Support the Motor Vehicle Owner's Right to Repair Act

SUPPORT THE MOTOR VEHICLE OWNER’S RIGHT TO REPAIR ACT
TIA POSITION PAPER

Modern cars and trucks contain advanced technology that monitors or controls virtually every function of the vehicle including: brakes, steering, air bags, fuel delivery, ignition, lubrication, theft prevention, emission controls and soon, tire pressure. Car and truck owners, as well as the facilities that repair these vehicles need full access to the information, parts and tools necessary to accurately diagnose, repair or re-program these systems.

Vehicle manufacturers often make access to such vital information difficult to obtain for the independent aftermarket and its customers. Without access to critical information, parts and tools, vehicle owners are forced to patronize vehicle manufacturers’ authorized repair facilities, which may not be convenient or easily accessible to a vehicle owner.

A nationwide survey of 1,000 independent repair shops conducted by Opinion Research, Inc. found that either much or some of the data needed to repair vehicles was not provided by the vehicle manufacturers. Further, the survey found that the manufacturers never or only sometimes provide capabilities in their tools needed to complete repairs. The difficulty in accessing the needed tools and information has caused a 5.6% loss in productivity per month for the independent repair shops, adding up to a whopping $5.8 billion loss of revenue per year for the industry.

Years ago, TIA worked to develop a coalition of aftermarket and consumer groups to urge support for the Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act (HR 1449) introduced by Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Todd Platts (R-PA). The bill would have ensured that the independent vehicle aftermarket have access to the service information and tools necessary to repair today’s computer-controlled vehicles.

TIA urged legislators to support “The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act” because it would have:

  • Require vehicle manufacturers to provide the same service information and tools capabilities to independent shops that they offer to their authorized dealer network to repair and maintain late model computer controlled vehicle systems;
  • Restore the right of vehicle owners to have their vehicle services and maintained at the repair facility of their choice; and,
  • Authorize the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce requirements in order to protect consumers and to promote competition in auto maintenance and repair.

The Right to Repair Act would not:

  • Affect warranty work that is normally performed by the vehicle manufacturer authorized repair facility; nor,
  • Require manufacturers to disclose manufacturing processes or trade secrets unless that information is made available to the authorized repair facility.