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Last updated on: January 13, 2021  

How to Find The Best Auto Mechanic In Your Town For Vehicle Maintenance

When it comes to owning a car, it's important to provide proper maintenance to ensure it continues to be reliable and operates well each day. Finding a reputable auto mechanic in the local area is necessary to ensure you can trust their expertise, and they handle your car like their own. If you want to learn how to find the best auto mechanic in your town, there are a few important tips to follow.


auto mechanic talking with customer


Read Online Reviews


One of the best ways you can find the best mechanic in town is by hearing what other people are saying about the services provided. Consider reading reviews online to get insight into other people's experiences. You can learn a lot about how quickly the technician works and if they perform the repairs or maintenance correctly.


You can also check the Better Business Bureau to look for any complaints that have been filed. If customers have had serious issues, then it's best to move on to someone different in the industry.


Ask for Recommendations


Before there were advertisements and billboards, people found different car mechanics in the area by word of mouth. Ask your family member and friends for recommendations based on who they use to ensure you can hire someone you can trust to work on your car. You can also ask people on your social media platforms if they have any recommendations if you want to get more options from multiple people in minutes.


Look at Licensing and Certification


Although there are many people who enjoy working on cars and know how to work with their hands, it doesn't mean they're licensed or certified. It can be easy to spend less and visit someone who is passionate about cars, but it can also lead to damage to your vehicle if the professional isn't licensed to perform the work. When narrowing down your options in the local area, check their licensing and certification in advance to verify if they're reputable.


There's a high level of risk that comes with hiring a mechanic that isn't licensed, which can cause your warranty to be voided. It's important to also look into the number of years they've been in business, their experience, and what schools they attended to determine their level of training and expertise.


Check Their Prices


One of the main factors that determine the mechanic you take your car to for maintenance should be their prices to ensure their rates are fair and work with your budget. It's important to research the industry standard for different types of maintenance and repairs to have something to compare their rates to before you schedule an appointment. Avoid hiring the first person you receive a quote from and shop around to get the best price.


In some cases, it may not be wise to visit a mechanic with the lowest rates because it can mean they're cutting corners. Most mechanics have overhead costs and aren't able to charge a price that it's too good to be true. Instead, opt for someone with competitive rates to ensure you still get a good deal without compromising one the work performed.


Meet the Mechanic In-person


Once you think you've found the right mechanic, you'll want to meet the technician in-person to view their professionalism. This step will allow you to look at the quality of their facility and if they use equipment that looks like it's in good condition. Although you may not want to hassle visiting the shop before your appointment, it's important to keep in mind that you'll be leaving your car in the hands of this individual.


During the appointment, discuss the maintenance your car needs or any issues that may be present. The technician should appear genuine and friendly. Check to see if they're making eye contact or allow you to feel welcome. They should take their time answering your questions instead of making you feel rushed. It's also important to ask if they have experience working on the make and model of your vehicle to ensure they're familiar with the parts and can diagnose any issues. Finally, you may want to see if they have a comfortable waiting area where you can sit until the work is completed.


Knowing the best steps to take to find a local mechanic when it comes to caring for your car can offer peace of mind and also increase the longevity of your vehicle. The parts on your vehicle can last longer, and you'll have fewer repairs over the years by using someone professional and reputable in the industry.


Get in touch with AAA Approved, Kadotani Auto Repair in Watsonville, when you want to schedule services or if you have questions. Our team is here to help and is happy to offer our assistance.

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Last updated on: January 12, 2021  

3 Ways Preventative Maintenance Can Increase Your Vehicles Life

Preventative Car Maintenance Can Be Extremely Beneficial


mechanic performing car maintenance


Every car owner understands that their vehicle needs to undergo preventative maintenance at regular intervals throughout the life of the car. Such maintenance can keep the car operating efficiently and is important for the safety of the vehicle, the driver, and the driving public. However, people sometimes do not bring their vehicle in for preventative maintenance because they are too busy or because such measures cost money. However, there are numerous advantages to preventative maintenance, and all car owners should bring their cars in for maintenance at regular intervals.


Long-Term Costs Savings


Preventative maintenance can save a car owner a substantial amount of money in the long run. Of course, car owners need to spend a modest amount of money in order to complete an oil change, tire rotation, or other maintenance measures that may be needed for a vehicle. However, the modest amount of money spent on maintenance is nothing compared to the serious damage that a vehicle can sustain without maintenance.


