Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?

CONTRIBUTED BY JULIE

So my husband cranked up our van one chilly morning only to have it make the most awful racket you have ever heard in your life. The engine continued running, but kept making a noise like a belt was loose. He went about his business with the idea of bringing the car in for a checkup. After all, everyone in Okinawa owns 10 yr old rusty cars so this doesn’t seem that unusual. Several warm days later we got in our car and that’s when the smell hit us. An “I can’t even begin to describe how bad this smells” smell. We took the car to Toma’s Garage and they were kind enough to tell us that some poor cat had crawled into our engine block to get warm and lost all if its nine lives in the process. Apparently the sign language for “really repulsive smell” is the same in English as in Japanese. One day and two industrial sized fans later, we have our van back. Clean and fresh smelling. In case anyone is wondering it costs about 200 bucks to have smelly cat cleaned out of your engine block.

That being said the Japanese garages here are all pretty honest but none of the ones I know of are really cheap. Given that everyone owns old cars or needs a JCI you’ll probably end up at an off base garage a couple of times a year.

Off base a lot of Americans go to Toma’s. I think its a chain and there is one located out Kadena gate three to the right (ph# 937-4059) and to the left (ph# 956-0691). Both are decent.

On base Kadena has Auto Skills (ph# 634-1126) which will fix your car for cheap but they take a while and have a waiting list. One great tip: If you have a club membership to the Officer’s or NCO club, Kadena Auto Skills will tow your car for free from anywhere to anywhere as many times as you like. Well, worth it since cars here tend to break down. The Marine bases also have Typhoon Motors but I haven’t ever been to them.

Lastly if you have SOFA status, oil changes can be done at any of the gas stations on base. According to Toma’s Garage off base oil changes are “very expensive”. On base oil changes are about 25 bucks.

Where do you get your car repaired? DO Tell.

51 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve been going to lens place for 6 years and never had any problems at all. He is very knowledgable, HONEST (which is hard to find a mechanic like that) and is al about trying to save you money.

    • Quality Used Cars info changed: Tel 080-6497-7780 Email [email protected]. This info is provided to update errantly posted numbers. We hope that everyone have a blessed day and best of wishes to you and yours in all you endeavors.

  2. Mori motors sucks. at least I didn’t have a good experience. the owner doesn’t wanna help me out to fix my car. and he is not polite at all. I guess he only want easy jobs and profit. Of course i would not go to a garage if my car doesn’t need work. you are supposed to fix my cars and help out. It is like a doctor turned away a patient because he thinks the patient is sick. why would a patient go to you if he is not sick.

    • Mori can be mean, that’s true, but he is actually pretty good at what he does. He gets cranky sometimes but i still go there to get my car fixed and he helped me out a lot.

  3. I was looking for someone to tow and JCI my car . . . Ed Henry from Quality Used Cars came within a few hours and replaced the battery for me at my home and didn’t charge me! He is going to come to my place of business and JCI my car next week and then return my car to me!

    I highly recommend him . . . honest, fast, and dependable!!! 098-921-7780

  4. We should of used Ken metz from what we have heard,We were told to go to a guy Named Hot Modz Brett Pitt is his name,for our Delicas JCI.We took it there he seemed very smooth in his approach,But we know now thats a Front,For one he really does not have a shop it,s kind of a dirty little place with Junk parts sitting around,So anyways he took about 2 days for our JCI My husband can see he did nothing to the Delica did not even clean it,But we did notice there was a half of tank almost of Diesel gone so we asked Brett where our diesel went he said Oh well we had to test drive it for JCI and take it to the shop for it,s inspection..He would not reimburse us for anything,We recommend Highly do not take your things there,Since then we have heard other people Mainly Bikers talk about do not go there,We called Ken additionally he is cheaper then Hot modz so we know where were going next time

  5. I would like to say please do not associate QUALITY USED CARS with any other lot. Although one car lot use a similuar email address for reason unknown we are not assocated with any other car lot. Jen is right she’s never done business with my shop; to the best of my knowledge. As for comments about spam, I believe everyone has a right to enter information on this blog; as long as it’s correct. This blog was initially started to let others know of our excellent service. Of course, it’s been defiled with comments. Please remember to checkout the company that you believe would give you the best and most reliable service.
    This year I am sadden by the negative comments and Cindy I hope you will remove this blog. But until then for cleaning service check with TIMEWASH or JOMO/now ENEOS, electrical work Nishi Auto. I am truly looking forward to closure of my business; maybe this year to avoid the hassle and negative comments. To all of our valued customers Happy Holidays/Happy New Year!

