“They did a fantastic job on my '86 Westie three months ago; diagnostics, mechanical and some small-fry repairs. Plus they helped out over the phone when I had some car trouble away from home. I've been to many different auto mechanics in my 50 years on the planet and rarely do I feel that they are really trustworthy. These guys are good; they know their way around these cars, they are exceedingly pleasant and cheerful, they work hard and I recommend them to all van/Westie owners." -Gabby B.
“I just bought an '89 Vanagon... without driving it... yeah, a bit of a shot in the dark. Did what I could to suss it out then turned it over to the folks at Buslab. They did a ultra thorough inspection of the van, providing me with a list of things that could use fixing. The main bits were the clutch and brakes - they did those for cheaper than anyone else I could find and the fact that they specialize in these large German boxes on wheels provides the assurance that the work has been done right. The people that work there seem pretty right on as well. Happy to give advice to dudes like me who want to try to fix stuff with shoe goo... Buy a van and take it to them!" -Marc T.
“These guys are the best when it comes to VW busses. Got mine back running great, took a little bit of time but they did the job. Everyone was very up front and honest. Thanks!" -Andy S.
“Not just for buses! I took my classic VW Beetle here for a full vehicle inspection and to diagnose a problem. I also shop here for parts when I can do my own repairs or maintenance. As a young woman, I know know how extremely difficult it is to find a mechanic who will treat me with respect. This is the place, I am very happy to have found these folks because I have not only been treated respectfully, but also with top notch customer service and professional discourse. They will even go out of their way to source out a part for my car and find where it is at some other local shop. They are not only professional, but genuinely helpful and gracious people. I will highly recommend this shop to anyone needing work done to an air cooled VW! The only downside is that they have so much business, they couldn't take my car immediately. I have to wait several days to a week to get my car in for service. So plan ahead." -K.S.
“The Buslab is the bomb. The bomb. In the world of VW repair shops, sloppy service, long wait times, over budget bills and unreliable customer service seem to be the norm. Not with Buslab. These folks are great. They respond promptly, do great work, their repairs cost what they quote and are completed on time. They even have a cute lobby complete with pink flamingos and a coupon for a cup of joe at the local coffee shop while you wait. They are super professionally, reliable and customer service oriented. If only every business could have the skill and service of the Buslab! My bus and I will never go anywhere else- we have found the best in the Buslab." -Kate W.
“My partner and I showed up unannounced seeking advisement on how to buy a Vanagon worth its cost. We were welcomed, a moment was spared, and guidance was shared freely with us." -TJ W.
“Wow! We were looking to purchase a '76 bus off Craigslist, but were a little worried about the problems the owner described. We called into the shop to get an opinion on the scope of the work and the man we spoke to was spectacular (EDIT: Thank you Adrian!!!). Thank you so much! He walked us through multiple scenarios and the cost breakdown. So thorough and helpful! If this is the level of service provided over the phone to a would-be customer then they have all of our future business!!" -Ginny H.
“Buslab converted my 1990 Multivan to a Subaru in the summer of 2009. I also replaced the transmission (an automatic) and did a number of smaller upgrades including an auxiliary battery. The results have been terrific. My van is no longer the slowest thing on the highway. In fact, I can drive at normal highway speeds in any lane I choose. My mileage improved and the reliability has soared. I had to bring the van in for one adjustment to the throttle, but it's like new and I love it more than any bus I have ever owned. Highly recommended." -Jon S.
“These guys are AMAZINNNNNNNNNNG !!!!! Totally saved my butt ,have anything VW you need, and will walk you threw the steps to either do it yourself , or help the person doing it for you. And it doesn't cost an arm and a leg . I really appreciate them and the guy at the desk is so cool, he totally got someone to help me out who didn't bullshit me in the process ..... thanks guys." -Lindsey L.
“Graham, Dan and David in parts helped me out tremendously getting everything I needed together. They also were able to give me some great advice as to what else I should be replacing while I was taking on my project. The prices are quite fair too!" -William C.
“I had an excellent experience with these people. Came in for a brake adjustment, and Steve was great about my asking questions about the transmission and idle. I highly recommend this place. I own a 73 campmobile. Very trustworthy. Thanks Buslab!" -O.C.
“Dylan and the staff at Buslab are the best mechanics I have ever worked with, hands down. They were generous with their time; patient with the customer (and the customer's kids!); accurately and promptly diagnosed the problems; communicated directly; effectively set expectations; and got the job done correctly, on time, and affordably. HURRAH. Buslab is one of the best parts about owning a VW bus. I proudly display the Buslab sticker on the back window of my 90 Vanagon Westy." -Danny K.