For instance, if tires are not properly rotated, this could lead a tire to blow out while it is being used. This might require that the car owner pay for the cost to replace the tire and the labor needed to tow the car to a mechanic and to complete the replacement. In addition, without an oil change, a car may have issues with its engine. Engine repairs are typically far more expensive than merely having the oil changed on a vehicle. In most instances, preventative maintenance only needs to be performed a few times a year, and the modest cost and inconvenience of preventative maintenance can save a car owner substantial sums of money in the long run.




Preventative maintenance is also extremely important for promoting the safety of the driver, passengers in the affected car, and the driving public. If preventative measures are not taken, it is far more likely that a car will break down at some point or another while on the road. This means that the driver will likely need to exit a car, which may occur on a busy and unsafe road. In addition, if the car breaks down while the vehicle is in motion, it may be difficult for the driver to safely slow down to a complete stop. Moreover, some breakdowns may make it impossible to even control the car, which can imperil everyone on the road.


Moreover, breakdowns can increase the possibility of car collisions. This is because other vehicles may hit an out-of-control car. Moreover, motorists have a tendency to look at cars that have broken down, which can lead to distracted driving that can increase the likelihood of accidents. Preventative maintenance makes it far less likely that a vehicle will break down, and drivers can accordingly avoid the safety issues associated with a breakdown.


Convenience and Time-Saving


Although it may be inconvenient to take a car in for preventative maintenance, and this may cost a modest sum of money, this is far more preferable than a car breaking down. For instance, if a car breaks down in the middle of a trip, it is unlikely that the driver will be able to get to their destination on time. Moreover, the driver will need to call a tow truck to tow the car to a mechanic, which will cost time and money. In addition, if a car breaks down, the driver will be without a vehicle for however long it takes to repair the car. In order to avoid interruptions, it is important for car owners to bring their vehicles in for preventative maintenance at regular intervals.


AAA approved, Kadotani Auto Repair in Watsonville, is experienced with preventative maintenance measures for all kinds of cars. If you are looking to schedule a preventative maintenance appointment, please contact Kadotani Auto Repair today.

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Last updated on: January 12, 2021  

The Benefits of a Proper Tune-Up

What a Proper Tune Up Can Do


It is often said that to keep a car running smoothly; you need to get it tuned. However, not many car owners know what tuning a car is and what it entails. Benefitting from a successful tune-up depends on the type of car and the garage that tuned it. In today's world, cars are made to run much longer than years ago. The car's engine consists of many moving parts that work together to make a car run. With all these movements, the engine still requires maintenance.


mechanic replacing air filter during tune up


Different Services are Done When Engines are Being Tuned.


A tune-up is having a mechanic run a diagnostic test on the vehicle's performance. After which, an inspection of the engine is done to check for any malfunctioning or worn parts and change them; this includes checking the engine thoroughly, looking for leaks, and driving the car around to ensure there are no weird sounds. A technician will check to ensure that the engine vacuum is properly sealed and there are no leaks from the exhaust. Also, your technician will check the emissions from the exhaust. Checking the ignition timer ensures that there is no problem starting the vehicle.


Also, paying keen attention to the battery by checking for signs of corrosion, the technician will look for any loose contacts, and voltage testing. With many new designs coming on the market, a computer is installed and used to identify vehicle faults.


Replacing and Repairing Parts


Some services are standard when tuning vehicles, such as changing the vehicle's oils and any other fuel in the vehicle that requires changing. Doing this keeps your engine running easily and efficiently. Your technician will also check the spark plugs and change them if necessary; this ensures that electricity is being brought to the engine. If your rotors need changing, your technician will change them to avoid any stress being applied to the suspension, which will make them serve you longer.


Other small components also wear easily, such as air filters, hoses, and different types of belts. Your technician will check to ensure that if they need repairing or changing, it's done.


Ways a Tune-up Can Improve Your Vehicle.


  • Improve mileage - Tuning your vehicle can help you find small details explaining why more gas is being used than before. A prime example is the brake pedal sticking; this can cause you to lose more gas than usual. To fix this issue, the technician must replace them. In another attempt to improve your vehicle mileage, the technician will check to ensure that your vehicle is properly aligned. If not, then the technician will correct it by rotating the tires and aligning the vehicle.

  • Fixing how your vehicle drives - As your vehicle gets older, it stops running the way it uses to; you may notice it shaking or delaying when it should start-up in the mornings. The technician will do a routine checkup to look for the fault and correct it.

