You Got to Fight, for Your Right, To Reeeeee-pair!

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

The 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."

Robert Farago
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  • Jason Lombard Jason Lombard on Aug 09, 2007

    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.

  • NewCaledonia NewCaledonia on Aug 09, 2007

    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.

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Aug 09, 2007

    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.

  • Bill E. Bobb Bill E. Bobb on Aug 10, 2007

    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.