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Looking for a good Honda mechanic
I would be grateful if people could recommend a good
mechanic for an older (1998) Honda, preferably in the
Berkeley/Oakland area. The car runs quite well, but I
believe it is in need of several minor repairs and I'm
interested in someone who could give us a prioritized 'to
do' list with accurate (and hopefully reasonable) estimates.
Thank you in advance!
Berkeley Minicar W. Berkeley (2)
Fairmount Auto El Cerrito
Foreign Auto Clinic El Cerrito
Oceanworks W. Berkeley
Non-Dealership Honda Hybrid Repair in the East Bay
Our 2003 Honda Civic hybrid's IMA system needs a look, and
we're taking it to Luscious Garage in San Francisco.
Luscious has an excellent reputation, but I'd still like to
know if there's a good, experienced Honda hybrid mechanic
(NOT a dealership!) a little closer to Berkeley.
Berkeley Minicar W. Berkeley
Oceanworks W. Berkeley
Service for my 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid
Can anyone recommend a service place for my 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid? I
have used Honda of Oakland in the past but they are expensive and
inconveniently located. Does anyone know whether Honda's warranty
requires the vehicle to be serviced at a Honda dealership?
Berkeley Minicar W. Berkeley
I need routine maintenance (30,000 Miles) for my 2004 Honda,
which I purchased at Berkeley Honda, when it was Jim Doten.
But have heard unfavorable comments about quality of work
there now. Any suggestions?
Automotive Impaired Gal
We have been going to Steve's Auto Care
in Albany on San Pablo
Ave. for about 8 yrs. They are honest, reasonable and good. We
have had no complaints in all that time
I used to own a Honda and had it serviced at Berkeley Mini Car
at the corner of San Pablo and Dwight. I loved them. The ran a
clean shop, always treated me well and were very honest about
what really needed to be done and what didn't. They only do
Hondas, as far as I know.
I've been taking my 2004 CR-V to Oakland Honda
on B'way, since
we moved here in 2005. They've been professional, friendly,
accommodating on making service dates and best of all, super
FAST getting things done...
For Honda servicing: Berkeley Mini Car.
Hands down the best.
As BPN will tell you...
Check out above link for more glowing praise.
Go see Mitch at Steve's Auto Repair
on San Pablo Ave in Albany.
He's great. I've been taking my Honda there for 5 years and
haven't had a problem.
I have two recommendations for Honda servicing, both in West
Berkeley. Art's Automotive
and Oceanworks both service Japanese
cars, both are reliable and environmentally consciencious. I
have found both to explain exactly what they feel is needed,
will show you the old parts and go through the problem if you
like, and are fine to deal with. Oceanworks is probably a little
smaller and you will deal with the same people in the office
each time, but they usually have a longer wait for an
Bryan in Oakland
on San Pablo Avenue. Honest and reasonably
priced, work primarily on Hondas.
We just got a new Honda Civic and are looking for a place to get
it serviced regularly. Previously, we had a Saturn and went to
the dealer, but we don't know about the Honda dealer we bought
from in El Cerrito. The sales person was wonderful, but
the person closing the deal was so unpleasant--misleading,
intimidating, and then complaining that he had to work on
weekends and thus that we should buy extras for hundreds we
didn't need--that we almost walked out and didn't buy the car
after all. So we don't know what to expect from that service
department and don't want any more unpleasant experiences from
them. Is their service department good (not telling one that
services are needed when they aren't)?
Is the Berkeley Honda service department good/better?
Or perhaps there is a place that isn't a dealership that
is better? The closer to campus the better for us.
Berkeley Mini Car only works on Hondas and has been in business for
over 20 years! They are always on the top of the list for service,
honesty, dependability, etc.
I use Berkeley Honda,
and am pleased enough with the service I get. It
seems pricey, but the service people have always been lovely and
accommodating. I boycotted during the strike, but was very glad when
the strike was over and I could go back.
We use and love Berkeley Mini Car.
They only service Hondas. We live
in SF. Several years ago I took it there for the first time (my
husband had been going for years as he had worked in Emeryville). I
thought he was crazy until I went in. It was such a pleasant, honest
experience. As a woman, I have found most service places frustrating at
best but at Berkeley Mini Car, they treated me like I had a brain!
