Gene’s Car Tips

Do You Have An Emergency Kit In Your Car? 

Do You Have An Emergency Kit In Your Car?

Don’t Be Stuck On The Road – Be Prepared!

Here are some basics:

– Flashlight with extra batteries
– Gallon of Drinking Water
– Transmission Fluid
– Tire Inflator-Sealant
– Extra Belts
– A Few Basic Tools
– One Gallon Gas Can
– Paper & Pen
– Matches
– Dried Fruit, Nuts or Other Non-Perishable Snacks
– First Aid Kit
– Jumper Cables
– Quart of Oil
– Brake Fluid
– Fire Extinguisher
– Extra Light Bulbs and Fuses
– Electrical Tape
– Flares
– Paper Towels
– Blanket
– Cellular Phone

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.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!


Ten Good Reasons to Invest in an Annual Car “Physical” and Needed Maintenance

Ten Good Reasons to Invest in an Annual Car “Physical” and Needed Maintenance

  1. CUT REPAIR COSTS – Discovering a worn component before it creates major problems can save big money.


  1. SAFETY – A poorly maintained vehicle can drive you into a serious accident.


  1. BETTER PERFORMANCE – This translates to improved fuel economy as well as “driveability.”


  1. SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT – Under-maintained vehicles are a serious contributor to air pollution.


  1. IMPROVED TRADE-IN/RESALE VALUE – A well maintained vehicle can be worth two to three times as much as one that has been neglected.


  1. BETTER HANDLING – Incorrect wheel alignment, worn suspension components and/or tires cause poor ride and handling.


  1. ABILITY TO PLAN AHEAD – When a check-up indicates future need for replacement of a part, you can budget accordingly.


  1. DEPENDABILITY – A well-maintained vehicle is less likely to stall, fail, or otherwise leave you stranded.


  1. DRIVING ENJOYMENT – It’s more comfortable and more fun to drive a car that holds the road and rides well.


  1. PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP – It’s said that your car is an extension of our personality. Keep it looking like you care!

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.


Hometown Service You Can Count On!


Exhausted by Your Search for A Quality Auto Repair Center?

Car Talk

Many people assume that their local auto auto repair shop is staffed by certified technicians. In the state of California, workers that handle food need a Food Handler’s Certification. The hair stylist that cuts your hair and the beautician that cuts your nails are all state certified. However, there is NO certification required to open an auto repair shop.

This fact shocks most drivers, yet there is no mandatory certification required to own or operate an auto repair shop in California. All auto repair shops must be registered with the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). A prospective owner can receive an automotive repair dealer’s license (ARD) by sending a completed application with business name, tax ID, and check for $200.00 to the BAR office. The person applying does not need any automotive experience at all! Furthermore, there is no proof of insurance or a set of standard equipment required.

All additional certifications, ongoing training, professional organizations, warranties on completed work, and specialized equipment is completely voluntary. Certified Automotive Specialists wants to offer you the best automotive repair, which is why we purposefully make all of the above part of our car repair shop. Although the state of California does not require any further requirements than a license for auto repair, our facility is a member of professional groups including ASCCA and iATN. We are an AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility – only 5% of auto repair shops in Southern California make the cut to be approved by AAA. We keep up-to-date on the latest equipment and procedures so our technicians can properly repair any vehicle. Our facility also voluntary participates in further licenses from BAR; we are a STAR Certified Smog Station, a Brake and Lamp Certified Station that can sign off on fix-it tickets, and a recognized Green Station.

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has become the industry standard and offers a series of 9 tests that a technician can take to become certified in different areas of car repair. Again, these tests are voluntary, not required. The tests are also written tests, and do not necessarily prove that someone has competence when working on a physical car. Certified Automotive Specialists requires all our technicians to be ASE certified, as many other shops do as well. We make sure our technicians are correctly trained and able to complete high-quality repairs. This is one area of the auto repair industry that we would like examined. Other professionals are required to have certification, ongoing training, and proper tools. Mechanics should have those requirements as well.

We do everything we can to offer our customers first-rate automotive repairs. Our hard work has earned us a A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. We understand the desire to save money, and some shops that aren’t certified may be cheaper. However, a low price now may cost more in repairs later. By trusting a knowledgeable certified technician to perform your repairs or service, you can save time and money in the long run. You can always ask a repair shop about their certifications and professional acknowledgments. If a shop’s estimated price lower than everyone else’s, there’s likely a reason. Get experienced, professional repairs by a certified auto technician at Certified Automotive Specialists. We offer a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty on all repairs because we stand by our technicians and our work. If you have any questions, call us at (626) 541-2149.

