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Your Dealership Alternative “WE DO MORE THAN JUST BRAKES” AUTOMOTIVE SERVICES

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SPRING SPECIALS * MUST PRESENT COUPONS AT TIME OF ESTIMATE

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925-634-3001

Valdry Ct.

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(behind Ace Hardware)

Balfour Rd.

Walnut Blvd.

560 Valdry Court Bldg. B-6 BRENTWOOD

TUNE-UPS • TRANSMISSION SERVICE A/C SERVICE • WHEEL BALANCING STARTERS • STRUTS • SHOCKS WATER PUMP • BELTS • HOSES 30K/60K/120K MILE SERVICE COOLANT SERVICE & MORE!

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MARCH 26, 2010

AUTO CARE GUIDE

Daryn Cordua shows off the upholstery job he performed in one of his vehicles.

Photo by Dave Roberts

Upholstery shop has all the bases covered DAVE ROBERTS

W

hether you need just a simple repair of a ripped car seat or are

looking to totally restore the interior of your ’50s hot rod to “like new” condition, Daryn and Tonya Cordua have Got U Covered. They opened their car and boat upholstery shop in the Brentwood Business Center in 2007, and consider themselves fortunate to

have hung on through the past three years of the Great Recession. The Cordua family goes back several generations in Brentwood – Daryn’s grandmother Eunice Castoro was a longtime secretary for the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce. According to Tonya, grandma once lived in the John Marsh House. Daryn and Tonya first met in fifth grade at Garin Elementary School, lost touch and reconnected 15 years ago, when Daryn was dating a friend of Tonya. They’ve been married 12 years and have three children. Daryn got his start in upholstery when he


MARCH 26, 2010

AUTO CARE GUIDE

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Got U Covered recently customized the interior of a 1958 Bel Air to like-new condition.

MEDA L LD AWARD

2008 Photo courtesy of Got U Covered

was 16 and worked at Upholstery Unlimited in Brentwood for a couple of years. He left that job to become an installation technician for a telecommunications company, a job he still works at night. In his spare time as a hobby, he did upholstery jobs in his garage for friends and family. “The hobby became bigger than the garage,â€? said Tonya. “We decided that maybe it’s time to go full bore with this.â€? They started out in a 1,500-square-foot space in the Brentwood Business Center, then moved to a space twice as large. Despite the economic slowdown, Daryn and Tonya have managed to stay in business by customizing hot rods every six weeks or so. They recently outďŹ tted the seats in ’58 Bel Air with a chevron pattern and an embroidered “Bel Airâ€? along with other customizations.

Some hot rod jobs can cost more than $7,000, depending on the vehicle, materials and work involved. “That’s the bread and butter of our business: customizing hot rods,� said Tonya. “It’s not a job that’s going to be rushed. It’s going to take time and energy if you want that special look. We have been fortunate enough to have quite a few hot rods through, and that’s what’s been keeping us going. Every hot rod is it’s own animal. Everyone’s vision is so different.� One of the newer trends is toward more exotic seat materials like ostrich and alligator skin, she said, adding, “I have never seen anybody do a complete seat in ostrich skin, but see Upholstery page 7B

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AUTO CARE GUIDE

MARCH 26, 2010

Danny Mazzella and Paige Plumean came all the way from San Jose to purchase their used truck at WhyBuy NewAutos.com in Brentwood.

Photo by Richard Wisdom

When it’s time for a new set of wheels RUTH ROBERTS

S

o you’re shopping for a car. When it comes to life’s least pleasant experiences, some feel

that purchasing a car rates right up there with public speaking and root canals. But with a few simple tips and a little confidence, savvy shoppers can put themselves in the driver’s seat of their dream car

Vornhagen “There is a big difference between shops. Any shop can give you a lower estimate by leaving something out or overlooking parts. Do not assume you get the quality of workmanship you want from the shop offering the lowest estimate.” - Vornhagen Body & Paint

600 Harvest Park Dr. Brentwood (925) 516-1969 www.vornhagenbodypaint.com Open Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm

GO

Body & Paint

MEDA L LD AWARD

2008

with a minimum amount of sticker shock and a maximum amount of pride. New or used? For many the attraction of that new car aroma is irresistible, and considering the current low financing rates and zero-down packages, there are deals to be had. When you buy a new car or truck, you can choose from a wide variety of vehicles in your size and price class. You can select your favorite color. You can choose a leather or cloth interior. You can equip that


MARCH 26, 2010

AUTO CARE GUIDE

Mark and Anita Baker of Oakley peruse the new car lot during a recent visit to Bill Brandt Ford in Brentwood.

