The Prime Buyer's Report

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Portola Valley Garage
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(650) 851-7442
4170 Alpine Rd
Portola Valley, CA 94028
State B.A.R. License #191344
   Prime Buyer's Report TOP 10 ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) ASC (Automotive Service Council) Gold Shield Smog Check Station BIMRS (An Independent Association of BMW Service Professionals) PCA (Porsche Club of America) BMW CCA (BMW Car Club of America)

Areas Served: Portola Valley CA, Redwood City CA, Foster City CA, Menlo Park CA, Loma Mar CA, ...
Services: routine maintenance, complete engine repairs, hybrid repair, check engine light ...
Key Brands: Badger Fire Protection, Bosch, Dinan, Flowmaster Mufflers

Portola Valley Garage Company Profile

Why is Portola Valley CA a draw for so many people from Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Redwood City and other nearby towns, all bringing their cars here (including hybrids) for all general repairs, electrical, exhaust, and transmission repairs, auto detailing, smog checks, and more?

You might be surprised to learn that one of the most technically expert, diagnostically sophisticated local repair shops is nearby in tranquil Portola Valley CA. And as specialists in makes such as Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volvo, and others, customers say it's more than worth the short drive from the surrounding towns to this shop with its cutting edge technology and superior service that includes free loaner cars and shuttle service.

Why They Take The Short Drive to Portola Valley Garage

Want dealership capabilities without dealership prices?  You won't find another independent local shop with all the factory diagnostic equipment and capabilities that owner Tom Ramies has at Portola Valley Garage.   Other shops might be able to run a diagnostic to tell you why your ABS light is on, but they can't fix it because they don't have the factory equipment to program the new part, leaving you stuck going to the dealership.  But Portola Valley Garage has the same diagnostic equipment as the dealerships do. Tom Ramies explains, "Because we have the different factory diagnostic tools required for each specific make of car, we can do repairs that the other shops can't."

You can get a good idea of a shop's abilities by looking at the caliber of customers' cars parked at the shop. On the day we interviewed Tom Ramies, a quick look around at the customer cars here showed three Porsches, four Audis, four Jaguars, five BMWs, two Mercedes, as well as two jeeps, a Chevy truck and two Ford SUVs...proving the trust this shop has earned in its capability to do repairs of dealership quality or better, but at more affordable prices.

Portola Valley Garage & Tom Raimes: A History of Trust

A whopping 40% of the customers at Portola Valley Garage are from the nearby towns in San Mateo County and Santa Clara.  Another reason that so many customers come here from the surrounding area is the reputation Portola Valley Garage has for honesty.  Tom shared, "Just today a new customer said he'd been told he needed new brakes. So I looked at them and they were still good, and I told him so."  Doesn't that cost him sales, especially considering that it's routine for other shops to increase their profits by replacing things that don't really need to be changed?  "Word of mouth is our best advertising," Tom answers. "It's better for us in the long run to be honest because then they tell their friends that they can get honest repairs here."

And that honesty applies to pricing too. For example, some other places promote a so-called ‘cheap' oil change special to get you in, then get you to pay more. "Right," said Tom. "They lure you by advertising a cheap oil change price, and then get you to spend $400 for flushing."  Why no tricks like that here?  "Again, it comes back to our reputation as an honest shop and the referrals that brings us later. And it's how my dad ran the shop before me."

Portola Valley Garage, Serving San Mateo County Since 1948

Located at 4170 Alpine Rd in Portola Valley CA, Portola Valley Garage has been in business since 1948. In 1952 Martin Ramies joined the shop, and not long after became the owner, continuing the tradition of high quality and integrity auto repairs.

As a boy, Martin's son Tom Ramies would go to the garage almost every day just to be around cars and take apart old parts to see how they worked, and he performed his first valve job on a Renault when he was just 9 years old. Tom began to work full time for his father in 1977, and later took over the business from his father in 1996.

Today, Tom Ramies lives in the same town where he was born, Portola Valley, with his wife and two teenage boys. His 18 year old, Michael Ramies, is on the USF1 formula race car team and races at Laguna Seca, Infineon, and internationally.   Tom enjoys making gourmet meals for family and friends, and they describe him as a great cook and fun to be around.  Customers remember him as outgoing and easy to talk to.

What's the most rewarding part of Tom's work at Portola Valley Garage? "I get satisfaction from being able to figure out and fix a customer's problem when other shops have charged them for repairs two or three times, but without being able to fix it permanently," Tom answers. " Knowing I saved them money by stopping that cycle of paying other shops over and over again reminds me of the help we give people here every day."

Service is Key at Portola Valley Garage in Portola Valley CA

Tom Ramies says the superior service at Portola Valley Garage is critical to their success. They can provide shuttle service to your work or home, and free loaner cars (often a Mercedes) when available.  And customers here get a 12-year/12,000 mile warranty on all repairs, plus the manufacturer guarantee on parts—often a lifetime warranty.

The services performed by the ASE Certified technicians at Portola Valley Garage include all routine factory recommended maintenance services, hybrid car repairs, computer control diagnosis and repair, complete engine & transmission repairs, and on-site auto detailing to make your car look new again.

They are also a Gold Shield Smog Check Station which is certified by the state to perform your smog checks as well as undertake the repairs necessary to get your vehicle a passing emissions status.

So it's clear why so many people from all the nearby towns in San Mateo County and Santa Clara take the short drive to Portola Valley Garage in Portola Valley CA, this honest, technologically leading-edge shop with its dealership capabilities at more affordable prices, and 62-year history built on customer referrals and a reputation for refreshing honesty in auto repair.