Gene’s Car Tips

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

What’s the Right Car for Your Teen Driver?

You and your teen may have very different views on driving.

While their dreams might be about the new-found freedom of the open road, you are focused on making sure they get home safely. While they might want to hit the accelerator, roll down the windows, and turn up the music, you want them to slow it down, stay alert, and keep their hands at 10 and 2.

We Hear You, Parents.

Whats The Right Car For Your Teen Driver

It’s not just your intuition. That sports car they are pushing for isn’t the best choice for young, inexperienced drivers. Drivers between the ages of 16-19 are the most likely to be involved in accidents.

Teenagers haven’t yet developed the maturity they need to make good decisions about the risks of steering 1.5 tons of metal down a road filled with other moving hunks of metal.

Young drivers just don’t have the experience to react appropriately to dangerous situations. Even experienced drivers find themselves hard-pressed to make good decisions in challenging driving situations. The fact is that everything happens way too fast and this only increases when you are a brand-new driver.

Can We Help You Decide?

What kind of car do we advise parents to get their teen drivers? Instead of price or appearance, we want you to first think of reliability and safety first. Airbags, stability control, and excellent tires are a good start. It’s also a fact that large to mid-size cars are safer than small cars. Of the 16 models with the highest crash rates, 11 are compacts or sub-compacts.

You might assume that a smaller car is easier to handle and your teen might like the sportier look. Unfortunately, they make your teen less safe on the road.

Our suggestion? Get them the safest, most reliable car you can afford.

Other factors include getting a vehicle that has too much or not enough horsepower. Speed is, of course, dangerous but a lack of power can make merging and lane changes hazardous. Also, make sure you inform your teen about how expensive California traffic tickets are. Rolling through a stop sign will get you a relatively inexpensive ticket. But, by the time you pay all the agencies involved, it might cost several years of allowance!

Narrow your choices down by checking out the crash test scores on Also, if you’re buying a used car, bring it in and we’ll carefully inspect it. We provide expert insight into whether a particular vehicle is safe and reliable. You need it to be a great car for your teen and, just as importantly, your peace of mind!

Yes, we are AAA-approved and ASE-certified and consistently rated as one of the top shops in that nation. But when you want to keep your teen driver safe, you need hometown service you can count on. That’s why you need to call the pros at Certified Automotive Specialists at 626-541-2149 or schedule your appointment today!

How Do I Love Thee (O, Thou Automobile)?

Treating your car right can feel a little mysterious and requires resources and energy. Some say it’s a little like love. You may not want to write a sonnet to your vehicle, but you should “count the ways” your vehicle makes your life better.

For example, it takes you where you need to go without saying it has better things to do. It never tells you that instead of taking you out to dinner, it’s going to a party with some Mustang you don’t even know! Also, think of how super-lost you feel when it breaks down. Even the simplest chores like driving the kids to school or grocery shopping seem nearly impossible.

Now consider the pain you feel for a big repair bill because you neglected your car by not getting it properly serviced. Pretty awful, uh?

We want you to keep up on vehicle maintenance so that you’re paying for service rather than the much higher cost of repair. We also want you to get safely from point A to point B. You don’t want to break down on the side of the road and helplessly watch a tow truck carry your car away. Especially when it could have been prevented. 

So, if you’ve been putting off getting your vehicle serviced, now is the time to show it some love! 

We Listen Because We Care!

Love is all about good communication, right? Do you ever wish your car could just tell you when something is wrong?

The thing is, your car does speak to you. Unfortunately, you don’t notice until it’s “suddenly” acting, smelling, sounding, or dripping differently than usual. But how closely were you really listening?

We get calls all the time saying that a car is making a ka-thump or pinging noise, or that it is knocking, sputtering, whining or screeching. Regular vehicle checkups allow us to hear your vehicle tell us what’s wrong and to make adjustments before these symptoms get louder.

As car care professionals, we keep your vehicle healthy by listening closely and addressing issues before more expensive “complaining” has a chance to start!

 Running on Empty

Here’s an easy way you can make sure your relationship with your car stays strong. When your low fuel warning light blinks on, fuel up! This indicator is telling you that your car is taking fuel from the “bottom of the barrel,” which is full of debris and allows sediment to clog the fuel filter, fuel injectors, and the pump pickup. We recommend keeping your tank above 1/4 tank for this reason.

Sure, it can feel a little dangerous and reckless to drive on fumes. When it comes to your vehicle, though, wiser is better. Your car will love it and love you for the attention, not to mention how much your wallet will appreciate it!

The dedicated pros at Certified Automotive Specialists promise to inspect your car every visit so you have the information you need to make informed decisions about maintenance and repair. We continuously train to keep up with today’s complex, high-tech vehicles and we are passionate about making your car safe and dependable. Call us at 626-541-2149 or make an appointment today!

Unaware Your Spare Is Now Just a Repair Kit?

Do you remember when every car came with a full-sized spare tire? That was before the invention of the small temporary tire, sometimes called a “doughnut.” The doughnut cost less and shaved at least 20% of spare tire weight, increasing fuel efficiency.

Now, to save even more weight, many manufacturers are tossing out the day-old doughnut and replacing it with a repair kit.

Sometimes called an inflator or mobility kit, the repair kit also takes up very little room and consists of an air compressor with an attached hose and an integrated bottle of thick, sticky sealant.


The weight savings is pretty huge. The standard spare and jack is the heavyweight of the options at 30-50 pounds. The doughnut and jack, on the other hand, weighs in at a svelte 20-25 pounds. Your loaded laptop case might weigh more than the repair kit, which is just 2 or 3 pounds.

What happens when you get a flat? No more jacking up the car, taking off lug nuts, and replacing the tire with a full-sized or temporary spare. Now you simply plug the unit in, secure the valve stem, and turn it on.

Easy enough, right?

Manufacturer’s estimate that the repair kit will work about 85% of the time. Those are decent odds, but unfortunately, if you get a major blowout that’s larger than a quarter of an inch, or if the puncture is on the side of the tire, the repair kit won’t do the job and you’ll need to get towed.

Without a spare tire, it is even more critical that you don’t ignore your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). It alerts you when there is a leak so you can address issues before you need to make an emergency roadside repair.

Carmakers are hurtling toward the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which mandates that cars average 54.5 miles per gallon of fuel. Though they aren’t replacing every spare with a repair kit, it’s something you need to be aware of. Bring your car in and let us take a look when you get a TPMS alert. We don’t want you stuck in the middle of nowhere looking for a spare that isn’t there.

If you have questions about this or any other automotive issues, contact your vehicle repair and maintenance experts when you have a “spare” moment. We’ve been recognized four times by Motor Age as one of the top ten shops in America, including being honored as the absolute best auto repair shop in 2012! For old-fashioned customer service and state-of-the-art methods and equipment that will get you back on the road with a safe, reliable vehicle, call Certified Automotive Specialists at 626-541-2149 or make an appointment 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.*

*Within 10 miles of the shop.