“I stopped by Bus Lab totally unannounced with a concerning gas leak problem. This problem popped up while camping and I was several miles from home. Even though they were super busy, they welcomed me in and fixed the problem fast, getting me back on the road and saving me from being stranded far from home. They even gave me a coupon for a free coffee down the street! The whole experience was easy and everyone was really friendly and welcoming." -Joleen W.
“Have I told you how much we love our van and the work you guys have done on it? We did our trip to the East Coast with our van loaded to the gills with all the regular stuff and 1000 pounds of machine tools for my son in New York. It did great in the hills in the Sierras and the Rockies. You really built it into an amazing vehicle!" -Rick J.
“I met Marco on holiday camping while I had some trouble with my VW. Without a second thought he was over at my campsite testing and diagnosing my troubles. He even started pulling parts from his van to test on mine, sure enough he honed in on the problem in short order. He refused any pay and I totally appreciate his efforts. If you have a VW in the Berkeley area I highly recommend you take it to a great guy like Marco." -Todd M.
“Extremely professional and courteous! Great at diagnosing big or small problems with your VW Bus. Buslab found out what was causing flapping noises on the highway and repaired the seal around the pop-up camper shell to my '87 Vanagon. They also found out what caused my instrument lights to not work when I could not find a fix." -Darryl B.
“On a road trip from L.A. to Hood River, a caliper froze up in Santa Cruz. Limped into the city where we were directed to the Buslab in Berkeley by a parking lot attendant whose office is a Vanagon. Buslab diagnosed our problem, and also repaired a funky ball joint, and had us on our way by 5. Great shop, great guys, and very helpful." -Bradford T.
“Last year, I bought for my husband and I a 1986 VW Vanagon for camping/road trips. Little did I know, the Vanagon I bought needed tons of repairs. I was VERY lucky to find the Buslab, which is conveniently located downtown Berkeley, just a quick 5 min drive from my house. I did end up spending a few good paychecks here, but it was work well done. I continue going to the Buslab for maintenance and oil changes and everything in between. I highly recommend these guys if you have a VW Bus." -Caroline B.
“I flew from New Jersey to San Francisco to buy a cream puff 1990 Vanagon Westy. Cream puff but 21 years old, I blew a coolant hose on the way out of town. After some phone calls I decided to have her towed to The Bus Lab, and I'm glad I did - right off the bat I was very impressed with these guys and this shop. So in addition to the needed repair I decided to go ahead with some upgrades originally slated for later (coolant system, brakes, suspension, wheels, tires, and general stuff getting her ready for the road). The advice given was expert, the work excellent, and done expeditiously. These guys are not only expert wrenches, they also drive and love Vanagons. IMVHO you won't find a better bus or van shop." -Dave K.
“They know how to work on my 1966 beetle. The guys are real cool too. I learned something about my beetle as well. I was told that I needed a valve adjustment every time I had an oil change, but the guys over here told me that its really only needed every other time. Saves me 70 clams. You know a business is honest when they SAVE you money vs. upselling stuff." -Matt M.
“Wow. These guys are LEGIT. I am a long time VW enthusiast - having restored many early Type IIbuses. I recently purchased a Vanagon, and brought it to the Buslab for an initial inspection as the new owner. They performed work for me, and provided a thorough review of items that may need to be addressed in the future. No pressure, just straight- up guidance. These guys even fixed a couple cosmetic odds and ends that were small items, but things that just 'bugged them' to see unattended. They have won me over with their honesty, their passion, and just being all around nice guys. I now know that I have a favorite "go-to" shop to keep my Vanagon in top running shape. The Buslab rules." -Dan B.
“It's difficult to find a shop that specializes in old VWs, let alone find one that specializes in old VW buses. The Buslab knows it all, and is quite happy to work on my old bus. They have seen everything, so when you mention some weird VW bus quirk, they know just what you're talking about. What's more, they usually have the parts in stock. Believe me, I have tried every shop that has ever been in Berkeley (for over 30 years) and this shop is the best VW repair shop ever. I highly recommend them!" -Joe E.
