Can you spot a backyard mechanic?

DATE: | Consumer bulletins

All Alberta repair businesses must be licensed by AMVIC. This includes auto body shops, inspection facilities, brake and muffler shops, car starter installers and windshield tint and auto repair shops.

Backyard mechanics are service and repair businesses illegally operating without the proper AMVIC licence.

Here are three signs you might be dealing with a backyard mechanic:

  1. The mechanic is working out of a residential address.

AMVIC works with municipalities to ensure all businesses have the proper municipal permits and licences to operate their business. A backyard mechanic operating in a residential area could be putting residents and the environment at risk, especially if they are dealing with potentially dangerous equipment or chemicals without proper facilities or training.

  1. You see an online ad or social media post with unbelievably low rates.

Maybe through your social media network, you can see someone posting about repairs they can do for rock bottom prices. Look out for warning signs such as the ad providing a personal number or address. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  1. You can’t find them on AMVIC’s searchable database.

AMVIC’s website has a searchable database where you can find the names of businesses and salespeople, including contact information. If you can’t find the mechanic’s name or business, or if their business address is not the same as the address they gave you, then you could be dealing with a backyard mechanic.


If you find an illegal, unlicensed service and repair business, walk away and report it to AMVIC immediately.


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