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By: Ed F.
Certified Transmission - Topeka
It was solid overcast and a little chilly for July as we pulled out of Emporia, KS on a Saturday morning. We being "The Band", had performed the night before at a fundraiser and had another event 8 hours away that night. Leaving Emporia early, and, remarkably, on time at 0700, were feeling good about the day when it happened. An hour and half into the drive, just having taken the on ramp to change our course, it happened. That helpless feeling when you depress the gas pedal and nothing happens. That frustrated feeling when the questions start coming from all quarters; "Did you push a button, or, something?", "Could it be a fuse?", "Is it hot?", none of which I had an immediate answer for. All I knew was the transmission was toast somewhere in Topeka, KS and time was running out to make the next gig. My phone shows a name I recognize not to far away so I call. Jeff answers; "Certified Transmission, this is Jeff how can I help you?" He quickly digested my tale of woe, told me to stand by for a call back. It was Saturday, so the shop was closed, but what I didn't know then were two things; Jeff was not in Topeka, he was, in fact, in Kansas City. The second thing was storms the night before had knocked out phone and internet service to the Topeka Certified Transmission store, so Jeff had all store calls and emails routed to his personal phone. And to be clear, this is Jeffs day off! From Kansas City, Jeff calls me back in minutes. The tow was on the way. Right then a beep alerted me to a text from the tow driver, 10 minutes away, while Jeff explained the details of a rental car waiting already. A nice KIA, which turned out to be a blessing, because we couldn't find a truck rental until the next morning. We missed the gig, got the rental truck and drove home Sunday. The focus of the conversation was to accuratley calculate the weekends losses. On Monday Jeff gives me the news and I braced myself, as we all do, as "The Number" was about to drop. In the scheme of things, it was surprisingly not what I expected at all, and done in a day! In fact, I was happy and not afraid at all to tell my wife how much it was not going to cost us! She was happy! And if all of that was not enough for a fantastic customer experience, Jeff even drove my truck to Kansas City where a friend, passing through town, was able to drive it back to me, saving me 6 hours of driving time! I wonder if Jeff arranged that too? Certified Transmission did a first rate job for me, but Jeff was the star of the show for me.I am forever grateful for his effort and do not hesitate to tell he is the only transmission guy in Topeka you would ever need to call!
By: theziggen
Whitey's Auto Repair
This summer, my fiancée and I took a road trip out West and our return route led us through Topeka, Kansas, where we unfortunately broke down. Even worse, we broke down on a Friday, late in the afternoon. Every place we called was unable to even look at our car until Monday. When we found Whitey's, and found that they were open Saturday, we had AAA take our car there. The mechanic quickly discovered a giant hole in the transmission, which I saw with my own eyes, and determined that it needed to be either replaced or rebuilt. Though we weren't getting the part until Monday, the mechanic worked through his day off to ensure that the car was ready when we did. Knowing we were stranded, they could have taken advantage, but they did the opposite. They significantly reduced their labor cost and made every effort to find the cheapest parts. They even gave us rides to and from our hotel. If we had ended up somewhere else we could have been in serious trouble. I am relieved we found an honest, LOCAL place like Whitey's. Highly recommended.
By: joe.hawkinson.58
Nicolay Service
An honest Mechanic?? Who ever heard of that???Matt Nicolay is exactly that. You can spend as much as $800 to get a timing belt and water pump done on a Honda, about the same to have an intake manifold gasket done on your mid 90's Buick; or the front axles and tie-rod ends done on your SUV.Matt does almost any major repair well, and at about HALF of what most shops in Topeka charge.If your car groans when it turns left and you take it to Nicolay, he'll tell you what's wrong, give you the price, and tell you how long you have till it needs to be done.No thirst for blood or money here, just the rare honest man who works on cars.You do need to know that to get in to see him it usually takes a call about a week ahead of time to get in (understandably) but it's ALWAYS worth taking it to Matt, especially on anything major.
By: joe.hawkinson.58
kern auto repair
It's almost impossible to find a good mechanic at a reasonable cost. Sometimes it seems as though they all have a little club where they get together trying to see how they can steal as much of our money as they can..Chris Kern on the other hand is the real deal. I take all of my vehicles to him (quite a few over the years) no matter the make and model, and am happy with the work and the price EVERY time!He'll also tell you the estimated cost before any work is done, I've never been disappointed. You can keep looking for a few more years and dollars, but if you want to skip all of the hassle and heartburn then take it to Kern; honesty seems to be his only policy.
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By: Mariah R.
