Capri Originals – Hi-Tek Garage

The Car Aficionado

Hi-Tek Automotive Garage

hi-tek garage

Costa Mesa, CA

Make Every Car Shine!

A love for automobiles and a consuming passion to see them look and perform their best drives the crew at Hi-Tek Automotive Garage. After operating an exclusive, appointment-only shop for 20 years, these Costa Mesa, California, car enthusiasts recently opened their doors to the public.

We wanted to get to know them better because they share the same philosophy we have at Capri Tools — they are all in on every project. These mechanics are the front-line veterans who use what we create — the best, high-quality tools at an affordable price. The guys at Hi-Tek share their take on what it’s like to live your dreams by doing what you love every day.

Meet the Hi-Tek Automotive Garage Crew

This enthusiastic crew of five is cemented together by their passionate belief that cars should be worked on the right way — with loving care.

With over 20 years of experience as a professional mechanic, Jose started in the industry as an enthusiast. As a youngster, he learned to work on cars with friends and got his start doing modifications. It was Jose's idea to open their first shop in 1998, an appointment-only venture that was a high performance shop offering custom fabrication and performance parts installations. Jose is into photography and world travel.

Co-owner Ben learned the art of being a mechanic from his grandfather — a Dodge dealer mechanic — and his father who was a diesel mechanic. He got into the industry during high school, working at an alignment shop and a small mom-and-pop garage. During his college years, he worked at a Honda dealer, and then for a movie studio on automotive-related effects and fabrications. Ben has a keen interest in archery and loves dog training.

Anthony T. is the chief mechanic. He got into the industry after deciding that he loved working on cars more than his uninspiring job as a truck driver. He enrolled in a tech school and has been a mechanic ever since. When Ben and Jose purchased Hi-Tek Garage in 2019, Anthony was already employed by the shop. They liked how his passionate love for cars drove his work and made sure he stayed on. Anthony T. also loves computer gaming and baseball. He coaches Little League in baseball season.

Tony and Anthony N. are the skilled wrap and detailing technicians who operate in Hi-Tek Garage under the name 8BallWraps.

We concentrate on quality over quantity. We enjoy taking the time to address all needs and wants of our customers

Hi-Tek Garage

How did you all get into the love for cars?

The crew: All of us agree that we have all been pretty much fascinated with everything about cars from a young age. There's something fascinating about these machines that are a necessity as our means of travel, yet provide a sense of joy and entertainment. Working on, modifying, or repairing cars adds to our satisfaction in life.

How did you come to love tools?

The crew: Having a love of cars leads right to the love of tools. We live in a time where there are so many choices in brands and so many specialized tools. I suppose being a mechanic and having a love of tools is not unlike any other trade — we love tools much like a chef loves his or her fine cutlery. There is no question — when any one of us brings in a new tool or receives delivery of a new tool, everything MUST stop so we can all gawk at whatever it is.

Ben and Jose, I know you both have different jobs away from the garage. What made you guys come together and want to open a garage?

Jose: It was basically the calling to go full time in the automotive business that led to our decision to open a full-time garage. It just made sense. We had a previous garage venture together, but having a part-time garage/performance shop while having a full-time job was not working.

We worked our other jobs while scheduling customers' projects in between. We both felt the need to be at the shop more, so it made sense to either move our last shop into a bigger facility or purchase one outright. That way we could work there every day and have employees that shared our passion for the automotive business. We found a garage location that we liked that was for sale and pulled the trigger, as they say.

I worked in computers and IT before leaving that field to take on the automotive field full time. Ben has worked full time for a government agency the past few years but plans on leaving soon. We'll both be living our dream of full-time automotive work.

Performing Their Labor of Love

The Good and Bad of Owning Hi-Tek Garage

Like owning any business, the garage has its ups and downs. But owners Ben and Jose agree that it's to go through each day solving problems and helping customers with their cars.

"When we get to work on really nice cars, say doing modifications to show cars and such, well, that is just the icing on the cake, as they say."

The challenges that arise really have nothing to do with operating the garage or working on cars. Ever-changing state compliance regulations and that all-too-familiar concept of taxes are the common hurdles to navigate. But at the end of the day, the good always outweighs the bad.

What Types of Cars Does Hi-Tek Specialize In?

Hi-Tek welcomes and works on all types of cars. It is not uncommon to find a 1964 Ford Falcon, a lifted Ram 4x4 pickup, an Audi R8, and Prius all there at the same time. Since opening to the general public, the majority of work is on regular family cars and SUVs. The team mostly does repair and maintenance on daily driven cars. They also work on fleet cars brought in by agencies and companies.

