Some of the least common services and repairs cost the most to equip for
Tooling up to be able to offer all of the same services as a dealership is expensive. Most auto repair shops are content to provide around 90% of the services and refer the car back to the dealership when it needs its computer reprogramed or their customer needs a new key made.
We’re not most shops. Once the Right to Repair Act became law, we purchased the same specialized tools the dealerships had access to for years. We added scanners, pullers, test harnesses, and other tools that had very specialized function. They are usually high cost and have limited uses, but they’re absolutely necessary for some automotive repairs. We maintain factory scan tools and information services for every make of car we repair, and it’s not cheap.
Nissan cars aren’t popular in Berkeley anymore
Before the turn of the century, Datsun/Nissan was a huge part of our auto repair business. Berkeley was full of 510s, Sentras, Maximas, and Pulsars, but times have changed. These days, Nissan accounts for only 5% of what rolls into our auto shop. Berkeley fell out of love with the Nissan, and like a frog in a pot of slowly warming water, we didn’t notice, until one day we realized we were spending a lot of money to maintain tools that we rarely used.
While it hurts our pride, we’ve dropped our CONSULT III+ subscription and our Nissan Techinfo subscription, and we can no longer do any repair a dealership can do as well or better, at least on Nissan products. For some things, you’ll need to go to a dealership or another independent shop with the right equipment.
We still provide full dealer level car repair and service for other makes
We are still maintaining all of our services and equipment for Toyota, Subaru, Honda, and Mazda. Currently we can handle any needed service or repair with the exception of ADAS calibration, but we’ll likely be adding that in the near future. Making new keys, reprogramming control units, calibrating transmissions, active testing, adjusting new odometers, forcing monitors to run, and much more are still auto repair services we provide, as long as you don’t have a Nissan.
What does this mean if you own a Nissan?
If you have a Nissan, don’t worry too much. We purchased an Autel scanner that is “equivalent” to the CONSULT III+. It can do 90% of the 10% of the things that can’t be done without a factory scan tool. You and your Nissan are still welcome here and can make an appointment any time. However, some services such as the Battery Condition Report on the Nissan LEAF are no longer within our capabilities.
I don’t know of any independent shops locally that have a CONSULT III+, but there probably are some. I’ll keep you posted. Or, if you know of one, contact me and let me know. Meantime, we will be able to handle almost all services with our Autel Maxisys. However, reprogramming and LEAF battery reports are some glaring gaps in our capablities.
If you do end up needing a dealer in the East Bay Area, there are a few. There are no Nissan dealerships in Berkeley, Oakland, Albany or Emeryville. The closest dealership is Hanlees Hilltop Nissan in Richmond. We use their parts department and they’re very good currently. However, I don’t have any experience with sales or service though.