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How Can You Determine Your Mechanic's Skill Level? ASE Certification
By: Mighty Auto Parts | Monday, January 23rd, 2017 at 10:51 pm in Preventive Maintenance, Tech Tips

How Can You Determine Your Mechanic's Skill Level? ASE Certification

Amy Mattinat

This month we welcome guest blogger, Amy Mattinat, owner and President of Auto Craftsmen Ltd ASE Blue Seal Shop & AAA Approved Auto Repair Center.  Before her current position she was previously President of Women in Auto Care [formerly known as: Car Care Council Women’s Board] and was awarded the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration’s Vermont Women-Owned Business of the Year.

How Do You Know The Skill Level Of The Mechanic Working On Your Car?

In the United States, mechanics are not licensed. Anyone who goes out and purchases some tools can open up an auto repair shop or get a job at an independent shop or at the dealer working on cars. A specific shop or dealer may have a great reputation, but most drivers never know which mechanic will be working on their vehicle.

You rely on your car to keep you and your family safe and get you to work, school and all those other places that are a major part of your life without breaking down on the side of the road. Plus it is crazy expensive to purchase a car, maintain it and replace any broken or worn out parts. Cars are also so technically advanced, that it makes it nearly impossible for you to be able to work on your car yourself. I call them computers on wheels.

The mechanic or auto technician who is working on your car is essentially a car doctor. You wouldn’t go to a doctor who wasn’t a licensed M.D. So, how can you be sure the car-doctor / auto technician working on your car has the experience, expertise and skill to be repairing and servicing your vehicle?

One of the best kept secrets of the auto repair industry is The National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence Certification Program

Since 1972 The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence or ASE has set the industry standards by testing and certifying automotive professionals nationwide. ASE Certifications are a valuable yard stick by which dealers, independent repair center owners and service customers can measure the knowledge and skills of individual technicians before contracting the technician’s services. To achieve ASE Certification, technicians must show the appropriate work experience and pass one or more ASE developed tests. For cars and light trucks, this includes testing in eight automotive systems, and then there are specialty tests for hybrids, diesels, service consultants and for parts specialist.

The eight basic tests for auto mechanics are:

  1. Engine Repair Certification
  2. Automatic Transmission Certification
  3. Manual Drive Train & Axles Certification
  4. Suspension & Steering Certification
  5. Brakes Certification
  6. Electrical Systems Certification
  7. Heating & Air Conditioning Certification
  8. Engine Performance Certification

Each certification will help you identify and recognize the skill level of your technician in the specific repair or service your vehicle needs to be safe and reliable.

For each exam that is passed, the auto technician receives a certification for that system and receives an ASE Certification patch. The test questions are continually changing to reflect the new technology and each test needs to be retaken every five years to maintain the ASE Certification.

As you can see below, there is a progression of the certification process to distinguish what level of skill your auto repair technician is at. If all eight tests are passed an ASE Master Technician Certification is awarded. Master Techs are considered experts in automotive repair.


ASE also has an Advanced Engine Performance Specialist test and Certification. These technicians are like medical specialists such as Cardiologists or Surgeons. They diagnose and repair the most complex engine performance problems and deal with the sophisticated on-board electronics that drive modern cars.

Finding ASE-Certified Technicians

Repair establishments with just one ASE technician on staff who only have one certification are permitted to display the ASE sign on their building. To find out what certifications the auto technician really has, you should look for the certificate of credentials that ASE provides and should be hanging up on display in the office or waiting area. If you don’t see any credential certificates just ask. Most technicians are proud to share their expertise and ASE Certifications with their customers.

Blue Seal of Excellence Takes the Guess Work Out of Finding ASE Certified Technicians

ASE’s highest recognition is the ‘Blue Seal of Excellence’ designation for auto repair centers and dealers that exhibit superior service and hire a staff that are at least 75% ASE Certified. These elite facilities are among the best in the nation and offer complete repair and maintenance care.


If repair facilities are going to provide you with excellent automotive repair and care, they need to hire the best in the industry. The ASE Certification program helps you understand their staff’s level of skill, experience and dedication to their jobs.

The ASE Certification program is your guarantee of getting the top of the line service for the vehicle that you and your family invested in and safety depends on.

For more on Ms. Mattina and her shop you can visit the website: and read more on her blog:

12 responses to “How Can You Determine Your Mechanic's Skill Level? ASE Certification”

  1. ASE certification is really important as it determines how good your mechanic is at his work. And, that’s why you should ask for the certification before you hand over your car to them.

  2. Kesha Phillips says:

    Great point!

  3. Great post!! Thanks for sharing such an informative article!! It will help many to choose the right mechanic for all their auto service and repair needs. Choosing the right mechanic helps a lot in increasing the life of your vehicle and there are lesser chances of reoccurring the problem during routine maintenance. Looking for others to share their opinion. Thanks!!

  4. Thanks for explaining that we should avoid working on our car ourselves because of how complicated and expensive it is. My husband was thinking about trying some work on his off-roading vehicle that has had engine problems for the last week or so. Your article helped convince me that it’d be worth the cost to use an experienced mechanic instead!

  5. Aron says:

    Thank you for reminding us that we need help in regarding our cars problem.

  6. Elvia Vega says:

    We are glad to hear this article was helpful, Aron!

  7. Dennis says:

    Excellent article indeed, personally I’m a light duty automotive technician with 8 years of experience, I don’t have an ASE certification but I definitely would pursue it, what would be a game changer in this industry is the facility you work for can encourage their employees to get certification even the basics and provide a training program even in house training so as a shop we can prepare for this constantly changing automotive technology.

  8. Elvia Vega says:

    Thank you, Dennis!

  9. Bake Divine says:

    I love what you are doing but I need a job am a automobile mechanic by profession

  10. Elvia Vega says:

    Thank you, Bake!

  11. I have a Ferrari 308 GTBi that went in to St George Auto Gallery, in St George, Utah for a simple tune up. As I was driving it, it sounded like the engine had a cough. There are no Ferrari mechanics in St George, however while my Ford was in this facility for an unrelated job. I was talking with the Service Manager and he told me that their Vice President had a Ferrari. Naturally I asked where he had his service done? They told me that he hired a Certified Ferrari mechanic from Southern CA and brought him to St George to work for them. I asked to speak with the mechanic. I did and he told me that he was indeed a Ferrari mechanic and at his last Ferrari shop he was given all the 308s to work on. So, he worked on mine, he was to do a light tune-up. Change the filters, plugs, and belts. After they went 507 miles on a joy ride they handed the car back to me with a blown engine. I’ve been 3 years trying to get them to pay for a rebuild . St George Auto Gallery is claiming the car never ran and that I was planning some scam to rip them off. They also claim under oath that they never told me that they had a Ferrari mechanic. Now, I’m trying to find out if the mechanic was even a Certified Master Mechanic and ASE won’t give me that info….any ideas?. Please help. Thank you. I have the mechanics full name and date of birth only.

  12. Elvia Vega says:

    Eric, unfortunately we don’t have any information. We are a wholesale auto parts disturbing company.

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