Modern cars and light 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 in some cases, tire pressure. Car owners and independent shops must have full access to the information and tools necessary to accurately diagnose, repair, or re-program these systems. This information and equipment is necessary to ensure vehicle safety, performance, and environmental compliance. Vehicle manufacturers are making access to such vital information increasingly difficult and costly to obtain for the independent aftermarket and its customers.
Without access to critical information and tools, motorists are forced to patronize new car dealerships, which may not be convenient, accessible or otherwise desirable to the car owner. Moreover, the lack of competition and consumer choice will inevitably lead to higher repair prices. Failure to perform necessary maintenance for any reason will result in unsafe and high-polluting vehicles populating the nation's highways.
The Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act prevents vehicle manufacturers and others from unfairly restricting access to the information and tools necessary to accurately diagnose, repair, re-program or install automotive replacement parts. The Act would require the Federal Trade Commission to promulgate and enforce regulations that ensure competition in the vehicle repair business. In addition, the bill would permit the FTC, car owners and independent repair facilities to take legal action to ensure all information and tools are available and affordable. The Right to Repair Act does not affect the dealer's right to perform any services, including warranty work and does not unconstitutionally take the manufacturer's intellectual property or require them to disclose trade secrets.
Click here for a Right to Repair commentary from Volume 70 of Aftermarket Insider.
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