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New Accreditation for Mechanics


This month's 45th anniversary of the MOT coincides with another milestone in the drive to improve vehicle servicing and repair standards.

Developed over three years, Automotive Technician Accreditation serves as a national benchmark of competence for technicians, of which there are an estimated 160,000 in the UK, who are working on increasingly complex vehicles.

To achieve ATA status, technicians must pass a series of practical tasks and an on-line knowledge test at an ATA approved assessment centre, of which there are over 30 in the UK. There are three levels of accreditation: service maintenance technician, diagnostic technician and master technician.

ATA-registered technicians are issued with a unique photo identity card and are listed on a web-based register. They must be re-assessed after five years to maintain their credentials.

Governed by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), the automotive sector's professional association, Automotive Technician Accreditation is backed by major partners including: BMW; DaimlerChrysler; Ford; Hertz; Mondial Assistance; Nationwide Autocentres; Peugeot; Toyota; Volkswagen; Volvo and Unipart. ATA also has the support of the Government, Trading Standards and Which?

The IMI is also the leading qualifications awarding body in the automotive sector, with over 35,000 registered students. Its portfolio includes Apprenticeships, N/SVQs, Technical Certificates and management qualifications.

The IMI's 10 tips on having your car serviced:

1. Check that technicians are fully qualified and/or accredited by an organisation such as the IMI or Trading Standards.

2. Ensure that the garage is familiar with your car's make and model.

3. Do inform the service staff of any problems and/or any recent work carried out - be honest.

4. Check what is included in the service, and what isn't. If you don't have it, ask to see a copy of the service schedule for your vehicle.

5. Check the breakdown of costs, including all parts, consumables, labour and VAT - you should know exactly what you are paying for.

6. Insist that no additional work is undertaken without your authorisation. If recommended by the garage, this should be quoted against, not estimated.

7. Ask for any replaced parts to be retained for your inspection.

8. Ensure that you receive a detailed itemised report with a verbal explanation of the work undertaken and/or recommended. Ask about the garage's quality control checks and make sure your service book is stamped.

9. Ensure that the name of the technician that works on your car is detailed on your invoice. Ask to speak to him or her specifically, if you have any concerns or require necessary explanations.

10. Ensure that you receive a guarantee. Make sure you know what it covers and check the period of validity.


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