Trustworthy mechanics in San Francisco?

January 16th, 2003

Skip this entry unless you live near San Francisco.

I was tired of being ripped off so I asked my friends whether they could recommend a mechanic they’re satisfied with. Several friends said they were very happy with their mechanics. I find this hard to imagine, but they actually said they trusted their mechanics too.

I summarized the recommendations below for everyone else who has to deal with a car in this town.

(I promise I’m not getting any kickbacks for this!)

Cesar: Bug and Hare Repair:

“…decent, but they do mostly VW’s (new and old).”

Cooper: Manolo Auto, 2831 Cesar Chavez just West of 101, (415) 695-0755

“he runs the 76 station on army at the 101 freeway. someone turned him on to me and he has always been fair if not the cheapest. he’s also really good and usually does the work the same day.
he did my clutch and transmission for $300.
full severice tunup was $140
new front shocks was $250
water pump was $140
…all was parts and labor
he’s the only guy i go to.”

Gal, Sarah and Jessica all recommend Carlos, 1970 Mcallister St. near Lyon, (415) 567-8420

Gal: “I love my mechanic, and he was referred by Dana in our crew. And he’s very honest. His name is Carlos, and he has a shop called Car-Los Automotive on McAllister Street around Lyon. Not sure of the number, but I know he’s listed in 411. Tell him I sent you.” [UPDATE 7/10/06 – I just took my car in to Carlos and asked for a new starter, an oil change and a tuneup, and not only did he squeeze me in to an already very busy morning with just a few minutes notice on my first visit, but he called me back to say I don’t need a tuneup after all. Now that’s honest. And it’s ready the same day. Thumbs up. -Sean]


“Henry Chin in Berkeley. He’s worth the trip.”


“I’ve been very satisfied with my (former) mechanic. The place is called ‘The Garage’; it’s on Juniper south of market. The whole team is freaks, which makes me feel at home.”

[Note: Miles moved to Southern California; that’s why he has a new mechanic.]

11 Responses to “Trustworthy mechanics in San Francisco?”

  1. comment number 1 by: jessica

    i don’t live in [or near] san francisco, but i wish i did. does that count? *flutters eyelashes* hahahaha. sf is a beautiful beautiful town.

  2. comment number 2 by: Beth Bower

    I can’t believe it! What are the odds that one of your friends would recommend the very same mechanic that I heard about from the third person I asked for advice? Carlos! It must be God’s will! Or at least I’ll go ahead and give him a try.

  3. comment number 3 by: Madeline

    I was searching the web to find Carlos’s phone number (I was too lazy to get the phone book) to give to a friend and found this recommendation. I have been going to Carlos for about 15 years. I went to the shop before he owned it, when he was chief mechanic for the other owner. He is the best, extremely honest, and will tell you when to get something fixed and when it can wait. I have sent many people to him and all are very happy with the service.

  4. comment number 4 by: Anonymous

    Has any one here heard of Handa Auto on geary. I’ve been giving him a lot of business but am worried I am getting ripped off. His prices are reasonable, as claimed by another student, but I wonder? Are the estimates he is giving me based on actual problems with my car?

  5. comment number 5 by: Mike

    Hi, I know this thread is about mechanics, but I need some minor body work done(fix a rust spot due to windshield molding not installed correctly). I am also new to SF….Anyone can recommend a trustworthy Body shop with decent prices? Please email me if you can recommend 🙂


  6. comment number 6 by: David Madison

    Carlos rules.

    He is totally honest. He’s been my mechanic for many years now. I went to him once because my transmission wasn’t working and I told him I needed it rebuilt (a big, expensive job) and he sent me on my way with a $40 repair and a working transmission.

    Go to Carlos, he’ll make your car work.

    Dave of MarginalHacks

  7. comment number 7 by: Andrea

    The Garage on Juniper (off Folsom) is GREAT! I’ve taken 3 different cars there and have been very satisfied every time. They are quick, affordable, and honest! Go there and see Danny- he’s awesome!

  8. comment number 8 by: Todd

    I totally agree about The Garage. I took my car in there after the dealer told me I needed all this work and Danny looked at my car and told me honestly what really needed to be fixed and showed me a few things that didn’t need to be fixed! Very honest mechanic!

  9. comment number 9 by: Jules

    Ok, here’s my story… I received a letter from Volkswagen reminding me that I need to get the 40k service for my 2000 GTI VR6. I called to get a quote from the dealer and they said that the 40k service that includes tire rotation, plug change, filter and fluid change will cost, get this, $670.00 dollars! So I called around and that seemed to be the norm for all VW dealers in the area. Then, I found this website with recommendations for local SF mechanics. Carlos was the one that sounded the most highly recommended so I called him and he quoted me $100 for the same services!! I have an appointment in 2 days and will repost the results when I get the car back. Wish me luck…

  10. comment number 10 by: Laurie

    I also need some body work done – door w/ dent and needs some molding. Doesn’t have to look perfect, I did it myself so don’t want to use insurance. thus needs to be reasonably priced – any suggestions?


  11. comment number 11 by: josie

    To fix your dent, try Unique Auto Body. They’ve helped me out alot. Number is 415-861-2828.