DOT Goes Wikileaks on Dealers, Puts Your Car's Secrets Online

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Your vehicle’s hidden flaws and most shocking (mechanical) secrets will soon be just a click away.

The Department of Transportation is ending the clandestine relationship between your car’s dealer and the manufacturer by posting all Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) online, according to Consumer Reports.

TSBs, which outline the recommended procedure for repairing vehicles, will be posted in PDF form on the website.

Putting these juicy dealer communications online would give an early heads-up to safety watchdogs and government agencies about potential issues, and put the power of information in the hands of consumers. It’s something advocates have been calling for for some time.

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Centre for Auto Safety, told Consumer Reports that such a requirement would have preemptively exposed the General Motors ignition switch scandal had it been in effect a decade ago.

“Disclosure of these dealer communications could have saved lives and led to an earlier discovery of the ignition switch defect,” said Ditlow.

Responding to complaints that defect information is difficult to find online, the DOT will kindly ask that manufacturers submit their TSBs in a searchable format, thank you very much.

The move comes four years after a congressional directive to the Secretary of Transportation urged more transparency in the industry. Making TSBs available to the public was part of the mandate.

Besides being available to the public, TSBs can also be sourced by mechanics at independent repair shops, giving consumers an edge if they can’t stand their dealer.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Apr 01, 2016

    TSB's will now be called "Focus Upon Quality Reports". F.U.Q.R.'s will be harder to track and isolate.

  • Vegasgti Vegasgti on Apr 01, 2016

    For TSB info check out the following link. been doing it for years.

    • Burnbomber Burnbomber on Apr 02, 2016

      Shows vehicle, TSB number, TSB date, and summary. Edmunds does NOT show the actual fix details.

  • NickS NickS on Apr 01, 2016

    This reminds me of a memo from VW to dealers I read completely by accident in the early aughts. There was a cork-board with TSBs and memos from VWofA pinned up there (it was too far from where the customers usually were, but the service writer had asked me to wait by the back door, which put me within inches of the stuff). I read a couple of them and was completely floored. They were talking about how to brush off customer issues, and evade warranty claims (with specific examples on how to attribute known defects on service interval lapses, bad gas, etc). I still remember this phrase: "drive them away". In some strange way, I felt that service writer had done this on purpose to clue me in to what VW thought of its customers.

  • Commando Commando on Apr 01, 2016

    To the best Googlers out there: I dare you to find online Mazda itself make any reference to their long standing Rx-8 "no-start" issue. Forums and blogs are loaded discussing it but Mazda itself? It knows nothing. Sure........