Certified Car Care

Toyota Prius Inverter Failure

Posted on March 12th, 2018

393228 Toyota Prius Inverter failure.

What does it look like:
– Your engine might reve
– You’re A/C gets cut off intermittently
– Your 12 volt keeps getting a weird charge amount or you have to replace it
– The engine stalls
– The “RED TRIANGLE” turns on.
What happens?
Either your inverter pump dies completely or it works some times, this causes your Prius to shut down immediately and you can’t seem to get it to turn back on.
Your Prius may throw out a P0A93 code, depending on the generation
– Inverter water pump completely failed
– Cooling system might have hair bubbles
– Kinked hose
– No power to the pump circuit
What should I get changed out:
When you get the inverter pump changed you should also look to get the coolant replaced, you cant really do one and not the other.
What not to do:
If you haven’t got the repairs to your Prius done for the inverter unit, then please, please do not turn your Prius back on, this can cause heating damage to your Hybrid battery.
When to get assistance:
If you notice any changes in your Air conditioning, please bring it in to a good Prius specialist. You can typically get it diagnosed before the water pump fails. This can keep you from having battery damage too and reducing the overall cost in labor and parts. *hybrid batteries are typically the most expensive to replace on a Prius*
If the “RED TRIANGLE” comes on, contact a Prius specialist immediately, don’t just keep driving, this could be a number of issues, and you could cause your Prius to go into limp mode and you have a car that just dies on the road while you are running errands or on the way to work.
Remember that there have been Inverter water pump recalls, and if you have received any mail from the dealership you should see if you can get this part replaced for free. This is typically happening to The Gen 3 Prius, but has been seen in the Gen 2.
Certified Car Care has been working on Prius vehicles for more than 10 years and we even use them to get our running around done. We are the best in the business at getting them back on the road fast and even get some dealership work when they can’t diagnose the issues. Let use keep you on the road and give us a call if you feel like your car isn’t running like it should, we are always willing to answer a phone call and even do a quick code check to see if it is anything drastic.


What Should You Ask Your Maintenance Facility

Posted on January 4th, 2018

Motor_oil_refill_with_funnelWhat Should You Ask Your Maintenance Facility:

Do I really need to get my oil changed every 3-5 thousand miles?

Many manuals have now started writing in that vehicles don’t need oil changes as frequently.  Unfortunately, we have seen some pretty worn-down engines that would have benefited from slightly more frequent oil changes.  We have seen everything from stretched timing changes to sheered teeth that maintain the timing. Small bits of metal in the oil when we drain it.  Our rule of thumb for the newer vehicles is to look at the percentages that are listed on the vehicle panel.  Usually showing either 100% oil life remaining all the way down to 0% oil life remaining… Think of it this way, remember when you were in high school and you would get your report card?  If you think of it as a percentage of failing, you start failing at 50%.  This should be an indicator that you should get an oil change that month (especially if you drive your car that frequently) or in the next 1,000 miles.

Yes, your handbook may say 5,000-10,000 miles for your oil change, but oil breaks down and the lower the viscosity the faster it breaks down.  There are other reasons to frequently change your oil, such as getting ready for winter or changing it due to the vehicle sitting during a season because it doesn’t make sense to drive it.  If this is the case, when cars sit either during the winter or in high humidity areas for more than a month, you should change the oil to prevent water build up.  This can be see when you drive, there might be darker smoke coming out of the exhaust or it burns white but in a cloud.  If you see either, please take your vehicle in for an oil change and ensure that the vehicle is getting enough fuel to oxygen ratio per the specs of the car.

Why does the Mechanic or the Sales person keep suggesting extra repairs:

Many times, it may seem that mechanics are trying to up sell you, you are partially correct. However, many shops don’t want to over sell service because they want you to come back.  The dealerships are usually more expensive and add on several types of services that may be less than necessary.  But, most small repair shops only want what is best for your car. They will take the time to educate their customers, so they will understand their vehicle needs and, so they will come back.  Certified Car Care likes to ensure your vehicle has little to no carbon build up, helping the planet and giving drivers a good throttle response.  We also like to ensure that you are aware of all the little things like your next oil change, spark plug change, transmission fluid exchange and remind you of when your breaks are getting close to needing a turn and new pads.

Why should I do preventative maintenance:

This is a question is one that I frequently receive especially from younger consumers.  Certified Car Care likes to educate our clients and ensure they understand how to keep their car on the road with out spending a large amount of money at each visit.  We would much rather have you come in for frequent oil changes and filter changes than have our clients come in for an entire engine rebuild due to lack of oil changes and preventative maintenance.

