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February 8, 2023

Local care, local pride: Tony’s Auto a Watsonville staple since 1994

WATSONVILLE—Tony’s Auto Service, nestled in a crunch of busy shops and the ebb and flow of Freedom Boulevard traffic, has been a staple auto repair spot in Watsonville for the past 26 years.

If it’s new wiper blades, a smog check or full-blown valve job your vehicle needs, foreign or domestic, big or small, new or old — these folks have a space on the rack for you.

“For us, it’s word of mouth,” said head mechanic Arturo Garata, whose brother Tony opened the business at 1929 Freedom Blvd. “Good work speaks for itself: It’s what we’re about. I’ve lived here all my life and our hard work is what we give back to our community.”

Garata said his team of six welcomes the biggest and smallest jobs and specializes in friendly service.

“We’re like a family here,” Garata said. “We go to barbecues together and laugh together and share each other’s stories. This place just isn’t about getting a paycheck.”

Tony’s service includes mechanical, air conditioning, electrical, brakes, lamps, tune-ups, maintenance, head gaskets, valve work, exhaust and transmission work. Garata said Tony’s does not offer body and alignment work, but can recommend trusted local businesses in that field.

“We do all kinds of smog checks, even the big heavy-duty vehicles,” Garata said. “We are the only star rated smog service in Watsonville and we even do diesel.”

He added that many auto service companies won’t do smog checks for vehicles older than 1999 because it means further investment in other analyzer equipment.

“We do smog on a lot of old cars; we’re equipped and certified for any vehicle,” Garata said. “If that check light comes on, bring your car in.”

He added: “One thing I really like about this is seeing so many return customers. I’ve met little kids that came here with their families and now they drive their own cars in here to get work done.”

For information on Tony’s Auto Service call 728-3032.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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