Auto Service World
Feature   September 1, 2007   by Auto Service World

Countertalk: ASE Certification Preparation Vehicle System Knowledge Is Key


Registration Deadline: Sunday, September 30, 2007.

Test Date: Fall 2007 Parts Specialists will be given only November 8 at 7:00 p.m.

Other tests will be offered on November 8, 13, and 15.

For more information on the test or Canadian test locations, visit or call (703) 669-6600.

Like some 43,000 counterpeople across North America who have already proven their professional knowledge, you too have the opportunity to have more than your say-so to show that you have the top level of a professional parts counterperson.

The Institute for Automotive Service Excellence Parts Specialist test regimen includes a series of six tests designed to evaluate the skill sets required by counterpeople in several specialized niches within the aftermarket.

Each test covers questions on communication and sales skills, vehicle systems knowledge, vehicle identification, cataloguing skills, and inventory management.

The tests consist of approximately 45-70 multiple choice questions. In order to earn ASE certification, a counterperson must pass the exam(s) and show proof of two years of on-the-job work experience as a parts specialist.

Tests available for Parts Specialists, and the numbers of questions they contain, are as follows:

P1: Medium/Heavy Truck Dealership Parts, 70 Questions

P2: Automobile Parts, 75 Questions

P3 (formerly P3B): Truck Aftermarket Parts–Brakes, 45 Questions

P4: General Motors Parts Consultant, 65 Questions

P9: (formerly P3S) Truck Aftermarket Parts–Suspension & Steering, 45 Questions

For most counterpeople, the P2 test is the most appropriate. The P2 Test Task List for the Automobile Parts Specialist Certification Test lists those skills of which counterpersons should have a strong grasp if they are going to write the test.

Review this task list to determine your comfort level with the various categories of questions and the number of questions that will be posed.

If you are quite comfortable with one area, but less so with another, you should concentrate your efforts on the latter. Keep in mind when you’re preparing, however, just how much of the testing will be concentrated on those areas. You don’t want to spend all your time preparing for a section such as Merchandising, which only accounts for three questions of the 70 total. Also be aware that there will be 10 additional questions on the test that are themselves being evaluated for possible future inclusion in test results. You won’t know which ones they are, though, so you’ll have to answer all 80 questions as best you can.

On-Line Assessment

Encourage your customers to test their knowledge online, and see how you do, too.

The ASE has developed a new series of four online self-assessment quizzes to help individuals evaluate their automotive technical knowledge. While the TechQuiz, as it’s known, is directed at technicians, it does provide Parts Specialists with the opportunity to answer questions posed in the style used on the Parts Specialist Tests.

It can also provide a bit of a reality check as far as your vehicle systems knowledge is concerned.

Each of these quizzes is designed to measure technical knowledge at three levels: 1) Fundamentals, 2) Maintenance, and 3) Diagnosis and Repair.

This evaluation can help individuals prepare for the ASE certification tests, or help identify areas needing improvement through targeted training. Since these are not pass/fail tests, users get a score report with details on how they did in each area. Each test has 40 questions.

If you have some customers with whom you have a particularly good relationship perhaps you might even take the opportunity to challenge them. (Best score buys the doughnuts?)

There are four different quizzes:

* Gasoline Engines

* Drive Trains

* Undercar

* Electrical/Electronic Systems & HVAC

Although the quizzes are not a certification, they have been developed with the same process, rigour, and high level of quality.

The quizzes can be taken multiple times to get an idea of progress in acquiring knowledge and can be taken in the privacy of one’s own home if desired. The results can also be stored for later reference and easily retrieved or kept in a personal portfolio. For more information, visit the ASE website.

The new self-assessment quizzes are available through the ASE Campus online at You can also get to the ASE Campus by going to the ASE website at

Canadian Testing Locations

Tests on the Parts Specialist Tests and all ASE tests may be taken at test centres located in the following cities:

Calgary, Alta., Edmonton, Alta., Burnaby, B.C., Kelowna, B.C., Nanaimo, B.C., Winnipeg, Man., Moncton, N.B., Saint John’s, Nfld., Digby, N.S., Halifax, N.S., Kingston, Ont., London, Ont., Ottawa, Ont., Sudbury, Ont., Toronto, Ont., Windsor, Ont., Charlottetown, P.E.I., Drummondville, Que., Montreal, Que.


A. General Operations (11 questions)

1. Calculate discounts/percentages.

2. Calculate special handling charges.

3. Identify and convert units of measure.

4. Determine alphanumeric sequences.

5. Determine sizes with precision measuring tools and equipment.

6. Perform money transactions (cash, cheques, and credit cards).

7. Perform sales and credit invoicing.

8. Interact with management and fellow employees.

9. Demonstrate housekeeping skills (facility, work stations, and backroom).

10. Assist with new employee training.

11. Demonstrate proper safety practices.

12. Identify proper handling of regulated and/or hazardous materials.

13. Identify potential security risks.

14. Identify parts industry terminology.

B. Customer Relations and Sales Skills (14 questions)

1. Identify customer types (do-it-yourself and professional installer).

2. Identify customer needs.

3. Provide technical and other information.

4. Handle customer complaints and returns.

5. Acknowledge customer.

6. Demonstrate proper telephone skills.

7. Obtain pertinent application information.

8. Present professional image.

9. Recommend related items.

10. Identify product features and benefits.

11. Handle objections.

12. Balance telephone and in-store customers.

13. Promote store services and features.

14. Promote upgraded products.

15. Solve customer problems.

16. Close sale.

C. Vehicle Systems Knowledge

(30 questions)

Two questions each–identify major components and their function–for 13 vehicle systems, plus miscellaneous questions.

D. Vehicle Identification (2 questions)

1. Locate vehicle ID number (VIN).

2. Locate production date.

3. Locate component identification data.

4. Identify body styles.

5. Utilize additional references.

6. Locate paint code(s).

E. Cataloguing Skills (5 questions)

1. Locate proper catalogue.

2. Obtain and interpret additional information.

3. Utilize additional reference material (technical bulletins, interchange list, supplements, etc.).

4. Identify catalogue terminology and abbreviations.

5. Locate index and table of contents.

6. Perform catalogue maintenance.

F. Inventory Management (5 questions)

1. Report lost sales.

2. Verify incoming and outgoing merchandise.

3. Perform physical inventory.

Report inventory discrepancies.

5. Perform stock rotation.

6. Handle special orders.

7. Perform proper core handling (i.e. accepting or declining cores, storage, and return).

8. Handle warranty returns.

9. Determine proper selling unit (each, pair, case, etc.) increment.

10. Handle return of broken kits, special order parts, and exchange parts.

G. Merchandising (3 questions)

1. Locate and arrange displays.

2. Display pricing.

3. Inspect and maintain shelf quantities/ conditions.

4. Identify impulse, seasonal, and related items.

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