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Finding Good Mechanics In High-Tech Times

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)

Fall is the perfect time to undo the damage done by summer driving and to get ready for the rigors of winter driving ahead. So it should come as no surprise that October is National Car Care Month.

But given the complexity of today's vehicles, many motorists, including former do it yourselfers, are looking for professional technicians as tune ups have become difficult. Engine performance and on board computer systems, electronic climate control, anti lock brakes, digital dash boards, and other advanced systems grow popular and sometimes need special tools to diagnoses.

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 recommendations.

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, non profit organization, certifies automotive technicians by means of nationally administered tests. Technicians voluntarily take these competency exams in up 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 almost 400,000 ASE certified technicians across the country in every kind of repair facility from new car dealerships, service stations, independent garages, to franchised outlets.

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 ensure successful automotive repair. 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 diagnose.
  • Have small problems repaired before they become major headaches.
  • Keep good records.

Courtesy of The Car Car Council


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