ASE—Certifying the Automotive Professional Finding a competent auto technician need not be a matter of chance. Much of the guesswork has been eliminated, thanks to national program conducted by the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
ASE tests and certifies automotive professionals in all major technical areas of repair and service. With nearly 400,000 currently certified professionals, the ASE program is national in scope and has industry- wide acceptance and recognition. ASE-certified professionals can be found at every type of repair facility, from dealerships, service stations, and franchises to parts stores, independent garages, and even municipal fleets.
Certification Benefits Motorists ASE certifies the technical competence of individual technicians, not repair facilities. Prior to taking ASE certification tests, many technicians attend training classes or study on their own in order to brush up on their knowledge. By passing difficult, national tests, ASE-certified technicians prove their technical competence to themselves, to their employers, and to their customers. Moreover, shop owners and managers who encourage their employees to become certified can be counted on to be concerned about the other aspects of their business.
Finding ASE-Certified Technicians Repair establishments with at least one ASE technician are permitted to display the ASE sign. Each ASE professional is issued personalized credentials listing his or her exact area(s) of certification and an appropriate shoulder insignia. Technicians are also issued certificates that employers often post in the customer-service area. Employers often display the blue and white ASE sign as well. Businesses with a high level of commitment to ASE (75 percent of service personnel certified) are entitled to a special "Blue Seal of Excellence" recognition from ASE.
Choosing the Right Technician As with other professionals, automotive technicians often specialize. So it's wise to ask the shop owner or service manager for a technician who is certified in the appropriate area, say, brakes, engine repair, or air conditioning.
Choosing a Repair Shop Checklist Here are some tips from the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) on finding a good repair establishment:
Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one.
Ask friends and associates for recommendations; consult local consumer organizations.
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 writer willing to answer all of your questions.
Look for policies regarding labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, acceptable methods of payment, etc.
Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of 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 course work, and certification by ASE.
Reward good service with repeat business and customer loyalty.