This month we welcome guest blogger, Amy Mattinat, owner and President of Auto Craftsmen Ltd ASE Blue Seal Shop & AAA Approved Auto Repair Center. Before her current position she was previously President of Women in Auto Care [formerly known as: Car Care Council Women’s Board] and was awarded the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration’s Vermont Women-Owned Business of the Year.
How Do You Know The Skill Level Of The Mechanic Working On Your Car?
In the United States, mechanics are not licensed. Anyone who goes out and purchases some tools can open up an auto repair shop or get a job at an independent shop or at the dealer working on cars. A specific shop or dealer may have a great reputation, but most drivers never know which mechanic will be working on their vehicle.
You rely on your car to keep you and your family safe and get you to work, school and all those other places that are a major part of your life without breaking down on the side of the road. Plus it is crazy expensive to purchase a car, maintain it and replace any broken or worn out parts. Cars are also so technically advanced, that it makes it nearly impossible for you to be able to work on your car yourself. I call them computers on wheels.
The mechanic or auto technician who is working on your car is essentially a car doctor. You wouldn’t go to a doctor who wasn’t a licensed M.D. So, how can you be sure the car-doctor / auto technician working on your car has the experience, expertise and skill to be repairing and servicing your vehicle?
One of the best kept secrets of the auto repair industry is The National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence Certification Program
Since 1972 The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence or ASE has set the industry standards by testing and certifying automotive professionals nationwide. ASE Certifications are a valuable yard stick by which dealers, independent repair center owners and service customers can measure the knowledge and skills of individual technicians before contracting the technician’s services. To achieve ASE Certification, technicians must show the appropriate work experience and pass one or more ASE developed tests. For cars and light trucks, this includes testing in eight automotive systems, and then there are specialty tests for hybrids, diesels, service consultants and for parts specialist.
The eight basic tests for auto mechanics are:
- Engine Repair Certification
- Automatic Transmission Certification
- Manual Drive Train & Axles Certification
- Suspension & Steering Certification
- Brakes Certification
- Electrical Systems Certification
- Heating & Air Conditioning Certification
- Engine Performance Certification
Each certification will help you identify and recognize the skill level of your technician in the specific repair or service your vehicle needs to be safe and reliable.
For each exam that is passed, the auto technician receives a certification for that system and receives an ASE Certification patch. The test questions are continually changing to reflect the new technology and each test needs to be retaken every five years to maintain the ASE Certification.
As you can see below, there is a progression of the certification process to distinguish what level of skill your auto repair technician is at. If all eight tests are passed an ASE Master Technician Certification is awarded. Master Techs are considered experts in automotive repair.
ASE also has an Advanced Engine Performance Specialist test and Certification. These technicians are like medical specialists such as Cardiologists or Surgeons. They diagnose and repair the most complex engine performance problems and deal with the sophisticated on-board electronics that drive modern cars.
Finding ASE-Certified Technicians
Repair establishments with just one ASE technician on staff who only have one certification are permitted to display the ASE sign on their building. To find out what certifications the auto technician really has, you should look for the certificate of credentials that ASE provides and should be hanging up on display in the office or waiting area. If you don’t see any credential certificates just ask. Most technicians are proud to share their expertise and ASE Certifications with their customers.
Blue Seal of Excellence Takes the Guess Work Out of Finding ASE Certified Technicians
ASE’s highest recognition is the ‘Blue Seal of Excellence’ designation for auto repair centers and dealers that exhibit superior service and hire a staff that are at least 75% ASE Certified. These elite facilities are among the best in the nation and offer complete repair and maintenance care.
If repair facilities are going to provide you with excellent automotive repair and care, they need to hire the best in the industry. The ASE Certification program helps you understand their staff’s level of skill, experience and dedication to their jobs.
The ASE Certification program is your guarantee of getting the top of the line service for the vehicle that you and your family invested in and safety depends on.