Automobile Repair

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California residents must get their cars smog checked every two years. Most cars can be checked at places that both test and repair cars. There are also [http://www.smogcheck.ca.gov/StdPage.asp?Body=/geninfo/factsheets/Test_Only_Directed_Vehicles-aug_2003.htm test-only stations], which are government sanctioned to check smog, but are unable to give any advice or perform repairs. Any car can be tested at a test-only station; if you are paranoid and think your test station might be trying to get some repairs from you, you can go to a test-only station even if not required. However, test-only stations tend to be more expensive than test and repair stations. Some offer a free retest. Most California vehicle owners must get their cars smog checked every two years. However, there are exempt vehicles: [http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/smogfaq.htm link]. Most cars can be checked at places that both test and repair cars. There are also [http://www.smogcheck.ca.gov/StdPage.asp?Body=/geninfo/factsheets/Test_Only_Directed_Vehicles-aug_2003.htm test-only stations], which are government sanctioned to check smog, but are unable to give any advice or perform repairs. Any car can be tested at a test-only station; if you are paranoid and think your test station might be trying to get some repairs from you, you can go to a test-only station even if not required. However, test-only stations tend to be more expensive than test and repair stations. Some offer a free retest.

biz_speedee2.jpgSpeedee Oil Change & Tune Up

Automobile Repair can be a fact of life for most of us in California, like death and taxes. And looking for a qualified mechanic can be like searching for a new dentist — you want a recommendation before you go under the knife and shell out big bucks. If you've had an exceptional service or consistent experience with a business in town, help the rest of us as well as that great mechanic you trust with your car and your life: add your experience to the business' page.

If you're not looking for a mechanic or maybe you want something for your car other than "repair," the Auto Parts section may have what you're looking for.

Please note that while many repair facilities may specialize in a specific service, such as tires, they often also provide general automotive repair and are listed in both sections. However, since most auto repair shops can and will provide oil changes, only those shops primarily providing tune-ups and oil change service are listed under that specialty.

  1. Reference Information
  2. General Automotive Repair
  3. Oil Change/Tune Up
  4. Smog Check
  5. Tires
    1. Tire Performance
  6. Transmissions
  7. Rear Differential Work
  8. Body Repair
  9. Machine Shops
  10. Wheel Alignment
    1. In Woodland
  11. Auto Upholstery
  12. Auto Glass
  13. Window Tinting
  14. Auto Parts
  15. Auto Towing
  16. Motorcycle Service/Parts

Reference Information

General Automotive Repair

Oil Change/Tune Up

Most mechanics and auto shops will do oil changes and tune ups, but there are a few places in Davis that specialize in these services. Many motorists change their own oil. The conventional wisdom is that an oil change every 3,000 miles is a good idea, but in recent years auto manufacturers have been increasing the recommended interval. In fact, the California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery recently began a campaign ([WWW]link) trying to get consumers to wait the full recommended interval before getting an oil change. Californians would save roughly 10,000,000 gallons of engine oil per year by waiting.

Smog Check

Most California vehicle owners must get their cars smog checked every two years. However, there are exempt vehicles: [WWW]link. Most cars can be checked at places that both test and repair cars. There are also [WWW]test-only stations, which are government sanctioned to check smog, but are unable to give any advice or perform repairs. Any car can be tested at a test-only station; if you are paranoid and think your test station might be trying to get some repairs from you, you can go to a test-only station even if not required. However, test-only stations tend to be more expensive than test and repair stations. Some offer a free retest.

If you fail your smog test, the repairs can be pricey. The [WWW]Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) can subsidize your repairs for up to $500 if you have low income. CAP also applies to the ~2% of randomly chosen people who are required by the DMV to go to a Test-Only station. If you have expired registration, you need a No-Fee Special Moving Permit, described in the [WWW]Handbook of Registration Procedures. After failing a smog check, submit a CAP application and wait about two weeks to hear back from them or for same day service, completed applications can be delivered to:
[WWW]Bureau of Automotive Repair
Consumer Assistance Program
10240 Systems Parkway
Sacramento, CA 95827

It usually takes about 30 minutes to receive your approval letter. To drive to their office, take highway 50 east. Exit south on Bradsahw Road (Exit 13). Turn left on Old Placerville Road. Turn left on Systems Parkway and their office is on the left. It is about 25 miles from Davis.
If approved, you can only use your CAP subsidy at a [WWW]Gold Shield Station.
A useful tip that might make the difference between passing and failing is to take your car for a twenty minute drive to warm up the engine enough for the catalytic converter to function effectively.

