By on August 9, 2007

automotive_diagnostic_equipment_380.jpgThe Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) says they've added four more co-sponsors to the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act of 2007 (H.R. 2694). The four Dems (Howard Berman of CA, Alcee Hastings of FL, Donald Payne of NJ and Albert Russell Wynn of MD) bring the total number of lawmakers lining-up behind the legislation to 24. The Act would require all automakers operating in these United States to provide "full access to all tools and service information needed to repair motor vehicles to independent repair shops." In other words, automakers couldn't use proprietary software to lock out independent mechanics, ratchet up repair rates and endear themselves to franchised dealers for all time. In case you thought this was strictly a Davis vs. Goliath kinda deal, the bill serves-up a carrot with that stick. Car companies get "strong protections for their trade secrets unless that information is provided to the franchised new car dealers." 

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17 Comments on “You Got to Fight, for Your Right, To Reeeeee-pair!...”


  • avatar
    Luther

    Abdy-Abdy-Abdy…That’s all folks!

    Why don’t they just get it over with already and make it illegal to get out of bed in the morning. The least they could do is pass H.R. 2695 – The Burp-n-Diaper the American Sheeple Act.

  • avatar
    jrlombard

    Do we seriously need this? I’ve had no problem getting tools for my M3, and don’t personally have the use for my own personal MoDic software system…

    Politicians have the amazing ability to self-propagate their own usefulness.

  • avatar
    Mud

    +1 with the 2 previous comments.

    Representatives hard at (useless) work again.

  • avatar
    Eric_Stepans

    To the above naysayers:

    YES, we seriously need this. What RF doesn’t clearly note is that this legislation is an update of existing rules, which is why
    Dieter’s Foreign Car Repair can still work on
    late-model BMWs.

    Otherwise, BMW would be perfectly
    happy to support their dealer network (and increase their own parts sales) by restricting
    service information and tools to their dealerships.

    If you’re unclear on what would happen in the absence of laws like this, just go to your local Quik-E-Lube and ask them for their flyer that explains why you can get your oil changed there and not void your warranty.

    Why some people continue to think that corporations will just magically behave in the public interest instead of their own maximized profits is beyond me.

  • avatar
    EEGeek

    I agree with Eric_Stepans. Without this sort of protection, there’s nothing to prevent the manufacturers from completely encrypting all diagnostic info. I’m also glad to see that the proposed legislation text grants consumers the same access as independent repair shops.

  • avatar

    Why would anyone be against this?

  • avatar
    shaker

    Let the automakers have it — in return, they have to offer unlimited lifetime warranties and free 24-hr towing.

  • avatar
    scottcondos

    Working with repair shops and body shop in the rural areas of the United States they can not work on cars because they can not get the information. So if someones car can not be worked on and has to be towed to the closes dealer. One person paid $1400.00 for the tow and then having the car repaired. We need this for the customer.

  • avatar
    Rick Korallus

    What the story is leaving out, is that the bill requires the auto manufacturers to cough up their design specs so that all their R&D money and efforts can be poached for free by aftermarket parts manufacturers to create cheap knock offs without any R&D efforts of their own. How is that fair? From what I can see, Honda cooperates with the independants. Even the independant repair organization (don’t remember the name) is against it. Where’s the due diligence in journalism?

  • avatar

    Rick why would the independent repair organization be against it. I can see the manufacturers being against this but seriously besides the automakers who can possibly be against this?

  • avatar
    Rick Korallus

    Sherman: sorry, I don’t save any legislative alerts when I get them from the various trade organizations. I act upon them if it affects our business and then I delete them. The only thing I contribute to lawmakers is my opinion, the way the founding fathers meant for it to be. The changes will not benefit the independants at all. The only people who stand to gain anything from this are the manufacturers of aftermarket parts. Anyone can buy the OBD scan tools from Mac or Snap On. Anyone can buy the repair manuals that state what the MIL codes stand for. Special tools? Yup, if you’re willing to pay you can purchase those too (we have about $300,000 worth not including hoists, tire balancer etc).

  • avatar
    unohugh

    I read the bill. Don’t know what this would do for me. GM cars have been my hobby for almost 40 yrs and they have never been more accessible. There is software readily available to make any modification you desire. GM is selling all types of parts, even complete engines with computers and wiring at competitive prices. I just received the service manual set for my latest GM vehicle to add to the collection of service manuals for all the GM vehicles I have owned back to 1969. The aftermarket has also exploded with parts, tools, accessories… you name it, it’s out there. You can even buy a brand new 1969 Camaro body and “roll your own.” Cars have never been faster, cleaner or more powerful. These are the good ol days for GM lovers. However, if you drive an import you better take your lawyer to the service dept and your banker to the parts counter with you!

  • avatar
    Hippo

    The worst company in the world in this respect is Harley Davidson, if car rules would apply to them they would be guilty of restraint of trade every which way.
    Motorcycle manufacturers should be included in the legislation.

    What’s the point of forcing people to manufacture their own special tools? when we could be buying them from Harley?
    People are going to get the tools and the software anyway from foreign sources.

  • avatar
    jrlombard

    The quote from Rick above bolters my stance. Why would anyone be against this? Easy. I’m very much pro-business, being in small-business myself, and I’m sick and tired of lawmakers passing laws that are “in my best interest” when all they really are doing is keeping themselves justified in their jobs.

    Tools are available, parts are available. According to those I’ve talked with, BMW will happily sell you (the independent service shop) their software tools if you can afford to pony up. I can’t speak for the other manufacturers.

    My point is that unless there is something major that I’m missing, it’s another useless fluffy bill meant to propagate the careers of politicians in office. Period.

  • avatar
    NewCaledonia

    Serman Lin:
    Why would anyone be against this?

    I’m against it on general principle: it’s not the Congress’s business.

    Most people are smart enough to find out (from TTAC!) if a make of car has high repair rates due to proprietary parts or software. Let the carmakers beware of informed consumers.

    Besides, if Alcee Hastings came out in favor of Motherhood, I’d consider disowning Mom.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Why can’t this sort of thing be handled by the consumer at purchase time? Or are we too stupid?

    Generally speaking, I’d like to see manufacturers have more say over who does warranty work. By keeping part and tool prices high, they may be able to do that. But that’s hardly the only solution.

    Generally speaking, garbage dealerships have been damaging certain brands for years.

  • avatar
    Bill E. Bobb

    This legislation is backed by Bubba & Cooter’s Garagee’s parts suppliers. See, Bubba don’t need no PC skills, he just wants an instruction sheet to fall out of the parts box.
    There is currently a glut of available service information.

    See NASTF.ORG for all the reasons why we dont need government in the repair biz.


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