  • Addressing the glowing light on the dashboard - Seeing that not all drivers speak multiple languages, there is a barrier between them and the language of the producer of the car. Therefore most drivers do not understand what is happening to their vehicles when a glowing light comes up. It's for reasons such as this that a technician/mechanic comes in handy. Using a diagnostic test, they can figure out the fault and fix it.

  • Increasing the value of your car - If at any point you want to sell your car, you can do so easily and quickly, especially if you kept records such as receipts from the technician for tuning it.

  • Oil change and top up - Topping up your oils after changing them is also a necessity. The technician must check fluids such as the transmission fluids that must be flushed and top-up to increase your transmission's longevity. Refilling fuels keeps you from developing transmission issues that will develop over time.


Keeping a vehicle in tip-top shape should be on the top of every owner's list because as small as some problems may be, they can lead up to much bigger problems. A good tune-up ensures that your vehicle is running properly and it won't leave you at the side of the road.


Did you notice that your car is starting to act up, especially when you're driving faster and not performing how it used to? Or you notice that you aren't running on the same amount of fuel as before, or you see your check light comes on your dashboard, it's time for you to get it tuned.


Our customers are treated like family, so get your AAA Approved, automotive repairs done by the experienced professionals at Kadotani Auto Repair, a company with over 38 years in business found in Watsonville, California, today. You'll be really glad you did.

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Last updated on: August 17, 2020  

6 Signs Your Brake Pads Need To Be Replaced

Having good brake pads is essential for your vehicle's braking system to be able to deliver optimal performance. That’s why it's crucial to pay close attention to your brake pads' condition and promptly replace them when they are worn or damaged. 


Proper brake pads can mean the difference between your vehicle hitting an object and being able to stop quickly before touching it. Good brake pads can help to stop a collision from happening, prevent people from being injured, and save lives. Therefore it's important for you to be able to recognize the signs the pads on your brakes should be changed.


Signs The Pads On Your Brakes Need Changing


There are a number of telltale signs you should look and listen for that will let you know when the brake pads should be changed. If you notice one or more of these signs, it means you should change the worn pads on your brakes right away or your car's braking system will no longer function properly. 


Continuing to drive your car will mean that you are compromising the safety, health and lives of you, your passengers and people with whom you share the road daily. Six signs the brake pads should be changed right away are:


1. Squeaking

2. Grinding

3. Vibration When Braking

4. Taking Longer To Stop

5. Indicator Light Comes On

6. Brake Pads Appear To Be Thin


Don't ignore these signs or you can find yourself in danger of being in collisions that can cause property damage, serious injury or death.


What Each Of These Signs Means


Each of the 6 signs mentioned above are clues to the state of your brake pads. It can alert you to why you must take action right away to replace them. Here is a closer look at each sign and why immediate action is required.


1. Squeaking Brakes


Your brakes are metal discs tightly sandwiched between two brake pads. When you step on your brake pedal, the brake pads apply pressure against the metal discs. Many brake pads have steel clips that serve as wear indicators. 


When your brakes begin to make squealing or squeaking noises it usually indicates that the brake pads have worn down below their safe limits and must be changed at the first opportunity or your vehicle will not stop in a timely manner when you step on the brake pedal. Ignore the squealing sound and you risk doing serious damage to your rotors that's very expensive to repair.


2. Grinding Brakes


If every time you step on your brake pedal you hear a loud grinding sound, it often means the brake pads are so badly worn that the rotor disc is making contact with the caliper. Extremely worn brake pads can grind down and cut into your rotors. This can create a major brake system problem if it isn't addressed right away. 


When your brake pads start grinding against your rotors, it can result in damage to the rotors and the calipers and can cause your brakes to fail and be unable to stop your vehicle. If you hear a grinding sound when you mash your brakes, change your brake pads immediately.


3. Vibration When Braking


When the brake pads are overly worn, they can begin scraping metal off of the rotors in different spots. When the rotor is thinner in some spots than others, it can cause the brakes to shake or pulse when you step on the brake pedal. 


When you notice this happening, it means you have to change the brake pads and have your rotors machined to make them a uniform thickness throughout. If you don't do this quickly, your braking system will begin to have major problems and could eventually fail altogether. This vibration is a signal that the brake pads should be changed and your rotor repaired.


Important to note: At Kadotani Auto Repair, we typically will replace rotors rather than resurface them. Thin rotors tend to warp quickly after repair due to their inability to properly dissipate heat. 