Photo by Richard Wisdom

new car with whatever features you need or want and adorn it with high-tech gizmos such as a communication, entertainment or navigation system. And then there’s the confidence you get from a full warranty and the lack of wear and tear to begin with. “Some people are just new-car people and others are just used-car people. There’s really no right or wrong answer,” said Steve Meister, general sales manager at new car dealership Bill Brandt Ford in Brentwood. “It’s really just a matter of what works best for each individual.” And what works best is having a plan, so prospective buyers should get their financial house in order before heading out to the dealership. Conventional wisdom says that a car payment should not exceed 20 percent of the buyer’s monthly income, so tally up your monthly expenses before you fall in love with

the car of your dreams. And don’t forget to figure in insurance and maintenance as well; owning a car is an expensive investment. “Most of our customers have done their homework on the Internet before they even walk in the door,” said Meister. “They’ve researched interest rates and rebates and in many cases they know more about the vehicle than the salespeople do. It’s just a very good idea to have your ducks in a row.” Still, there are advantages to be gained by going the pre-owned route. For years, the long-held belief was that buying a used car was taking on someone else’s problems, which was enough to keep many potential buyers off the used car lots. But not anymore, according to Steve Hambaugh, general manager of Why Buy New in see Wheels page 6B

Introducing

Specializing in Mercedes-Benz Service and Parts Obsidian Motors Service Department is staffed with factorytrained technicians in a state-of-the-art service center that provides high quality Mercedes-Benz repairs in Oakley. We understand how much you depend on your vehicle, so our service staff will work to get your Mercedes-Benz back on the road as soon as possible.

1241 Main Street, Oakley

(925) 625-7700 www.obsidianmotors.com

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MARCH 26, 2010

AUTO CARE GUIDE

Wheels from page 5B

U.S.G. Custom Screen Printing, Graphics & Signs

(925) 584-2499

Vintage Trans & Gear

Brentwood. “The fact is that the minute you drive off a lot with a new car, its value immediately depreciates by as much as 20 percent,” said Hambaugh, whose dealership specializes in pre-owned trucks, vans and SUVs. “There is no longer a stigma associated with buying a used car; people know it’s a good value and it makes good sense.” Used car buyers also have the advantage of more closely tailoring their budget to their vehicle. The price of a new car is established by the manufacturer and the invoice price that the dealer pays. But usedcar prices are more flexible, based as they are on considerations such as mileage, model year and overall condition. And thanks to the Internet, there’s also a way to help keep used-car surprises to a minimum. CARFAX is a nationwide computer database service that provides vehicle history reports. “CARFAX really is real, and if a salesman won’t show them to you, turn around and walk out the door,” said Hambaugh. “If (the dealer) is reputable, they’ll have the CARFAX – period.”

Whether you’re buying new or used, the key to remember is that you’re the one in charge. Both Hambaugh and Meister agree that a confident attitude – as well as working with a well-known, reputable dealer – can make the whole car-buying experience enjoyable. “The bottom line is that you’re the customer and you shouldn’t be put off by the salesperson or the whole scope of the operation,” said Meister. “For us (Bill Brandt Ford), the majority of our business is families and we are a family-run store, so when you come in with a price you want, we’re going to give you that price. We understand that your time is just as valuable as ours and we want you to be a customer for life. Buying a car should be, and can be, a good experience.” Why Buy New is located at 8111 Brentwood Blvd. For information, call 925626-7320 or visit the Web site at www. whybuynewautos.com. Bill Brandt Ford is located at 8100 Brentwood Blvd. For information, call 925-634-3551 or visit www. billbrandtford.com. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.

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• 4 Speeds • Overdrives • Hydromatics • 3 Speeds • Powerglides • Borg-Warner “Commuters to Classics We do ‘em all.” 925-513-4095 “Ask for Larry” 560 Valdry Ct., Unit B7, Brentwood vintagetrans1@aol.com

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MARCH 26, 2010

Upholstery from page 3B I see them doing it as an accent. Subtle accents do make things pop.” Old standbys such as suede and leather remain popular as well. Those on a budget opt to do one item at a time rather than having the whole interior redone. “The people who have money still spend money,” said Tonya. “The people who are struggling are doing things piece by piece, but are still coming in. We are still staying busy, which is nice.” Another recent development is that more people are customizing their golf cart seats, perhaps to match a new paint job or cover up wear and tear. “In the last year it’s been crazy – that’s been blowing up, which is nice,” said Tonya. “It means people are able to relax and

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enjoy recreational time.” Once you’ve made the investment to upgrade your ride, you will, of course, want to take care of it. The Corduas recommend Malco’s cleaner for periodic cleaning and conditioning of vinyl and leather. They also recommend keeping your car in the garage, especially in the summer, instead of the driveway where “the heat can bake your interior and make it crispy.” Got U Covered is located in Suite B-2 at 560 Valdry Court behind the old Pee Wee Muldoon’s building in the Brentwood Business Center off Brentwood Boulevard. The phone number is 925-513-3535. The Web Site is www.gotucoveredcu.com. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.

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Auto Care Guide Spring 2010