Gene's Car Tips -

Can Your Car Read Your Mind?

Car TalkI was finally sitting down after a long day, hoping to relax a little.  I turned on the news and heard that Nissan was researching technology where your car could read your mind!  Whaaaattttt?  I thought of road-rage drivers, under-the-influence drivers, and those who just aren’t the best drivers!  Scary.  I then started researching to learn more as I couldn’t believe this could ever be a good thing!  Here is what I discovered:

  • The driver would wear a skullcap that measures brainwaves and activity.
  • The autonomous car would analyze this activity in real time.
  • The system would then alter steering, acceleration and braking based on the driver’s brain analysis…basically knowing what you want before you do.
  • This supposedly improves reaction time and increases driving enjoyment.
  • This also enables the car to respond to the driver’s needs to improve the comfort of the drive such as heating/air conditioning. This keeps the driver relaxed.

Why is this important if a car can drive itself without human interference?  According to Nissan, we humans enjoy the driving experience and do not wish to give up that pleasure to “a machine.”

We will see…

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.

Home Town Service You Can Count On!

Cabin Air Filters – Why They Help In Winter Months, Too!


Car Talk

When drivers think of cabin air filters, they usually think of them as necessary in the spring.  They are, of course, very helpful in the spring as they help allergy sufferers by trapping pollen and keeping the spores out of the car or “cabin” of the vehicle.  Some argue that yes, that is important, but it is even more important to make sure your cabin air filter is working well in the winter months! Why?

  • Tailpipe emissions release particulates that create havoc with drivers’ and their passengers’ respiratory systems. When our outside temperatures even drop 20 degrees, this release is doubled. Cabin air filters can stop these particulates even when they are as small as one micron in diameter!
  • Just like your car’s battery, the warmer months cause the damage in cabin air filters that is often the result of failure in colder weather. If your vehicle seems to be struggling with heat/cooling issues, it could be due to leaves, bugs, and pollen build up in your cabin air filter.  It did its job protecting you and your passengers all spring, summer and fall, but now it is full of debris and needs to be changed.
  • How’s your defroster working? If you are finding it hard to see out the windshield, it could be due to a clogged cabin air filter.  This clog restricts the blower and keeps it from delivering hot air to the windshield.  This also lets you know that your cabin air filter is struggling and needs to be replaced.

Call us today and let us check your cabin air filter.  Your car will operate more efficiently, and you and your passengers will breath better!

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.

Home Town Service You Can Count On!

What’s the Real Cost of Owning a Car?

What’s the Real Cost of Owning a Car?Do you know how much your car really costs? We do! Lucky for you, we’re happy to share. Here’s what you need to know.

Let’s talk about True Cost to Own (TCO). If you’re wondering exactly how much your car is costing you every year, visit this cost calculator and enter your information. Does the number surprise you?

Now you have your number. What does it mean and where do those costs come from? We’ll explain.

What Your TCO Means

There are a number of factors that go into the cost of your car, from monthly payments to depreciation to insurance and more. In fact, here’s a quick list of all the monthly costs that you need to factor into car ownership.

  • Car payment
  • Insurance
  • Gas
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Registration fees
  • Taxes
  • Depreciation

In 2017, for vehicles driven 15,000 miles per year, the average ownership costs were found to be almost $8,500. “Yikes,” you may be thinking. You had no idea your car could be costing you so much.

Thankfully, your car gets less expensive the longer you own it. This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true. The biggest chunk (40%) of your yearly car cost comes from the depreciation hit, which is big in the beginning but decreases more and more over time. While it’s not a cost you “see,” it still impacts the overall value of your car, which is something to keep in mind.

Relatively speaking, maintenance and repair costs aren’t actually that much in the grand scheme of things, even though a repair bill can seem like a big chunk of change at the time. It’s certainly more cost-effective to keep up with your maintenance and repairs than buy a new car every few years and deal with car payments and the depreciation hit all over again.

Have more questions about the True Cost of your car? Drop us a line anytime!

Replacing a Car Battery…Why It Takes an Expert!

Car Talk

Our vehicles are much more complicated than they used to be.  Each system is controlled by a separate computer module and each car can have as many as twenty of these modules.  They each have their own “memory” and they depend upon the car’s battery to keep the memory intact.

We all have had to reset our car’s clock after a battery disconnect but these days more can be lost than your car’s clock time.  Here are some of the issues that can occur after a battery power failure or disconnect:

  • Loss of time on the clock, loss of set radio stations and anti-theft lockout
  • Stalling, failure of emission monitors
  • Loss of power seat and mirror positions
  • Door control loss such as locking, driver door switch pad, child lock switches, etc., which are associated with the driver’s door. In most of the cases the driver door module acts as a master and others act as slaves in communication protocols.

If you have replaced your car’s battery on your own and you are experiencing any of these issues, please contact us today.  We can help your car get its memory back!

