The Right to Repair
The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act would ensure consumer choice in auto repair. Right to Repair exists to ensure three facets when maintaining your vehicle: choice, safety and rights of ownership. Sen. Paul Wellstone (left, with John Nielsen, Director, AAA Auto Repair, Buying and Consumer Information) sponsored the Senate version of the bill until his untimely death in October 2002.
Choice: AAA believes consumers must have the option of taking their vehicle to a dealer or an independent repair facility of their choosing. No matter where you live, the right to choose who services your car is fundamental to owning a vehicle. Limited choice inhibits competition and ultimately hurts consumers. Study after study reveals that consumers find automotive repair and maintenance stressful. Having confidence in a trusted service technician goes a long way toward alleviating that stress. Studies also find that consumers want to choose who repairs their vehicles. A recent AAA study found that as many as 80 percent of AAA members believe it is “important” or “very important” that consumers are able to choose their service provider.
Safety: The Right to Repair Bill notes that “the ability to diagnose, service and repair a motor vehicle in a timely, reliable and affordable manner is essential to the safety and well-being of automotive consumers in the United States.” AAA believes that safety, above all else, is the top priority. Why should a car owner be compelled to use service facilities that may have previously delivered poor service, or be denied the opportunity to get a second opinion? All service technicians need access to information to repair the critical safety functions of the vehicle.
Rights of Ownership: When you buy the car, you own its parts — whether it’s a muffler or computer chip within the electrical system. Why should only some people be able to obtain the information while others do not have access to it? Technology has made cars smarter. Specialized tools are now required to accurately diagnose and repair these vehicle systems. In fact, computers now control as much as 80 percent of a vehicle’s diagnostic components, but there is no obligation for this information to be shared with the owner of the car or the owner’s chosen service technician.
Despite ongoing discussions between dealers and independent repair representatives and some manufacturers’ pledges to voluntarily meet the requirements of this bill, AAA believes this legislation is necessary to ensure that critical repair information is made available to all professional repair technicians.
Choice, safety, and rights of ownership — that’s why AAA supports “Right to Repair.”