What To Do With That Balky Car?

Good luck finding a good mechanic

Finding a good, honest, trustworthy, and most of all knowledgeable auto mechanic has long been a problem for both Gringos and the locals too.

The problem is the days of the shade tree mechanic are now numbered, due to the complexity and computers built into the modern car.

There are some systems on some cars that make regular maintenance or repairs impossible without expensive computer hardware and specialized software to reprogram modules, calibrate systems or put a device in service mode. Many Mexican mechanics don’t have the money to buy these systems, nor the education to run them.

Shade tree mechanic not only has no respect for his life, he doesn’t even have a shade tree. And even Santiago has better sense than to be under there

For instance, if the battery in your car needs replacing, you used to pop the hood, get out a 10 mm wrench and loosen the positive and negative terminals, loosen the battery tie down, and yank the offending battery out. Nowadays, even this simple upkeep could mean a trip to your local dealer on a flatbed truck because if you disconnect the battery on some vehicles, the radio may no longer work and you may need to have the radio reset code before performing this simple task – check your owner’s manual for a code or mention of this. Of course you will most likely lose any computer system memory functions, preset radio stations, memory seat locations, and more when you swap that battery.

And what about taking your car to the dealer? Good luck with that. When our Ford lock was boogered up in a clumsy attempt at stealing it the car, the Ford dealer told us if we brought a new keypad from the U.S., they would install it. Two months later, when our new lock finally arrived, they looked at it like it was a snake and said, “What do you expect us to do with that?” And this is after we complied with their request to book an appointment. No drop ins/leave for a week, they claim they don’t have room to park a car.

So we all try to find a good mechanic by word of mouth. Here are a few we’ve gathered.

Sali's Auto Electrico is the answer to many peoples’ electric problems. Located on Revolución de 1910 Street, Sali's Auto Electric can be found on the street behind the Oxxo/Pemex by City Club that runs parallel with the main Lazaro Cardenas Boulevard, located next door to Las Olas Hotel. Top electrical wizard, Humberto Cruz, has been living in Cabo San Lucas nearly his entire life and originally hails from Sonora, said his boss the owner, Efren Sanchez, who speaks a little English. Humberto and Efren's # at their shop is (624) 143-3861.

Directly across the street is one of the busiest automotive electrical shops. The place is so crowded and known for good work, that even government vehicles are brought in for repair. The land line phone is (624) 688-1712 and their cell phone # is (624) 178-2400.

fuel injection dilemma is one that can be handled by Fuel Injection Gonzalez, whose repair shop is on Mariano Matamoros Street, near the Delgacion sports complex. And while no one at the shop speaks fluent English, owner Jorge Gonzalez, is very friendly and attentive to a car owner's fuel injection plight. You should only be as good at pantomime. The five person staff specializes in fuel injection and their number is (624) 355-6611. Jorge Gonzalez has been living in Los Cabos for more than 30-years, and he hasn’t been run out of town yet.

When it comes to fixing radiators, by consensus German Hernandez is the man to see. His radiator repair shop is in the Colonia del Sol neighborhood, which is on the left side from the main road of Leona Vicario that leads up to the Cabo San Lucas airport, not the San Jose airport. German can be reached at (624) 136-7377.No, he doesn’t speak German, does that make up for the fact he doesn't speak English?

Another highly recommended mechanic isGomez, who specializes in brakes and clutch repair, and is known as ''El Chaparro,'' (The short one, which he kind of is)be contacted at (624) 158-0367. His garage is also in the Colonia del Sol neighborhood,block away from Clinica del Sol, a popular dental clinic on Via Lactera Street.

of the most basic automotive maintenance updates is the very common oil change. Also located in the Colonia del Sol, run by "Alex Aceite'',(Oil Alex), Alejandro Cruz, whose specialty is the very affordable oil change, which costs about 20 US dollars, extra if you don’t want him tossing the old oil onto the dirt under your car.  Alex can be reached at his Auto Servicios y Lubricantes El Arco location on the corner of Via Lacteral and Nebulosa Streets or by calling (624) 129-6592.

Yes, there is an alternative to tossing used oil willy nilly. Bravo Energy Mexico sends used oil to Queretaro, on the Mexican mainland. Using their own specialized tanker trucks, they haul it to a

modern day waste-to-energy plant. Maybe they are legit, they have an impressive website and have plants in Argentina, Chile and America. Alex Aceite tells us he pours used motor oil into a 20 gallon drum, which is picked up by Bravo Energy when he calls them.

Romero has been a resident of Los Cabos for seven years and originally hails from Argentina. The bilingual and friendly Nick Romero is a European car repair specialist who works on BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, Land rover, and Range Rover. Armando is ECS certified (European Care Service Experts) and only works by appointment which includes pick up and delivery. His expertise includes brakes, clutch, diagnostics, A/C, power steering, power windows, and everything electrical. For an appointment or quote, dial Nick at (624) 355-2669. Available 24 hours in case of emergency. And isn’t it always an emergency?

Owners give rave reviews to bilingual Armando at his ''Servicio Automotriz El Dorado'' shop on Leana Vicario in the uphill section of the one and only road that leads to the CSL Airport, in front of and across the street from the brand-spanking new Auto Zone. His cell phone # (624) 135-3937.

Los Cabos repair shop owner Salvador De La Paz speaks very limited English, but his A/C expertise is highly recommended by foreigners we talk to. La Paz handles all types of vehicles from the regular American or foreign ride to an SUV. Salvador has been living in Los Cabos for seven years and hails originally from his namesake, La Paz. He’s at 2642 Avenida Flor de Pitahaya, 2642, Jacarandas, Cabo San Lucas, near the new left turn signal off highway 19 towards Todos Santos at the Pemex Oxxo, a half mile past Soriana. (624) 172-5550.

The website cabogringopages.com26 recommended auto mechanics, but these listings are paid advertising, so what good is that? Be careful.

And how smart is choosing a mechanic by his language skills? We know a guy, Julio, who had such good English he had a backlog of Gringo cars. It went to his head and he started cutting corners, including painting an old expired battery shiny black and selling it as new. Many times, he would do this, until the word got out. So let’s all put out the word on good mechanics. And the bad. And the downright ugly. Painting batteries counts as ugly.