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Mechanics

Certified mechanics in Michigan can access tools and resources through their CARS e-Services account. Instructions for setting up an account are available under Forms and publications.

Certification 

Per state law, you must be certified by the State of Michigan to perform any of the following for compensation:

  • Diagnose or repair the operating condition of a motor vehicle
  • Conduct bench repairs on motor vehicle component parts at a licensed repair facility
  • Estimate or repair unitized body structural component damage

To obtain a certification, you will need to complete and pass a mechanic test for each for which you perform repairs. You may also obtain a mechanic trainee permit to work under the supervision of a properly certified mechanic. 

Mechanic Certification Information Kit  

 

  • You must pass a mechanic test for all of the categories in which you plan to perform repairs before you can apply for your mechanic certification. Mechanic tests are offered electronically at all Secretary of State offices. There is a $6 registration fee for each test, and pre-registration is required. 

    You can register online or in person at a Secretary of State office. It’s also advised that you also schedule an office visit to complete your test. 

    Testing accommodations are available by request for those with disabilities. 

    Mechanic testing

    Accessibility and accommodations

  • Upon passing the test for a repair category, you will need to apply for your mechanic certification. To do so, complete the Application for a Motor Vehicle Specialty or Master Mechanic Certification and provide payment for the $25 application fee online or by mail to the Business Compliance and Regulation Division.

    Go to Online Services

    Mechanic Certification Application

  • Even if you are already voluntarily certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), you must be state-certified to perform repairs in Michigan. However, you may be eligible to apply for State certification and transfer ASE categories of repair to your mechanic certification in lieu of taking the state certification exams. Check the ASE Exam Conversation Table to determine whether you qualify for a waiver. 

    In order to provide proof of your ASE certification, you will need to submit a status letter directly from your myASE account to the Michigan Department of State Business Compliance and Regulation Division before you apply for state certification. To submit a status letter:

    1. Sign into your myASE account. 
    2. Select the option to “Send Status Letter” under the Certifications table of your Dashboard. 
    3. When directed to provide the recipient email, enter Licensing@Michigan.gov and select the option to send the letter.

    Student-level ASE tests don’t qualify for certification. If you have student-level ASE credentials, you will need to pass a mechanic test to qualify for certification.

    ASE Exam Conversion Table

    National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence  (myASE)

Mechanic trainee permits 

Mechanic trainees can apply to train under the direct supervision of a certified mechanic, without obtaining a certification themselves. Permits are valid for 2 years and can’t be renewed. 

As a mechanic trainee, you may only perform repairs in the categories authorized on your permit and with a mechanic who is also certified in these same repair categories. You must display your permit at the licensed facility where you are training and ensure that it’s visible to customers. 

Upon expiration of your trainee permit, you will either need to apply to become a certified mechanic or stop performing repairs in the categories listed on your permit. 

To become a mechanic trainee, submit an application and payment for the $20 application fee online or by mail to the Business Compliance and Regulation Division. 

Mechanic Trainee Permit Application 

 

  • Your mechanic trainee permit may be reissued if you haven’t held a trainee permit in any of the following categories and fail to meet their recertification requirements:

    • Engine tune-up/performance
    • Electrical systems
    • Brakes and braking systems 

Renewing, replacing, or correcting a certificate (Choose tab below)

You can renew your certificate up to 60 days in advance of its expiration. Ahead of your certificate expiration date, the Michigan Department of State will send you a renewal form by mail. Box 4 of your mechanic certificate renewal form will list the certificate expiration date. 

Your new certificate should arrive in the mail within three weeks after your application has been processed. When you receive your new mechanic certificate, you are required to post it prominently where customers can see it.

Renew online

To renew your mechanic certificate online, you will need your:

  • CARS e-Services mechanic account login
  • Valid Discover, MasterCard, VISA card, or e-check for payment. (A processing fee will be charged for payment by credit or debit card)

Go to Online Services

Renew by mail 

To renew your mechanic certificate by mail, you will need your:

  • Completed preprinted renewal application you received in the mail     
  • A check or money order made payable to the State of Michigan

Update any information as necessary. Some updates may require that you include additional documentation with your application. Failure to fill out the form correctly or completely may delay or prevent your certificate renewal.