Oz Truck & Auto
I had this establishment reccomended to me by a few of my friends and due to the location I was a bit hesitant to trust leaving my vehicle, but I have never had any issues with the services provided. There is a customer friendly environment with honest mechanics that have fixed all my mechanical problems without hesitation. They took serious car concerns and put them in laments terms for me to comprehend. After being mistreated by the automechanic servises provided at Lube Stop off Wannamaker the mechanic assured me that they were trying to scam me into replacing both my front shocks and it was not nessicary. I always request Vance.
By: Jay C.
5th Gear Motorsports
I have been working with 5th Gear for a long time. Enrique is always upfront and clear about what is needed to fix my car and he is patient enough to fully explain so that I understand why and how I have to fif whatever it is. He also works to try to find as many savings on parts as possible which is really helpful. One of the cheapest labor rates in town so far as I can find. Sometimes it can take a while to get a repair done but that is something that comes with pricing out parts for the best deal etc. Never had to take anything back so far! Overall, very trustworthy mechanic. A+ from me!
By: Stacy P.
Lone Ranger, Mobile Mechanic. Tony
My alternator died on me @ the toll booth east of Topeka Ks. @ 8pm It was 19F outside told him I had my dad with me and that he has stage 3 cancer and could not be in the cold for long. Tony showed up within 5 to 10 min of me getting off the phone. Then offered to let my dad sit in his car wile I finished taking off the Alternator. He gave us a ride to the auto parts, got the part on his account. " which saved me $ 40" He only charged $ 45 to come out. Really nice and polite guy. Now I'm home with pop for the Holidays. :)
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By: kbishappy
Sears Auto Center
Every time I make an appointment, I have to wait about an hour to even get in (after my appointment time). There is usually someone new every time I go in. I was sold a road hazard for my tires and told it was lifetime, then something happened four months later and I am told it is a 90 day road hazard. They have lost my lug nut caps and they are going to cost about $80.00 to replace. I am done with this place. I have given them many chances and yet they still continue to disappoint.
By: Jennifer R.
Danny's Car Care Center
We take all of our cars to Danny and only have great things to say about him and his whole crew! Great customer service, timely response, and accurate diagnosis of problems. I don't know if his prices are cheap or not because I haven't looked elsewhere. We highly recommend using them for all your mechanical needs! However, if you have a specialty type car, such as a Volkswagon, maybe you should take it to your dealership where they specialize in those rides. ;-)
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By: Mike M.
Danny's Car Care Center
While my 2 daughters were in school, I was maintaining a 'fleet' of 4 vehicles and Danny's was always my "go to" service and repair facility. Today, it is reassuring to me that my wife can go to them when she notices a problem when I'm traveling and get a straight, honest answer. I can cite numerous examples but the true test has been after I've referred friends to check them out, they ALWAYS thank me after their first experience.
Tips & Advices
Among the common scams pulled are needless repairs, where a garage charges you for work that isn't necessary. Another popular one is attracting customers through a cheap oil change or tire pressure check. Then, when you your car is being repaired, they give you a long list of other corrections they'd like to make, therefore boosting the total cost of your bill. The best way to combat these types of problems is getting a written estimate before work is done so you can see how much repairs are expected to cost. If the final bill is higher than the estimate projected, ask to specifically see the work. Make sure information is put in writing as well. If a problem remains, you can have proof that work was not done to your satisfaction.
For winter driving, features such as the defroster, heater and exhaust system are paramount. Look in your owner's manual for specific directions on how features should be checked and repaired. Many newer cars have a cabin air filter that can be replaced when needed, allowing warm air to continue to flow in. Also, check tires before winter driving, as they need to be at the proper pressure to perform well on snow and ice.
In the spring and summer, you want to be sure your air conditioner and cooling systems work correctly. Given the high temperatures, overheating is a common problem. Look over the system by ensuring there is enough coolant available. If it needs to be refilled, it is best to open the hood and add more to the car before it gets too warm out. Also, clean out fan ducts and other ventilation sources necessary for summertime driving.
Some fixes to your car can be done without paying a specialist. Issues like replacing oil and air filters are relatively simple, with instructions provided in the owner's manual on how to make these changes. The same goes for replacing broken windshield wipers or burnt-out headlights. Such issues should be repaired quickly to guarantee safety, but don't require a visit to a garage.
Yes. Not every type of auto repair work needs to be done by a certified mechanic. You can fix some of a vehicle's issues just by paying attention to how the automobile is running and having a basic understanding of auto repair. Look over the ways weather may impact your car and what preventative measures you can take to avoid having to take it into the shop.

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