Does Hi-Tek Specialize in Any Modifications?

Vehicle wraps are done by Tony and Anthony N., who are the 8BallWrap guys. Once a customer came in for the full treatment — oil service, then a set of coil-over suspension — and they ended up deciding to wrap their car a crazy color too.

Ben recently began building an off-road, overland SUV. That prompted them to start planning to offer more in the off-road and truck performance area.

Jose does performance engine software tune-ups, and he's been detailing as long as he can remember.

"I always had to have my cars clean. Well, not just clean, but detailed. I love my cars, so why should they not always look sharp? As I learned more and used better products, I just enjoyed it even more."

When we get to work on really nice cars, say doing modifications to show cars and such, well, that is just the icing on the cake, as they say.

Complex Jobs at the Garage

Pinpointing any one job is difficult. What you think should be routine never is in reality. In general, it's far more complex working on Audi and VW all-wheel-drive vehicles than on other cars. For example, replacing a clutch in an Audi S5 is quite complex compared to replacing a clutch in a Hellcat.

Least Favorite Jobs?

Dealing with very rusty cars is obviously problematic. The crew has to explain to the customer that it will take more time and require the replacement of other parts and hardware, making the job cost more. Everyone here likes to be fair, and when it costs more it disappoints customers.

Tools the Whole Crew Loves

Mechanics love tools that are dependable and make work easy. When we asked the team what the most key industry advances have been, they said that the most important innovations are the availability of high-quality tools at an affordable price and that so many specialty tools are now available.

What was the first tool you received?

Ben: When I was about 10 years old, my grandfather gave me his Champion Channellock 420 pliers, vintage late 1940’s. I still have those pliers.

Jose: A set of Craftsman USA tools given to me by my father.

Anthony T.: A small set of Craftsman USA sockets and screwdrivers that my dad gave me when I was about 12 years old because he was tired of me borrowing his tools to take apart things around the house.

What is your favorite high-performance tool from Capri Tools?

Ben: My 3/8 drive chrome sockets. I use them all day long. I have a set at the shop, one in each car, and one at home.

Jose: My Capri 3/8 flex head ratchet.

Anthony T.: My Capri Tools impact drivers and impact sockets. They work better than the other tool truck ones I used to have. Tony and Anthony N.: We prefer the Capri Tools bit sockets and 1/4 drive sockets. We use them all day every day in adjusting car body panels when wrapping cars.

How do you feel about sharing tools?

The crew: Ooh! That is a touchy subject for most mechanics. All of us here at Hi-Tek don't mind sharing our tools with each other. We each have a really complete spread of tools. So it's not often we need to borrow from each other. When one of us borrows a tool, it's usually an unusual situation where we simply reach for what's close if it will help get through a job. But we all pretty much respect the unwritten rule — if you borrow it, put it back as soon as possible.

When we saw the Hi-Tek logo, we couldn't resist asking if there any hidden meaning behind it.

Ben and Jose wanted something that was catchy in appearance, but also emphasized automotive with a bit of engineering. They finally selected the gear with the tools crossed. "The colors we selected may have had just a wee touch of inspiration from the Capri Tools’ colors. The blue and black just looked great together," added Ben.

Honest guys all around.

Hi-Tek Garage Services and Hours

The Hi-Tek Garage team offers specialty services plus the usual repair and maintenance services — oil changes, cooling system flushes, tune ups, and air conditioning service/repair.

They also do:

• Suspension work and tire installation and repair.
• Clutches and automatic transmission service/rebuilds.
• Electrical repair.
• Brakes.

Their specialty services include:

• Car wrapping, washing, and detailing services.
• Installation of performance parts.
• Custom wheels and tires.
• Lifts or lowering kits.
• Computer performance tunes.

Hours:

Saturday from available for early drop-off/pickup when needed. They are flexible and always willing to help out in most situations. Garage is normally open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.. They are closed Sundays. Special hours are always

Dog-friendly atmosphere. The team loves dogs and considers them to be part of the family.​

Thank You, Hi-Tek Garage

The car-loving crew at Hi-Tek Garage epitomizes the reasons Capri Tools is committed to our vision of creating the best, high-quality tools — these guys love their tools and their cars.


We love getting feedback and requests from guys like the Hi-Tek crew. It’s from the front lines that we get the input to develop game-changing tools like our 75-degree offset double box end wrenches and our stubby combination wrench sets in mm or SAE for getting into those really tight, difficult-to-reach spaces.

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