  6. Thanks for everyone’s input. It would be super if someone could do the research for current info (2010) and then give us a report for how many thumbs up/down each mechanic got then everyone could quickly see at a glance who is the best choice today. Thanks Okinawa Hai for providing this great forum. =o)

  7. N- are you sure you’re not thinking of the “Where’d you buy your car?” post? There are similar spam comments on there as well, and a couple of posts pointing it out as such and asking if it could be removed.

  8. @N – We remove very few comments from OH, “typical”ly preferring instead to allow our readers to agree/disagree (as they have above) with any comments. Anyone reading thru these comments will get a very good feel for what customers experiences have been, I believe. Please continue to offer any personal experiences you’d like to add. I will however look into the issue of spam on this post.

  9. Interesting-there were a few comments on this particular blog post earlier pointing out the obvious spam and requesting it be removed. The spam wasn’t removed-but the posts requesting it be removed were. Typical OkinawaHai.

  10. I am kind of upset with the comments on this post. Alot of it is spam from the owner to try and get people to go to his shop (quality used cars). I don’t really think I can trust any of the comments to be true, which is sad because I really like this website for the honest opinions of others. I wish there was something the site could do about spam.

  11. yeah, I think the owners of Quality Used Cars and EZ Cars really did themselves a disservice by posting spam on here. Quite Sad. I have had good experiences with Ken though. I haven’t had any experience with Quality Used Cars, but I did have some dealings with the EZ Cars guy and would never do business with them again. I’d rather walk. 🙂

  12. I have been a customer of Ken Metz for over a year now. One of my best friends told me about Ken and how he has been fixing their cars for years and I decided to use him to fix my Alteza’s breaks. No one else had been able to find out what was wrong with them. Ken had the car for only a day and had already solved the problem and I was on my way. Just this week my son’s car blew the altranator and we went looking for one in the junk yards with no luck. We called Ken to ask if he knew of anyone who rebuilt them. To our great luck he rebuilds them, so off we went to drop off the car to Ken’s garage. Once again Ken had the car for only a couple of days and he had the altranator fixed as well as a couple of other problems that were wrong with the car and they were all fixed and the car runs better than when we purchased it.
    Ken always calls and tells you if he finds something wrong as he is fixing the car and asks you if you want it fixed, he will also let you know if the part can be found used or if you will need to go with a new part. You never feel like you are left out of the look with him, and when you go and pick up the car he always has the old parts there to show you and he explains exactly what he has done to your car. Reliable service from a truely reliable guy. Ken does have rental cars available if necessary and he does all of his work on sight. Some places send your car somewhere else to get the work done. Even if your JCI is expired, just give Ken a call and take the car out to his shop and he will take care of it for you.
    Here is his number 098-956-1045
    address 180-2 Iramina, Highway #58, Yomitan, Okinawa Japan 904-03 ( take Hwy 58 past the rt 6 turn off to Tori. After the Rt 6 turn off to Tori start looking on the Left hand side of the road for a large burn orange sign that says KEN’S PLACE the letters are in white and it is located dirrectly after a car dealership. ) Good luck and I know that you will get great service.
    098-956-1045

    • He does not do all work on site, and this has caused us to have a very bad experience with Ken’s Place. We took my car to a different garage to have my AC checked, they told us what was wrong but then gave us a ridiculous price quote. We called Ken’s Place and he said that he would be able to do it for MUCH less, and told us to just drop our car off anytime and he had another, Japanese, shop that would be the ones doing it. They have now had our car for a week with no progress and no updates unless we call him. Now when we call him he is saying that they are looking for used parts, which he never asked us about to begin with. He also originally told us that if we would have to buy new parts it would only be about $200 and now he is saying $600. In my opinion, if he was a good business owner he would have been calling with updates, and would have given us our car back until they could find the used parts or called to see if we wanted to pay for them to order the new parts. I will definitely never recommend Ken’s Place to anyone or go back there myself.

