Fountain Valley Body Works won first place for Best Auto Repair Shop in Orange County's 19th Annual Best Of 2012 contest.
Fountain Valley Bodyworks on Newhope Sreet has been under the same ownership of Dave March for 40 years.
Family-owned for almost 40 years, Fountain Valley Body Works prides itself on being one of the best auto-body shops in Orange County because of the staff's attention to detail and customer service. It boasts a customer-service index of 97.4, with more than 80 percent of customers coming from referrals.
"We take pride in every repair," March said.
Fountain Valley Body Works repairs about 700 cars each month. With over 60,000 colors to choose from, the repair center personnel can match just about any color, according to March.
Before being returned to its owner, each car is washed and vacuumed. Three quality-service employees inspect cars by checking underneath and examining painted panels in a bright room. Employees call each customer for feedback and follow-up. Every repair is backed by a full lifetime guarantee even if the vehicle changes ownership.
The Newhope location covers more than 50,000 square feet and the Euclid express center spans more than 25,000 square feet. That size brings more equipment, according to the company, so customers are never waiting for tools to arrive from elsewhere.
The facility can work on cars of all makes and models, small and large repairs. "Safety and quality are our main concerns at Fountain Valley Body Works," March said. "New cars have become so technologically advanced that an average body shop is just not capable, nor properly equipped, to repair them. Cars are like driving full-size computers nowadays. I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to stay on the leading edge to be able to properly repair these driving computers. The majority of body shops aren't able to undertake this financial responsibility."
"We have a huge, yellow 15-feet smiley face that hangs on the front and back of the building, and it symbolizes happiness. We pride ourselves on being a friendly, down-to-earth facility that everyone seems to love," March said.
2nd Place Winner
The second place winner is A-Z Tech Automotive located in Mission Viejo and is known for its outstanding customer service, according to owner Nancy Long. A-Z offers service for virtually every model, including Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar, Maybach, Mini, Porsche and Rolls Royce. Customers receive a special appreciation gift in their car after a repair or service has been completed. A-Z Tech Automotive's monthly newsletter includes fun trivia, news articles, car-care tips, contests and coupons. The facility also has a bimonthly email newsletter.
Owners Doug and Nancy Long started A-Z Tech Automotive in 1989 in a small rented space in Mission Viejo with a box of tools and a floor jack. Doug had been repairing cars since 1974. The facility has grown to a 10,000-square-foot shop with 20 employees.
"We started our business with the same ideals that we have today, 'Honest repairs at a fair price.' I believe that there are a couple of very important things that make A-Z Tech one of the best auto-repair shops in Orange County," said Nancy Long.
"One is our employees. No other shop has our employees. We only hire the very best – those who share our ideals of honesty, integrity and commitment. Second is our customers. We are fortunate to have customers who have been coming to us for over two decades. We treat our customers with respect, honesty and appreciation." Supported with a full-service mechanical shop as well as a paint and body shop, technicians at the repair center can work on everything from A to Z. The shop offers free pick-up and delivery to homes and provides a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty on parts on labor on mechanical repairs, according to Long. Paint and bodywork come with lifetime warranties. The shop uses Mitchell Repair Technology, which allows accurate estimates using a comprehensive parts and labor database. Full service means even comprehensive engine and transmission overhaul or replacement can be performed. The Car Care Rewards Club offers discounts on a wide variety of services.
A-Z Tech Automotive recently added a shaded outdoor waiting area complete with electrical outlets and Internet access.
3rd Place Winner
The third place winner for Best Auto Repair Shop is Star Motors located in San Juan Capistrano. The shop specializes in luxury and European "motorcars," with ASE-master certified technicians who have more than 50 years of combined factory-trained experience.
Founded in 1985, Star Motors began as a Mercedes-Benz repair shop in Laguna Niguel, and then expanded to working on BMW, Jaguar, Lexus, Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi and all other luxury vehicles.
"We can honestly say we have specialists for practically every make and model. Our technicians and service advisers are experts in European car diagnostics and are very good at figuring out complex problems," said Emma Silvera, co-owner of Star Motors.
Services include engine and transmission repairs, brakes, tires, alignments, computer/electrical troubleshooting, plus work on convertible tops, upholstery work, and auto detailing.
The facility's new art gallery in its waiting room features works from local artists and occasionally brings people together for an evening of networking, wine tasting, appetizers and fun. A portion of the proceeds from artwork sold in the "Star gallery" benefits local charities.
"We offer our clients fresh gourmet coffee and other refreshments in a clean, comfortable waiting area," Silvera said. "If they need a ride somewhere, we have complimentary shuttle service and rental cars. We top it off with a hand carwash for every vehicle that comes in for a service or repair. We're here to take care of people. It just so happens we're fixing cars, too." The staff offers complimentary loaner vehicles and towing as well.
Star Motors is one of the few Green Station Certified auto-repair facilities in Orange County, according Silvera. "It's important for us to do our part to protect the environment."