Choose a shop that employees ASE-certified auto technicians to ensure your vehicle maintenance and repair dollars are wisely spent.
Studies from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) show vehicles that receive regular maintenance and service retain more of their value, get better gasoline mileage, and pollute less than cars that are neglected. But today’s computer-loaded systems leave many former do-it-yourselfers hesitant to do much weekend tinkering. What’s a conscientious vehicle owner to do?
How Consumers Benefit from ASE Certification
Finding a competent auto repair professional should not be difficult … and with that guiding principle, the nonprofit, independent ASE was founded in 1972.
The mission was clear: Develop a mechanism by which working auto technicians could prove their competence to themselves, their employers, and to consumers.
The solution: A series of national certification exams covering all major automotive repair and service specialties.
The result: An elite group of automotive service professionals at work in repair establishments throughout the nation.
Why Use ASE-Certified Auto Technicians?
Consumers benefit from ASE’s certification program because it takes much of the guesswork out of finding a competent technician.
Perhaps years ago, any shade-tree mechanic would do; after all, cars were simpler, less complex. But with today’s high-tech vehicles — family sedans, sports coupes, rugged SUVs, and powerful pickups — the margin for error is small because mistakes are more costly. It makes good financial sense, then, to protect your sizeable automotive investment through regular maintenance and service performed by ASE-certified professionals.
Because the program is voluntary, technicians who have taken the time and expense to earn ASE certification can be counted on to have a strong sense of pride in accomplishment and professionalism — which should be good news for consumers. Moreover, prior to taking ASE exams, many technicians attend training classes or study on their own in order to brush up on their knowledge. The time they spend sharpening their skills translates directly to the work they perform on vehicles every day on the job.
How Does ASE Certification Work?
More than 100,000 candidates sit for ASE exams each year. These exams — the only independent national certification tests available to automotive professionals — are developed and regularly updated by representatives from the service and repair industry, vocational educators, working technicians, and ASE’s own in-house technical specialists. The exams stress real-world diagnostic and repair problems, not theory.
Mechanics who pass at least one exam and fulfill the hands-on work experience requirement earn the title of “ASE-Certified Automobile Technician,” while those who pass all eight automotive exams earn “Master Auto Technician” status. There are also tests for parts specialists, collision repair technicians, automotive service consultants, and segments of the repair industry. however, ASE certification is not a designation for life; technicians must recertify every five years in order to demonstrate a commitment to continuing education and staying abreast of constantly changing technologies.
How to Find an ASE Professional
ASE technicians can be found at every type of repair facility: new car dealerships, independent garages, service stations, franchised outlets, collision shops, tire dealers, parts stores and more. There are more than 360,000 ASE-certified professionals at work nationally. Repair facilities employing ASE professionals usually display the distinctive blue and white ASE sign on the premises and post their technicians’ credentials in their customer service areas.
Employers often include the ASE logo in their advertising as well. Further, establishments with a high percentage of certified pros on staff may display evidence of membership in the elite Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition Program. ASE-certified professionals are issued shoulder insignia or lapel pins, as well as personalized credentials and wall certificates listing their exact areas of certification.
For additional information and seasonal car care tips visit http://www.ase.com. ASE joins the automotive aftermarket industry in recognizing April as National Car Care Month.
Choosing the Right Repair Shop: A Checklist
ASE certifies individual technicians — not repair establishments. But it stands to reason that shop owners who encourage their technicians to become ASE certified will be just as proactively involved in the other aspects of their businesses as well. Here are some tips on finding a good repair establishment:
•Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one.
•Ask your friends and associates for their recommendations; consult local consumer groups.
•Arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based solely on location.
•Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.
•Look for a courteous staff, with a service consultant willing to answer all of your questions.
•Look for policies regarding estimated repair costs, diagnostic fees, guarantees, acceptable methods of payment, etc.
•Ask if the repair facility specializes in or regularly performs your type of needed repair work.
•Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area such as civic, community, or customer service awards.
•Look for evidence of qualified technicians: trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced courses, and ASE certification.
•Look for the ASE sign.
•Facilities with a high percentage of ASE-certified professionals may also be members of the elite Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition Program. Ask the shop if it is a member of the program