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Summary
  • ASE stands for “automotive service excellence.” The National Institute for ASE is responsible for the certification of vehicle mechanics.
  • An ASE-certified technician or mechanic means that he or she has passed the highest standards of vehicle repair evaluations. ASE-certified mechanics must recertify every five years to maintain their status.
  • Repair shops that have the blue seal of excellence mean that they have an ASE-certified technician.

In most cases, it’s easier to trust the advice of a professional than some random person on the internet. The same logic applies when you’re looking for a mechanic to repair your car. Hiring a mechanic who has completed ASE certification will  help give you peace of mind, especially when it comes to complex and costly repairs.

Primarily, ASE certification means that the person wearing the patch has enough knowledge to pass the necessary tests and earn written certification. But even if a person has passed the written test, they can’t wear the ASE patches until they have at least two years field experience as a paid automotive technician actually performing vehicle repairs.

A technician who cares enough about his or her credentials to add ASE certification is concerned with the perceived professionalism of ASE certification.

What Does ASE Stand For?

certified mechanic doing professional work
When a mechanic obtains an ASE certification, it automatically implies that the individual is an experienced and knowledgeable professional even before passing ASE certification tests.

The ASE or the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is an independent non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of vehicle repair. The organization was founded in 1972. And since then, it has certified thousands of vehicle mechanics in various areas of specialization. Some OEM dealer service outlets urge their technicians to become ASE certified as an additional industry credential.

In addition to ASE certification, there are ASE Education Foundation certified automotive training programs that prepare students for careers in the automotive service industry. Students who have completed those programs are typically better technicians because of the training.  The ASE Education Foundation requires automotive programs to recertify under updated standards every five years, which requires an evaluation team to examine the facility, equipment, lesson plans, tasks and training procedures. The evaluation takes place while classes are in session so program enrollees can be interviewed and their work procedures can be evaluated along with the rest of the program. 

In addition to ASE certification, there are ASE Education Foundation certified automotive training programs that prepare students for careers in the automotive service industry.

– Richard McCuistian, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

ASE Education used to be abbreviated NATEF but is now ASEF.

Why Should I Trust A Mechanic With ASE Certification?

You should trust an ASE-certified mechanic because they’re experienced and they passed difficult evaluations before they were given certification. They’re also required to stay up to date with the current trends in the automotive industry and must recertify every five years to maintain their certification.

There are eight basic ASE certification categories for mechanics and advanced certifications available for mechanics with higher skill and experience. ASE certified technicians can log in to the ASE website and retrieve their current certification status and the patches they’re qualified to wear.

ase designations and certification details
ASE designations and certification details | Image Source: Richard McCuistian

Screened Through Difficult Tests

ASE-certified mechanics will have to pass rigorous tests. According to their website, only two out of three mechanics pass the first time.

Up to Date on Current Automotive Developments

Again, ASE-certified mechanics have to retake an exam every five years to retain their certification. This will make sure that they’re in sync with all technological advancements in the automotive industry.

How to Find an ASE Certified Mechanic Near Me

Here’s how to find an ASE-certified mechanic in your area:

Look for Shops that Have the Blue Seal of Excellence

Repair shops can join ASE’s blue seal program if at least 75 percent of their mechanics are ASE certified. To qualify for the program, the business must have at least one ASE-certified mechanic per area of service. For example, one ASE technician must be assigned for cooling system repair, and another ASE-certified expert who knows how to deal with the transmission.

The eligibility status of a Blue Seal shop is reevaluated every year to ensure that the technicians’ certifications are also up to date. You can easily identify businesses with the blue seal because they’re given a customized plaque with their business name and ASE logo. This plaque is usually displayed within the repair shop or facility.

Ask for an ASE Certificate

If you plan on taking your vehicle to an auto repair shop, it’s easy to spot a certified technician because they usually have an ASE shoulder patch on their uniform. Also, most businesses display their mechanics’ certificates in the lobby area where they’re easily seen by customers.

You can also ask mechanics for their ASE certificate. The certificate issued to them usually has their credentials and area of specialty.

Contact ASE or Check Out their Website

You can verify if a mechanic is certified by calling the ASE. The organization usually shares this information because they also want to ensure that you’re being given quality service by mechanics in the country.

If you’re having problems looking for a Blue Seal shop, you can try the ASE tracker to look for a shop near you.

Hiring the Right Mechanic for Your Vehicle

certified mechanic talking to a male car owner
One of the signs you should look for to prove that the auto repair shop or the mechanic himself is dependable is that they’re easy to contact.

Finding a mechanic with an ASE certification is one thing. But there are also other factors to consider when choosing the right mechanic and auto repair shop for your vehicle. 

The Shop or Mechanic Must Be Easy to Contact

One of the signs you should look for to prove that the auto repair shop or the mechanic himself is dependable is that they’re easy to contact. Of course, you’ll want to remain in contact with them—especially when you have to leave your vehicle for more than a day at the shop. 

A Good Reputation is A Plus

The Better Business Bureau or BBB is an organization that provides us with different types of information regarding businesses and charities—including customer complaints. You can check out this site to find out which auto repair shops or businesses to avoid.

Warranties Are Important

You need to make sure that your rights as a consumer are protected. Before letting a shop handle your car, make sure that you ask them about the warranties they offer. This usually varies from one shop to another. For example, some shops will give you a warranty for their repairs for at least one year or 12,000 miles. 

Finding the right mechanic for the job can be tricky, especially if this is your first time having your vehicle repaired. But as long as you know your rights and what you’re looking for, finding the best one for your ride won’t be that hard. 

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Richard McCuistian has worked for nearly 50 years in the automotive field as a professional technician, an instructor, and a freelance automotive writer for Motor Age, ACtion magazine, Power Stroke Registry, and others. Richard is ASE certified for more than 30 years in 10 categories, including L1 Advanced Engine Performance and Light Vehicle Diesel.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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