*EDIT 5/31/11*
The CAP program is discontinued. However, there is a new program called Vrrrm (see [WWW]http://www.vrrrm.org/). The program aims to reduce car emissions and will pay up to $800 for approved emissions-related diagnostics and repairs. I failed a smog check at Advanced Auto Repair and Towing in South Davis (The only Gold Shield Station in town) and a helpful worker explained the program to me. The criteria is easy to meet if you bought gas in California between 1995 and 2005, as no financial information is required. Approval is mostly dependent on the registration status of the car in California. "Advanced Auto Repair" is the only shop in Davis that is able to uphold this program. If your car fails the smog and you qualify for Vrrrm, the savings on repairs can literally be hundreds of dollars.

Woodland generally has cheaper prices than Davis in this category; In both cities, coupons are widespread and provide noticeable cost savings. Many can be found in the Consumers Guide. One of the shops (Yolo Smog?) has bogus ads.

Price comparison for cars as of 05/05/2009:

Business Type Price Coupon Total
Davis Auto Care & Fleet Service Center TBD TBD TBD TBD
Davis Shell Regular 54.50 10.00 39.95
[woodland]Yolo Smog Test Only 59.95 20.00 39.95
Aggie Smog Test Only 66.75 20.00 46.75
Davis Smog Test Only 66.75 20.00 46.75
Express Smog Test Only 75.00 20.00 55.00
E-Z Smog Test Only 75.00 15.00 60.00
Advanced Auto Repair & Towing Gold Shield Station,Test & Repair and Test Only 46.70 10.00 36.70
George's Auto Repair not sure 88.20 (certificate included) not sure

Note: These prices do not include the $8.25 for the smog certificate, which you'll need if your car passes. Also, some places charge more for older (pre-1995) cars.
Updates (March 2013): Advanced Auto Repair & Towing pricing still valid. Coupon only works for cars >1995. Davis Auto Care & Fleet Service Center has no smog checks but will begin April 1, 2013 (hopefully not a joke). Pricing TBD.

Tires

Tire Performance

Non-motorheads may be interested to know that according to a [WWW]2002 JD Powers report, "in both the passenger-vehicle and light-truck categories, Michelin demonstrates strong performance across all the customer-driven measures... Michelin has ranked highest in customer satisfaction for its replacement tires among passenger-vehicle owners for the past four years. Following Michelin in the passenger vehicle segment (which includes cars and compact vans) are: Toyo; Uniroyal and Kelly (in a tie); and Cooper and Goodyear (in a tie), respectively. Tire brands performing at or below industry average, in alphabetical order, include: BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Dayton, Douglas, Dunlop, Firestone, General, Sears and Yokohama. Following the top-ranked Michelin and Cooper brands in the light-truck category is BFGoodrich. The remaining brands performing at or below industry average, in alphabetical order, are Firestone, Goodyear and Uniroyal. Also check out [WWW]Tire Rack for reviews of many tire models. You can go to a local store and ask them to order a specific model for you.

Transmissions

Rear Differential Work

Body Repair

Machine Shops

Wheel Alignment

In Woodland

Auto Upholstery

Auto Glass

Window Tinting

Auto Parts

Repairing or maintaining your car yourself? Auto Parts stores sell new or rebuilt auto parts as well as tools, lubricants, additives, repair manuals and other automobile related supplies.

Here's a list of stores in Davis:

If what you're looking for isn't available soon enough or you're looking for a better price, there's additional stores in surrounding communities, mostly Woodland, as well as Dixon, Winters and West Sacramento. Sacramento has more.

If a store doesn't have something in stock, it often can be ordered quickly. The clerk can also tell you which other of their stores have it in stock.


Auto Towing

See Towing Services

Motorcycle Service/Parts

See our Motorcycles page for a complete overview of local motorcycling and scooter resources.

See also Car Dealerships

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