  13. anyone reading this tonight happen to have Ken Metz’s phone number? His website seems to be down and I can’t find contact info for him.

    • I have been a customer of Ken Metz for over a year now. One of my best friends told me about Ken and how he has been fixing their cars for years and I decided to use him to fix my Alteza’s breaks. No one else had been able to find out what was wrong with them. Ken had the car for only a day and had already solved the problem and I was on my way. Just this week my son’s car blew the altranator and we went looking for one in the junk yards with no luck. We called Ken to ask if he knew of anyone who rebuilt them. To our great luck he rebuilds them, so off we went to drop off the car to Ken’s garage. Once again Ken had the car for only a couple of days and he had the altranator fixed as well as a couple of other problems that were wrong with the car and they were all fixed and the car runs better than when we purchased it.
      Ken always calls and tells you if he finds something wrong as he is fixing the car and asks you if you want it fixed, he will also let you know if the part can be found used or if you will need to go with a new part. You never feel like you are left out of the look with him, and when you go and pick up the car he always has the old parts there to show you and he explains exactly what he has done to your car. Reliable service from a truely reliable guy. Ken does have rental cars available if necessary and he does all of his work on sight. Some places send your car somewhere else to get the work done. Even if your JCI is expired, just give Ken a call and take the car out to his shop and he will take care of it for you.
      Here is his number 098-956-1045
      address 180-2 Iramina, Highway #58, Yomitan, Okinawa Japan 904-03 ( take Hwy 58 past the rt 6 turn off to Tori. After the Rt 6 turn off to Tori start looking on the Left hand side of the road for a large burn orange sign that says KEN’S PLACE the letters are in white and it is located dirrectly after a car dealership. ) Good luck and I know that you will get great service.
      098-956-1045

  14. Please consider posting this. I needed to junk my car and I was in a hurry. My friends told me to call the guy they used. His name is Dan and he owns EZ CarZ. He made it clear to me what I needed and even posts on his site the paperwork required. I got all my refunds and then he even offered a discount if I bought a car from him. HaHaHa. He treated me fairly and he was honest, a big change from the norm, check out his website http://www.usedcarsokinawa.com oh, he is easy to find on 58 by Goodwill computers and Obbligato Restaurant

  15. Thanks to all of our valued customers and associates. We have expanded our business and eventhough we are centered towards QUALITY-USED CARS SALES, we still offer GOJ/JCI inspectionS, repairs, free junking, towing & deregistration, junk-in discounts, and insurance, ect… We are registered with the appropriate GOJ offices and provide quality assurance service. Again thanks to all of our valued customers and associates! http://www.qualityusedcarsokinawa.com “DEPENDABLE, RELIABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY.”

  16. what happen to Rafael “the Auto mechanic” Thanks to all my faithfull customers, I’m glad I was able to help you w/ your car issues; unfortunatelly I’m no longer self-employed,I work in Typhoon Motors @ Foster & I’ll be more than happy to assist you w/ any questions you may have.

  17. Thanks to all my faithfull customers, I’m glad I was able to help you w/ your car issues; unfortunatelly I’m no longer self-employed,I work in Typhoon Motors @ Foster & I’ll be more than happy to assist you w/ any questions you may have.

  18. We have been on the island for 6 months, and enjoy Typhoon motors, but needed an expert. We asked around, and found Ken’s Motors/repairs on 58, just north of the route 6 interchange going north. A friend said “I would trust him with my life”. So…we tried him with a complicated repair…the replacement of our BMW Z3 convertible top. Simply, outstanding! He worked, and made the job perfect. He came in 30% lower than the quoted price, is a Japanese Master Mechanic, is totally USA and likely from Milwalkee. He speaks both English and Japanese, and it was entertaining to see him in action on the phone.