Spark_plugsWhat maintenance should you get done? Well there is a manual in each car, but we have systems at our shop that help us know what is expected at your 20k, 60k, 80k, and 100k+ services.  Things like getting new spark plugs around 60k, getting belts checked, maintaining fluids, balancing tires and rotating them frequently during each oil change.  If you have questions we are always willing to answer them and we try to give a rough quote before we do any repairs.

What if my car breaks down after it was just worked on:

Almost all mechanic shops should honor their work, if they don’t you should go straight to the BAR.  But, with that said always allow the repair shop to make good on their word.  All Certified Car Care’s work is warranted for 1 year or 12k miles. Many of our parts have life time warranties, we take pride in our work and ensuring that our customers are satisfied.

Wheel Alignment

Posted on September 27th, 2016

Wheel Alignment

Has your car started to pull to one side?
Is turning your car more difficult?
Has the handling of your car changed significantly?
It might be time for an alignment of your wheels, this is also known as breaking and tracking. Alignment is the adjustment of the angles of your wheels, usually to reset it back to the manufactures specifications. Some of the parts that are involved in alignment are the Camber, Caster, and Toe. To better understand the handling problem mechanics will use a machine much like the Ranger Alignment machine, or the Hunter Alignment Machine. This allows the mechanic to look at your Camber, Castor, and Toe. Depending on the purpose of your car, highway driving, performance or around town you might have different specifications for your vehicle in each area.


Auto Alignment BMWAs you can see in the graphic of the black BMW the wheels are turned outward, this is considered a negative camber, the main problem with a negative camber is it doesn’t allow for even wear on tires. A negative Camber causes wear on the inside of the tires, decreasing the life of the tires and the grip while driving at high speeds. This look is popular due to its visual look on cars, and for aggressive drivers they can expect to see benefits during heavy cornering or drifting their cars. The main issue with a negative camber is camber thrust, both tires at a negative angle continuously push against each other. As long as both tires maintain contact with the road this is not an issue, however once a tire has left the surface of the road and no longer has the thrust pushed towards the wheel with traction causing issues with performance and increases the cost in tires overall. This is great for cars that are racing and only have to make it to the next pit stop or to the end of the track. A Zero Camber is optimal for cars that drive on the freeway and your normal street cars. Cross Camber is set on front wheel drive cars to increase thrust on a tire, increasing grip of a tires and steering ability. Many cars have swing arms that aid in the control of steering, camber, and camber thrust.

In the picture depicted on the left we can see that the client has a slightly positive Camber on his wheel, this is called for because his vehicle is a front wheel drive increasing the grip while turning on city streets. The disadvantage to this is you can see the wear on the outside of the tires, this increases the need to rotate tires frequently. Certified Car Care suggests rotating tires with every other oil change or at about 10,000 miles, and having your wheel alignment checked when you start to notice your car pulling to one side.  There are many safety settings on your car, wheel alignment is one of them.  Most cars have a wheel alignment setting that allows for their car, if unmanned, to safely roll away from traffic to the right hand shoulder.

Wheel Alignment


The graphic on the right depicts the castor is the angel of the steering pivot point from the front to the back of the vehicle. The caster is positive if it is angled towards the front of the vehicle. In is picture the vehicle has a negative caster, the steering pivot point is pointed backwards toward the back of the vehicle

A positive caster makes the vehicle stable at higher speeds and allows for better cornering, this also increases the steering capabilities, making the driver feel like they have better control.


Wheel Alignment is the tires pointing inwards or outwards, look down at your feet point your toes towards one another and then out… this is much like your car!
Depending on your Toe alignment your tires could be wearing along the outsides.
Negative toe is seen mostly on front wheel drive vehicles. Positive toe is typically used on rear wheel drive vehicles. Each has it’s advantage in wheel alignments.
Negative Toe pulls the suspension arm in slightly, and tends to level out when driving at increased speeds. This increases cornering ability allowing the tire to be turned in slightly, causing outer tire to turn in the same direction and angle moving the car in the same direction as the inner wheel. Although any change in direction of the steering wheel the car will drift towards that course and decreases straight line ability.
Positive Toe is typically seen on rear wheel drive vehicles; this is when both wheels point towards one another. This increases the force that the wheels push on each other and reduces the ability to turn, but increases straighter driving characteristics. This can be seen on large box trucks and even diesel pushers, this increases their straight line driving capabilities and increases their safety on the road.

