Finding a Certified Technician
by Pat Goss
How do you know if a car care pro really knows his or her stuff? Well, one thing that’s very important is finding a good repair shop and a trained technician to repair your automobile. Well, we’ve come to a Toyota training center and we’re joined by Tony Molla from ASE to give use some tips. Well, Tony, welcome to Goss’ Garage, but my goodness, what have we got here?
TONY MOLLA:This is an amazing piece of equipment. This is actually a training device a “breadboard” and it’s for a 15-year-old car. You can imagine how complicated it is for the newer models.
PAT GOSS: Yeah, technicians really have to be on their game today, and that means they have to have training and certification. First, ASE.
TONY MOLLA: That’s true. ASE was developed back in 1972 to address a perceived problem with fraud in the automotive repair industry. When they did an investigation, they found out it wasn’t really so much fraud as it was technician incompetence. The industry got together and created ASE, the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence, to develop certification testing to measure a technician’s technical knowledge. We’ve been developing industry standards ever since.
PAT GOSS: Alright. Now, ASE is also involved in training and you work in conjunction with organizations like this Toyota training center.
TONY MOLLA:That’s true. We have a subsidiary called the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, or NATEF, which really develops educational standards for secondary and post secondary training programs like this one, but also for in-service training providers. We call them CASE providers, Continuing Automotive Service Education, that provide ongoing training for working technicians. You know, learning is really a lifetime experience if you’re a technician these days. It takes a lot more training then it ever has before.
PAT GOSS: Well, one thing that people have to realize is that there’s no magical piece of equipment that you plug into all of this and get an answer.
TONY MOLLA: Oh, that’s true. It still takes a human brain to figure out what that little box is telling them.
PAT GOSS: Okay. What can the viewers look for in a repair shop to make sure they’re going to get good service?
TONY MOLLA:Well, the most important thing to look for are qualifications. Obviously, ASE certification is important. Look for the sign outside. Ask at the service desk if the technicians are certified. But you should also look for other clues in the waiting room; things like membership in trade associations, like the Automotive Service Association, the Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce. ASE has its own program called the Blue Seal of Excellence, a recognition program. That recognizes individual shops that have more than 70% of their technicians ASE certified. Making sure that the individuals behind the counter are qualified is going to give you the best value for your service dollar. And it’s important to ask questions. An informed consumer can’t be taken advantage of.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
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