Mark Wagner has been working under the hood of international automobiles since 1972. After securing a master's degree in mechanical engineering in Germany, Wagner ferried both his family and his familiarity with foreign cars to America, where, today, he teams up with the ASE-certified techs in his repair shop. The factory-trained mechanics dole out everything from tune-ups to engine, brake, and transmission repairs. And all of their work is backed by a 15-month, 15,000-mile warranty that prevents cars from worrying about waking up and seeing their name in the classified pages.
Express Tune technicians extend automotive longevity, drawing on ACE certification to tweak performance and bolster vehicular safety. The mechanics keep motor oil on hand to keep engines from accumulating damaging buildup and lift hoods to service engines and belts. In the bustling shop, a clattering chorus of tools drifts from beneath undercarriages as techs improve brake function and inspect tires. As state-certified emissions specialists, the mechanics test automotive output to make sure no car is polluting the airways with above-legal levels of toxins, and they inspect used cars for potential malfunctions or Kick Me signs taped to the bumper.
Inside the service department at Michael's Chevrolet of Issaquah, technicians treat GM vehicles to routine maintenance that takes between 20 and 45 minutes. An oil change introduces up to six quarts of standard oil to engines; drivers who need synthetic lubricant can upgrade for an additional fee. The shop's mechanics will also perform a 27-point inspection and rotate the tires to ensure even wear, leaving the vehicle wagging its bumpers and grinning from headlight to headlight. Motorists can take the opportunity to teach their cars some personal responsibility by having them register online through the appointment scheduling page.
The ASE-certified technicians at Valley Automotive can never really graduate from school. Every staff member undergoes a mandatory 50 hours of training each year, learning about all the advancements and quirks of fresh vehicle models so that they can better receive them for treatment. Their services encompass basic procedures—oil changes, wheel alignment, and maintenance inspections—as well as more complex electric and automotive repairs. Flushes for brake fluid, transmission fluid, and cooling systems de-gunk their patients' many pipes, and prepurchase exams inform guests of malfunctions before they buy rings for new rides.
In the interest of convenience, the shop provides a shuttle service and loaner cars for clients whose buggies need extended stays. Its website also compiles frequently asked questions and guidelines for prolonged automobile life. Guideline suggestions include reducing the weight in your vehicle by unloading the trunk, cleaning mud from the undercarriage, and refusing to pick up even the loneliest-looking boulders. These tips speak to the trust-based approach of employees, who, in addition to enjoying 4x4 jaunts and customizing their own cars, prioritize professionalism over quick fixes.
Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.