ASE Certification Gives Big O Tires Customers Confidence in Mechanics
June 17, 2022
Written By Adam Buckallew
When you visit an automotive repair shop, you want to know that your vehicle will be serviced by a reputable professional who knows what they are doing. Since 1972, the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has been certifying mechanics to ensure they have the experience and practical knowledge necessary to reliably fix vehicles.
As the only industrywide recognition available for automotive professionals, ASE certification is tangible proof that a mechanic has worked in the industry for at least two years and has the technical know-how to pass tests in specialized areas that cover every aspect of automotive repair and service.
MFA Petroleum Company owns and operates 22 Big O Tires franchise stores in Missouri and Arkansas. The company has made training and ASE certification a priority. Casey Graham, Big O Tires employee advancement manager, said the company pays for training and ASE certification for its employees.
“We see it as an opportunity to set our stores apart from our competitors,” Graham said. “When you know the employees at an auto shop have gone through the training and passed the tests to certify their skills, it gives our customers a level of comfort and peace of mind that their vehicle is in good hands.”
Having an ASE-certified mechanic at every Big O Tires location is something customers can appreciate. Big O Tires currently has 26 ASE-certified mechanics spread among its stores and is urging additional employees to consider pursuing the accreditation. One way the company is encouraging the training is by raising the requirements for its advanced mechanic positions.
“If you want to move into a more senior position with better pay, we are requiring a minimum of at least two ASE certifications to qualify for the promotion,” Graham said. “Because brakes and steering and suspension are two of the biggest safety components for vehicles, we are asking for certification in those areas.”
There are up to nine certifications mechanics and technicians can receive to demonstrate they have the knowledge and skills necessary to diagnose, service and repair cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks. Tests offered include engine repair, automatic transmissions, manual drive train and axles, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical systems, heating and air conditioning, engine performance, and light-vehicle diesel engines. The certifications last for five years and then individuals must retest to maintain their ASE standing.
Anyone who passes all nine tests is considered an ASE master technician. Big O Tires has two employees who have become master technicians: Sam Campbell, who works at the Big O Tires on Glenstone Avenue in Springfield, Mo., and Brandon Stoutmeyer, who works at the Big O Tires in Lebanon, Mo. Campbell was recognized as the 2021 Big O Tires ASE Technician of the Year by the corporate Big O Tires office. He was selected from a group of national nominees who work at Big O Tires stores across the country.
“I grew up in the automotive business and believe it’s important to continue to challenge yourself,” Campbell said. “These certifications have helped me prove my work reaches the caliber I expect of myself and ensures my customers are receiving high-quality work on their vehicles.”
Graham is also encouraging service advisors, who act as liaisons between customers and the mechanics who work on the vehicles, to pursue ASE certification.
“Certification helps our front-counter staff better communicate information from our mechanics to our customers and vice versa,” Graham said. “The faster we can identify what may be wrong based on a customer’s description of the issue, the sooner we are able to schedule service for that customer. Additionally, certification gives our service advisors a better understanding of the types of repairs that are necessary from a safety perspective versus those that we recommend from a preventative maintenance perspective – which is important to distinguish to customers.”
MFA Petroleum is working to ensure its employees who have earned ASE certification are properly recognized in its Big O Tires stores. The company displays employee certifications and photos in the lobby of its service centers to recognize their training and accomplishments.
As the technology in cars and trucks continues to advance, Graham said its now more important than ever to ensure the people you trust to work on your vehicle know what they are doing. “It’s imperative that we keep up with our training and certifications so that our team has the knowledge and skills customers can trust to keep them and their vehicles safe and on the road.”