Gene’s Car Tips

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 Keep You Going Strong All Summer Long

We Keep You Going Strong All Summer Long

Have you ever felt the heat zap you of strength and energy when you’ve been exposed to the unrelenting sun on a hot summer day? A car is no different. Sitting day after day on the hot pavement in Glendora tests the durability of components, like hoses, batteries, and tires!

At Certified Automotive Specialists, we want to make sure you have fun in the sun all summer long, which is why we take a close look at the following when we service your vehicle at this time of year:

  • Between heat and vibration, your battery takes a beating and usually only lasts five years. We test your battery, so it doesn’t fail and leave you stranded on the hot, dusty side of the road when it is inconvenient and uncomfortable.

  • How often do you see a helpless driver pulled off the freeway, steam pouring out from under the hood of the car? Summer heat puts your cooling system under enormous pressure. We first check to make sure the coolant isn’t contaminated. Then we check rubber components for cracks and signs of brittleness. When they are past their prime, we recommend replacing them, so you do not end up as a roadside attraction. We hate to see customers towed in due to a preventable cooling system failure!

  • Your tires need proper inflation to function efficiently, which is why we always check tire pressure. Tires don’t operate well when they are over or under-inflated—they need to be just right!

  • Fluids and filters work hard to protect your vehicle, and we need to check and replace them as needed.

  • Your AC system is essential in Glendora! By examining the refrigerant and other components, we ensure that you and your passengers stay cool and comfortable despite the heat!

No matter how high the mercury rises, the friendly, helpful experts at Certified Auto Specialists are here to make sure you have safe, reliable transportation that gets you where you need to go. For hometown service you can count on, contact us online or call 626-541-2149  today!

Oil Changes and Fuel Economy

When talk turns to fuel economy, oil changes aren’t typically the first thing mentioned. But that is starting to change.

Manufacturers now require increasingly lighter weight engine oil in vehicles. For example, they are replacing 5w30 and 5w20 with 0w16—an oil so thin and lightweight that it feels like you are pouring water into the engine!

This is just one of the changes driven by the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, which are set by the state and require all carmakers to average 54.5 MPG by 2025.

Oil Changes And Fuel Economy

For years, old school mechanics used 20w50 oil for their cars. It is high-viscosity, providing an ample cushion against metal-to-metal contact. It also acts as a more effective sealant than thinner oils. Today, though, two of the most popular oils are 5w20 and 0w30. The difference between them is apparent—the lighter weight engine oils look and feel like you are giving your engine a long, tall drink of water, while the heavier weight oils have the same consistency as the syrup you pour on your pancakes.

The reason this affects gas mileage is pretty simple. Though thicker oil protects, it also creates resistance inside the engine, slowing down moving parts and lowering your miles per gallon.

Switching to Thicker Oil

Customers sometimes ask if they can install 5w30 oil in a car requiring 5w20 to increase protection. Using a slightly thicker oil will not hurt internal engine components, but it might lower fuel mileage. Be very careful, though! Thicker is not always better, especially when it comes to engine oil. Using heavy oil, such as 20w50, in a modern vehicle will cause issues. We strongly recommend giving us a call before switching motor oils!

What are some other solutions manufacturers are coming up with to meet CAFE standards?

  • Lighter materials throughout the vehicle
  • Turbochargers
  • Gasoline direct-injection
  • Hybrid systems
  • Smaller engine sizes
  • 10-speed transmissions
  • Synthetic oils in transmissions

With all of these changes increasing the complexity of your vehicle, preventive maintenance from highly-trained professionals is more critical than ever. For hometown service you can count on, call the friendly, helpful experts at Certified Auto Specialists at 626-541-2149 or contact us online today!

Why My Vehicle Needs an Inspection

There are a lot of questions about inspecting a car when it comes into a shop for service.

In years past vehicle manufacturers suggested you change your oil every 3,000 miles. That meant you visited a service facility 3-4 times a year; that was 3-4 times a year that your technician had the opportunity to look over your car and catch potential failures in your vehicle’s tires, wipers, brakes, fluids, leaks or any other concerns.

Why My Vehicle Needs An Inspection

Today, the vehicle manufacturers are now extending oil and servicing to 7, 10, and even 15 thousand miles. This also extends the time your technician gets a look under the hood of your vehicle. This gives your technician less times per year to inspect and identify issues with your vehicle.

Consider air transportation; a jetliner goes through a safety inspection before each flight. In fact, all public transportation including planes, trains, and city busses all go through a certification and regular inspection process to find, identify, and fix potential problems before they happen.

Benefits of an Inspection

Our personal vehicles, on the other hand, usually see their technician for oil changes and maybe get a check over every few years. Just as regular oil changes keep your car healthy, having a professional inspection done on a regular basis will save you time, money and avoid the headaches of major mechanical repairs.

A basic inspection can be simple, fast, and efficient. It will allow the technician to fill your tires, top off your fluids and give you peace of mind when you are on the road.

Talk to your service professional about a scheduled inspection program to supplement your vehicle’s service plan.

Certified Auto Specialists: the friendlier and more helpful auto shop! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 or contact us online with any questions and we will be glad to help!

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

ASE Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition Shop Status

Certified Automotive Specialists is the only ASE Blue Seal of Excellence shop within 10 miles of Glendora.

Many shops display the ASE certified sign, that means at least one person has passed an ASE test in at least one area of certification.

For automotive certifications there are 12 different areas of certification.

To become an ASE Blue Seal of Excellence Shop, all employees must be 75% certified in all certifications available and renewed every 4 years.

What that means to you is a highly trained and competent shop to care for any service or repair need.

Certified Auto’s staff and ownership are serious about training and the certification of all employees.

Did you know that there is no requirement for an auto shop to have any certification at all to be in business? That’s right, a shop can open for business and not have a single certified person.

It is sad but true, that our industry will not take certifying technicians seriously, so next time you’re looking for a shop, do some research.

Some helpful hints:

  • Get a friend or family member recommendation
  • Are they certified?
  • Are they AAA approved?
  • Are they members of any automotive organizations? ASCCA, ASA, ASE
  • Is the shop convenient, clean, and work on your make/model of car?
  • Always ask, how long the warranty is
ASE Blue Seal Of Excellence Recognition Shop Status

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.