Welcome to Haik's German Autohaus
Serving Santa Barbara Since 1979
German Cars Only
Unlike many independent foreign or European car repair shops, at Haik’s we service and repair only German cars. Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Mini and Volkswagen make up our complete car line.
By specializing, we offer more experience and knowledge of your car. This familiarity translates into greater efficiency, more accurate diagnosis, quicker turn-around and money-savings for you. We perform all repairs, including the most sophisticated electronic repairs and coding.
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Advanced Mechanical and Electronic Skills
Today’s cars are very complex and demand high-level skills. Mechanical systems have become so sophisticated and homogeneous with electronics and computer controls that an auto mechanic must be a master of electronics as well as a master of mechanics.
Nearly every mechanical system in the modern car is controlled by its own control unit (computer). When there is a failure, it is often one of an electronic nature. The auto technician must find the source of the problem and correct it. Even with the onboard diagnostics and OBDII, the diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) do not always give enough direction to solve the problem. The mechanic must often test and troubleshoot an entire system to find the answer.
For your convenience, we provide basic or enhanced smog-testing.
Oil Change or Car Service?
As most automobile drivers have heard, an oil change is the simplest way to preserve their car. It is true that changing the engine oil on a routine basis is very important to the life of the engine and that neglecting it can lead to serious and expensive problems. There is a misconception with many people, however, that an oil change is all a car requires to stay healthy. This is far from the truth.
A car is a very complex piece of machinery. It is composed of many systems. An oil change is just that, an oil change. It does not address the entire vehicle. It does not address the many things which wear out and can go wrong with your car. Tires, brakes, fuel system, transmission, steering, and warning lights are just some of the sytems which need to be checked from time to time. If a car has been serviced properly, sometimes an oil change is all it needs. But it is important to know the difference between an oil change and a proper service.
A car service includes an oil change, but covers so much more. Depending on the service interval, a list of inspection items and service operations are performed. At bare minimum, a car service should always include a safety check of tires, brakes, exterior lights, fluid levels, belts, steering and any damage or wear which may cause the vehicle to fail.
A more extensive car service is performed at greater service intervals according to mileage and time. These services such as brake fluid flush, air filter and spark plug change, transmission fluid and filter change, and power steering flush are meant to preserve the longevity of the various components of the entire vehicle. Discuss your car servicing with your mechanic to determine the level of service your car requires.
We sell all brands of tires at low prices.
Speciality Tools for Every Job
Today's sophisticated cars require sophisticated tools. The high cost of tools makes it impossible for a general auto repair shop to buy every tool needed for every job. Specializing in only the six German car lines however, allows us to purchase all the specialty tools required to repair your car properly. Electronic scan tools and software are the most expensive of tools. For our electronic work we have chosen the best scan tool on the market. We use the “Autologic” diagnostic computer.
Latest Technical Information
Online Information Service
No matter how skilled an auto mechanic is and how many tools he has at his disposal, it is impossible to work on a modern car without the proper information. Even a simple oil change requires information of specific oil required, viscosity and capacity. I find myself looking up oil specifications every time I do an oil change. Current information is essential, whether the job requires a specific type of testing or an overview of the system, we must look it up. For this purpose we use an online service called AllData. AllData purchases auto manufacturer information and resells it to the independent auto repair shops. They provide technical information, specifications, wiring diagrams, testing procedures, estimating times, service intervals, for every type of auto repair we perform. This expensive service is essential. We would be lost without accurate information. The day of the auto repair manual is gone. The vast volume of information on one car can no longer be effectively contained in a paper repair manual.
The Value of Accurate Information
In diagnosing an ABS failure on a BMW 325i, the trouble code read that the right rear wheel speed sensor (at the right rear wheel) was giving an improbable signal. If we would simply go by the trouble code and replace the sensor, we would be disappointed. Using the technical information provided by an electrical wiring diagram, we see that the two wires at the wheel sensor both lead to the ABS control unit (computer). With other technical information provided on testing the wheel speed sensor, we determine whether the sensor is working or not. In this case, the sensor is working properly despite the code. It is the ABS control unit (in the engine compartment) which is faulty and needs to be replaced.
