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March 22, 2021

How to Find a Certified Auto Mechanic

certified auto mechanic repairing engine

Look for the ASE Logo

Finding a Reliable Auto Mechanic

Finding a certified auto mechanic who is reliable is not always an easy thing to do. You want someone who will be honest and trustworthy and not say something is wrong with your car just to make extra money. We all want to feel secure when we drop off our vehicle like it’s being well cared for. Cars cost a lot of money and often feel like part of our family (after all, some people even name their cars!). Your mechanic needs to be reliable and certified.

You might not be sure if the repair shop has the right tools and equipment to take on your particular job, but there are some things to look for to make an educated decision.

Look at the Work Area

You don’t need to have extensive automotive knowledge to see if the repair shop looks professional, organized, and relatively clean. If your automotive shop looks presentable, it’s a good sign they have the right tools, equipment, and personnel to do the job right. 

Check the Shop’s Certificates and Plaques

A certified auto mechanic will generally have certificates displayed in the waiting area for potential customers to see. Some may be for individual technicians while others are for the shop and employees combined.

Good certifications to look for include:

certified auto mechanic OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer
  • Memberships to any local, regional, or national organizations, such as an auto body association.
  • Specialized training and/or certifications for the repair shop or any of its technicians.
  • Factory training in collision repair from auto manufacturers (Ford, Honda, Nissan, etc.).
  • Training certificates from I-CAR, or the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, a non-profit organization that provides training to both technicians and auto repair shops across the country.
  • OEM Certifications come from auto manufacturers like General Motors or Toyota. OEM, which stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, means that a body shop has been acknowledged to only use factory-approved parts. It also means that the facility has the correct equipment to install those parts, and uses only factory-approved procedures.
  • ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is a standard testing system that provides certifications to professionals in the industry. (You might also find the blue and white ASE symbol on a technician’s uniform.)
  • Other third-party certificates may include paint companies, product suppliers, industry training centers, and colleges.

Understanding the Best Certifications for Auto Mechanics

Vehicles are much more complex than they used to be, especially when you start adding in different parts, makes, and models. The intricacies of different vehicle models and their electronics require lots of hands-on training and practice. Mechanics need a specialized set of skills and knowledge that goes well beyond changing the oil or a flat tire. 

Customers rely on the expertise of trained mechanics to keep their vehicles in good working order and keep their passengers safe. Seeing certifications from respectable, professional institutions give drivers peace of mind when leaving their vehicle at their local automotive shop. 

Here is a more thorough breakdown of the different certifications:

What does it mean to be ASE certified?

As mentioned above, ASE stands for Automotive Service Excellence. This line of certifications is the industry standard for determining the skill of auto mechanics. To obtain this certification, you must pay to take a computer-based exam held at a monitored testing location.

The Core 8

The ASE is divided into vehicle types (cars, trucks, buses) and secondary systems;  each test covers the broadest range of comprehensive automotive care for a modern technician. 

Each vehicle type is broken down into eight core certifications, testing a technician’s knowledge of maintenance and repair. Core 8 include these basics:

A1 Engine Repair

A2 Automatic Transmission/Transaxle

A3 Manual Drivetrain and Axles

A4 Suspension and Steering

A5 Brakes

A6 Electrical/Electronic Systems

A7 Heating and Air Conditioning

A8 Engine Performance

These same eight topics are also covered for trucks and transit buses. A special section (Section S) includes school buses that do not have air conditioning.

ASE Masters Certification

After mastering all eight core certifications, a technician is eligible to take the ASE Masters Certification test. Having a Master’s Certification indicates that you have extensive knowledge of all the core components. 

Secondary Certifications

There is no definitive list of additional ASE certifications an automotive technician should get. Secondary certifications are a good way to make your shop more versatile and improve specialties 

Manufacturer Certifications

A technician who is familiar with a specific make and model of a vehicle is invaluable because they know all of the ins and outs and specific details related to any repairs. Manufacturers offer training and certifications for technicians who wish to improve their technical skills on their specific make and model. The requirements for these certifications vary greatly between manufacturers. However, they often require extra courses and hands-on experience working on the manufacturer’s vehicles.

How Do You Know if Your Auto Mechanic is ASE Certified? ASE certification is a widely recognized and sought-after credential, which a mechanic has to become recertified for every five years. Finding an ASE-certified auto mechanic will put your mind at ease that you have a knowledgeable professional working on your vehicle. The best way to find out is to call the shop and ask, check their website, or visit the shop and look for the certification hanging on the wall or the logo on their uniform. 

You can also visit the ASE website. Type in your zip code or city and state on the ASE Blue Seal Recognized Business Locator page to find an ASE shop in your area with a certified auto mechanic.

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