    Simply: If you need anything with regard to cars, I would HIGHLY recommend him. He is not only nice, he did excellent work at much lower than the agreed upon price. This is like Old America, where values are valued.

    Please consider posting this. We can post a picture of the Z3 if you desire. This is sincere. He was all that you dream of in a mechanic. He quoted 6000 Yen per hour, it took 15 hours when he said 10 hours. He also replaced door seals and windshield wipers, all the extra parts and seals, for 50,000 Yen. The estimate was 60,000 for just the top installation, no parts, no doors, no wipers. Wow.

  19. We used Ed Henry a couple of times for JCI’ing our cars while my husband was deployed. He was incredibly flexible and fair and reasonable price-wise. I highly recommend him!

  20. Ed is the best, he actually cares more for job satifaction and serving others. He been known to let people use his nice loaner vehicles for weeks without any charges. In a few cases he’s paid for repairs for those who could not afford it. Please watch out for the miss informed okicarguy(s); who has posted bogus information about Ed. It’s obvious that he does not have all of the facts. Ed’s business is Quality Used Cars at [email protected] or http://www.qualityusedcarsokinawa.com

  21. ED HENRY business is an registered and authorized Dealship, Recycler & Insurance Agent; GOJ Licensed. He’s not a go in between; the individual who stated this did not do his home work. Did you know that some work from on base shops is sent out to off base vendors and you pay for that. When Ed recommend or complete the work there’s no surcharges added. He does it as a service. He actually enjoys helping others. A true Veteran, who’s served 21.5 years and is still helping members of the armed forces. Check the yellow pages for Ed his dealership is Quality Used Cars or http://www.qualityusedcarsokinawa.com email: [email protected].

  22. Just a word of caution, the on-base repair facilities like the Hobby Shop and Car Care Center are almost never cheaper than off-base shops; in most cases quite a bit more.

    If specialty work needs to be done such as A/C system repairs/diagnosis they will send your vehicle to an off base denso shop for a 15 to 20% surcharge for doing nothing. Either that or they will give you a quote for every component in the system for $1000 plus instead of accurately troubleshooting.

    Previously mentioned go-betweens or middle-men like ED that take your car to get get it repaired are a waste of money. Pick up the yellow pages and find an actual shop. TONY MIYAGI is the absolute scum of the earth in this category, he preys on unwitting service members. My very own car has been spammed with his fliers and business cards more times than I can remember. His office is the Family Mart parking lot in front of Gate 1 of KAB. Every time I hear the same horror stories about how much people end up paying him because they don’t know any better.

    I just want people to understand there are quite a few unscrupulous individuals(even on base). At least call around for prices or better yet, actually meet them and check out their place if they give free estimates.

    • I liked the guys at Alladin they were so kind. My wife broke down in a tunnel and they were there within 30 minutes with a loaner and picked up the broken down car. They fixed it in a day and delivered it to our house.

  23. I use Ken Metz for auto and small engine repairs. He was the first foreigner in Japan to be licensed as a mechanic. He is very fair, and does really good work. Their website is http://www.KensPlaceAutoShop.com. Give them a try the next time you need a mechanic. They also do JCI’s, and junk cars for free!

  24. I’ve been very lucky to marry a mechanic. He does all of our repairs w/ my help of course 😉 I for one can’t get over the rediculous price of parts out here, but then the price the want to charge for labor my gosh! I wouldn’t recomend EZ cars. Hubby was looking for a skyline when we first got on island, Dan was “looking” for us. He wanted a down payment ($1000) so as soon as one became alvalible he could buy it for us. 1 I don’t just give someone money w/ the product or a reciept/contract or something neither of which he would give us. 2 after he did find one we went in to look at the auction report and he wanted to charge us almost double the asking price. And 3 after hubby decided he had to have the car we went back (2 days later) and Dan told us he had no idea what we were talking about and never said he would order anything. So needless to say I’m glad I didn’t give him money up front and I won’t do business w/ them again. Ok I’m off my soap box lol.

