Is the repair or service facility that you have taken your vehicle to a certified shop? The answer is you really have no way of determining that. The reason for this is because there is no standardized certification for either collision repair or service shops. Walk into many of the shops in your area and you might see plaques proclaiming ASE, I-CAR, or manufacturer certification and, while these are good indications of a facility that spends resources to ensure that their technicians are properly trained to perform the necessary repairs, they do not mean that the shop has been certified as a repair facility.
Since 1972 the Institute for Automotive Service Excellence or ASE has provided for technicians over 40 tests which would allow them to become “certified”. Passing these exams must be accompanied with at least two years worth of relative experience and must be re-taken every five years in order for a technician to maintain their certification. However, there is nothing provided by ASE for the actual business itself. Add to that, if you poke around the internet, you can find many posts from technicians proclaiming that the test questions themselves are becoming obsolete. This is especially true considering the pace at which the repair industry is changing and growing.
In 1979 the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair or I-CAR was formed. Since then they have lead the collision repair industry in training and certification. I-CAR has also been very proactive in keeping up with the changing standards in the industry and consistently offering new, updated classes. While I-CAR certification is the generally accepted standard for the collision repair industry and they actually, at present, do offer certification for repair centers, this is going to change in the coming months. I-CAR has decided to do away with their shop-wide gold class certification and take a step backwards in time to only providing certifications for technicians.
One would think that our local associations such as the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association, WMABA, the Virginia Automotive Association, VAA, or the NAPA AutoCare council would be concerned about pushing for legislation requiring that repair facilities qualify for a standardized certification. However, it would seem that these organizations are more concerned with establishing standard labor rates or ensuring that their members are well provided for then moving our industry forward as a whole.
So, next time you take your vehicle in for service work or collision repair, ask if the shop is certified. Find out if they are using the latest in diagnostic equipment with updated databases. Ask if there are various pieces of testing equipment that could provide their customers with print outs. Is the frame machine or alignment machine a state of the art piece of equipment? Do they have a computerized measuring system or a computerized welder? At the very least, ask if the businesses’ technicians are receiving on-going training. You may be surprised at what you discover and you might re-think where you want to have your work done.
“A” AUTO BODY
10305 Hull Street Rd.
Midlothian, VA 23112
Phone: (804) 674-1173
Feel free to call or email us to schedule your next appointment.
Monday - Friday
7:00AM - 6:00PM
Saturday - Sunday