Here are some other reviews on BPN. Lots of fans and they deserve it.
another satisfied customer
For the very best, trustworthy, smart, quality service for your Honda,
go to Steve's Auto
at 744 Sab Pablo, 526-3906 (near where Washington
Street hits San Pablo). We've been driving Hondas for 25 years and
Steve has taken amazing care of them. He used to be head of service for
Honda El Cerrito and then branched out on his own, more than 10 years
ago. Not only is he smart and knows Hondas inside out, he is the nicest
man too, and so ethical. They have won awards for being a green
business, and run a nice shop - i think he has a second shop now too.
Steve has caught problems that Honda wouldn't tell us about years in
advance - he is a master diagnostician. He takes such good care of our
Hondas that when we ''upgrade'' to a new one, we have sold ours at top
blue book. We currently have an Accord and a Pilot and have had several
other Accords, a wagon and a little Prelude in the pre children era.
Loved em all and wouldn't go anywhere but Steve's. He also takes care
of Toyotas and Subarus and every friend we send there is so happy. Steve's will
cost a fraction of what the dealer charges and be twice as good.
Happy Honda Mama
whatever you do, don't go to berkeley honda!
i bought my honda civic
last year & the transimission went out...under warranty, took it to
berkeley honda for repair, they were willing to replace the
transmission at no cost to me (covered under warranty), but wanted to
charge me more than 3x's the cost of replacing the motor mounts. they
quoted me over priced parts and over 200 labor for each. i called my
mechanic for advice. he explained that since they were replacing the
transimission, there should be no additional labor required as the
trans sits on the mounts so once it's taken from the car, the mounts
are easliy accessible. i explained to berkeley honda that they could
leave the old mounts in my car and i'd pay a mechanic to replace them
b/c of the explanation above. they tried to give me a bargain by
offering to charge me for 2 rather than 4 mounts and i held my ground
and they put them all in at no additional cost to me. afterward i
discovered that the mounts were covered under my warranty as well.
on 2498 San Pablo Ave at Dwight is where we've taken
my '93 Honda Civic for nearly 10 years. Their prices are very
reasonable, their service is always friendly and professional. We trust
that they are not recommending unnecessary repairs. I think that they
take pride in keeping old cars like mine going. Their phone number is
For Honda (or general auto service) I would recommend Auto Plus in
Albany (on San Pablo across from Albany Bowl, 510 527-0100 ). We take
our '06 Accord and '98 Wrangler there for regular and ''irregular''
service, and have been satisfied every time with both the work and the
''vibe'' from the guys who run the place--they are honest and friendly.
It is within walking distance of the El Cerritto BART station which is
also a plus if you don't have other means of getting there.
For great Honda service (and Toyota, Acura, etc) consider
RC Imports on
Fairmount Ave, right near the El Cerrito Plaza BART station. 526-8084. Very
professional, very knowledgeable, very friendly.
Owner of a 99 Honda Civic
The ''check engine'' light came on in our Honda Accord a few
weeks ago. We took it to Dana Meyer in Albany, who charged us
nearly $100 to tell us it was a loose gas cap. (!) Ever since
then, we have been tightening it carefully. Now the ''check
engine'' light is on again. So, I'm thinking that it was not a
loose gas cap after all, but some other problem. I was
wondering if any knowledgeable person on the list could let us
know what kind of problem this could be. Could it be
dangerous? By the way, the engine sounds and runs fine.
Thanks for any advice.
I had the check engine light come on in my Honda Civic. The
manual suggested a loose gas cap as the primary cause. I
retightened the cap but the light stayed on. I read that you
can disconnect your battery for a few minutes and that resets
the light to off. If there really is a problem, the light will
come back on and you have to pay the $100 to get the error code
read. There is a way to read the error code yourself by
counting a flashing light, but the method is slightly
Note that you have to reset your clock and radio after you
reconnect your battery.
The light did not come back on for me. You might try it one
time and see if this works for you.
My husband (a competent home mechanic) says:
''The check engine light (CEL) comes on for all sorts of reasons,
automatic function every 5,000 miles or so, telling you to take
it in for
regular servicing. There are many other possible reasons. When
it comes on
your car's computer stores a code, which a mechanic can and
figure out. You don't say, but I assume Dana Meyer did this and
it came up
''Tighten Gas Cap''. If the light came back on there's another
problem, or a
defective sensor feeding the CEL, or, entirely possible, that an
mechanic neglected to reset the CEL. Easiest quick solution:
both battery cables and let the car sit for 30 minutes. The
resets the CEL.
