Gene’s Car Tips

Do I Have To Use A Dealer To Keep My Warranty In Effect?

Car Warranty

When a customer buys a new car, they are always concerned that if they keep coming to my shop for routine maintenance and repair it will void the warranty. I always tell them to relax because the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) the nation’s consumer protection agency says NO! It is illegal for a dealership to even suggest that they might deny your warranty coverage because your routine maintenance and repair is done by an independent repair shop.

Oil changes, fluid exchanges, tire rotations, brake pads, belt and hose replacements and other services are considered “routine” maintenance and are essential to keep your car running well for years to come. A complete list of these services can be found in your owner’s manual.

Customers also are concerned that the use of aftermarket parts may void their warranty. This will not void your warranty and you can even use recycled parts and your warranty will still be good. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act states emphatically that it is illegal for a manufacturer or dealership to void your warranty because you chose to use an aftermarket or recycled part.

When Can I Be Denied Coverage?

The only time a dealership or manufacturer can deny you coverage is if the following occurs:

  • A part was improperly installed and caused damage
  • If the aftermarket or recycled part was defective and caused other parts to be damaged

Keep in mind that if these two things should occur the dealership or manufacturer must demonstrate or prove that this did, in fact, cause damage.

We always encourage our customers to keep a record of all services/repairs but if you fail to do so, or have misplaced them, rest assured that we have those records should you ever need them.

We are always here for you!

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

Hometown Service You Can Count On!


What is repairophobia, you ask? It is the fear of auto repair. I read this term just the other day and said to myself, “Yes, it is about time it had a name!” What are the reasons consumers have this dreaded condition?

Car Tool Logo
  • Many consumer news reporters love to feature a certain shop or auto repair chain routinely ripping drivers off. They go undercover and take a well-maintained vehicle into the shop and then share with the public the long list of repair items the shop claims are needed. This hurts all auto repair shops, not just the culprit who apparently can’t earn enough money being honest. The majority of auto repair shops are honest, hard-working individuals. The con artists are few and far between.

  • Consumers are worried that they won’t have enough money if they take their vehicle in for routine maintenance and the service advisor informs them they need a repair as well. They hadn’t budgeted for more than the routine service. Always ask for a price before you tell any shop to proceed with a repair. If you can’t afford to have it done right then, tell them you will have to come back at another time.

  • Consumers may be pressed for time and don’t want to be without their vehicle for very long. Even if the shop offer rides to and from home or work, they like the convenience of having their ride ready to go when they are.

  • Consumers aren’t experts in auto repair! They may be highly intelligent individuals, but this isn’t their area of expertise. Ask the service advisor to explain what is needed in layman terms. If they start spouting off phrases you don’t understand, tell them. It is up to them to make you feel comfortable. If you are at the shop when they are explaining, tell them to show you. If you are on the telephone, get an explanation you feel good about.

Our job is to take the phobia out of auto repair. You can count on us!

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

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Remember When…

A handshake was your word?
You did what you said you would?
Honor meant everything.
You never questioned trust?
We respected our elderly and military?
Ethics had meaning.
Fun for young people was being outside all day and returning when the streetlights came on?

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Our goal is to provide safe and reliable transportation for our customers, build a bond of trust, convenience, respect, and value.

Certified Automotive Specialists will never break the trust placed in us by our customers. For 42 years, Certified Automotive Specialists has kept its morals and ethics and will always provide value, convenience, as well as a safe and reliable car for you to drive. And yes, we still operate Certified Auto Specialist like the “good ‘ole days!”

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

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

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Oil Filter Warning

The oil filter is one of the most important parts of the engine, as it filters out any contaminates created by normal wear and the engine’s heat. When your car has the oil changed, most likely the oil filter is also changed – at least I hope so.

Oil Filter Warning

Years ago, we all knew that the oil and filter were changed at 3,000 miles; that was just the way it was. Enter the new age of cars, oils, and filters, especially synthetic oils which last much longer, as stated in some of my previous articles. Many oil changes can last 5,000 to 10,000 miles depending on the type of car, type of oil, and how many quarts of oil are in the oil pan.

Back in the day when we recommended the 3,000-mile service, any oil filter would easily protect the engine for that mileage, but not many oil filters would protect your car for more than 5,000 miles. If you are driving longer than 5,000 miles between oil changes and using a low-cost oil change shop, you may be damaging the engine and not even know it.

Why Does It Matter?

