Family owned and operated by Henry and Lisa Carter since 1993, Water Star Motors has grown steadily on the basis of good honest repair work, a strong reputation with customers, being a Green Certified Business and being nice. We are a mechanically, spiritually and environmentally conscious auto repair shop.
- We were the First Santa Cruz City Certified Green Business.
- We are also a State of California Certified Green Business
- 2009 We received an award from the Mayor of Santa Cruz for our efforts in the Green Business Community
- We are an AAA approved auto repair center.
- We were awarded the Small Business of the Year 2007 by Assembly member John Laird.
- We were voted Best of Santa Cruz in the annual Good Times reader poll of 2002, 2012 and the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Santa Cruz Magazine Goldie's awards.
If your car is under warranty with the dealership or an aftermarket warranty program, we especially encourage you to come in: often, we can save you money by identifying expensive problems that may not be otherwise noticeable before your warranty expires.
How did we get our name?
Our name, Water Star Motors, was inspired by a camping trip Henry and Lisa took to the Wastahi campground, in Big Basin State Park. Wastahi is Indian for water-star/falling star. At the camp ground meteor showers could be seen in the sky at night. We had been camping there the weekend before we opened the doors to Water Star Motors. Our first location was on Water Street, then Pacific Avenue and now River Street. We work on a lot of Mercedes-Benz, which has a star logo. Alchemically speaking, if you mix fire and water, you get steam. All these things blend together beautifully in the name Water Star Motors. We are Your Serene, Green Auto Repair Team.
Our technicians are ASE Certified Technicians who participate in continuing professional education and certification. They are professionally trained car buffs who love the work they do so well, and we all benefit as a result.
Your Serene, Green Auto Repair Team: Henry, Lisa, Ben, and Troy.
Henry, Lisa have assembled a team of dedicated and loyal employees who love their work and are constantly striving to improve their skills through continuing professional education. We are all environmentally conscious and willing to go the extra mile to stay Green.
Henry Carter - Owner & Co-Founder of Water Star Motors
Henry is a natural-born mechanic - sometimes known as the "Car Whisperer". He started working on cars when he was fourteen. His professional experience with Mercedes dates back to 1979, when he started his career by working for a Mercedes dealership in Colorado Springs.
He is a Master Technician for Mercedes & Nissan, and is an ASE Master Technician and Advanced Level One Specialist. Henry's extensive and varied work experience has touched on nearly every import model and make - if you have a import car, Water Star Motors can fix it! Bring it to Your Serene, Green Auto Repair Team!
Henry is an avid recycler and promoter of sustainable living. Henry also enjoys the culinary arts, fine wine, meditating, travel and wood carving.
- Owner with high integrity and is environmentally conscious
- 30 years working as a professional technician: Factory trained in Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Acura and Peugeot. Has worked in Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi, BMW, Nissan, Toyota and Honda dealerships.
- ASE: Certified Master Technician, Parts specialist, Service consultant and ASE certified advanced level specialist
- IMACA certification (Air conditioning)
- California B.A.R. Smog Class - 90 hour advanced smog training
- Hybrid vehicle class (several)
- A lifetime of training in MBZ and all other import vehicles
- 2008 United Way Community Hero for efforts in sustainable community
- Member Think Local First
- Treasurer. Board of Directors of the Scotts Valley Exchange Club; '04 - '07
- Board Member and Charter President - Surf City Exchange Club
- Co-creator of "If My Car Could Talk" radio show
- Co-creator of Feng Shui car kits
- Co-creator of "Rock, Paper, Car" - How Your Car Works
- Santa Cruz Green Business Network
Lisa Carter - Owner & Co-Founder of Water Star Motors
The feminine presence at Water Star Motors.
Does being a ballet major pay off? Yes! Lisa's experience as a ballet dancer lends grace to whatever she does. Initially, Lisa got her hands dirty under the hood assisting husband, Henry, with car maintenance, repairs and advising. However, now the business has grown to the point where Lisa and Henry have a team of highly trained technicians and service advisers to assist them, Lisa is able to focus on issues behind the scenes, including directing Water Star Motors' marketing, finances and writing Rock, Paper, Car for Santa Cruz Weekly as well as Waterstar's Blog: The Sage Mechanic.