BG 44k

Posted on July 29th, 2016

What is BG 44K?

BG 44K is the ultimate fuel system cleaner – additive.

    • Fuel quality is not always the same, let’s face the facts most of us will drive around and put the cheapest fuel into our cars.  You can’t say you haven’t, because cash is king, if we are buying fuel why buy the more expensive stuff… Gas is just Gas right?   This statement couldn’t be any more incorrect.  The only truth is that the government puts out a minimum requirement for fuel stating that it must meet a certain viscosity and have a reduced amount of lead and minimal and meet EPA compliances. More expensive fuel stations charge more because they put detergents into their product.
    • How can BG 44k bring back your fuel efficiency?  Most people don’t know when they put cheap gas in their cars that it can make their injectors work inefficiently.   BG 44k will help clear out the injectors and remove carbon from your fuel line.  By cleaning the injectors and clearing the fuel rails, your car can then function optimally again.
fuel injectors

Taking a look at this graphic you can see what your injectors look like as they spray fuel into your engine allowing for fuel to enter the combustion chambers and fire properly.  If you don’t have a well atomized injector spraying due to carbon build up, then you will have reduced fuel efficiency.  BG 44k and a fuel injection kit can increase the atomization and reduce the amount of carbon emission and increase your overall gas mileage.


Certified Car Care highly recommends the use of BG 44k to increase our customers gas mileage, and emission controls.  BG has an impeccable line of products that aid in the increased power of vehicles and reduces carbon footprint at the same time.   When requesting a fuel injection service this is you can expect an immediate increase of throttle response. If you have the ability to watch the tech do the service it can increase your awareness of how much build up is actually in your injectors.  You can expect to see the chemical placed directly into your fuel line, then your car started and running, as the chemical runs through your vehicle the tech will occasionally rev the engine to increase flow of the chemical through your fuel rail and the entire fuel cycle of the car.  Finally you will see a large cloud of carbon exit your tailpipe, there is no need for alarm, this is very normal and this is how you the client will know that the service provided actually worked.  Once this is completed, BG 44K will be poured into your gas tank to continue breaking away at the build up from the fuel filter all the way through the engine as you drive.



Brake Repair

Posted on July 8th, 2016

Brake Repair

Why you should get your brakes checked and repaired?


How Do Brakes Work?

    • Your car has two types of brakes—rear and front ones. Front brakes use rotors (big metal disks) as a braking mechanism. Rear brakes may use rotors too, but many manufacturers install expanding drum brakes to lower the production cost.
    • When you press the brake pedal, it engages the brake fluid and pushes it under pressure through a series of tubes.
    • As the brake fluid reaches the front wheels, it activates a caliper that pushes brake pads against both sides of the rotor, creating friction and causing it to slow down its motion.
    • In the back wheels, the brake fluid goes to the wheel cylinder inside the drum and causes the brake shoes to move toward the rotating drum, which makes the brake drum slow down and stop.


What Brake Service Includes:

  • Brake pad and shoe replacement (between every 20,000 and 60,000 miles)
  • Brake rotor machine-polishing or replacement (done at the time of brake pad replacement)
  • Brake caliper or caliper pin replacement as necessary
  • Brake fluid flush (every 2 years/30K miles or per your vehicle’s manual)

What Causes Faster Brake Wear:

  • Driving on the roads with a lot of hills and sharp turns
  • Riding your brakes
  • Urban stop-and-go driving
  • Driving in heavy traffic with frequent braking
  • Using cheap/unreliable brake pads and other brake system components

Signs You Might Need Your Brakes Serviced:

  • Squeaking, screeching, grinding or other odd sound that appear when you apply brakes, release brakes or turn.
  • It takes you longer to stop than it used to (a good indicator is that you have to press the brake pedal further down).
  • A brake warning light comes on while you are driving.
  • You suspect a brake fluid leak.

For your brake repair needs, you can contact us at (858) 552-7860

Allow us to give you a free safety inspection click here for our specials. Let Certified Car Care be your first choice in brake repair!








Prius Battery Replacement.

Posted on June 29th, 2016

Prius Battery Replacement

Prius Battery Is your Prius battery completely dead and you just realized the dealership is too expensive?

Don’t worry we will exchange your Prius battery with a new one for $2,599.



