The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers certification programs for mechanics. The ASE program was established in 1972, and serves the automotive community by providing training and testing for mechanics. Finding shops with ASE technicians will ensure you are dealing with someone who has proven they know what they are doing. An ASE Master Technician has to go through more than a standard certification. To earn the Master status a technician must pass several tests in a group, and have a minimum of 2 years of working experience. There are several different categories that ASE offers certifications in. Here is a quick breakdown to help you determine what you should be looking for in a technician.
ASE Auto/Light Truck Master Status
A technician who has achieved ASE Master certification in automobile repair will have needed to have passed a full group of basic mechanics. These technicians will have passed tests on engine repair, automatic transmissions, manual drive trains, suspension and steering, brake repair, electrical systems, heating and air conditioning, as well as engine performance. This is typically combined with testing for service consultants as well. These are the most common groups of certifications at auto repair garages, since it encompasses most of their daily repair routines.
Medium/Heavy Truck Master Certification
This is another common certification in most garages. Those who have reached the Master Technician status will be skilled in diesel engines, drive trains, brakes, suspension, electrical, and heating and air conditioning. Since these systems can be very different for larger vehicles or diesel vehicles, it is important to make sure you are taking your work truck to the right shop.
If you are in need of an auto body shop, you may want to find one with a master collision technician working. These master techs must prove themselves in a variety of body work, including painting, refinishing, non-structural damage repair, structural damage repair, and mechanical performance. A master technician in this group must pass at least 3 of these categories and have 2 years work experience.
Many master technicians will have earned additional certification to make them more marketable. The advantage to you is being able to find someone who is able to work on a variety of vehicles. It is not uncommon for mechanics to want to achieve master status in multiple categories as well. Some of the other certifications you will commonly find in the average garage would be damage analysis and estimating, engine machinists, and part specialists.
Everyone who has been certified will need to retake the tests periodically to ensure they have kept up to date. As technology advances, the testing procedures and questions will also change. This ensures everyone with certification is able to work on the newest vehicles on the road.