Berkeley Auto Repair

(510) 549-9330
Mon - Fri: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
4

Prices are higher than average, but the service makes up for it. I had a recurring problem with the exhaust and they fixed it for free! Also, the shuttle service has come in handy several times. I would recommend Ackerman's to all Volvo owners. One extra word of advice: tell them exactly what you want done and what you are going to pay for beforehand otherwise you will have to pay for extra services that you didn't need.

5

I'm writing another review because we are about to have Bruce and his crew check out a 20 year old Volvo we want to buy. My husband lost his job two years ago so we have to be very careful with our money and we never question price or worry about being ripped off here because we absolutely trust them and our old car runs better since they've gotten their hands on it.I'm really surprised at the comments about snobbiness from other posters here, the car we take in looks like crap and is OLD and we've never felt that ever, they even wash it for us!

5

I was a newcomer to the Volvo world, but Bruce and his team did a thorough analysis of the used Volvo I had purchased and let me know what needed fixing now and what could wait. He also keeps great records and was able to provide those back to me such that when Volvo issued a recall I got repaid an entire repair bill for a fuel pump replacement. He also helped me out when I later sold the car and he gave folks the honest scoop on its maintenance history without BSing them through a full mechanic review and what not. I had heard this was a shop to be trusted and every aspect of their engagement with me lived up to that rumor. They may not be the cheapest around, but I felt like they gave it to me straight, and helped me out when I needed it.

4

Last year, my old mechanic, Roger's Autoworks, sold their business. I was always loyal to Roger, but now felt like I could look for a mechanic closer to home, and found Ackerman's on Berkeley Parent's Network.In that amount of time, Ackeman's has fixed a botched brake job and helped me pass smog. When I brought the car in for service today, I asked Bruce if he could do a trip check... something Roger charged for. That's part of the regular service, Bruce replied.Ackerman's also has a few nice touches. They have a jar of Semi-Freddi's biscotti and Peet's coffee, for when you skipped breakfast rushing to bring your car in.They also have a complementary shuttle service when you drop your car off. When I dropped my car of the first time, they asked me, Do you need a ride anywhere? My jaw dropped open. I had never been offered that by an independent mechanic. Also, every time I've brought the car in, they've called me back to make sure I was satisfied. That's the true sign of an honest business. A dishonest business wants to take your money as quickly as possible, forget about you, and go on to the next customer.Here's the biggest surprise for me: after my first time getting my car back from Ackerman's, my wife commented, Thanks for cleaning the car, honey.Are you high? I am thinking! I'm not the clean the car type.It turns out Ackerman's had cleaned the inside of the car before I picked it up! Amazing. Please, don't anyone tell her!I'd also like to counter a couple of points here:First, someone mentioned that they only care about you if you're rich with a new Volvo. My volvo is nearly 20 years old. When I first came to Ackerman's this year, I expressed an interest in maintaining the car as long as possible. Bruce was very positive about that, and encouraged me to keep it going. After all, that's why people buy Volvos. Also, once when I was shuttle home, there was another customer who told me how Bruce resurrected her Volvo from the dead, and has kept it running for years. I find it less than credible that a good Volvo mechanic would shun that market opportunity.Second: With regards to long waits, I was disappointed when I had to leave my car 1 12 days when I did not pass smog. However, when I came to pick up the car, they had already taken it to the smog test to make sure it passed, so all I had to do was grab the certificate and go. I've rarely had to leave my car over night over my lifetime, and only once at Ackerman's. I chocked it up to the circumstances of requiring a new part that had to be delivered. On the other hand, today's service only took 90 minutes. I wouldn't count on Ackerman's being characteristically fast or speedy, there are too many factors at play.Third: Someone said Bruce was expensive. I've taken my car to 2 other of the best Volvo mechanics in town, and his prices are comparable. Comparable definitely means the higher end of the mechanic spectrum. Once I took my Volvo for a brake job at a non-Volvo mechanic, and it was MUCH cheaper, but then, it had to be re-done. I've never wanted a dealer to get their claws on me, so, I can't speak for the dealer experience as better or worse.Regardless, keep in mind that while Volvo's are expensive to maintain, there is also some savings in their longevity. My 1992, acquired in 2005 cost me $3,000 and is running AWESOMELY. My 1981, which I bought in 1995 for $2K lasted 10 years. In 15 years, even with expensive mechanics, i've probably spent $12,000 total on comfortable safe cars. So, I factor in the cost of my mechanic in the ownership equation, and it really pays off. My friends are always surprised at how cheap I am when it comes to cars... I'd rather pay for iDevices and bandwidth.

5

My '97 Volvo got the check engine light and so I assumed I was in for a multi-thousand-dollar kick in the teeth, because Volvos are the most expensive cars to repair on earth. Last time it needed brakes it ended up costing me $2K for all sorts of crazy shit, like a broken turbo. One time. the dipstick rotted and the dealership told me it would be like $300 - $500 for a new one, because I have the short one they don't make anymore, so they have to install the new long housing, but they have to special order it from these elves in Europe and blah blah blah. By the time the guy got done talking I realized he had actually taken my wallet out of my pocket... Anyway, I just bought a long dipstick and cut it with tin snips, and I resolved that the next time the gd car even needed bake pads I was going to trash it.But the car is loved by a member of my household, and so when the light came on I was on the hook for fixing it. I heard that bad gas caps were actually a frequent cause for this in Volvo's, so I bought a new one, but no luck.So I took it here. I was really concerned they were going to pull some mechanic shenanigans, because I am mistrustful of all mechanics. I was pretty clear just diagnose it, don't fix it, don't check the turbo, don't look in the engine at the frothy, milky blend of oil and water that is grinding the pistons away, etc... but I was still pretty sure I was going to get socked.But, hey, I didn't! They sent me to the nice cafe next door and 20 minutes later some guy came in and was like yeah, it was probably just the gas cap. Keep it closed tight.Nice! I assure you, these guys knew I was never going to be a long term customer, and they could have easily screwed me, but they didn't. Thumbs up!

4

Good Service, Clean Shop

5

I brought my secondhand 1983 Volvo here a few months ago and was impressed by the honesty, thoroughness and respect I and my car received. Bruce, Miguel and Eric really know their stuff and will do the extra little maintenance checks and small repairs that cars need to keep from needing big repairs, something not all mechanic shops do. Since they specialize in Volvos, rest assured that your Volvo, be it vintage or brand new will receive the very best inspection and repair service around from Ackerman's. Bonus perks: shop newsletter; Chez Panisse dinner drawings; you can even ask them to donate 5% off your repair bill at no extra cost to you to the charity of your choice.

5

My wife and I drive an old Volvo station wagon, and at times it is in need of some assistance. I am so glad we found this place. This is the kind of place that you get told you don't have to spend money. I appreciate their great service, and they have managed to keep us on the road. They are prompt and honest. Their prices are solid, but I don't mind paying a little extra to know I am getting good service. I highly recommend them to any Volvo owner.

5

My car needed immediate attention and Ackerman's was willing to take a look at my car at 8am on Monday without an appointment. They only work on Volvos which is great if you're looking for someone with a good understanding of your car, plus they help perpetuate your Volvo fetish. Their diagnostic is $125 which inst cheap but its a good insurance against up selling.

4

Ackerman's is very considerate and helpful. With two children, I need service that finishes on time and respects my limitations. They are very accomodating and polite. They even send a thank you note after servicing the car. Honest estimates too...just when you thought they were merely starting figures. Needless to say, this level of service does not come cheap. But they are independent, and I find they deliver on the premium charged, whereas many dealerships take advantage.

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