Offering Customers a Personal Touch

At Certified Automotive Specialists, we always aim to be more than some generic auto repair shop. We don’t want to be faceless entities going through the motions of getting the job done, and we don’t want our customers to ever feel like they’re just a number. That’s why one of our guiding principles is providing exemplary customer service. That service comes with a variety of personal touches so that our customers really feel like they’re part of the CAS family.

We’ve lived in Glendora as long as our shop has existed (we opened our doors in 1978) and we value being part of this community. If there’s anything we feel strongly about, it’s that local businesses operate as pillars of the community – a trusted place that locals can depend on. Our customers aren’t just people we work with. They’re our friends and family! Offering high-quality work is important to us, of course, but we find that it’s even more important to let our personality shine through so people feel at home when they’re here.

One of the way we like adding that personal touch is adding a little flair to the windows every season. In this YouTube video, you can see a time-lapse video of us creating a Thanksgiving window painting. We get to show off our sweet painting skills and personality! It’s so much fun to do projects like this that give us an opportunity to have a good time and do one more thing we enjoy. It makes the work day an absolute joy.

Our team is full of professional service technicians who know cars inside and out, but we’re also people with our own unique personalities and quirks. Being part of an independent business that’s been such a staple in Glendora over the years gives us the freedom to show off who we are! That personal touch is one of the things that keeps our customers coming back over and over again.

Do you like seeing some personality in the businesses you work with? Personally, we feel like it makes the place feel more welcoming. What do you think?

Dipsticks – They are Disappearing

Dipsticks – They are Disappearing

I remember when we checked engine oil and transmission fluid by pulling the dipstick out, wiping it clean, putting it back in, and pulling it back out.  That simple process enabled us to check the fluid level.  We could tell many things by that dipstick, but today it isn’t that simple. Many new models don’t even come equipped with an engine oil or transmission dipstick!

Modern automobiles have become marvels of precision and durability over the years. Many transmissions have 5, 6, 7 or even 8 speeds and do not have a dipstick to allow checking or adding to the fluid level or inspecting the fluid condition, unless you have specialty tools to do so.  Some engines are following suit by removing the dipstick as well. These cars rely on the engine computer to check oil level and condition. Not sure about you, but that scares me.

Vehicles with dipstick-less engines and transmissions came about to keep people from adding incorrect fluid. A person or non-qualified shop would add or change the fluid using the incorrect type. The engine and/or transmission would fail prematurely because the less-expensive fluid did not lubricate properly, and failure was eminent. The consumer might put the fault on a poorly designed or defective car. This is happening more and more.

Some of these engines and transmissions are filled with what the manufacturer says is “long life” fluid, claiming it does not require changing for many miles. I recommend you find a trust worthy service center and use the manufacturer recommendations along with your service advisor recommendations to make the final decision on when to service your car.

With rules regulating the automotive manufacturers that mandate fuel mileage be increased every year, vehicles require very specific synthetic fluids. The cost of today’s fluids can be staggering, ranging from $6.00 to $26.00 per quart. Adding the wrong fluid will damage the internally lubricated parts over time.

Please do your homework when having any service performed; it can be devastating if the wrong fluid or incorrect fill procedure is performed.

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.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

The Role of the Check Engine Light

Car Talk

Your car has many computers that monitor your engine for the best performance, your transmission for proper shifting, your braking system for safe stopping, and it monitors many other devices to make sure they are working properly. If a system detects a problem, it needs to alert you, so you can bring the car in for service. This is the role of the check engine light.

The check engine light looks different from car to car.  It is usually a yellow or orange color. It will rarely be red. Most of the time it illuminates in the shape of an engine. If the check engine light comes on solid (not blinking), you can continue to drive the car until you have a chance to bring it in. This does not mean you should ignore it.

When the check engine light is on, the car defaults to a backup system that controls all the important systems. Driving around for a short time until you can set up an appointment is no problem, but continuing to drive more than 20 miles is a bad idea.

If the check engine light is blinking rhythmically, this indicates a serious problem! A computer system has had a major malfunction that will damage the catalytic converter. If you notice a blinking check engine light, you do not need to stop in the middle of the bridge and call a tow truck, but you do need to stop driving as soon as it is practical. Whether the check engine light is solid or blinking, it’s a good idea to drive gently.

The modern car is more complex than ever, and many folks believe a small hand-held code reader will tell you what’s wrong with the car. This is incorrect information. It is called a code reader for a reason; it reads the trouble code for the major systems only. A code reader will not tell you the complete story of the car’s condition.