Says Lisa: "It is so good to work with such a great team of smart, harmonious hard workers. They are my serene, green, auto repair team!"
Lisa is an advocate for sustainable living (let's save our planet one person at a time). She is a great listener, organizer and get-it-done kind of gal. Lisa not only loves to meditate herself, but she teaches meditation classes as well.
- Most current: ATI Business training and Performance Group
- Training with Small Business Development Center
- Many years - member of Leads Club
- Board of Directors - Financial Recorder - Non-profit - Chee Hau Center
- Co-creator of "If My Car Could Talk" radio show
- Co-creator of Feng Shui car kits
- Co-creator of "Rock, Paper, Car" - How Your Car Works
- Board of Directors - non profit - The Sustainability Academy
- Board of Directors - non profit - Surf City Exchange Club
- Mom & Grandma
Anecdote (Short account of a funny incident/event in auto repair or other): Sometimes it is the simple things that can fix a car. On example is a truck came in the other day with a ‘no power on the freeway’. As you can imagine, this can be very scary. The funny discovery was that the floor mat had creeped its way under the throttle in such a way as to prevent full acceleration.
June, 2018; I saw smoke within the block of our shop and called 911. They asked me to confirm if there was an actual fire. Meanwhile, my technicians ran around the corner, confirming it was a brushfire. I handed them a fire extinguisher over the fence. They problem solved by using a hose from a house near to the fire and were successful in putting out the fire. They saved the nearby home as well as acres near the levy. I was able to put this article in the SC Sentinel.
Stephanie Underwood: Service Advisor
Aspirations, beliefs, or goals as a human being: I believe in treating others how I wish to be treated. My goals in life are to do my best, try hard, and enjoy life. As a human and mother, I want my son to have faith in himself and not be scared to speak his mind.
Experience, Education, Credentials, Achievements: I’ve been working in automotive repair since 2015. Starting as a lube tech I moved my way up to Service Advisor. I have completed Level 1 Engine and Control Emission control fundamentals and Level 2 Smog Check Procedure training. Also, I have earned certification in Social Justice, and enjoy working with and helping people.
Unique Quirks, Soft Side of Personality: I love being a mother, friend, sister, and a woman. When I’m not working you most likely will find me with my son or curled up with a good book.
What you bring to Water Star Motors: I’d say I’m hard working, quirky, and a little bit of a clean freak. But I will always greet you with a genuine smile and a helping hand.
Anecdote (Short account of a funny incident/event in auto repair or other) A dangerous car problem I see sometimes is when the brake pads and rotors are worn-out beyond belief. Most people are good about replacing pads when they start to squeal, or the light comes on the dash. But others keep driving until they can barely stop at a red light. I've seen rotors worn down to their vanes, or so rusted that they snapped off the carrier. A few times I've seen brake pads worn past the metal backing. This means the piston was the braking surface. Yikes! It's crazy how people play with their safety like that.
Troy Bierman, Technician
Aspirations, beliefs or goals as a human being: I believe in treating others as I want to be treated. I am number one, but everybody else comes first. I love good manners – Please, may I, thank you. I strive to be the best human being I can be (by thinking first)
Experience, Education, Credentials, Achievements: With 25+ years’ experience, I feel every day is some sort of education. I learn something new every day. If you aren’t learning something new, your eyes aren’t open wide enough. I finally went sky diving with my two awesome daughters, and I am sure many more great things are to come.
Unique Quirks, Soft Side of Personality: I am totally interested in all things in life such as Bonsai, and Origami. I love the beach and making crazy sand sculptures. Now I have found a passion in sky diving and want to get certified and put on a wing suit!
What you bring to Water Star Motors: I am a willing and able body with great wit and humor. Plus, I have critical thinking skills, mechanical smarts and dedication to the company.
Anecdote (Short account of a funny incident/event in auto repair or other): Nothing funny, just a non-thinking moment. I was doing a clutch and spacing out on putting the pressure plate and clutch disc on before putting the transmission back in. (Hey, what is that on the floor over there? The clutch kit!) Ha, ha. No big deal – take the transmission back out and do it right!
