Roughly four out of five motorists surveyed by auto repair information website AutoMD.com say they support prospective legislation which would require automakers to release all the tools and information necessary to repair their vehicles to independent mechanics and the public.
AutoMD.com's president, Shane Evangelist, says such legislation would help both drivers who do their own repair work and those who take their vehicles to mechanics get the most out of their cars.
"While debate on the legislation is ongoing, at AutoMD.com we believe that empowering consumers to make the best, most affordable repair decisions is critical – especially as car owners are holding onto their vehicles for record lengths of time, and more and more precious consumer dollars are spent on vehicle repairs," Evangelist said.
Under the current system, automakers only release some specialized diagnostic equipment and information to licensed dealerships, limiting the availability of some types of repairs to such certified shops. Independent mechanics say the practice harms their ability to do their jobs – as well as their bottom lines – and gives an unfair advantage in the market to the dealerships.
AutoMD.com said 83 percent of the 2,800 car owners who took its September survey support the passage of a law like the Right to Repair Act, which has been introduced in both houses of Congress. The automotive repair news site says that, despite the requirement that automakers disclose the same maintenance information to independent mechanics as they do to affiliated dealerships, the proposed law would not force car manufacturers to divulge trade secrets, nor would it make them do anything which would affect their warranty relationships with their network of car dealers.