SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, has added a Custom Wheel & Tire Specialist Exam to its battery of certification tests. Ellen McKoy, SEMA senior director for dealer relations, said that the tests will be administered on Thursday, May 6, at the more than 700 ASE-testing locations in the United States and Canada. Registration for the SEMA tests closes Monday, March 22. The new SEMA test, known as Z5, will measure real-world knowledge and skills of the wheel and tire professionals who install custom applications on passenger cars and light-duty trucks. The first four exams–Z1 for electric sunroofs, Z2 for body exterior components, Z3 for leather interiors, and Z4 for roof treatments–assess competency and knowledge eegarding installation of accessories. The trade association worked with ASE, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, to develop all five tests. For its newest test, the Z5, it used a cross-section of industry experts, including tire and wheel manufacturers, equipment suppliers, wheel and tire dealers and installers, educators, and industry groups such as the Tire Industry Association and American Auto Care Centers to formulate the test. The SEMA certification program is a voluntary process aimed at elevating the level of professionalism within the industry. Certification also serves as an impartial, third-party endorsement of an installer’s knowledge and expertise, thereby helping to boost consumer confidence and enhance the stature of the industry. SEMA has granted certification credentials since 2001 to specialists who meet the work-experience requirement and successfully complete written exams. To earn SEMA’s Custom Wheel and Tire Specialist designation, an installer must have at least two years of hands-on experience in the specialty as well as pass the written exam. The SEMA credential will be valid for five years, and certified specialists receive a certificate suitable for framing, a wallet card and sleeve insignia. To receive the SEMA Certified Accessory Specialist designation, installers must have at least two years of work experience, achieve a passing score on any or all of the Z1-Z4 exams, and also pass the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) A6 exam on electrical/electronic systems. Installers who pass the SEMA and ASE exams will receive credentials from both organizations, which are valid for five years. SEMA-certified accessory specialists also receive a certificate suitable for framing, plus a wallet card, sleeve patch and chevron.