As the home of the Motor City and, for many decades, the hub of the American automotive industry, Michigan has a long history of employing auto workers. In 1914, Henry Ford doubled the pay rate for factory workers to $5 and, as a result, nearly 10,000 people lined up outside the company’s employment office the very next day.1
If you’re interested in working as an auto mechanic in Michigan, you’ll need to have the proper credentials. In fact, the Michigan mechanic certification requirements happen to be some of the strictest in the nation.
There are several steps you’ll need to complete to obtain your Michigan mechanic’s license. To help you navigate the process, we’ve put together this helpful guide that covers the following topics:
- Do you need a license to become a mechanic in Michigan?
- Michigan mechanic license requirements
- How to get a mechanic license in Michigan
- Michigan mechanic license renewal
- Auto mechanic insurance in Michigan
Do you need a license to become a mechanic in Michigan?
You must have the proper state-issued certification to perform motor vehicle repairs for compensation in Michigan. According to the Secretary of State, “motor vehicle repairs” applies to any type of work involving the “reconditioning, replacement, diagnosis, adjustment or alteration of the operating condition of the vehicle or any component or sub-assembly.”2
Michigan mechanic licensing categories
The state offers 11 certification categories for auto mechanics who work on regular cars and trucks:
- Engine repair
- Engine tune-up/performance
- Front end, suspension and steering systems
- Brakes and braking systems
- Automatic transmission
- Manual transmission
- Electrical systems
- Heating and air conditioning
- Collision-related mechanical repair
- Unitized body structural repair
- Pre-1973 vehicles
You may pursue certification in one or more categories to become a Specialty Mechanic. If you maintain certification in categories one through eight, you’ll earn the title of Master Automobile Mechanic.3
Additional certification options include specializations for heavy-duty trucks (over 10,000 pounds), motorcycles, recreational trailers and breath alcohol ignition interlock devices (BAIIDs).
Michigan mechanic trainee permits
Mechanics still gaining the experience and training necessary for certification may apply for a mechanic trainee permit. In order to qualify for this permit, you must work at a repair facility under the direct supervision of a certified Master or Specialty Mechanic.4
When submitting your trainee permit application, you must choose from the same certification categories listed above. Keep in mind that your supervisor must be certified in any categories for which you apply.
You’ll need to include a $20 permit fee with your application. If you are already state-certified in other repair categories, no permit fee is required.
Trainee permits expire after two years and may not be renewed or reissued. If you have not obtained certification by the time your permit expires, you must stop working in those repair categories.
Michigan mechanic license requirements
You do not need to meet any work experience requirements in order to become a certified MI mechanic. However, your application will require the following information:
- Number of months of vehicle mechanic education or training you have received
- Number of years you have been employed as a vehicle mechanic
- Any states/jurisdictions where you have a mechanic license or certification
- Arrests of convictions on your record within the past 10 years
In addition, you must pay an application fee of $25 by check or money order. This is a single application fee that covers multiple categories if you decide to apply for more than one at once.
How to get a mechanic license in Michigan
You must pass a test before you can apply for Michigan mechanic certification. A separate test is administered for each certification category.
After you pass your test(s), the state will mail you a detailed test result letter. You must fill out and submit the enclosed application to receive your certification.
Michigan mechanic license test
You must pre-register for Michigan mechanic’s tests in each certification category you intend to apply for. You’ll need to create an account online in order to pre-register, which costs $6 per test. The state offers a Michigan mechanic license study guide to assist applicants in preparing for these tests.5
You may take your test(s) at any Secretary of State office in the state within 60 days of pre-registering. Tests are administered electronically via touch screen kiosks. Bring a printed copy of your mechanic payment receipt with your test ID number along with a driver’s license or state ID.
Most tests feature a multiple-choice format with 55 questions. You must achieve a score of 65 percent or higher in order to pass. The kiosk will display your pass/fail results on the screen. The test uses a “Quick Pass” system, which means that the test ends as soon as you receive the required minimum score to pass.
If you fail the test, you may re-register and take it another day. You must pay the $6 test fee for each retake test.
Michigan mechanic license reciprocity
The state allows applicants to transfer National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification in select categories for mechanic licenses. Michigan mechanics with approved ASE credentials will not have to take the certification test in that category.6
Accepted ASE certifications include:
- A1: Engine repair
- A2: Automatic transmission/transaxle
- A3: Manual drivetrain and axles
- A4: Suspension and steering
- A5: Brakes
- A6: Electrical/electronic systems
- A7: Heating and air-conditioning
- A8: Engine performance
- LI: Advanced engine performance specialist
- B3: Non-structural analysis and damage repair
- B4: Structural analysis and damage repair
To submit your ASE credentials, go into your myASE account and click on “Send Status Letter.” Then, enter the email address Licensing@Michigan.gov to have proof of certification submitted directly to the state’s Business Licensing Section.
Michigan mechanic license renewal
You must renew Michigan mechanic certifications annually online or by mail. In addition, special recertification requirements apply for the following certification categories:
- Engine tune-up/performance
- Brakes and braking systems
- Electrical systems
These certifications expire after five years, at which point you must either retake the certification test or provide proof of current ASE certification in a corresponding category.7
Auto mechanic insurance in Michigan
In addition to your car mechanic license, you’ll also need the right auto mechanic insurance. The following list features the top types of insurance recommended for individuals with a certified mechanic license in Michigan.
General liability insurance
With general liability insurance, you’ll have coverage for damage to a customer’s property and on-site customer injuries.
This specific type of liability coverage comes highly recommended for auto service business owners. Garagekeepers coverage applies to accidental damage to vehicles serviced or stored at your facility.
Faulty work insurance
If you make professional mistakes or the customer finds your work to be substandard, faulty work coverage helps defend you against the claim.
Hired & non-owned auto insurance
Also known as HNOA insurance, this provides coverage when an employee drives a customer’s vehicle off your lot or uses a personal vehicle for work.
Commercial property insurance
Commercial property insurance provides essential mechanic shop insurance coverage. It helps cover expenses if certain types of damage, such as flooding from a burst pipe or a fire, occur at your auto repair shop.
If your shop is certified you can save up to 19% when you bundle general liability with commercial property coverage with NEXT. Qualifying certifications are ASE, I-CAR (Gold class) and AAA-approved auto repair.
How NEXT Insurance supports Michigan mechanics
NEXT Insurance helps you get the right auto service and car repair insurance to meet your needs.
Using our online services, you can apply for coverage and get your certificate of insurance in just minutes. Your account may be accessed from any computer or mobile device to get additional COIs at no cost or update your coverage.
We specialize in Michigan small business insurance, and we understand the unique needs of Michigan auto repair professionals. NEXT has helped thousands of auto mechanics and auto repair shop owners get affordable, customized insurance packages.
Get an instant quote online today.
Want to work in another U.S. state? Visit our summary of auto mechanic license requirements in every state.