Start the engine and drive around per normal; if the CEL comes
there is a problem, even if the engine seems to run fine, but the
may well be minor. Possibilities include the Oxygen sensor,
dirty plugs or
other basic tune up needs, or the mechanism by which the CEL
triggers in the
first place. A thoughtful mechanic should read the codes for
free or nearly
free, as it takes all of 2 minutes of work. Fixing the problem
is of course
another question, but as a very general rule, if the CEL is on
engine seems OK it's likely not a huge problem.''
Hope this helps.
Maybe you should try a different dealership or someone else that
services Hondas. We had the exact same problem a few weeks ago
with our 1996 Accord. Took it to Doten Honda in Berkeley. When
I dropped the car off, they asked about the gas cap, and made a
note that I had not checked it. It turned out to be an oxygen
censor. They said it was a $300 part, but the replacement was
covered under warranty. No problems since.
Funny you should ask about this...the check engine light just
went on for our '96 Honda Civic. (The car's at the dealership
even as I type.) The owner's manual says that the check engine
light indicates a problem with the emission control system.
The owner's manual didn't make it sound like a big emergency,
but our car was ''acting funny'' after the light went on, so we
had it checked out right away. Of course, after we made the
repair appointment, it started driving normally again. The guy
at the dealership also didn't sound very concerned.
We haven't heard back from the dealership yet, so I don't know
for sure, but when we dropped it off this morning, we were told
that the repair would likely be covered by the emissions
Hope this helps.
The Check Engine light in my Mazda turned on due to a faulty
oxygen sensor (I guess it thought my engine wasn't getting enough
oxygen, when in fact it was). My local garage was unable to fix
the problem and said I'd have to bring it to a Mazda dealer.
Instead, I called mobile car-electronic specialist Dan Stone
(D.A. Stone Electrics) at 510 425-3005; he came to my house,
looked at my car, shopped for a used oxygen sensor, came back to
my house a few days later, and in half an hour, installed the
secondhand oxygen sensor. He charged me $95: $20 for the oxygen
sensor (they cost several hundred dollars new!) and $75 for an
hour of his time (though I think he must have spent more than an
hour total, even not including the time for him to drive to and
from my house).
The check engine light comes on for a variety of reasons. A
diagnostic would need to be run to see what codes are coming up.
A loose gas cap is one of them, and they charged you a fair
price for running a diagnostic -- although they could have cut
it, given the circumstances. You may have an entirely different
code/problem now. OR, you may just need a new gas cap. I would
try that first, and you might even try a bottle of STP and/or a
tank of premium gas. These are things that can affect the
pressure, and that's one of the factors that trips the check
I also have an accord. When this light first came on, I was
concerned it was a vital function gone awry. My regular
mechanic told me it would take about $800 to fix the catalytic
converter. I chose to drive with the light on for about 2
years. Recently I had occasion to go to the dealer for another
problem, and had them check it on their computers. They
informed me that my catalytic converter was bad, and replaced it
to the tune of $1000! Within a week the light was back on. I
returned to the dealer, who told me it was indeed the gas cap,
which must be twisted with four to five clicks each time it is
replaced (who knew???). I was informed that if I didn't do this
and the light came back on, I would have to return to the dealer
to have the problem taken care of, with a charge at each visit!
It is, apparently, indeed the gas cap. I've been twisting the
sucker for the past few weeks and voila! no return of the light.
While I drive a Pontiac rather than a Honda Accord, I can say
that I've had a similar experience to yours -- right down to
paying $100 to be told that about my gas cap. Mine continues to
come on on occasion, and I have just continued to ignore it,
because it always goes away. If they checked it and said your
engine is okay, I wouldn't worry about it. This started over a
year ago for me, and I haven't blown up yet! :)
We had that happen on our Toyota Prius, and the mechanic
explained that once the system detects inappropriate gas fumes,
it can take a few days to re-set itself. We drove all the way to
LA and back before our light turned off. Our gas cap has an
instruction on it to turn it until it makes a click, or else it
isn't tight enough. Perhaps you need a new cap?
I had this same problem with my Accord - my mechanic said they'd
forgotten to reset the light after my last oil change. Hopefully
it's the same issue for you.
I have a Chevy Cavalier, so this may not be that useful. The
check engine light kept coming on, so I brought it to the
dealer as my regular garage didn't want to mess with it. The
dealer ran a diagnostic for about $100 & told me that it wasn't
a big problem, but they weren't sure what it was. For a lot
more money, they could track down the problem exactly. We
lived with for about another 6 months & went back to our
garage. They messed around, did some expensive stuff & the
light went away for a couple of weeks. When it came back on,
the garage took it personally & went over the car with a fine
tooth comb (for no charge) & found the problem to be a cheap
valve that had burnt out & needed replacing.