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.

Home Town Service You Can Count On!

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

Car Talk

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.

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

Home Town Service You Can Count On!

Abraham Lincoln and Tire Tread

Car Talk

Customers look at me strangely when I tell them they can use the Abraham Lincoln method to test their tire tread.  Actually we are talking about using a penny.  Place the penny within the tire’s grooves and channels.  Insert the penny so that Abraham Lincoln’s head faces downward. If the tire tread hides his face, your tires don’t need to be replaced.  If you can see all of Abe’s face, it is time to replace your tires!


Keeping tires properly inflated increases their service life.  Under-inflated tires lose tread around the outside edges.  Over-inflated tires loose tread near the center.  Your car care provider should rotate the tires every six months to help prevent tread wear.


Also with record gas prices, properly inflated tires with save you more than a penny, improper inflation can cause a loss of

1-3% of you fuel economy. Many cars have tire monitoring systems to ensure correct pressure, please don’t ignore them.


When it is time to buy new tires, make sure they match the specs listed on the car’s placard that can be found in the glove box, the gas filler door, on a car door edge or on a visor.  All four tires need to be the correct size, all the same size; all have the same construction and speed rating.  All four tires need to be balanced and aligned.  Last note on tires: shop smart and ask questions, less expensive tires can also cost MPG, so explore all your tire brand options.


Your car care provider will keep an eye on your tires, most times for free, and know exactly which tires are best for your vehicle when it is time to replace them.


Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814.

Happy Motoring!

Today’s Car Batteries Ain’t What They Used To Be!


Car Battiers

Our cars today are comprised of many small computers or as we call them…modules.  They are busy controlling every aspect of our driving experience now including charging the battery.  We all remember how it used to be…you try to start your car and nothing happens or you get the dreaded click, click, click.  In the past you would get out the jumper cables, get another car lined up to yours, attach the cables very carefully and correctly to each battery and in a few minutes you were good to go…at least for a little while.  This gave you time to get the battery tested and if it was a case of leaving your lights on it is probably okay…if not…you just get a new battery installed and you are on your way…problem solved.

Today’s car batteries are more complex (most are glass mat constructed) and if you try to jump start your vehicle it could be bad news.  It could cause a surge of energy to pass through the car that could potentially damage a module or multiple modules.  This is especially true if the keys are left in the ignition or the key is turn to the on position.

In the not too distant past a car battery could be fully recharged in an hour.  Today’s batteries not only require a special charger, it should be charged slow and steady. The old style chargers on these new style batteries may not do a complete chargeObviously, if you have a new style battery, this is may not be the time to “do it yourself” at home.  I recommend taking the battery to a qualified repair shop for a complete electrical system test.

Qualified technicians will also know to check the battery for what we call parasitic draw.  Sounds bad, I know, but it is not a bug or other type of creature, it is a slow drain on your car’s battery.  It seems okay at first after a recharge and can go for a day or even longer before it drains again to a non-starting point.  When your battery and alternator are checked the technician can determine what the problem is there and then and that saves you time which of course, saves you money.

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814


Hometown Service You Can Count On!


An Oil Change and Fuel Economy

Oil Change

Usually, when we talk about fuel economy, an oil change isn’t at the top of the list of discussion. The manufacturers are requiring lighter and lighter weight engine oil in all vehicles. 5w30 and 5w20 are being replaced with 0w16. I can hardly believe it, as 0w16 is like pouring water, it’s so thin.

The reason for the light weight oil is to give better fuel economy to satisfy the CAFÉ (corporate average fuel economy) standards. This standard is set by our state and requires all car manufacturers to average 54.5 MPG by the year 2025. Don’t think for a minute that the changes are going to slow down anytime soon.

Believe it or not an oil change can and will affect your miles per gallon and here is why. Us old guys always grabbed the 20w50 oil for our cars and today two of the most popular oils is 5w20 and 0w30. The comparison would be 20w50 oil will pour like molasses, while 0w20 will pour like water. Thicker oil creates resistance inside the engine, slowing down moving parts and lowering your miles per gallon. A hybrid or very high mile per gallon car can lower mileage by 1 to 2 miles per gallon. We have observed this from some testing that we have done.

Is installing 5w30 oil in a car requiring 5w20 a concern? Yes and no. Yes, because it will affect fuel mileage, sometimes it is noticeable, sometimes not. And no, because using a slightly thicker oil will not hurt the internal engine components at all. Warning!! Thicker is not better, so please don’t use a very thick oil like a 20w50 in a modern car as that will cause issues.

Other ways car makers are working to meet the CAFÉ standards are:

  • Using lighter materials
  • Turbo chargers
  • Gasoline direct injection
  • Hybrids
  • Smaller engine size
  • 10 speed transmissions
  • Synthetic oils in transmissions

With all these changes happening today, preventive maintenance is more critical than ever.

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, or visit our website at

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

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