by Pat Goss
As cars have become more complicated, it’s more complicated to get them repaired properly. Well, that means that if you need mechanical repairs on your automobile, you need to look for an ASE certified technician. Now ASE certification deals with things mechanical, like brakes and steering and suspension, and there’s a machine shop certification. There’s a whole bunch of different certifications, so look for one that matches the work that you need to have done. This is very important.
All right, but then it goes further. Suppose you need body or paint work. Well, for body or paint work you need to look for a shop that is I-CAR certified, and I-CAR certification runs down through the technicians, and I-CAR sets up all of the standards for the proper ways to repair a car after it’s been damaged as far as the body and paint work goes. So ASE and I-CAR, but now there’s another issue.
Everybody is doing things to their cars in the form of mobile electronics. And here to explain another certification is Matt Swanston. Matt, tell us about what we’re seeing right here on the hood of the car.
MATT:Well, this logo is for the Mobile Electronics Certified Professionals, and you should look for this to have quality work done to the electronic systems in your car.
PAT: All right, now you say quality work, and that’s because things are very complicated these days.
MATT: Absolutely. It’s not the old days where you had a couple of wires underneath the dash that you could easily identify. If you look now it is an absolutely complicated bundle of wires in there, and you want to make sure that somebody knows what they’re doing before they get into that.
PAT: Well, from my perspective in running a repair shop, I see some horrible jobs, and that’s usually from the do-it-yourselfer. So most of this is not do-it-yourself anymore.
MATT: Right. These days things are much too complicated, both the cars and the products that you’re going to have installed. So if you want to make sure that they work properly, they function as they’ve been designed to, an MECP certified installer can do that.
PAT: Okay. How many certified technicians do you have?
MATT: Overall about 10,000. There are only 200 of the top level, the master installers, throughout the country, employed in shops big and small everywhere in the country.
PAT: Okay. Now they have to really be on their toes to be certified.
MATT: Absolutely. And to keep their certifications current, they need to be, they’re continually retested every two to four years, depending on their level, to make sure that they’ve got the latest issues mastered as well, because things are changing pretty rapidly.
PAT: And they have to know what’s in that book?
MATT: Yeah, this book is just for starters, and if you flip through it, it’s pretty overwhelming.
PAT: Okay. So they’re looking for this logo. They’ll see that on the building?
MATT: Right. On the building, on the doors. There will be signs in the install bays or on the counters and on the guys’ shirts. Sometimes they’ll wear patches and hats.
PAT: MECP. Matt, thank you.
If you have a question or comment, write to me. The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.