“Yay Buslab! I think it's providence that this place is so close to my work. I mean, really really close. Considering the difficulty I've had finding a place to work on Maude, my 1970 squareback, I think it's providence. I took her in for a tuneup and I was treated with warmth and fairness, I got prompt callbacks, and Steve gave me referrals to places he trusts for glass work and wheels. The place is rad with some kind of weird life-sized diorama in one corner with manikins having a picnic by their bus. Little collectible nuggets or weirdness decorate the walls. I get the sense that they fix VWs in their spare time in between making art films or something. Anyway, good service, fair price, professionalism, all of this is a MIRACLE when you're trying to get an older car worked on. Maybe my standards have been lowered by multiple bad experiences out there, but I'll definitely be coming back to these dudes for my lady's upkeep." -Mags P.
“Thank you Buslab for being excellent. I first visited Buslab 5 years ago when I needed some work done for my Syncro Westy, which had a quirky aftermarket Tiico engine at the time. The guys quickly fabricated the bracket I needed from an old VW Jetta part and sent me on my way. I was impressed with their resourcefulness, technical skill, knowledge of Vanagons, client focus, and low-stress style. Later that year, my son and I met up again with Marco at an annual camp-out for Vanagon owners down in the Hollister Hills. I was considering an engine swap and other improvements for the Syncro. The Tiico engine was not providing me either the power or reliability I was seeking. Marco explained how the Subaru engine design is such a perfect swap into the Vanagon... when done professionally, the engine looks like it came out of the factory that way. As a former Subaru owner, I knew those engines are bulletproof and deliver good power. I was sold on the concept. Our van is used for family camping trips all over the west, and also as a "race day" van for Junior bicycling races. It is often loaded down with gear, provisions, and people, and I wanted reliability and greater "drive-ability" on both highway and off-road to get that perfect out-of-the-way campsite. Marco oversaw the technical team of great people that know these vans like no other. And Steve was the pragmatic, consummate professional, explaining the pros and cons of different alternatives, costs for add-ons and changes, and always keeping me in the loop with progress on the van. We have been enjoying the Subaru powered Syncro Westy for 3 years now. The build is amazingly clean and well thought-out. The Subie engine in our family van has completely transformed the driving experience, and thus, family outings. I have continued to bring the van to Buslab for other projects... a new re-geared transaxle for better fuel economy, a new auxiliary battery system, new propane tank, new cooling system, etc. These guys know every bolt in a VW Van, period. I trust my van to them because they are subject matter experts and super nice people that always provide honest, straightforward input. Good work Buslab!" -Lance L.
“The Buslab is simply the best VW shop in Berkeley, CA ! Steve and Marco are dedicated and super knowledgeable. Add to that they will tell you when it will be done and how much it will cost and that is what it is; always! They are not a discount shop. They won’t use your parts ever. They stock and will sell you used parts though. They really enjoy improving your knowledge of your vehicle. They are pro’s, they get paid accordingly and are worth every penny. I have only praise for these guys. I have brought my 87’ Syncro to three or four other shops in the area over the last few years with mixed to really scary experiences." -Michael C.
“I drove our 85 Bus from Buslab across 17 states, maybe 10k miles last summer. A few oil changes along the way. That was it. Asheville, NC VW Bus restore/repair shop I took her to for a look over was impressed as well." -Nell C.
“My car was at Tassi for 2 months waiting for a issue with the clutch cable ..I got tired of waiting for them to do it , they kept lying telling me they were working on it, I found Buslab online made an appointment and a week later they looked at my car and ordered me a new longer cable ..I had them do a couple other bits on the car a 69 VW kit car .. I got it back and less than a week later same issue clutch cable kept breaking they got me back In a week later and fixed it ( they found out the real issue. Metal piece was rubbing on the cable) they did the work and finally got it fixed. But didn't charge me anything. How often does that happen in a mechanics .. Like never ..will definitely be coming back great friendly staff also." -Jim D.
