What Skills are Needed to Be an Automotive Service Advisor

May 17, 2024

Team ACV




What Skills are Needed to Be an Automotive Service Advisor

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A customer shacks the hand of an Automotive Service Advisor

An automotive service advisor plays a key role in a well-functioning dealership. If you’re working on staffing your team and wondering what to look for to hire the best person for this position, you’ve come to the right place. This article will outline the typical duties of an automotive service advisor, plus the qualities you should look for in your hiring process. 

What is an Automotive Service Advisor?

An automotive service advisor is like a go- between for the customers and the technicians who perform repairs and upgrades to the vehicles. While the service advisors don’t actually complete the repairs, they do help identify what is wrong and what needs to be done, offer pricing, and schedule the repair time slots. 

Service advisors will greet customers and listen to them describe the problems they are having in order to establish a solution. They serve as the front-facing person in the department and are often the first individual customers come into contact with a They are also the point-person who will be in touch with customers over the phone during the repair process.1

What Does an Automotive Service Advisor Do?

The automotive service advisor role encompasses both customer service and technical skills. They communicate with customers as soon as they walk in the door, help them make appointments based on technician availability, and keep them in the loop as their car is being serviced. The job also has some important technical functions:

  • Advise customers about repairing and maintaining their vehicles. 
  • Liaise between the customers, manager, foreman, parts department, technicians, and warranty team.1 
  • Work to meet sales goals by executing repairs and selling parts. 
  • Inspect vehicles to identify issues and outline servicing plans. 
  • Research warranties and savings opportunities for each customer. 
  • Collaborate with technicians to identify solutions that fit a customer’s budget. 
  • Clearly document repairs and provide the necessary proof. Log labor and parts costs for each service.
  • Complete visual inspection of vehicles and listen to customer descriptions to identify mechanical problems.2 
  • Document descriptions of customer concerns for use by the technicians. 
  • Explain the repair plan to customers, answering any questions. 
  • Manage customer complaints and address any delays. 
  • Research vehicle history to inform repair plans.
  • Manage and update price sheets and service menus.
  • Process customer payments and obtain necessary documentation and signatures.

How Can Someone Become an Automotive Service Advisor?

Many service advisors begin their career as technicians within the department of a dealership, or even as a car porter. From there, advancing to the role of a service advisor is one potential path to take.1 There are some specific credentials that may help someone launch their career in this direction. For example, it helps to have: 

  • An associate degree or a degree from a technical school, plus work experience.
  • 2–4 years of relevant technical experience in a dealership.

These credentials would be in addition to the general industry requirements, which include: 

  • Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certifications.
  • Manufacturer Training.
  • Valid Driver's License.2
  • A high school diploma or equivalent. 3

It is also essential for service advisors to have some of the following skills beyond the technical automotive training: 

  • Language skills and the ability to read and interpret paperwork, as well as write clear memos/emails 
  • Mathematical skills, with the ability to do basic arithmetic, plus calculating percentages, fractions, and decimals. 
  • Critical thinking abilities to follow instructions, give instructions, and make decisions that weigh various needs (timelines, prices, etc.) plus pros and cons. 
  • Problem-solving skills that are adaptable to many situations with many people.2 

What to Look For When Hiring an Automotive Service Advisor

When you assess candidates to determine who would make the best fit for the role, you should look at their prior work experience and determine transferable skills. Knowledge and demonstrated excellence in these areas can be correlated with success in a service advisor road. 

So, unless someone clearly has direct experience working as an automotive service advisor, and it’s easy to understand their skill level, focus on these top three skills: 

  • Strong automotive knowledge: The ability to fully understand parts and mechanics to guide technical decisions with the team of technicians. This is a crucial trait that is essential to performing the duties of the job. 
  • Solid communication skills: Your service advisor will be liaising between the team and customers and they will be responsible for building and fostering relationships with those customers. Make sure you are hiring someone who can build a strong rapport and communicate clearly so the team knows exactly what they have to do. Equally, the individual needs to have strong listening skills so they can fully understand what the customer needs and translate that into clear instructions. 
  • Management skills: As the person who will be organizing the technical work processes, it’s important that your service advisor is able to manage time, multiple projects, various types of assignments, and teams.4

Partner With ACV Auctions

As you look to build up your dealership, work with our team at ACV Auctions. We support dealers like you with a full-service platform that makes it easy to feel confident that you are bidding on quality vehicles. Each one comes with a report completed by our expert team and includes all the details you need to know. Reach out to us today to get started


  1. Universal Technical Institute. 2019. “Becoming an automotive service advisor: Qualifications and tips.” Universal Technical Institute. Retrieved May 6, 2024. https://www.uti.edu/blog/automotive/automotive-service-advisor-qualifications 
  2. AutoJobs.com. “Automotive Service Advisor Job Description.” Autojobs.com. Retrieved May 6, 2024. https://www.autojobs.com/jobs/service-advisor-job-description/ 
  3. ZipRecruiter Marketplace Research Team. “What is an automotive service advisor and how to become one.” ZipRecruiter. Retrieved May 6, 2024. https://www.ziprecruiter.com/career/Automotive-Service-Advisor/What-Is-How-to-Become 
  4. Automotive Training Centres. “6 Skills You’ll Need to Become a Successful Automotive Service Advisor.” Automotive Training Centres.  Retrieved May 6, 2024. https://www.autotrainingcentre.com/blog/6-skills-successful-automotive-service-advisor/