So, in our case, it was something small & cheap in the
electrical system. Ask your garage to start looking at the
small, cheap stuff first, before replacing computers &
I have a Honda Accord wagon and have had the ''check engine''
light come on twice. Both times it was the oxygen censor in the
emmisions system which needed to be replaced. Both repairs were
covered under a manufacturer warrenty (not additional purchase.
You may want to check with a honda dealer if your car is covered
if that is the problem.
You didn't mention what year your Accord is but I had the same
problem with my 2000. Luckily it was still under warranty when
this happened so the dealer took care of it. It's something
fautly with the wiring and it took several months before the
dealer (Jim Doten Honda) received the part to correct it. I
imagine even if you're not covered by the warranty you should
still get the part because it's a defect (not a serious one that
requires recall but simply a nuisance to see the light always on.)
The owner's manual says this can happen if you don't turn the gas
cap three times to hear it click. This did not correct the
problem obviously because it's the wiring.
Bring your car to the Honda Dealer and if that is the problem I'd
go back to the original mechanic and ask for some compensation.
$100 is quite a lot to charge for not fixing the problem!
BTW - the light has not gone on since (and I'm sure I don't
always click the gas cap 3 times!)
Hope this helps. Good luck.
I got a 2005 Honda CRV and I'm very confused about the safest
spot to put the carseat. We have a Britax Roundabout that has
LATCH and our last car didn't have LATCH b/c it was so old. In
the CRV, only the 2 outer seats in the back have LATCH. I
thought the middle seat was safest for the carseat? Also, I
worry about the side airbags if we put the carseat on the outer
seat. I put it in an outer seat, but I'm not sure that's the
best option. Anyone out there know? Thanks.
put the carseat in the middle with the seat belt and make an appointment
with the CHP for them to check your installation (you should do this
even if you were to use a latch system).
They'll also teach you how to anchor the top of the car seat to the
floor - that helps stabilize things quite a bit. And once you turn the
seat forward facing, you can use the top anchor provided above the cargo
---yes, honda makers are dumb...
LATCH it seems, might not be as safe as using the lap and shoulder
belts. I read something to that effect in Consumer Reports. I have LATCH
in my element, but I continue to use the lap/shoulder belt.
I reccomend you go to a carseat safety check or call the non-emergency
line of you local police department and make arrangements for them to
show you the best way to install your seat. 90% of all carseats are
You can put the car seat in the middle, just use the two centermost
anchors, you just can't put 2 directly next to each other. We have a
2005 CRV & a Marathon and it works out fine (and being able to tilt the
passenger seat so far back is a god send on long trips when the little
one gets fussy and you can't stop just then!) Lovin' my new CRV
I don't know about CRVs, or whether it's safe to use a latch hook on the
side if you put your carseat in the middle. But according to a mom
friend who is also a firefighter, the safest place for a carseat is in
the middle, because there is less chance the baby will be hurt if you
get impacted on the side of your car. I would recommend taking your car
and carseat to a police or fire station and having them help you install
it in the safest place and in the safest way - with or without the
latch. It may be possible to use the side latch hook even if your
carseat if in the middle. Good luck.
I just had to write in to correct a piece of advice given by one of the respondents to this post. It is *NOT SAFE* to install a carseat in the middle position using the LATCH anchors closest to the middle. The LATCH anchors in the CRV are positioned for the two side seats. If you install a carseat in the middle, you MUST use the seat/shoulder belt. The LATCH anchors are too far apart to safely secure the seat in the middle. Just ask the CHP.
--besides, then you can't fold down the small portion of the back seat when you need to
I am still a little new to the area and I am looking for a
Honda repair shop. I would use it mostly for oil changes,
barring any emergencies. Hopefully the place would be in
Berkeley. Any suggestions?
Berkeley Minicar (2)
Steve's Auto Care
I am looking for an affordable honest mechanic for our 1988
Honda Accord. Does anyone have any recommendations for Honda
mechanic in East Bay? I have seen the previous recommendations
and there are none specifically for Hondas. Thanks!
Berkeley Minicar (2)
Jim Doten Honda (2)
Oakland Auto Works
Steve's Auto Care
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