Authorization for tools: Strings attached?


You are most likely correct; we cannot teach ANY automotive classes, regardless of any accreditation the instructor may hold. We CAN allow you to repair your own car, and others may assist you if they wish. I have been looking for the link i thought was out here but cannot find it.

I AM curious, though, since you hold ASE in such low regard (perhaps rightfully so) by what standard would you (of you were an insurance underwriter) judge someone’s competence for teaching auto repair? Although I do not consider ASE an end-all, in my experience it does show at least a minimum of intelligence and fortitude to acquire, such as might be commensurate with being a capable instructor. I can see an insurance company settling on it for our purposes, unless we can suggest for them some other “ready to go” measure…


The vast majority of classes do not have fees associated with them unless they have associated materials fees.

Additionally, once the training is completed use of the tool is free. A few classes do have training fees associated with them: Multicam, Lift, & HAAS come to mind … but those fees go back to the space for buying tooling/cutters specific to those machines or committee - in the case of the HAAS it comes back double (Thanks Bryan @bgangwere & Thanks Dell!).

The only machines that I know of that have an associated straight usage fee are the lasers - but then again that cost is because the laser tubes/power sources, etc. have a short life associated directly with usage, effectively the same as the consumables for large format printer, dye sub printer, 3D printer filaments, laser printer in commons room (above freebee rate of 10/mo).

For fifty bucks a month this place is a bargain. Materials fees associated with classes where you walk out with goods you made are also a bargain. I paid the $50 for the Lift class - have used it several times and consider it a bargain - considering all the tools and chemicals that are on the shelf for use on a car.



Insurance underwriters and those against automotive wouldn’t care if you or I or anyone else was a 35 year automotive service veteran that owned their own garage.
Those that don’t want classes on/in automotive will just re-write the “rules” to eliminate it from happening for whatever reason (insert “what if / might / could etc”) You and I and many here know that what happens in the REAL automotive world and the what “might/ could/ what if” crowd at the space live in two completely different realms.
I was “certified” lol long before “ASE” was called ASE - it was a joke then and it is now. The joke worse is when you hear the idiots on the “just brakes” commercial say they are “certified brake system experts”. They certify themselves. Truly a joke, but the public falls for that crap all the time.
Insurance companies don’t know anything other than a “possible risk” nothing else. (it is like asking if a home real estate agent knows how a house is put together - they don’t.


Committees can come up with whatever restrictions / rules on tools in their area. All the people offering lift training are approved by me and follow a standard curriculum. There hasn’t been a large backlog for lift classes so the more ad hoc scheduling approach has seemed to work well.

Primarily I went with a one time fee for the lift to generate revenue for the auto committee (any other kind of usage rate like hourly fee would not be practical or safe). For example just tonight I delivered $173 worth of supplies paid for by lift fees. Better glass cleaner, box of 144 microfiber cloths, safer strut compressor, that all DMS members are free to use. (Not to mention the ~600 I spent last week on completing our impact socket set and other tools.)

Insurance is a complex topic, it gets paid out of our general funds, so the entire DMS membership is paying more to allow automotive to exist. Several board members put in a lot of hours of work to keep automotive at DMS, we came very close last year to having to forbid any kind of automotive / mechanical work at all. Most of the we can’t do any classes talk is from before the insurance change up last year that allowed auto to continue. I haven’t looked into the exact working of the new insurance rules because I have been content with not encouraging people who wouldn’t otherwise work on their cars to do so and not pushing any boundaries on what we are allowed to do.


I haven’t used the auto area, but at times in the past it would have been handy to me, an auto owner that sometimes needs to do some of my own work (I had problems getting a good brake job, several cars ago and discovered that doing it myself was cheaper and safer!). But I don’t have a garage and my driveway is sloping, so doing it meant lying in the street–not real safe or pulling the car up in the yard (against city code). A safe area would have been wonderful.

I have tried to change my oil and I seem to have too much bust to easily get under a car—That $50 lift fee would almost be recouped on one oil change.

It is likely that I may be back to doing some auto repair soon.


Roger that.
I was just trying to put myself on the other side of that situation…


ASE is to distinguish between incompetent and competent automotive technicians. I have worked with hundreds of technician and lots of shops (to assist them). Many times I have looked and them and gone “it’s common sense”. ASE doesn’t test your ability to fix a car, but the ability to be a problem solver. A parts changer is one type of technician versus one that states the complaint, cause, correction and also verifies the repair.

As for the fee, it should based on the committee person in charge.


Paid my $50, and happy I get to use everything for so cheap - much cheaper than the DIY repair place I used to go to.

I’m a little late to the game - why can’t we teach classes? Or why would they have to specifically be ASE-certified instructors? Is this in writing somewhere?


It was asserted that under an old insurance policy, instructors had to be ASE certified to teach “how to repair a car”-type classes @ DMS.
With the most recent insurance policy, it is my understanding, no vehicle may be worked on which is not owned by a DMS member, and that member must be the one doing the work on the vehicle. Others may assist, but cannot actually be doing the work. This makes the practicality of “teaching a class” nebulous, since most folks would expect something “hands-on” and/or “live”. Instead, if you own a car, and you want to work on it, you may pay the $50 for the membership, the $50 for the lift class if you want to use the lift, and ask for assistance for the job, but another member may not simply “do it for you”.

This has been battered around on Talk quite a bit.
Here is one fairly recent example thread:

Here is another more “historical”:

Even more “historical”:


I don’t think anyone ever said you needed to be certified, they would be more than happy to have someone teach classes.


Our previous insurance told us not to teach automotive classes. I’m not sure if the new policy has that same mandate, @Robert_Davidson would probably know.


I think there are several folks with automotive interests that would like to see the ACTUAL insurance policy.

This should be accessible to any member just like MDS info.

If this is a secret - I would like to know why?


If you want to read the insurance policy (or most any other DMS paperwork) you can send an email to @Robert_Davidson who is the Secretary of the corporation, and he can arrange with you to view the document on site. I would guess that most of this information is not available digitally (nor does the law require it to be), so the old fashioned way is really the only option.


Some of the older policies are on the wiki, I don’t think the new one has been uploaded yet (we might not have it in PDF form).

The problem is that a policy might not specifically say “no classes”, but rather the underwriters have told us “we interpret clause ____ to mean _____”.


Thanks Walter!

I didn’t know it was special request. Not available digitally ? That is amazing in this digital world.
I’m not concerned with the law in this case - open records to the insurance policy should be a “given” on such a hot topic, to eliminate any rumours, etc.


@zmetzing I can come up at a time when it is convenient to you just let me know when you would have time.


It isn’t so much a ‘special request’ as a way to let one of our volunteers know that someone wishes to view the documents. While much of the world is digital, contracts tend to be on paper (to prevent people from modifying them) and I am guessing that some volunteer would need to scan the policy in order to make it digital.


It’s also been said that it might be in the space’s best interest NOT to post the insurance docs publicly, as someone who is fishing for a lawsuit (i.e. “slip and fall” crap) could use it to determine the best way to exploit us for money.


Very good point Mr. LeCody!


here’s another discussion about it:

What ever happened to that @AbelRamirez guy, anyway?

“Someone” HAS said you need to be certified, though I think you meant “applicable to April 28, 2016”.
And i do not think I am alone in disagreeing with this assertion about “their” happiness for “someone to teach classes”, unless you mean in a classroom with notes and figures. “They” most certainly discourage pulling cars in and working on them “as a class”, and, unless the instructor is using a vehicle (s)he owns, is forbidden therefrom.

I’m curious to see how the “replacing a head gasket on a GM 3100” class on May 3rd, 2016, does…