About five years ago, I wrote a post about why we like our local auto repair shop. Not only are the mechanics competent and honest, they're both cheaper and more conveniently located than the dealership. I've often said that if I had a doctor I trusted as much with my own body parts as I trust this shop with my car's, I'd probably be in much better shape.
If you personally aren't lucky enough to have such a great mechanic, then the time to start looking for one is now—not when your car needs a repair in a hurry. In my latest Money Crashers post, I go into what makes a good mechanic (basically, everything we like about ours) and how a good mechanic can save you both time and money (mostly by not screwing around trying to fix the wrong thing all the time). Then I outline a series of steps to find a mechanic you can trust.
Here's the article: How to Find a Good Mechanic & Reduce Repair Costs