by Pat Goss
You look under the hood of an old car, and you realize that it didn’t take much to fix. A few basic tools, and you were in business. That’s a far cry from what we have today. You look at your automobile while it’s being repaired, and it may look like it’s in intensive care with all of the different pieces of equipment hooked up to it. That means that you need a technician that is qualified to work on your vehicle today. And to explain how you find that, we have Trish Serratore from ASE. Hi, Trish.
Serratore: Hi, Pat. How are you?
Goss: Good. Tell me about ASE.
Serratore: ASE is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, and we test and certify the technicians who work on your car.
Goss: Okay. Test and certify. Now, there are different levels of certification, different areas, right?
Serratore: That’s right. ASE certifies in several areas, including automobile repair, collision repair, medium/heavy truck repair, school bus, and so on. And then within each series, there are various tests that cover the car from bumper to bumper.
Goss: Okay, so if you have brake work done, you want somebody that’s certified in brakes, right?
Serratore: That’s right. And you have to make sure you ask the technician, because they’ll be able to tell you what areas they’re certified in. And you want to find one that’s certified in brake or engine repair or whatever the particular repair that you’re having done on your vehicle.
Goss: Okay, now one of the biggest problems that we see out there today are performance-related concerns, and you have a special category there, right?
Serratore: Yes, we do. We have the L1 test, and that’s our advanced level engine performance specialist exam, and that’s for those technicians who are working on driveability and emissions related problems on vehicles today. And that takes the ASE exam and kind of bumps it up a notch so that they can handle those complex repairs.
Goss: Okay, so they want to look for L1.
Serratore: That’s right.
Goss: Ask if the technician is L1 ASE certified.
Serratore: For engine repair and diagnostic problems, yes.
Goss: Okay. Now, we’re telling them to look for ASE certification. What are they looking for?
Serratore: Well, they’re looking for the ASE patch, which will be displayed on the shoulder of the technician. We also have the ASE certificates, which are displayed in the repair facility, and there will be one there for every technician that’s certified. And the nice thing here is it shows that the technician, when he took the test and when he expires, because ASE certification is only good for five years.
Goss: Okay, so just because they were once certified, doesn’t mean they’re now certified.
Serratore: We make them come back and take the test again, because each car changes over the years, so so does the technology.
Goss: Okay, is there something they should be looking for as far as the shop itself is concerned?
Serratore: Yes. ASE offers a program called our Blue Seal Recognition Program, and that’s where repair facilities have 75 percent of their technicians ASE certified. And that means that the consumer can feel pretty good about finding an ASE certified technician when they go to those locations.
Goss: Okay, so your best word of advice here for the average driver?
Serratore: The average driver should maintain their car according to their owner’s manual and they should take their car to get fixed by an ASE certified technician.
Goss: Trish, thank you very much.
Serratore: My pleasure, Pat.