Let me explain. Oil filters all look the same on the outside but are very different on the inside. The difference lies in the amount of filtering material used and the type of drain-back valve used inside each filter. Less expensive filters, as you would suspect, have less filtering material and a less reliable drain back valve.

This may seem insignificant, but the results can be catastrophic. When you drive longer than 5,000 miles on one of the low-cost filters, the filter starts to lose the ability to keep the contaminates contained and they slip into the engine bearings, causing premature wear. The eventual outcome is engine failure. It does not pay to have an inexpensive oil change and an inexpensive oil filter put in your newer model car.

Currently, there is not a standard or law that says what part, or quality of part, needs to be put in your car. If you have an engine failure that should be covered by a warranty, and you have been using cheap oil/filter, this is not only scary for you, the consumer, but it could get downright ugly as the manufacturer may deny the claim. Ultimately, you should be aware of what is going on with the car and use a service center you trust.

A cheap oil change may save you money short term, but it won’t save you money in the long run.

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!

Home Town Service You Can Count On!

Unnecessary Service

Unnecessary 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.

What Do We Suggest?

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 are 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. The simplest of new cars have more computing power than the Apollo Moon Lander. In fact, you could get to the moon with just 1/10th of the computing power found in the modern car! 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

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

How Are Your Shocks/Struts?

Shocks and struts take a beating, so we don’t have to! They help us ease the pain of driving over less than perfect roads and stabilize us over bumps, when we stop quickly, and when we go around corners. We pretty much take them for granted. Our owner’s manuals tell us they need to be inspected and/or replaced every 60,000 to 90,000 miles, depending on our driving habits. Many newer cars have computer-controlled electronic suspension systems that need inspection as well.

How Are Your Shocks And Struts

We recommend that you take some time when you are out driving around to notice a few things about your vehicle. If your car is bouncing a bit after you hit a bump in the road, nose-diving after you brake, swaying around corners, or has abnormal tire wear, then you need to have your shocks replaced.

Struts basically perform the same function as shocks, except they also are an integral part of your suspension system. If you are out and about in your car and notice the above symptoms, along with noise while going over bumps or turning corners, you might also have an alignment situation.

Other Notable Symptoms

Shocks and struts also give you another symptom if they are ready to be replaced… they leak fluid. They do a lot for us, and we certainly take them for granted until we notice our ride is just not as enjoyable or comfortable as it could be. Bad shocks and struts also cause wear and tear on our tires and our suspension components.

Make sure your shocks and struts are ready for whatever condition the roads you drive on happen to be in. Whatever your car may need, at Certified Auto Specialists, we want your vehicle to always be ready to go when you are!

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

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Most People Assume Auto Shops are Certified

Research shows that the vast majority of automotive repair customers assume that the shop they go employs certified technicians and advisors.

Most People Assume Auto Shops Are Certified

But you might not be taking your car to a shop that uses personnel who stay up-to-date with the latest industry specifications and factory standards. There is no mandatory certification required to own or operate an auto repair shop in California.

Surprisingly, you only need a state license issued by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), which anyone can apply for and receive. No automotive experience required! For a repair dealer’s license, you show up at the BAR with the license fee, a company name, and a tax ID. You do not need proof of insurance, tools, equipment, or know-how!

The state licenses smog technicians and requires continuing education, but, other than at a smog station, certification is voluntary for auto repair shops.

Are you shocked?

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers a series of tests that technicians and advisors take to attain certification and remain certified in different areas of automotive repair. At our shop, we require all staff to be ASE-certified, though these are written tests and do not guarantee that someone is competent to work on a car.

AAA-approved automotive repair shops must employ ASE-certified technicians employed as well as meeting standards for the tools and equipment they use, and reaching challenging customer satisfaction thresholds. Because of their rigorous standards, we recommend using AAA-approved shops. As a customer, AAA also provides you with an arbitration system, which is great if you wind up having trouble with a repair and are unable to work out an agreeable solution with management.

Saving dollars where you can is always something to consider, especially in uncertain times. But lower prices can sometimes cost you more in the long run. Over time, having a knowledgeable, certified technician perform services and repairs on your car will save you time and money. Before you agree to have any work done, find out if the technicians working on your vehicle are certified. Better yet, make sure the shop is AAA-approved!

For ASE-certified technicians and advisors and a AAA-approved shop you can count on, call the friendly, helpful professionals at Certified Auto Specialists at 626-541-2149 or contact us online today!

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.