The Fight Continues for Your ‘Right to Repair’

Right to Repair is the most pressing issue facing our industry and it is time that we take a stand!

In life, there are many things we take for granted. Currently, one of those things is the ability to choose where we take our vehicles for repair and maintenance. For many of us, when our vehicle has an issue or it needs a tune-up, we take it to our local, trusted service center. Now, imagine for a moment, that you were no longer able to do that. Imagine for example, that you were only permitted to take your Subaru to a Subaru Dealer, or your Chevy to a Chevy Dealer.

Imagine the long wait times to get serviced, the increased prices, and your local service center losing business by the day.  Let’s take this one step further, and imagine how that would affect Auto-Wares and the Automotive Aftermarket as a whole.

The Right to Repair issue is the need and availability to have access to a vehicle’s data.  In the past, vehicle owners and the shops [that] they took their vehicles to, to have them repaired, had access to the data because they could [simply] plug them into the OBD-2 port. However, in 2021, 50% of [those vehicles had that same data] being sent wirelessly and directly to the vehicle manufacturers.  This gives the manufacturers the power to “determine who is able to access that data if anyone.  Predictions are that by 2030, 95% of the cars will [be] transmitting their data this way, wirelessly” said Mike Carr, Director of Information Technology for Auto-Wares Group of Companies. In short, this means:

Auto-Wares’ customers will be directly affected by not having access to this vehicle data.  Without this data, they will not be able [to] effectively repair their customers’ [vehicles].  Also, as consumers, we will not be able work on our [ own vehicles].  Most repairs would have to be performed by facilities authorized by the vehicle manufacturers, the ones they allow access to the vehicle’s data” the ones that hold the power.

Mike Carr, Director of Information Technology for Auto-Wares Group of Companies.

Relationally, with our Independent and Certified Service Centers seeing fewer and fewer customers, we will sell fewer and fewer parts. Sue Dickson, Shop Owner of Closs Tire provided a great example in this regard:

We at Closs Tire are now servicing some of the new Postal vehicles, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Metris. Some of the software and diagnostic information is not available. So, all of these repairs have to be done only by the dealer. The local dealership is backed up months on repairs, crippling the postal fleet. We are towing these vehicles over 30 miles away to another Mercedes dealer, costing the postal service time and money. Typically, when we get a postal vehicle in for repair the vehicle is here for a day or two. This provides the post office [the ability] to get the fleet back on the road. This is just one example of what Right to Repair, if not passed, can affect.

Sue Dickson, Closs Tire, Waukegan, IL

The hope of these stories and scenarios is not to scare you, but to light a fire within you. This ‘Right to Repair Act’ goes beyond a mere fight for where we can take our vehicles. It’s a fight for our livelihoods, a fight for the Automotive Aftermarket.  Carr points out that beyond this, is a lack of privacy. Keep in mind, “with all of the data the vehicle manufacturers are collecting, there are side effects. They know everything you are doing with your vehicle, every time you get behind the wheel.  So, they could sell this information to anybody, like insurance companies, gas companies, or any other advertiser.”

As valued customers of Auto-Wares, we ask you to come alongside us and join in this fight.

The Right to Repair “legislation will ensure the preservation of consumer choice, a fair marketplace and the continued safe operation of the nation’s 292 million registered passenger and commercial motor vehicles, 70% of which are maintained by independent repair” (VehicleServicePros).  One of the biggest concerns comes from the current trajectory of the automotive industry. As Carr mentioned, with vehicles becoming more technologically advanced, many of these dealers are beginning to withhold the software, tools, and data needed to make the necessary repairs. This legislation will preserve the Automotive Aftermarket by preventing the monopolization of the industry as we know it. We have the power to inform our legislators of the importance of the act, and you can show your support with just a few clicks of your mouse and moments of your time.

Follow the link below to sign the petition to protect our ‘Right to Repair’.

Right to Repair legislation should:

  • Protect a pro-consumer and competitive motor vehicle repair market;
  • Provide independent repair shops with the rights to critical information, tools, and equipment needed to repair modern cars and trucks; and
  • Task the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with developing cybersecurity standards and guidelines to protect vehicle data and systems when repair and maintenance data is accessed by vehicle owners or their designees.
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