4. Taking Longer To Stop


Worn brake pads is a common reason a vehicle would take much longer than it normally does to come to a complete stop when you step on the brake pedal. When a vehicle's brake pads are spent and should be changed, they are unable to put enough pressure on the rotors to quickly stop the wheels from turning. 


This can be very dangerous because in situations where you need your vehicle to stop right away to prevent an accident or stop it from hitting a person or pet, your braking system won't engage quickly enough. That's why changing the brake pads in a timely manner is so important.


5. The Brake Indicator Light Comes On


Usually when the brake indicator light comes on it means the brake pads are spent or the brake fluid level is too low. Some newer vehicles have sensors that trigger the brake indicator light when the brake pads wear thin. Plus, spent brake pads can result in low brake fluid levels. 


When brake pads are threadbare, they cause the brake caliper piston to extend further to force the brake pad to press up against the rotor. When the piston advances further, the space created inside the brake caliper fills with brake fluid. When the master cylinder's brake fluid level drops dangerously low the light comes on.


6. Brake Pads Appear To Be Thin


For the braking system on your automobile to function properly, the brake pads should not be allowed to get thinner than ¼ inch. Brake pad thickness plays an essential role in road safety. Brake pads that measure 1⁄8 inch in thickness have reached the end of their recommended wear limit. 


Driving with brake pads that thin is not safe. When a car's brake pads start to appear to be very thin, then immediately change them. The brake pads on any car should be no thinner than 1⁄3 of an inch in order for them to be able to stop the vehicle quickly and safely. Change all very thin brake pads right away to protect yourself and others and prevent dangerous braking problems.


At Kadotani Auto Repair, you can always rely on us for honest and fair quotes, superb pricing, and skilled automotive labor that won't break up your piggy bank. If you have brake, maintenance or repair issues with your automobile, please call us today to schedule a highly skilled inspection and maintenance or repair.

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Last updated on: May 8, 2020  

9 Very Specific Steps to Passing a Smog Check

Car owners often wonder if there is something they can do to improve their chances of receiving a favorable result when it is time for their car's smog check. Of course, the most simple answer is to make sure that you keep your car in good running condition. This is because a car that is well-maintained and operating at optimal levels will likely present no trouble to its owner at a smog inspection.


But what if your car is not running 100 percent? It can be quite expensive to repair problems with your car when you fail a smog inspection. The good news is there are a number of steps available to you to improve your prospects of a successful smog test.


Clear the Check Engine Light

When a check engine light is activated it spells an automatic failure for a smog check. The next step for you is a diagnosis and fix for the problem causing your check engine light to turn on.

Faulty oxygen sensors are often the cause of check engine lights. Even when the sensors are not totally inoperable they can fail to properly regulate the mixture of air and gas. This will result in a smog check failure. The fix for this problem can be under $200. However, if your oxygen sensors are faulty for too long, your car's catalytic converter will become damaged. This may cost $1,000 or more to fix.


Drive Highway Speeds Two Weeks Before the Test

It became federal law in 1974 for all cars in America to possess a catalytic converter. This converter takes harmful pollutants produced by cars and trucks and converts them to less harmful substances before they are released through the exhaust system of the vehicle.

Driving your car at high speeds heats the catalytic converter enough so that it is able to torch any oil and gas residue that may be present in your car's system. A daily high-speed run for about two weeks should do the trick.


Check The Tires

A dynamometer test is used for smog tests in many states. This test involves positioning the tires of the car on rollers and revving the engine up to a high speed while the car remains stationary. Tires that do not possess enough air will cause the engine to overwork itself to reach the necessary evolution speeds.



Any maintenance your car needs should be performed a good bit of time before the day of your smog checks. Mechanics will often disconnect the battery to your car when they perform a tune-up. The onboard computer of your car will be reset when this happens. You will then need about two weeks of driving before your test to prepare your car for all of the diagnostic checks that make up a smog test.


Change Oil if Needed

Pollutants can be released from your car when there is dirty oil in the crankcase. This could cause a negative result for your smog check. You can also ask your mechanic to check for any disconnected, broken, or cracked hoses while he or she is changing your oil.


Check Gas and Coolant levels

The engine of your car will be forced to run at a high speed while undergoing a smog test. For this reason, it is important to make sure there is sufficient coolant in your car. The time your car spends on a dynamometer will possibly place your car at an angle. If the gas level in your car is low, your fuel pump could be exposed and vapors may end up in your fuel line. This will also cause you to fail a smog test.


