U.S. Representatives Todd Platts (R-PA) and Edolphus Towns (D-NY) have introduced the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 1449) into the 112th Congress.
The Right to Repair Act protects motoring consumers from an expensive and growing vehicle repair monopoly by requiring 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 pro-consumer, pro-small business bill is intended to level the competitive playing field for motoring consumers and between dealerships and independent repair garages. The legislation further provides companies with strong protections for their trade secrets, only requiring them to make available the same non-proprietary diagnostic and repair information they provide their franchised dealers.
“The Right to Repair Act is really about who owns the vehicle’s repair information, the car owner or the car company. After spending thousands of dollars to purchase a vehicle, consumers should not be denied the ability to have that vehicle repaired at the facility of their choice,” says Sandy Bass-Cors, executive director of the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE). “Without Right to Repair, millions of car owners will be further held hostage by the car companies, forced to return to the dealership even after the vehicle is out of warranty. Every American taxpayer paid for the car company bailouts and ‘Cash for Clunkers.’ It’s time that pro-consumer legislation is passed that doesn’t cost the taxpayers money.”
According to CARE, the need for the Right to Repair Act has become apparent due to the growing use of computers and electronics which control nearly every function of a vehicle from air bags and brakes to ignition, fuel injection and tire pressure monitoring systems. Although these computer systems provide benefits to consumers through improved fuel efficiency, comfort and safety, they also provide increasing opportunities for companies to deny access to repair garages where customers normally obtain service for their vehicle.