Mail all documents and payment to: 

Michigan Department of State
Office of Investigative Services
Business Compliance and Regulation Division
Lansing, MI 48918

If you haven’t received your renewal materials within 30 days of your certificate expiring, contact the Department for assistance.

If your certificate is lost or destroyed, apply for a replacement immediately. To do so, submit the following to the Business Compliance and Regulation Division:

  • Full name
  • Address 
  • Mechanic certificate number
  • Reason the certificate is damaged or lost
  • Payment for the $5 replacement fee

Mail or fax the information and payment to: 

Michigan Department of State
Office of Investigative Services
Business Compliance and Regulation Division
Lansing, MI 48918
Fax: 517-335-2810

To update your address on your mechanic certificate, complete a Mechanic Change of Mailing Address form. Mail, fax, or email your completed form to: 

Michigan Department of State
Office of Investigative Services
Business Compliance and Regulation Division
Lansing, MI 48918
Fax: 517-335-2810
Email: Licensing@Michigan.gov

Mechanic Change of Address

Recertification requirements

Automotive and light truck mechanics certified in engine tune-up/performance, electrical systems, and/or brakes and braking systems must comply with one of the following requirements for continuing certification:

  • Pass the latest state mechanic certification test
  • Show proof of current and appropriate ASE certification
  • Successfully complete a state-approved training program
  • If you’re certified in one of these categories, you must comply with the recertification requirement before your certification expiration date, according to the following schedule: 

    Category

    Recertification year

    Ongoing recertification renewal

    Engine tune-up/performance

    2013

    2018, 2023, 2028

    Electrical systems

    2014

    2019, 2024, 2029

    Breaks & breaking systems

    2015

    2020, 2025, 2030

Licensing and regulation

The Michigan Department of State is responsible for licensing, registering, certifying, and regulating vehicle dealers, repair facilities, and mechanics to assure that they adhere to the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act (MCL 257.1301) and the administrative rules promulgated pursuant to the Act.

  • A mechanic certificate or trainee permit may be revoked, suspended, or denied, if, after a hearing is offered, the Michigan Department of State determines that the individual:

    • Engaged in an unfair or deceptive act or practice or made an untrue statement of a material fact [MCL 257.1322(a)];
    • Violated any provision of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act or any rule promulgated under it [MCL 257.1322(b)];
    • Violated a probation agreement [MCL 257.1322(c)];
    • Made unnecessary repairs or repairs not authorized by a customer [MCL 257.1322(d)];
    • Refused to honor a warranty given to a customer [MCL 257.1322(e)];
    • Caused or permitted a customer to sign a blank document regarding a motor vehicle repair, such as an estimate, repair order or invoice [MCL 257.1322(f)];
    • Was ordered by a court not to repair motor vehicles as a business or not to violate the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act or any rule promulgated under it [MCL 257.1322(g)];
    • Was a stockholder, officer or director of a corporate licensee and as an individual, either did something or failed to do something which would be grounds for refusing to issue or suspending or revoking a license issued to that person as an individual [MCL 257.1322(h)];
    • Failed to comply with a final cease and desist order [MCL 257.1322(i)];
    • Was convicted of a criminal violation of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act [MCL 257.1322(j)];
    • Used the "Waiver of Liability" provision of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act to avoid other requirements of the Act [MCL 257.1322(k)];
    • Was convicted of violating the Used Motor Vehicle Parts Act [MCL 257.1322(l)];
      • Was convicted of any of the following offenses [MCL 257.1322(m)]:
      • Unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle (MCL 750.413);
      • Concealing or misrepresenting the identity of a motor vehicle (MCL 750.415);
      • Buying, receiving, possessing, concealing or aiding in the concealment of stolen, embezzled or converted property (MCL 750.535);
      • Owning, operating or conducting a chop shop (MCL 750.535a);
      • Obscuring, defacing, altering, obliterating, removing, destroying or otherwise concealing or disguising the identity of a registration, serial or identification number (MCL 750.536a).
  • It may be a violation of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act to perform a motor vehicle repair for compensation without a valid certificate issued by the Michigan Department of State. 