Please don’t diagnose or replace parts based on a code reader device. The only way to correctly find all the issues with your car is to use a scanner. The scanner does what it says; it scans all the modules and systems of the car, instead of a select few that a code reader does. Most cars have 20 to 100 modules; a code reader is not set to read even half of those.

Quick story; we recently had a car come in with a catalytic converter code. It would be easy to recommend and replace the part. The cost was $1200.00. Testing and analysing the system with scan data revealed that an oxygen sensor (one of the four that are on this car) was the culprit. The cost was $400.00. We felt good doing a proper diagnosis and repair. The customer was also happy!

No one wants to pay for expensive testing, but it beats changing parts and losing that hard-earned cash we all want to spend elsewhere. Please use a shop that is well equipped and don’t rely on the old code reader any more.

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.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Is Your Automotive Service and Repair Shop Certified?

Is Your Automotive Service and Repair Shop Certified?

In a recent study of several hundred people, the question was asked, “Does the auto shop you use have certified technicians?” The vast majority said they assumed that they were.

The shop you use may have certified people, but the reality is there is no mandatory certification required to own or operate an auto repair shop in California. To be an auto shop owner, you must have a state license issued by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), which any person can apply for and receive with no automotive experience at all.

To apply and receive an automotive repair dealer’s license (ARD), just show up to the Bureau of Auto Repair (BAR) with $200.00, a name for the company and a tax ID. Wala! You’re in the automotive repair business, no proof of insurance, no tools and no experience necessary.

This is one part of our industry that I would like to see reviewed. A professional that cuts hair or fingernails is required to be state certified, but a mechanic who works on tires, engines or brakes doesn’t need a single day of training or any tools to do so.

The only certification system we have is voluntary, with the exception of being a smog station. Smog technicians are licensed by the state and require continuing education.

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers a series of tests that a technician can take to be certified in many different areas of the car. All tests are voluntary, not required. At my shop, I require all staff to be ASE certified and I know many other shops do as well. ASE tests are all written tests and it does not necessarily mean a person is competent to work on a car.

AAA Approved auto shops must have ASE certified technicians employed as well as have a minimum set of tools for the cars they work on. I recommend using an AAA approved shop due to their tough standards, and you have a voice through the arbitration system, should you have a concern with the service or repair.

In these uncertain times, saving a few dollars is always something to consider. But don’t get caught up with a low price that will cost you more later. Have a knowledgeable certified technician perform the service or repairs on your car; it will save you time and money in the long run. Before you agree to have any work performed, ask if the technician working on your car is certified. If you wonder sometimes why someone is lower in price than everyone else, there’s usually a reason.

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place!

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Hyundai Car Warranty May Be Illegal

Do you drive a Hyundai? If so, you’re probably familiar with one of their major selling points – the “America’s Best” warranty, which is one of the best in the industry. It offers drivers 10-year, 100,000 mile warranties, which is almost unheard of from any other make. However, there’s a catch. According to the fine print, to keep the warranty intact, Hyundai owners must use only Hyundai parts.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, this is illegal. Based on previous precedent and current law, a company can’t force consumers to only purchase and use their own proprietary products in order to keep a warranty intact without permission, or without offering those products free of charge. This stipulation is in place to prevent monopolizing the system. A company can’t directly tie a consumer to their products in this way without any wiggle room or prevent them from seeking auto care from a third party if they choose.

Hyundai Car Warranty May Be Illegal

The FTC has sent Hyundai a warning, along with several other companies who had similar policies. This is a disreputable practice that has only one goal – make the parent company more money by keeping repairs in house. There’s a reason we disapprove of this practice. In a free market, consumers need to be able to choose how they spend their money and which businesses they want to frequent. It’s not acceptable and is, in fact, illegal to offer a benefit like a warranty but only with the stipulation that your company is the only option.

Other companies who received a similar warning are ASUS, HTC, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. Much like Hyundai, they also had practices that required consumers to use only their parts to maintain a warranty, as well as other stipulations. This sort of behavior is damaging to competitors and smaller third-party businesses that are trying to eke out a living in a highly competitive industry. For a healthy consumer economy to exist, people need to have access to options. Warrantees like these limit or completely eliminate those options.

If you have any questions about whether you can have your car looked at by an independent auto shop or have specific parts placed in your car without voiding your warranty, feel free to come see us. We’ll be able to advise you on how to protect yourself and your car’s warranty. We can be reached by phone at 626-541-2149 with questions or to schedule an appointment.