“They really know their stuff and have kept me going when others have failed. Jackie L. “I cannot say enough about the honesty, enthusiasm, and knowledge of these guys at the Buslab. I know a fair bit about vehicles, but these guys know my Vanagon top to bottom with their eyes closed. I brought my 1987 Vanagon GL to them last week to have them assess the issues I have been having with the sliding door latch. I dealt with Dan and Marko and felt immediately at ease with them as mechanics and as people. My latch appeared to be in decent shape, and Marko thought it would be just fine if the latch was disassembled as much as it could be, tightened up, oiled, etc. They charged a very reasonable rate to perform this job, but did warn up front that there is no way to be sure that the latch will hold. Everything appeared to be in fine working order, but the latch itself was just too worn down and would pop open when the van flexed around a turn or on a big bump. I called them up and they said they would source me a known good used latch (new are NLA from VW of America). I had a bit of a truncated timetable as my departure from the Bay Area after the holidays will be before they reopen next week. Dan went above and beyond the call of duty and met me this morning - Christmas Eve - to get my door in tip top shape before my departure. They honored the previous work they did (cleaning/adjusting the original latch) and charged me only for the replacement part - no additional labor. Extremely friendly, honest guys who genuinely care about their vans and their customers. This is evidenced in the fact that Dan identified a trouble spot where the interior panels like to tear away and scrape on the body as the sliding door is opened, and adjusted the panel and added some sheet metal screws to hold it permanently. When I was in there the first time, Marko adjusted my shift linkage and lubed everything up because he noticed it was notchy when he pulled it in. It shifts like a Porsche now - unbelievable! No prompting, no extra charge for these extras, just good hearted people wanting me to get back to adventuring. I will without question be back to the Buslab for anything outside of normal oil changes/tune ups (things I can perform myself). These guys are the best in the Bay Area and I would recommend them to anyone, anytime who wants good, honest, and reasonably priced work on their air-cooled VW or Vanagon." -Geoff E.
“These guys are awesome. I just bought a 1991 Westfalia Camper, brought it in for a full inspection to see where it was mechanically. They gave it a once over, and then explained everything in layman's terms to me. They fixed the most important stuff first, and we made plans to fix other items later, as they didn't need fixing quite yet. They did great work, and now my "new" Westy runs like a champ and we are ready to have some adventures in it." -Todd W.
“I wanted to share a recent experience because I think it illustrates the difference between a good and an exceptional business. I blew a coolant hose in Emeryville, pulled over, diagnosed the problem, and called the Buslab. It was almost closing time and I needed more Pentosin (nitrate free coolant which can be hard to find). Dan showed up after hours to deliver The Goods. Admittedly, I've been coming for years and it's probably unfair of me to advertise this and raise expectations because they seem to have gotten a lot busier since I started coming here years ago." -Mark M.
“Guys - thanks so much for helping me out in a pinch last Friday. I'm glad I was able to stop by just a few hours before closing, have you check the van and fix the issue. Made for a nice closing to my road trip. Appreciate your professionalism." -Gino B.
“These are professional, nice and honest people, let me tell you. I had a bus that was in bad shape, I mean it was just the most messed up thing in the whole wide world I just bet. But they fixed it right up and they knew what they were doing and they were nice and they did what needed to be done without hesitation and without mistakes and so there fore as a consequence I am just saying here that they rocked! Okay, that's the important thing here is that they did the right job. Five stars! All the way! Right on! Good." -Meredith C.
“These guys rock! Quick story: on the way to Baja via Mendocino (starting in the Grand Canyon!) with two kids, two adults, one dog and one 1986 bus, our brakes felt squishy in Oakland...and oh, the right windshield wiper arm and spindle snapped off in a snow storm the day before. Minutes before these guys were to go on vacation, swamped with tons of work I called and we rolled in a few minutes later. Screwdriver, wrenches, etc. in hand, Steve crawled under the bus, Marco worked the brake pedal and I watched. Steve taught me how to fix it in the future if we ran into the same thing in Mexico. I asked about a new windshield wiper assembly...oh, yes, Steve brought one right out, Marco re- did the threads so it was like new (a part for a 23 year old bus, right there!) and since the bus wouldn't start right back up, gave us a quick diagnosis. We left less than 30 minutes later for a great trip! Service, knowledge, honesty, willingness to help out. These are not descriptions we use to talk about most shops...right? Well these guys rock! Look them up if you are within 500 miles." -John E.
“Anyone who has owned a Vanagon for more than a month knows what a god send a good bus mechanic is. The Vanagon was not a reliable vehicle when first released and time hasn't been kind. With 28 feet of coolant hose, a flawed gasket design, strange engine layout and finicky ECM, few auto shops will even agree to work on them. That's your starting point to consider any review of a Vanagon mechanic... Marco and Steve love these vehicles and that is shown in their high-caliber of work and deep knowledge of the vehicles. I've had them do everything from vent window replacement to installing a used jump seat to installing new heads (see gaskets above) and I've never been anything but ecstatic with their work. They aren't cheap, but if you love your Westy, you know there's no other choice. The only knock is that there's often quite a wait to get in and they aren't always able to get your Vanagon out of there as fast as you'd expect. Not that that'll stop me from coming." -Mark B.
