ASE Certification, etc.

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The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has established a voluntary certification program for automotive, heavy-duty truck, auto body repair, and engine machine shop technicians.

In addition to these programs, ASE also offers individual testing in the areas of automotive and heavy duty truck parts, service consultant, alternate fuels, advanced engine performance, and a variety of other areas. This certification system combines voluntary testing with on-the-job experience to confirm that technicians have the skills needed to work on today's more complex vehicles. ASE recognizes two distinct levels of service capability-the automotive technician and the master automotive technician. The master automotive technician is certified by ASE in all major automotive systems. The automotive technician may have certification in only several areas.

To become ASE certified, a technician must pass one or more tests that stress system diagnosis and repair procedures. The eight basic certification areas in automotive repair follow:

1. Engine repair

2. Automatic transmission/transaxle

3. Manual transmissions and drive axles

4. Suspension and steering

5. Brakes

6. Electrical systems

7. Heating and air conditioning

8. Engine performance (driveability)

After passing at least one exam and providing proof of 2 years of hands-on work experience, the technician becomes ASE certified. Retesting is necessary every 5 years to remain certified. A technician who passes one examination receives an automotive technician shoulder patch. The master automotive technician patch is awarded to technicians who pass all eight of the basic automotive certification exams.

ASE also offers advanced-level certification in some areas. The most commonly sought advanced certification for automobile technicians is the L1 or Advanced Engine Performance. Individuals seeking this certification must be certified in Electricity and Engine Performance before taking this exam.

ASE also offers specialist certifications. For example, to become a certified Undercar Specialist, you must have certification in Suspension and Steering, Brake, and Exhaust Systems (a speciality test). Certification is also available for Parts Counterperson and Service Consultants.

As mentioned, ASE certification requires that you have 2 years of full-time, hands-on working experience as an automotive technician. You may receive credit toward this 2-year experience requirement by completing formal training in one or a combination of the following:

  • ++ High school training
  • ++ Post-high school training
  • ++ Short courses
  • ++ Apprenticeship programs

Each certification test consists of forty to eighty multiple-choice questions. The questions are written by a panel of technical service experts, including domestic and import vehicle manufacturers, repair and test equipment and parts manufacturers, working automotive technicians, and automotive instructors. All questions are pretested and quality checked on a national sample of technicians before they are included in the actual test. Many test questions force the student to choose between two distinct repair or diagnostic methods.

For further information on the ASE certification program, go to its Web site at

++ ASE certification shoulder patches worn by (left) automotive technicians and (right) master automotive technicians.


Aftermarket Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Bay Deductible Diagnostic skills Independent shops Inspection/ Maintenance (I/M) Jobbers Lead tech Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Preventive maintenance (PM) Service advisor Service director Service technician Shop foreman Warehouse distributors (WDs) Warranty


++ The modern auto industry is a global industry involving vehicle and parts manufacturers from many countries.

++ Electronic computer controls are found on many auto systems, such as engines, ignition systems, transmissions, steering systems, and suspensions. The use of electronics in automobiles is increasing rapidly.

++ Preventive maintenance is extremely important in keeping today's vehicles in good working order.

++ New car dealerships, independent service shops, specialty service shops, fleet operators, and many other businesses are in great need of qualified ser vice technicians.

++ A solid background in auto technology may be the basis for many other types of careers within the industry. Some examples are parts management, collision damage appraisal, sales, and marketing positions.

++ Training in auto technology is available from many types of secondary, vocational, and technical schools. Auto manufacturers also have cooperative programs with schools to ensure that graduates understand modern systems and the equipment to service them.

++ The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) actively promotes professional ism within the industry. Its voluntary certification program for automotive technicians and master auto technicians helps guarantee a high level of quality service.

++ The ASE certification process involves both written tests and credit for on-the-job experience. Testing is available in many areas of auto technology.


1. Give a brief explanation of why electronics are so widely used on today's vehicles.

2. Explain the basic requirements for becoming a successful automotive technician.

3. List at least five different types of businesses that hire service technicians. Describe the types of work these businesses handle and the advantages and disadvantages of working for them.

4. Name four ways that you can gain work experience while you are a student.

5. True or False ? In most cooperative education programs, students work at an automotive ser vice facility during the day and attend classes in the evenings.

6. Individuals often begin a career as an automotive technician in a new car dealership by , which is a good way for a new technician to become familiar with the vehicles sold at the dealership.

a. working at the parts counter

b. performing new car prep

c. being a service advisor

d. serving as the lead tech

7. True or False ? A hybrid vehicle uses two different power sources.

8. The government-mandated warranty that specifically covers the catalytic converter(s) and engine control module is the:

a. Federal Emissions Defect Warranty

b. Federal Powertrain Warranty

c. Federal Emissions Performance Warranty

d. Extended Federal Exhaust Warranty

9. Which of the following is typically included in a scheduled preventive maintenance program?

a. oil and filter changes

b. coolant and lubrication services

c. replacement of filters

d. all of the above

10. In a large new car dealership, the individual who oversees the operation of the service department, parts department, and body shop is the:

a. service manager

b. service director

c. shop foreman

d. parts manager

11. Repair work performed on vehicles still under the manufacturer's warranty is usually per formed by:

a. independent service shops

b. dealerships

c. specialty shops

d. either a or b

12. Which of the following businesses perform work on only one or two automotive systems?

a. dealerships

b. independent service shops

c. specialty shops

d. fleet service departments

13. Normally, whose job is it to greet the customer and complete the repair or work order?

a. service manager

b. parts manager

c. automotive technician

d. service advisor

14. Technician A says that all an individual needs to do in order to become certified by ASE in a particular area is to pass the certification exam in that area. Technician B says that all of the questions on an ASE exam force the test taker to choose between two distinct repair methods.

Who is correct?

a. Technician A c. Both A and B

b. Technician B d. Neither A nor B

15. To be successful, today's automotive technician must have:

a. an understanding of electronics

b. the ability to repair and service mechanical systems

c. the dedication to always be learning something new

d. all of the above

16. A technician must have a minimum of year(s) of hands-on work experience to get ASE certification.

a. 1 c. 3

b. 2 d. 4

17. A technician who passes all eight basic ASE auto motive certification tests is certified as a(n):

a. automotive technician

b. master automotive technician

c. service manager

d. parts manager

18. Technician A says battery warranties are often prorated. Technician B says prorated warranties have a deductible. Who is correct?

a. Technician A c. Both A and B

b. Technician B d. Neither A nor B

19. Wholesale auto parts stores that sell aftermarket parts and supplies to service shops and the general public are called .

a. warehouse distributors

b. mass merchandisers

c. jobbers

d. freelancers

20. Ongoing technical training and support is available from:

a. aftermarket parts manufacturers

b. auto manufacturers

c. jobbers

d. all of the above

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