Nate Smith's Optimal Auto Care

(831) 661-8706
25 Verified Reviews

7:30am to 5:30pm


2335 Soquel Dr
Suite A
Santa Cruz, CA 95065 USA


  • Nate Smith, Owner
  • Established 1991
  • 5 Auto Repair Mechanics on Staff
  • 76 Years of Car Repair Experience

Nate Smith's Optimal Auto Care Reviews


25 Verified Reviews
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star
by - Verified Customer February 06, 2017

Great service and people, found the issues and recommended the most cost effective way to repair them.

by - Verified Customer January 29, 2017

They did an excellent job!

by - Verified Customer January 16, 2017

Competent and honest!

by - Verified Customer January 10, 2017

Best people to take your car treat with respect and talk you through your options.

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by - Verified Customer January 10, 2017

Highly disorganized, forgot my car was supposed to be service, service writer was nice however wrote up services to be done, then decided other work would remedy the problem when that work on my car other services needed to be performed which case led to a more expensive bill and unanticipated. When speaking to the owner wasn't very good a coming up with a solution which is unfortunate.

by - Verified Customer January 06, 2017

They fixed what I wanted to be done for a bit less than estimated.Didn't try to have me fix anything, I didn't want??

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by - Verified Customer January 05, 2017

Friendly and competent. Charged the going price.

by - Verified Customer January 03, 2017

From my perspective, it seems that their model is motivated more towards $ than an objective repair.

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by - Verified Customer December 31, 2016

Great experience!!

by - Verified Customer December 29, 2016

Always get the straight answers and good service from Nates!

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by - Verified Customer December 21, 2016

Nicest people. I totally trust Nate and Meg. I have been a customer for 15 years.

by - Verified Customer December 06, 2016

Very good customer service and prompt, timely repair.

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by - Verified Customer November 19, 2016

The team is always attentive and courteous. They are knowledgeable and provide specifics as to what work needs to be completed -- with full details. I worked with Michael this time through and he was great.

by - Verified Customer November 17, 2016

Had a diagnostic test run to determine the cause of excessive oil use in my 2010 BMW. Test results indicated that a sizable repair will be needed in the future though the timing is not immediate. because the problem will not cause any operational problem, the work can be delayed until a service light is displayed.

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by - Verified Customer November 12, 2016

They did a nice job diagnosing a problem.

by - Verified Customer November 03, 2016


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by - Verified Customer October 27, 2016

Excellent service. Good with customers.

by - Verified Customer October 12, 2016

Always the best experience.

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by - Verified Customer September 30, 2016

Very satisfied. Extensive work was done and some challenges with customer ordered parts, but the Optimal team never gave up and I am very happy with the end result.

by - Verified Customer September 17, 2016

Thorough, Quick, Friendly.

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by - Verified Customer September 12, 2016


by - Verified Customer August 25, 2016

The staff is excellent, particularly Michael, whom I've communicated almost exclusively with. Unfortunately, I just came back in today to report three minor but annoying problems the car has now that it DIDN'T have when I brought it in. I'll reluctantly have to make another appointment to address the following - some or all perhaps related to the replacement of the battery(?): 1). Strange noise every time I turn the car on, it's of short duration, but very odd, sounds sort of like dropping stones in water. I've never heard this noise until picking up and starting the car after the repairs.* 2) The clock worked perfectly and was visible/stayed on at all times before the repairs. The battery was replaced, so I'd certainly have planned to need to reset the clock, though the receipt said it had been reset. Now the clock is off unless the key's turned on. I'd reset to correct time, but it resets the clock to the wrong time with every turn of the key. The clock worked perfectly before (appropriately enough, as this was the last year this model was made in Germany). ;-) 3) The trunk light stays on with the turn of the key. The trunk is shut tight. Light goes off when the car's off. *I noticed this noise the first time I started the car, immediately after paying for the repairs, circled around to demonstrate for Michael and mechanics, who didn't hear it. It's quite loud, I think, but with the Soquel car noise, maybe less so. I went next door to the bank and it was loud and clear again when I started the car to leave. Very annoying as I only had all this work done on the car to sell it. Bad first impression, and again, all three things new since the repairs.

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by - Verified Customer August 13, 2016

Good communication and good service.

by - Verified Customer August 09, 2016

Transmission problem that Nate cleared up in a matter of minutes.

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by - Verified Customer August 05, 2016

Above and beyond service. Very personable employees.

RepairPal Scorecard


Nate Smith's Optimal Auto Care has been serving Santa Cruz and the surrounding area since 1991. Over the years they have developed a loyal following of satisfied customers who described this shop to us as "courteous”, “honest”, “friendly”, and "excellent". This shop features a team of experienced and well-trained technicians, specializing in the service and repair of Audi, BMW, Mini, and Volkswagen models. An investment in the necessary tools and state of the art diagnostic equipment helps make them capable of repairs ranging from minor and major mechanical repairs, to check engine light and computer system diagnosis and repair, to tires and wheel alignment, as well as your scheduled maintenance needs. Repairs are covered by a 24-month / 24,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind. A local shuttle service, rental & loaner cars, early bird drop off, and a waiting area with wireless Internet are also available for your convenience.



  • AC/Heating
  • Alignment
  • Check Engine Light
  • Diagnosis
  • Muffler & Exhaust
  • Oil Change & Lube
  • Scheduled Maintenance
  • Service & Repair
  • Timing Belts
  • Tire Sales/Repair
  • Transmission Repair
+ More


  • AAA Member Discount
  • Child Friendly
  • Coffee
  • Early Bird Dropoff
  • Financing
  • Gas/Diesel
  • Heated Waiting Room
  • Loaner Car
  • Parts/Accessories
  • Rental Car
  • Service Guarantee
  • Shuttle
  • Wireless Internet
+ More


  • ASA
  • Bosch Service Network
  • iATN


Good Times Best of Santa Cruz 2006


  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Mini
  • Volkswagen
Questions Answered by Nate Smith's Optimal Auto Care
I was charged. Parts & labor 1500$ to ...
Yes, there are two coolant pumps on this car. One is mechanical and driven by the engine, and the other is electric and is controlled by the engine control module. They would not likely fail at the same time.
I keep filling the water reservoir in my B...
The normal procedure to locate a coolant leak is to pressure test the cooling system when the car is cold. The cooling system pressurizes itself as the coolant warms up from engine heat. Once warm, some kinds of leaks seal themselves until cool again. So, the easiest way to locate the source of the leak is to pressurize the cooling system and let it sit for a while.
Says it has a clean title but other than t...
There's not enough information there to answer the question. What year the X5 is would make a difference (i.e., before or after 2007); what is the intended use of the car; and how much do you have to pay?
And certainly I'd recommend getting a Pre-Purchase Inspection by a BMW specialist. They'll know what to look for.
I'm sure i already know the answer but...
If that code is turning the Check Engine warning light on, then your only choice is to replace the faulty part.

California's Smog Check program is designed to prevent you from - for example - clearing the fault code and then going to a Smog Check station to get a Smog Check before the light can come back on again.

So, yes, you need to fix it.

- Nate Smith

Nate Smith Optimal Auto Care
My car all the just would not start. I put...
So is this just a dead battery?
No crank means you need to know if the battery is strong enough to crank the engine over.
Also, you could have a bad key (meaning the chip in the key does not unlock the immobilizer) - try a different key if you have one.
You could have a bad starter
You could have a problem with the relays, wiring and interlocks between the ignition switch and the starter motor.

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