Quality technicians tend to work in shops that are well equipped and keep up with new technology. Look for the mechanics Provincial Certificate of Qualification and any other diplomas they may have received for upgraded training. These should be posted in their workplace.

A good shop should be busy with repeat customers and referrals. It should be neat, organized and reasonably clean. The staff should be courteous, professional and willing to explain repairs to you. Many shops have an assistant service manager or service adviser as a liaison between you and the technician, but you should be able to discuss your problem directly with a technician.

Be prepared. It helps if you can explain the exact nature of your problem. Any symptoms you can describe will go a long way toward repairing the car. Never authorize a repair shop to 'fix whatever needs fixing'. Get a written estimate before repairs begin, and be available by phone in case other repairs are needed. Read repair orders before you sign them, and ask for your old parts back.

You have done your homework. Confirm the technician has done the same. When you return, your car should be repaired as agreed. If, after returning home you discover it is not, return it to the same shop. If your complaint is not addressed promptly the second time, you may want to find a new technician or a new shop. If it is repaired properly the first time and you liked the way you were treated, you may have found a shop you can trust and recommend to others.

The next time you need repairs on your vehicle, give the job to the people you know you can trust. Look for the A.A.R.S. sign first. CAA Approved Auto Repair Services facilities display the red, white and blue AARS sign proudly - after all they have earned it.