Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Things You Will NEVER Hear From Your Mechanic - Part 2

Things You Will NEVER Hear From Your Mechanic - Part 2
“My fancy certificates might not mean very much.”

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifies auto technicians (or mechanics) in eight specialties, including brakes, electrical systems, engines, and heating and air-conditioning. They also provide credentials for diagnostic and emission technicians. Although auto mechanics must have two years of hands-on work experience and pass an extensive standardized exam to become certified, an ASE sticker in your repair shop’s window is no guarantee that the work will be done properly or that all of the technicians employed are ASE certified, says Tony Molla, a spokesman for ASE.

Most repair shops hire both certified and uncertified mechanics. And only 33% of ASE mechanics are certified in all eight specialties and earn “master technician” status. Be sure to ask who is going to do the work on your car and what areas that person is certified in. Also check to see when the certification expires. ASE-certified mechanics are supposed to recertify every five years. You can also usually expect to pay more for work performed by a certified mechanic, says Tracy Myers, owner of Frank Myers Car Care Center in North Carolina,

In addition, it is always a plus (but not a necessity) to find a repair shop that is endorsed by AAA with work being guaranteed for a written amount of time. These facilities must meet rigorous standards and guarantee their work for all customers, says Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA New York. Also, AAA agrees to arbitrate disputes between its members and approved repair shops.

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