“Hooray for Buslab! Affordable reliable repair, I only wish they were on my side of the bridge. They fixed the power assist brakes on my 1971 Campmobile over a year ago...no problems since! Now the dreaded electrical boogyman has appeared and after failing to find the issue myself I am going back to buslabs for help." -Rose A.
“So I'm driving my 84 Adventurewagen Vanagon around Berkeley doing a million errands getting ready to leave for Burning Man the NEXT DAY and I notice coolant dribbling out of the back of my van onto the bank parking lot -FOOKERY!! I call my jack of all trades mechanic in Kensington and he's booked solid that day, but recommends the Buslab. I call and they are of course booked out solid for two weeks, but I explain my situation to the receptionist and she calls back a little while later and says that Marco says he will try and fix it by tomorrow if it is nothing major... Turns out to be a very specific and unique cooling hose that needs to be ordered and waited for for a couple of days, of course I'm trying to get to the Burn and the guys are rad and so they figure out how to MAKE my hose out of a rubber one and a metal tube that they have laying around...and they squeeze me in even though the tow-trucks keep arriving with busted down vans. People never stop flying at these guys from all directions, I would go bat-shit crazy, but they patiently answer my questions and totally help me out and stoke me for a reasonable fee... By the way, there was another guy there from Tennessee who's bus's brakes screwed the pooch that same day, and he was trying to get to the Burn as well...and they stayed overtime that night to get his stuff done...Great guys, great place...and we must love our vanagons because the buslab is busy and those vans are rickety!!!" -Sri O.
“In the early days of Buslab, they put a flyer on my 89 Vanagon windshield. I took it in to say I was not happy with flyers on windshields. However, that flyer led to many happy trips with my vehicle to the Buslab where they've kept it going for several hundred thousand miles (now over 350,000). I've watched the Buslab grow with their successful and personal service and recent move to larger space on Adeline. Because they specialize, they know VW Busses really well. I'll be back for more service at the Buslab to keep it going for the next 200,000 miles."-Frank B.
“I cannot say enough positive about Buslab. I am very protective of my van and when driving cross country I will not just bring it anywhere. I live in Boston and was in Berkeley, CA as part of our 10k road trip. My van began having some belt and idling issues. I called these guys let them know what was up and that I needed to be 8hrs away by evening. Without pause they said bring it in. As soon as we arrived they pulled the van in and within 45 minutes had my van back running like it should. After talking with them briefly about the repairs I could tell that they were extremely knowledge about all things Vanagon. Their prices were more than fair and they even pointed out a couple things on my van that they recommended that I have looked at when I got home. Coincidentally, while on our trip we ran into another Vanagon owner that happened to be from the Sacramento area. He said Buslab is the only place he will bring his van for service and drives nearly 60 miles each way to have it done." -Micah
“I dealt with Steve and Marco. They were totally straight, realistic and the work was exactly what it should have been. Are they cheap, yes and no. Looking at their work you can almost certainly get someone to do for 30% less. However you pay for their experience and getting it done right. Between my time, stress and not having to keep returning you'll figure they'll be 30% cheaper over time. Steve did not allow me to push them and delivered exactly when he told me it would be delivered. Work exceeded my expectations and was very clean. Only issue I had was a leaking windshield, nothing with the bus lab, 20 year old vehicle and couldn't tell till I drove in torrential rain. Typical Vanagon issue. Great shop, great work and spot on pricing. Thanks guys for the great conversion, working clock (first time in 7 yrs) and especially ending my having to bang the instrument cluster to keep the lights on!" -E.C.
“I have an '85 VW campmobile that has been a complete disaster since I bought it! The engine literally fell out of it! I had extensive work done on it at another mechanic, but it kept going back again and again! It was a nightmare! I saw a Bus Lab bumper sticker, looked them up and took my van to them. They have been WONDERFUL! they really worked on the MANY problems they encountered, and never gave up! I cannot believe it is the same van! There is a world of difference in it now! I think the bill was very reasonable, especially considering how much I had already spent with poor results! If I didn't love this van so much, and if it wasn't such a great "dog van" I would be crazy to keep it! they are very quirky, and not like a regular vehicle. But since it's trip to the Bus Lab, it has run excellently, and I feel confident in knowing they listened and repaired or replaced what ever looked questionable. My dogs give the Bus Lab "2 dewclaws up"!" -Marilynn H.
“Marco and company are the bomb! My 1984 Westfalia is loving their attention and care. I love supporting independant businesses and appriciate the personal focus. They care and take pride in their service! Besides, having a German mechanic from Germany work on a German ride is how we roll!" -Sparky S.