Did you know that most Prius batteries should be replaced after about 7-9 years of use?  Having a certified technician doing this is extremely important, if you miss align the battery or connect it incorrectly you could have bigger issues at hand.  Certified Car Care has technicians that have been working on hybrids for the past 7 years.  Our shop has over 25 years combined experience in the automotive service industry. Let us help your choice for battery replacement be an easy one.  Our service allows you to keep the replacement of your battery within budget, unlike many of the dealerships in the area. Prius’s and hybrid vehicles are becoming more and more popular and the demand for them is high. The main reason Prius batteries need replacement is because hybrid batteries in hybrid vehicles (HEV’s) experience a loss of power, energy & capacity over time. Understanding when you should replace your battery or at least knowing when to expect potential failure allows for you… the owner to be better prepared for the inevitable, replacing your Prius battery. Some of the subtle hints that you need to replace your batter are:

Winding Noise – Air fan that cools the Prius battery

Battery constantly charging or running low on the display

When your Dashboard lights all turn on

When you start seeing some of these signs it might be time to give your local Prius shop a call, Certified Car Care is well versed in Prius care and has been working on these particular types of cars for the past 7 years.  Let Certified Car Care be your first choice for any Prius care!

Classic Car Maintenance

Posted on June 16th, 2016

1973 Nova 350 small block

1973 Nova 350 small block


Cost of Maintaining a Classic  Vs a Newer Car

First let’s understand one thing, most people that are in the position to own a classic usually understand the costs that they will undergo in order to maintain their dream car. 

Second, just because you own a Newer Car doesn’t mean that you won’t run into trouble down the road.

Let’s start with Classic Car Maintenance,  the majority that own a classic usually dream of putting it into a classic car show to show off their hard work or to let other people enjoy their hard work.  

For classics that are 1980 and older, you can expect to do more periodical maintenance, approximately every 3-5 months you will need a tune up, especially if you drive your classic frequently.  

Your fluids require exchanging more frequently, and in the case you live in a northern area of the country you will have to appropriately change your fluids to match the seasons. (heavy for the winter, lighter for the fall). 

Greasing joints is essential to ensure your bearings are maintained and don’t require replacing sooner than expected.  We are replacing some bearings for a 1932 classic, and it has been a year of waiting for custom cast bearings, and they have been refitted twice.  (don’t get upset with the mechanic shop if taking care of your car takes time, they don’t want to screw it up!!!)   

Bleed your breaks; this is more important in classics than in newer cars… why you ask? Well, simply because most classics still use Drum brakes, rather than Disc, even so the weight of a classic car requires more stopping power.  

Fuel Tanks rust, you have to drain them if you have them parked for extended periods of time. Cooling systems should be drained frequently as well, taking the Petcock off and airing it out. Disconnect heater hoses and drain the heater, please properly dispose of all hazardous waste material after draining your car (you can usually take this to most mechanic shops) or bring it to Certified Car Care and we can do this service for you!  

Batteries should be disconnected in a Classic car, most people don’t drive that frequently and this can reduce the life of your battery later causing issues with your alternator.

Newer Cars Maintenance is a little less tedious but still extremely important the one thing you must always do frequently is change your oil.  Some cars still suggest that you get this done once every 3-5 months or 3-5,000 miles.  That is the most frequent service your car must receive. Unlike  Classic Car Maintenance you will not need to have your car constantly tuned to maintain performance factors. Though every several thousand miles you need some services done, such as transmission fluid exchange, belt changes, battery replacements, spark plugs. But, on average the newer car owner will spend less time repairing than the Classic Car owner.  Preventative maintenance is the key in keeping a car in tiptop condition allowing it to take you further!

1973 Nova

1973 Nova

Transmission Fluid Service

Posted on January 15th, 2016


Transmission Fluid Service: enhance the life of your vehicle!

Transmission fluid should typically be changed every 30,000 to 60,000. It all boils down to simply having dirty transmission fluid. Manual or automatic, it is a MUST that your transmission needs to be clean! Dirty transmissions can cause a delayed response or even just the opposite. It can interfere with your vehicles power and pressure causing gears to slip! Hearing a grinding noise while driving it’s most likely your transmission begging for new fluid. Strange noises or grinding noises are due to your transmission’s fluid being overwhelmed with sludge, dirt and grease.

The process of a transmission fluid service is simple enough to do yourself, or just take it in to get service by professionals. Here at Certified Car Care, we examine the level of your transmission fluid and inspect the fluid. Does it look sludgy or discolored? If so, time for a change!

  1. Examine and remove the pan
  2. Replace the filter (you can clean the filter but replacing it would be best)
  3. CLEAN the pan
  4. Once the pan is clean, you will reinstall it with a brand new pan gasket
  5. Drain the oil fluid and replace it with new automatic transmission fluid



Changing the fluid will enhance the life of your vehicle, there are many reasons for this service.

