A decision by the Department of Trade and Industry to introduce a hotel-style rating system for garages has been called 'long overdue' by Manchester-based dealers RRG Group.
Designed to reassure customers and help them pick reputable firms for their car repairs, the scheme would see garages awarded up to three 'spanners', depending on quality of service and professionalism shown to the customer.
The DTI decision will mean, from as early as this spring, trading standards officers inspecting garages and undercover officials carring out spot checks before giving a rating.
Michael Smyth, chairman of the RRG Group, said: "Garages have for a long time been cast under a cloud of dishonesty with the view that they are out to make as much money from customers as possible.
"This spanner award scheme will finally give the garages who pride themselves on high quality customer service and vehicle maintenance the recognition they deserve and expose the industry's cowboys."
The scheme will run on a voluntary basis, although Mr Smyth said the RRG Group will be "encouraging" all its 11 Peugeot, Toyota and Lexus dealerships to sign up.
In August the OFT blasted the industry for its unacceptably low standards of service and repair provision, claiming motorists were spending £170m a year having faulty work put right.