  25. I believe that Raphael is no longer available. The last time I saw him, he had gotten a FT position with Typhoon Motors on Kadena. Our loss, but Typhoon Motors’ gain!Good luck and thanks for all the work you’ve done for our family, Raphael!

    Now, have to give a shout out to Ed Henry, the car guy recommended by Cindy in the first comment of this post. Just had our car JCI’d by him today and it was dependable, door-to-door service by Ed and his wife. The price was very reasonable and they even had the car detailed for us! Now that was the cherry on top when you take into account the amount of “carbage” that 3 kids can incur! Thanks for the tip, Cindy!

  26. For JCI and repairs, I’ve had very good experiences with Mori’s Auto just across and south of Foster commissary gate. He seemed honest and didn’t nickel and dime you like Pit stop did to me. He also fixed my wipers for free, score!

  27. hey,
    Thanks for that mention Joelle, I can’t get a hold of Raphael either. Perhaps he PCS’d? I did give Ed a call and he was superhelpful. Also wanted to mention that if anyone needs alignments or tires, Stark tires (right next to Ono kau kau was very nice to us). Julie

  28. Just tried to call Raphael (from a year old post) and he seems to be “no more.” Anybody know of anyone else doing this kind of thing on island at this point in time?

  29. Here is my 2 cents… I went looking for a good car for a decent price when I first got here some 2 years ago. I found EZ CarZ, http://www.ezcarz.biz on Rt. 58 right next to Goodwill computers near Camp Lester. They took care of me and even helped me with my ac when it broke down after the warranty period. Give him a try. I think he junks cars too. His name is Dan and his number is 080-3961-6114.

  30. Wanted to put in a good word for Raphael, the mechanic that Lan mentions in her comment. I called him when my car died and 1.5 hrs later he was in my driveway and had it fixed and ready to go! He also did the JCI on my car. Picked it up one day and dropped it off at my place the next. His price for all the repairs and JCI was so reasonable I actually tipped him! I never tip mechanics but I thought, considering the door to door service, that he more then deserved it. I will definitely use him in the future. Thanks for the tip Lan!

  31. Just want to clarify that the very cute cat in the pic is alive and well and not the victim of our feline eating auto. My apologies to nils and tijger. Also wanted to add that I have 3 cats and despite the fact that I had to move to Okinawa, they are alive, well, and very spoiled! :}Julie

  32. After some pretty expensive repairs at Japanese mechanic shops, a friend recommended a civilian spouse who works on cars and we’ve been happily utilizing his services since. His name is Raphael (cell: 090-686-74055 or email: [email protected]) and he has done work on both our cars and will give fair prices for the work done. After getting an estimate from a shop down the street and Raphael’s work, he saved us about $500 on the total work done. The great thing about Raphael, too, is that he’ll do the repairs to your car in your driveway if it can be done. If the work is too extensive, then he’ll drive your car to the autoshop on base, do the work there and then deliver it to you when done. No need to shuffle around cars or ask for rides to the mechanic!

  33. I have to recommend our car guy here . . . Ed Henry (098) 921-7780/ 090-3732-3035/ [email protected]. He is an American guy married to a local national who sells cars and more. We bought our van from him after my husband scoured the island and he has been very helpful and honest with the few repair issues we had. (He also did our JCI at a great price when my husband was TDY). He has acted as a go between, getting estimates and working with Japanese Garages to get us a good deal when someone hit us. When we were in another accident (great luck, I know), he came up with an estimate over $500 less than the insurance company. He took it in when the air conditioning was a little spotty and after they couldn’t find anything wrong, did not charge us a dime (Even for picking up and delivering the van to Gate 1). He has earned our loyality and it definitely someone to consider for your car care needs . . .

  34. Thanks for the tip Cindy! Would love to hear if anyone else knows of guys like Ed who offer reasonable and reliable service! Julie

  35. Cindy,

    OUr warranty is up and my van screeches something fierce so I think I’ll give Ed a call. Thanks for the tip!

    Meredith

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