The driver-mechanic relationship is not unlike the husband-wife relationship. Both are built on a foundation of trust. Finding a good mechanic you can trust can be as hard, if not harder, than finding a compatible partner. Okay, enough of that metaphor. The upshot is that you want a mechanic whose skills and honesty are not in question (especially when he tells you it's gonna cost hundreds of dollars to keep your car running). We've got one for ya. For twenty years, Unitech and its proprietor, Buntha Rajankhan, have been providing car owners solid, reliable service. Unitech specializes in servicing foreign cars, particularly Japanese autos such as Subaru, Mitsubishi, and Isuzu. Buntha's shop, located on the Berkeley and Emeryville border by Ashby Lumber, has a reputation for being thorough but flexible. In other words, he'll tell you all the things that are wrong with your car, but he'll make a reasonable recommendation on what most needs fixing without turning you into a pauper. A Berkeley-based architect recalls taking her Subaru Forrester into Unitech one time, when he actually dissuaded her from sinking money into fixing what she describes as an "ephemeral electrical problem." Explained the mechanic: "When you go chasing goats, you never can be sure which goat you'll catch." The problem never recurred. Net cost: $0.
3048 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, 510-841-3939