The Truth About Cars » Right To Repair The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:00:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Right To Repair Massachusetts Right to Repair Law Left Senate Sat, 19 May 2012 16:27:50 +0000

The Right to Repair law winds its way through the Massachusetts legislature. The law was approved in the Senate last week, says the AP via Businessweek The law now heads to the House of Representatives. If that sounds like deja vu to you, then your memory is excellent.

The bill previously passed the Senate in 2010, but failed to come up in the House. A nationwide bill lingers somewhere in Washington, where it has been sent back to committee.

The Massachusetts law would require auto manufacturers that sell cars in the state to provide access to their diagnostic and repair information system through a universal software system that can be accessed by dealers and independent repairs shops, starting in 2015.


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“Right To Repair” Debate Returns To Congress Mon, 11 Apr 2011 23:13:26 +0000

After several abortive attempts over the last several congresses, the “Right To Repair” Coalition for Auto Repair Equality  has had a new bill introduced in the 112th Congress with the goal of

requiring that car companies provide full access at a reasonable cost to all service information, tools, computer codes and safety-related bulletins needed to repair motor vehicles.

The auto industry has long opposed such bills, which have been passed on the state level but have never been passed into federal law. Back in 2009, then-head of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers lobby group, Charles Territo, argued against Right To Repair legislation in a TTAC editorial, calling it “a solution in search of a problem.” More recently, the AAM opposed a Massachusets Right To Repair bill on the grounds that it would increase Chinese piracy of auto parts. Needless to say, now that CARE has finagled HR 1449 into Congress with bipartisan sponsorship (from Todd Platts (R-PA) and Edolphus Towns (D-NY)), the debate is about to get fired up all over again.

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Industry Opposes Mass “Right To Repair” Legislation Over Chinese Piracy Fears Mon, 26 Jul 2010 21:26:10 +0000

Legislation aimed at improving the transparency of Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) has passed the Massachusetts state House of Representatives, and awaits approval by the Senate. If approved, Bill 2517 [full text in PDF format here] would require that

The  manufacturer of a motor vehicle sold in the commonwealth shall  make available for purchase to independent motor vehicle repair facilities and  motor vehicle owners in  a non­discriminatory  basis and cost as compared to the terms and costs charged to an authorized dealer or authorized motor vehicle repair facility all diagnostic, service and repair information that the manufacturer makes available to its authorized dealers and authorized motor vehicle repair facilities in the same form and the same  manner as it is made available to authorized dealers or an authorized motor vehicle repair  facility of the  motor vehicle.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is opposing the bill, according to the DetN, because it believes the bill is motivated by parts manufacturers who want access to parts in order to reverse engineer and sell them. Literally. And yes, it is China’s fault.

The AAM’s spokesman Charles Territo tells the DetN that

The passage of this legislation would set a dangerous precedent that could have a devastating impact on our economy. It would result in manufacturing jobs going overseas to places like China where the production of knock-off auto parts is big business

Even certain independent mechanics are on-board with the industry’s opposition to Right To Repair. Roger Montbleau of The New England Service Station & Automotive Repair Association tells the DetN

It has become clear that this bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This bill will supposedly give independent repair businesses access to repair information and tools that car dealerships have at a similar price. Well, repairers can already do that

What independent shops don’t have access to is the software and TSB data that proponents say they need to ensure the safety of their customers’ vehicles. Moreover, proponents argue that a level playing field improves competition between dealers and smaller service shops, bringing the price down for consumers across the board. And as one small service station owner puts it

We don’t need to know how they build their vehicles, just how to repair them

That Territo picked the recent indictment of two alleged technology spies of Chinese extraction, accused of trying to sell GM hybrid technology secrets to the Chinese automaker Chery, is as telling as Growth Energy’s use of the BP oil spill to hype ethanol. Cheap symbolism comes and goes, but the simple fact is that repairing automobiles has become more and more difficult with time. And the companies that manufacture automobiles have every incentive to try to force consumers to use their “official” dealer network for maintenance. If manufacturers care as much about safety as they claim to in the post-Toyota recall environment, they should be happy to make sure that their customers are safe whether they choose to use dealer service or not.

With new legislation coming that should require mandatory black-box standards and other transparency measures, the automakers should consider the public relations benefit that could come from breaking ranks and coming out in favor of Right To Repair. After all, the public responds far better to cheap symbolism done in the name of popular transparency than in the name of protecting obscure (and in the case of the recent GM conviction, barely marketable) technology patents.

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