The clean fluid serves your transmission and restores the flow of power between clutches.

This service reduces friction and provides unclogged lubrication that will reduce heat so that your transmission will work effortlessly.

Certified Car Care takes care of your transmission fluid exchanges starting at just $139.00.

Deicing Your Car

Posted on December 18th, 2015


TravelingTips for Deicing Your Car






-Door Locks

  • Lock Deicer using this product is better than using hand sanitizer, because it is made for your locks and won’t cause erosion with in thede-icer lock and the rubber seals. If you don’t have Lock Deicer than using hand sanitizer won’t hurt once, but it isn’t something that you should use every time.

-Start your car

  • Once you are in your car start it and let it run for about 5-10 minutes without revving the engine and trying to increase the RPMs, there is no difference between just letting your car idol and revving the engine.  Your car will warm up in the same amount of time.
  • Turn on your defrost setting once you start your car, and get our your ice scrapper and possible solutions to help reduce the time of getting the ice off and on the road.

-Ice scraper

  • If you park outside this is something you should probably have either in your glove box or perhaps depending on where you live on your key ring or in your purse.

-Spray bottle full of water with a few drops of dish soap and a little salt will lower the freezing temperature of the ice on your windshield, allowing for it to melt a little quicker.

-low tire pressure light

  •  Sometimes this comes on due to the temperature changing the pressure of the air inside your tire. Don’t panic unless you can really tell a difference in the tire, suggesting that you have something inside the tire like a screw or a nail or just tire wear that is causing leak.  If there is no obvious sign of pressure change, you should see the light turn off by about mid-day as the temperature increases.
  • If your tire pressure light remains on try adding the correct amount of air to all tires and then drive about one mile, this is the usual setting for most modern cars. If the light remains on still it is time to check the batteries in your tire pressure sensors to ensure they are still working properly.  Recommend checking with your local certified automotive repair shop to ensure that they are working properly and it isn’t something else causing the problem.

Tire chains… or Snow Tires?

  • Tire chains are the more economical way to go especially if you are just trenching through snow once or twice.  However, investing in a good set of snow tires if you are headed into an area of the country that expects increased amounts of snow would be beneficial.

Traveling for the Holidays?

Posted on December 9th, 2015

Traveling for the Holidays?


Holiday Travel

How do you get ready for long periods of travel with a car or truck?

  •   If you are traveling for the holidays, a safety inspection is highly recommended; Doing an inspection yourself regularly, but having a trusted mechanic that is able to take a quick look at your belts, fluids, spark plugs, tires, brakes and brake pads, shocks, A/C, gaskets, and tell you what is or isn’t needed for your trip is reassuring.
  •   Clean out any unnecessary items in your car: seems silly, however if you have a bunch of items in your car and you get into a wreck that is an object that might end up causing injury to you or a family member.

Prepare for the drive:

  1.   Pack extra water at least a gallon
  2.   Pack a blanket (especially if driving through snow or colder weather)
  3.   First aid kit
  4.   Tool box with wrenches, screw driver, hammer, box knife jumper cables
  5.   Know how to use your jack and tire iron


  • Check the weather before you head out, weather can be a force to be reckoned with. Sometimes you are planning for clear skies and nice temperatures, but depending on the distance you will be driving there is a chance for weather to catch you off guard.
  • Know the radio stations that play local news, getting weather and traffic updates can keep you ahead of the game.
  • Contact family or friends that are at your departure location, and at the location you will be arriving at.  Letting people know where you are, and roughly what time you expect to get in to your destination helps keep you safe.
  • If you are traveling with pets plan for stops and bring a few items that might comfort them, remember that if they are not in a kennel that they too should be buckled in.
  • Traveling with children, remember to bring items for them to pass the time.  But ultimately expect to make stops for potty breaks, diaper changes, feedings and just letting them get out of their car seats and stretch.   One of the continued concerns for young children is letting them sleep in their car seats for extended periods of time.
  • Check to ensure that your child is breathing regularly in their car seat if they happen to fall asleep.
  • Keep them cool while they sleep, infants and toddlers can’t always inform you that they are too warm, but they will let you know if they are too cold.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle; it only takes a few minutes for heatstroke and death to occur in a hot car.
  • Pull in and stay at a hotel if your child and you are too tired to continue on with the drive, rest can help keep you alert and allow for you to double check your vehicle after extended periods of driving.