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ASE A5 (Brakes) A4 (Suspension) Test Tips/Study Guide


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I just passed my ASE exams  for the A1, A4 and A5 tests. I used the more expensive Computer-Based-Testing (CBT) that takes place in August and February, it is nice and a little less hectic than classroom testing. I would highly recommend if you are easily distracted (I was the only one in the room!).

 
Here are my notes about what to study or brush up on. Every CBT and written test is different: 

A5 Brakes
• One CAN BUS question relating to brake warning lights. But, if you can follow a wiring diagram you can answer the question.
• One a question about ABS isolation and outlet valves.
• Two questions on hydro boost. They were concerned about pump diagnostics and the supply of hydraulic pressure to the hydro-boost unit.

A4 Suspension and Steering
• Three power steering questions. You must understand the role of return lines, supply lines and valves.
• Five questions about tire wear patterns.
• Three question were asked where the alignment angles (actual and specs±) were given and the tester had to interpret them.
• No "new technology" (electric power steering, air ride, etc...) questions were asked in my version.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         3 comments
      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
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