Ben Marzan, Smog Technician
Aspirations, beliefs or goals as a human being: To become a great auto repair technician and a good person to everyone – especially to my family.
Experience, Education, Credentials, Achievements: 17 years working in restaurants as a dishwasher and line cook. Also, I have worked almost 30 years on cars as a mechanic and smog technician. My college degree is as a Marine Engineer from the Philippine Maritime Institute.
Unique Quirks, Soft Side of Personality: I treat my dog and my cat the same way I treat my children. Lots of love.
What you bring to Water Star Motors: My vast experience as an auto mechanic and smog technician. I also like working with this super team.
Anecdote (Short account of a funny incident/event in auto repair or other): At another shop, I was helping a new mechanic with a clutch job. “Just ask me if you need any help,” I say. The next thing you know he had the clutch back in the vehicle already. I thought to myself – that is a bit too fast. I looked around and saw the pressure plate was still on the floor. Fortunately, I caught it in time for the other tech to undo and redo the job.
Cade Martin-Hansen – Shop Helper
Aspirations, beliefs, or goals as a human being: I believe that we should all try to act in a way that promotes the behavior we would like to see in the world around us.
Experience, Education, Credentials, Achievements: I graduated from SLV High School in 2021 and completed my first year from Cabrillo College. I have been working at Water Star Motors for 1.5 years. They are teaching me so much about how cars work and how to work on cars! I appreciate this learning opportunity.
Unique Quirks, Soft Side of Personality: I really Like plants and can name/identify most of the native plants in our area. I especially love the wildflowers as I hike.
What you bring to Water Star Motors: What I bring to Water Star Motors is a positive attitude and kindness that I hope makes it a better workspace for my teammates and customers.
Anecdote (Short account of a funny incident/event in auto repair or other) Every time I can’t find a coffee cup before work in the morning, I will find every coffee cup I own at work. Hilarious.
Support the Community
One of the founding members of the Exchange Club of Santa Cruz County, Henry Carter has been an inspiration in communicating the value of the Exchange Club to many notable people in our city. The Exchange Club is an all-volunteer service organization for men and women to serve their community, develop leadership skills and to develop friendships. A natural leader, as president of the club, Henry developed a core of inspired volunteers to participate in many activities within our first year of membership. He bolsters their confidence and helps them recognize that they have valuable qualities. Henry's enthusiasm and leadership has spurred the club on to many accomplishments over the past year.
We are supporters of CASA, Boys and Girls Club, Walnut Avenue Women's Center, Second Harvest Food Bank, Ecology Action, Green Business Program, Young at Heart, Chee Hau Center, Santa Cruz High School Athletics, the Exchange Club to mention a few.
To see the full partial list of Community Organizations and people Water Star Motors has supported since 1993, please click here.
Henry and Lisa's Top 10 Why should your car be serviced at Water Star Motors?
- Our primary goal is to create an exchange of abundance with you that begins with our providing the highest quality of service for the best price in order to ensure your satisfaction and is completed with referrals of your friends to Water Star Motors. Thank you.
- We believe in customer service. We are friendly. We do our very best to hear what you have to say about your car.
- We provide every possible means to make it convenient for you. From Early-Bird Drop-off to shuttle service to your home or office to (almost always) same day service.
- We have a staff that is highly trained and is constantly getting new training to hone their skills. Also, we keep up with the necessary technology in order to communicate with your vehicle.
- We have the latest test equipment available to help us make the proper diagnosis for the problems your car may be having.
- We believe in a VALUABLE FINAL PRODUCT. Your vehicle is test driven to ensure everything's perfect for you.
- We have one of the longest warranties among local shops: Labor and new parts 24 months-unlimited mileage (does not cover wear items such as brakes & belts or labor for lifetime parts).
- We believe in preventive maintenance and strive to alert you to your car's upcoming scheduled services.
- We perform a complete vehicle inspection each time we see your car and advise you on safety issues and potential problems for the future.
- You will not only save time and money with us but will obtain the peace of mind that comes from knowing your car is safe, reliable and optimally maintained.
Water Star Motors is on the radio!
Click below to listen to our radio ad.