you can feel or sense, you may have damaged expensive parts. The only outward indication the driver may get is a warning light on the dash. 

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!

The Concern With Obsolete Oil

Oil Change

The use of obsolete oil is not something consumers think about when they get an oil change, even if they change their own oil. Lately though, this concern has been brought to our attention.  Modern cars are designed with much tighter internal engine clearances than in years past so using the correct oil is critical.

If your starburst symbol oil label does not specify GF-5 SN it is not suitable for most cars newer than 2011. The labeling on the oil contains “obvious and unambiguous language” regarding its intended and appropriate use. I am sad to report many shops don’t understand the consequences of incorrect oil labeling.

ALL cars have specific oil that needs to be used or damage will occur! This is why some cars’ engines have 200,000, 300,000 or even 400,000 miles on them while others only get half that many miles. The use of incorrect oil can also dramatically lower fuel mileage and cause damage to systems that result in the increased emissions of toxic substances and damage to emission control systems, including catalytic converters and oxygen sensors. 

If you have heard the term “sludge” and I hope your never do in relation to your own car, it is caused by two things; waiting too long to change the engine oil or using incorrect oil for that specific application. Be warned also that European cars have even stricter additive packages that if not adhered to, will really wreak havoc on the internal parts of the engine.

I recommend knowing what oil is recommended for your car and asking questions when you arrive at your trusted automotive shop. AAA shops have to adhere to higher standards and are held accountable for their actions.  Be an informed consumer, not one with a broken car.

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!