Up-to-date information is essential. Information undergoes changes and updates for various reasons. When the Audi and Volkswagen 1.8T turbo engine came out in 1998, the oil recommended was a regular oil with a 5W30 viscosity. The engines ran into severe problems when the turbos cooked the engine oil and the particles clogged the oil pick-up tube to the oil pump, starving the engine of proper lubrication. Today that information has been revised. Volkswagen and Audi recommend that the 1.8T use synthetic oil with a 5W40 viscosity. Around 1995 to 1996 when most German car manufacturers came out with electronically controlled transmissions, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, all called their new synthetic transmission fluid a “lifetime” fluid which never needed changing. Due to the amount of premature transmission failures, they have all revised their claims and now recommend transmission fluid changes as frequent as every 40K miles. This updated information is vital.
Repairs & Services We Perform
This is a partial list of repairs and services we provide. For a more complete list see our Repairs page or our Services page.
- Air Bags
- Air Conditioning
- Belt replacement
- Car Check Inspection
- Catalytic Converters
- Check Engine Light
- Engine repair and service
- Fluid changes
- Fuel Injection
- Fuel Pump
- Inspection Service
- Light Bulb replacement
- Oil Change
- Oxygen Sensor
- Seat Belts
- Shock Absorbers
- Spark Plugs
- Timing Belt
Check Engine Light
The check engine light is the warning light for the OBDII (onboard diagnostic) system which monitors pollution causing malfunctions. The monitoring covers the engine, exhaust and evaporative system. Since the proper running of the engine directly relates to low smog emissions, the OBDII system has been designed to help diagnose engine running problems such as misfires and improper running caused by fuel, ignition and even mechanical malfunctions. When an “event” occurs, monitors pick up the reading from sensors and signal the OBDII computer to record a diagnostic trouble code (DTC). If the condition is severe enough, it will illuminate the check engine light. There are certain pollution-causing events which are not engine-related that will set the check engine light as well. The evaporative emission system or “evap” is responsible for preventing gasoline vapors from escaping the gas tank and entering the atmosphere. The sealed system opens during certain driving conditions to allow the vapors to be burned through the engine.
There are literally hundreds of diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) related to smog-system malfunctions. However, not all DTCs are smog-related. Scroll to Check Engline Light on our Repairs page.
Car Check Inspection
Our car check is a bumper-to-bumper inspection of the entire automobile. This means every system in the car is inspected, not just the engine, brakes and tires. Our inspection includes electrical, mechanical and hydraulic systems. This inspection can be for the purpose of buying, selling or just maintaining your vehicle. It is the same inspection we provide in our mid-level and major service when serving an automobile. It takes approximately two hours.
*For a complete list, see Car Check Inspection (Pre-Purchaase Check) on our Services page.
Most car manufacturers will not reimburse independents for warranty work performed. However, any work for which the customer must pay (even during the warranty period) can be performed at Haik's German Autohaus without jeopardizing the car’s warranty.
Factory Recalls & Service Bulletins
We are familiar with all the factory recalls and service bulletins for the cars we repair and service. If a job comes to us which is covered under factory warranty, we will refer you to the local dealership of your particular vehicle for the free service, rather than charge you for the repair.
In as much as any auto repair shop can be responsible toward the environment and the community, Haik’s German Autohaus does its share. We believe in our planet and a clean, sustainable world.
We recycle as much as possible. Instead of filling the trash bin, we sort our discards carefully. We recycle metal auto parts and metal products to a recycling company which takes them to be melted and reused to make other products. Our plastic, glass and paper waste is recycled to our local trash company to be recycled and used for new products. Waste oil, coolant and other automotive fluids are picked up and sent to a hazardous waste recycling company to be cleaned and/or reused as fuel for shipping. Our batteries are sent to battery recyclers who use components of the worn out batteries to make new ones.
Degreasers and Cleaners
We do not want to add more poisons to our world which is in need of clean maintenance. We choose cleaners which are eco-friendly, even though the cost is considerably more. From floor cleaners to engine degreasers, we avoid dangerous and harsh chemicals which pollute our air and ground.
We are sensitive to the issue of clean water and do not pour pollutants down the drain or flush them into the sewer system. We also do not allow contaminated water to flow out to the street where it ends up in our streams and in the ocean. If there is a spill, we clean it and dispose of the waste with the proper methods.
Because of the drought and Santa Barbara’s severe water shortage we have taken steps to use as little water as possible.
Because of our attempts at preserving our environment, Haik’s German Autohaus was awarded a Clean Water Award from the city of Santa Barbara.