“We do everything – from bumper to bumper,” said Apodaca. “We do work on all other models, but we specialize in Audi, Volkswagen.” He became interested in cars while watching his father work on the family vehicles. When he was 12, his father encountered a problem with a car’s computer that he was unable to solve himself.
“I was intrigued,” recalled Apodaca. That incident piqued his fascination with the complexities of vehicles and started him on the road to his current occupation. Through formal education and eight years at Livermore Audi, he became familiar with all aspects of running an auto repair business. That knowledge helped him to open his own shop in 2007.
“As I drove around,” said Apodaca, “I noticed how many Volkswagens there were; how many Audis, and there was nobody servicing them.” His extensive experience with Audis and side work on Volkswagens inspired him to open East County European Autoworks. The two manufacturers’ products are strikingly similar.
“They’re very finicky cars,” he said. “One problem can be masked by another.” Apodaca makes a point of taking apart the malfunctioning sections of the vehicle in order to ensure that he finds “the root cause of the problem.” His attentiveness has unmasked some unexpected answers to unusual issues: One car showed the check-engine light turning on intermittently. After a careful process of elimination, Apodaca discovered that one of the hoses had not been completely hollowed out, and instead had a ball of rubber inside of it. Another car engaged its turn signals whenever the driver hit the brakes, which turned out to be due to the installation of the wrong lightbulb.
Apodaca enjoys helping his customers visualize a problem by showing them exactly where their vehicles are acting up. He believes that with time and patience, every problem can be fixed. “There’s always a way,” he said. “As long as people want to keep it on the road, it’s possible.”
Attention to detail has earned Apodaca the loyalty of his customers, some of whom followed him when he moved from the Audi dealership and opened his own shop. “Everyone always comes back,” he said. “They know me and feel comfortable.”
Apodaca continues to enjoy the challenges of diagnosing and repairing each new car. “It never just goes flat,” he said. “You never get bored, because cars are changing so fast.”
East County European Autoworks, located at 550 Harvest Park Drive, Suite E in Brentwood, is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays by appointment; closed Sundays. Call 925-516-AUDI (2834) or visit www.eastcountyeuro.com.