    Information regarding an uncertified mechanic can be provided anonymously to the Michigan Department of State as follows:

    Michigan Department of State
    Regulatory Monitoring Division
    P.O. Box 30046
    Lansing, MI 48909-7546
    Phone: 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424) 
    Fax: 517-373-7419
    Email: SOS-RMD-800@Michigan.gov

    You can also file a complaint against a repair facility through Online Services. 

    Go to online services

  • State law gives our department the authority to deny, suspend, or revoke a license or certification if the licensee or applicant has not complied with the provisions of the Acts or Rules. Mechanics may receive a written warning, be placed on probation, be fined, or have their license suspended if the actions cannot be resolved.

    All administrative actions are reported through Online Services under Repair Facility Services.

    You can also file a complaint against a repair facility through Online Services. 

    Go to Online Services

BAIID-certified mechanics 

You must have a specialty certification to install, calibrate, remove, or manipulate a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) in Michigan. BAIID-certified mechanics are only authorized to perform these functions at a registered repair facility (or approved 12-volt facility) that is associated with a State of Michigan-approved BAIID manufacturer.

Successfully passing the BAIID test is only the first step and doesn’t qualify you to work as a BAIID Installer.  To apply to become a certified BAIID installer:

  • Complete and pass the BAIID mechanic test at a Secretary of State office. Pre-registration is required.
  • Complete and submit a BAIID installer application with your mechanic number and a completed ICHAT form. 

If you aren’t a State of Michigan-certified mechanic, you will also need to complete and submit a Mechanic Certification Application and payment before submitting a BAIID Installer Application.

If you were previously certified to install BAIID devices but your certification has expired, contact the Business Compliance and Regulation Division for instructions. Don’t submit a new application. 

BAIID Installer Application

Mechanic Certification Application

Go to CARS e-Services  

Training 

The Michigan Department of State offers free virtual trainings to repair facility owners, managers, service advisers, and technicians on the basic requirements of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act and relevant industry information, including:

  • Repair Facility Manual
  • Proper written estimates and final invoices
  • Record keeping requirements
  • Repair facility and mechanic responsibilities
  • Common mistakes to avoid

Repair facilities can register online through CARS e-Services under Repair Facility Services. Mechanics should register in advance by emailing the following information to BLRD@Michigan.gov:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Mechanic certification number
  • Preferred training date and two alternate dates

Go to CARS e-Services

Upcoming virtual trainings
  • May 26, 2022: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • July 14, 2022: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • September 22, 2022: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • November 17, 2022: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.  

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  • Service writers are not required to be certified if they greet customers, initiate paperwork and do not perform diagnosis or repair. Diagnosis and repairs must be performed by properly certified mechanics.

  • All mechanic tests are multiple choice and closed book, meaning reference materials and electronic devices are prohibited during testing. Keep the following in mind before you test:

    • Review the Mechanic Study Guide to prepare for your exam(s). 
    • The State of Michigan doesn’t provide or recommend any single educational textbook or publishing material for your review covering the mechanic certification categories. However, it is recommended that individuals who prefer home study acquire textbooks similar to those found in technical skill centers, and two- or four-year colleges. These types of textbooks are often sold at educational bookstores and by various automotive publishers.
    • Read each test question carefully, including all of the answers, so that you understand exactly what is being asked.
    • Answer the questions based only on the choices given. Don't try to "read into" the question or add information that is not provided. For many individuals, this is where they fail to answer the question correctly.
    • Don't spend too much time on any one question. If you are not sure of your answer, try to narrow down your choices and mark the answer you think is most likely correct. Chances are your first guess is correct!

    Mechanic Study Guide

     
  • The certification fee for mechanics and trainees is set by administrative rule (Administrative Rule 257.169).

    • Certification exams: $6 per test
    • Certification application fee: $25
    • Certificate renewal fee: $20
    • Trainee permit application fee: $20
    • Replacement fees: $5
  • Mechanics certified in specific categories must comply with the recertification requirement before their certification expiration date, according to a set schedule.

    For example, Mechanic A’s certificate expires each year on January 2.

    • Mechanic A last recertified their engine tune-up/performance certificate on January 2, 2018, making their next recertification date January 2, 2023.
    • Mechanic A last recertified in electrical systems on July 2, 2019, so they will have to recertify again by January 2, 2024.
    • They will have until January 2, 2025, to recertify in brakes & breaking systems after meeting the requirements on January 2, 2025.

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