|Given the complexity of today's vehicles, many motorists, including
former do-it-yourselfers, are looking for professional auto technicians as
"tune-ups" have become "engine performance diagnoses" and on-board
computer systems, electronic climate control, anti-lock brakes, digital dash boards, and
other advanced systems grow popular.
The following tips from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
should make finding a qualified automotive technician easier.
- ASK a number of friends or business associates for
- BE sure to call your local consumer organization and inquire about
the reputation of the place of business in question. Look for a relatively neat,
well-organized facility with up-to-date equipment and polite service personnel willing to
discuss your repairs and answer your questions. Policies concerning diagnostic fees, labor
rates, guarantees, and other policies should be posted.
- CHECK around for an auto technician certified by the National
Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. ASE, a national, nonprofit organization,
certifies automotive technicians by means of nationally administered tests. Technicians
voluntarily take these competency exams in from one to eight automobile specialties, such
as Engine Repair or Brakes. There are also exams for medium/heavy truck and collision
repair technicians, engine machinists and parts specialists.
Those who pass and fulfill the hands-on work experience requirement are awarded ASE
credentials attesting their competency. The certified technicians are then eligible to
wear the blue and white ASE shoulder insignia.
Not only are these credentials meaningful to the technician, they are reassuring to his
employer, and important to you. They are the extra assurance that your technician knows
his or her stuff. All ASE-certified technicians must recertify every five years in order
to remain current with technology and to stay in the program.
Currently, there are 425,000 ASE-certified technicians across the country in every kind of
repair facility from new car dealerships, service stations, independent garages, to
Shops that employ these certified technicians often display the blue and white ASE outdoor
sign and post their technicians' credentials in the customer service area.
Officials with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence remind motorists
that their involvement can help make for a successful automotive repair the first time.
Among ASE's recommendations to consumers:
- Read your owner's manual.
- Become familiar with the basic components and systems.
- Follow the manufacturer's service schedules.
- Make note of noises, unusual odors, changes in performance, and handling.
- When describing your vehicle's problem(s), be concrete, but resist the temptation to
- Have small problems repaired before they become major headaches.
- Keep good maintenance records.
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