Invest in a Pre-inspection

Many states make pre-inspection smog checks available to car owners at a lower cost than the official taste. This test will inform you as to whether your car would pass the smog test or not but the results of the test will not be recorded. A pre-inspection is a good idea for anyone who feels their car is on the borderline for passing the smog test.


Rainy Days

Experts are not in agreement regarding whether rainy days are better or worse for a smog test. One argument is that wet tires are more likely to slip once placed on the dynamometer and possibly result in a smog check failure. The other side of the argument states that the extra humidity present on rainy days will decrease the emissions by your car and improve the chances of a positive smog test result.


Additions to Fuel

Older cars are at risk for fuel clogs that can change the way an engine runs. A good fuel additive will prevent this clogging and increase the chances your car will pass an upcoming smog test. Some states have taken a proactive approach to this issue and already provide necessary additives to fuel. You should investigate the needs you may possess as it relates to your state of residence.


The Bottom Line

Many car owners view smog tests as nothing more than a bureaucratic hassle. However, the car owner that takes the time to understand the test and how it works will do much better than the car owner who walks into the process completely unprepared. The nine tips above are available to car owners who want to improve their chances of passing a smog test.


At Kadotani Auto Repair, you can always rely on us for honest and fair quotes, superb pricing, and skilled automotive labor that won't break up your piggy bank. If you have a maintenance or repair issue with your Toyota, please call us today to schedule a highly skilled inspection and maintenance or repair.



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Last updated on: May 8, 2020  

5 Surefire Ways to Destroy Your New Brake Pads

Your new brake pads can provide safety and security, especially when a hard stop is necessary. However, many drivers do not consider that brake pads can be worn down prematurely through bad driving habits, tail-gating, and excessive speed. Below, you will find 5 tips on how to extend the life of your new brake pads, not destroy them.


1. Drive Slower


When driving, you should attempt to keep to or below the speed limit. Driving faster will require more friction to slow your car down and will wear down your brake pads quicker. Up to 33 percent extra energy is used to slow a car down if it is doing just 10 miles per hour more than the limit. You have to remember that pads have a finite life which is reduced by excessive speed. By driving more slowly, brakes will last longer and keep more money in your pocket.


2. Tail-gating


Stop tail-gating. Not only is it dangerous, tail-gating can cost you cash in the long run. Driving closely behind other cars puts you at the mercy of other drivers' actions. Be proactive by driving further behind other vehicles to eliminate small, quick brakes. If they stop, you need to stop. High-speed braking causes the most wear on your brakes. Pumping your brakes at high speeds can also put wear on your rotors. Damaged rotors can have an uneven surface area that will cause you to need to press the brake pedal down harder. This may cause you to need brake pads replaced more often as well.


3. Coasting to Stops


Coasting to a stop is a practice of using space to slow down as much as possible before actually using your brakes. Coasting before stops gives you ample time to make better driving decisions, slow down naturally, and brake less. This is a great technique especially for longer trips on the highway where you can see further ahead. Employing this during in-town driving may be more difficult. You can't wear out your brakes if you don't use them as much. This habit may take some practice to master but can be very effective in reducing brake wear.


4. Brake Riding


Some drivers also make the mistake of driving with their left foot on the brake. Your driving school teacher would be upset since they did not teach this. By riding the brake, the caliper is constantly applying pressure to the pads and will grind them down quicker. Changing can be difficult to accomplish if we have already developed this pattern. If saving your brake pads from annihilation means anything, getting off that brake will save some of the life of your pads.


5. Remove Extra Weight


Do you treat your trunk like an extra closet? If so, you should remove unnecessary objects from the vehicle to lower the overall weight. Driving with extra weight causes the brakes to need more stopping power to slow down at higher speeds. The camping tent, folding chair, or cooler does not need to be in the trunk, so get rid of them. Braking from 50 miles per hour can take up to 150 feet to stop. An extra hundred pounds of weight in your car can dramatically increase the time it takes to brake. This small tip can allow the vehicle more braking power and improve the life of your brake pads over time.


Braking systems are a critical component of your vehicle's safety. Your vehicle is a very important asset in your life. Be sure to protect both by following some of these tips in your day-to-day driving and be safe on the road!



At Kadotani Auto Repair, you can always rely on us for honest and fair quotes, superb pricing, and skilled automotive labor that won't break up your piggy bank. If you have a maintenance or repair issue with your Toyota, please call us today to schedule a highly skilled inspection and maintenance or repair.



CALL NOW: 831-728-4212




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