With motorists keeping vehicles longer and dealership service bays closing at a swift pace, growing numbers of car owners are expected to turn to independent auto repair shops for service, according Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). AAIA says that this puts the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act back in the spotlight as car companies seek to reduce overhead and car sales continue a rapid decline.
“The need for the Right to Repair Act has never been more critical than during these tumultuous economic times,” said Schmatz. “As car dealers close service bays and more car owners look to neighborhood repair shops to service their vehicles, it is important that these local shops have the same access to safety alerts and repair information as the new car dealer network.”
U.S. auto sales fell 41 percent to 688,000 vehicles in February, according to Autodata Corp. and nearly 20 percent of car dealerships in America could close in 2009, according to a study by Grant Thornton LLP. In addition, the median age of passenger cars in operation increased to a record high of 9.4 years in 2008, according to R.L. Polk & Co. in its annual vehicle population report.
Because vehicles are becoming increasingly sophisticated with virtually every system either monitored or controlled by computers, servicing these vehicle systems to keep them in safe and efficient working condition requires ready access to complete and accurate repair information from the car companies. The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act offers protections for vehicle owners by making it illegal for vehicle manufacturers to withhold information necessary to diagnose, service or repair motor vehicles.
“Without the Right to Repair Act, millions of motorists would be forced back to fewer dealers for service, making convenient and affordable local auto repair a thing of the past. In fact, many motorists may forgo important vehicle repairs because there is no dealership in the area,” continued Schmatz. “Clearly, using advances in technology to deny motorists and their trusted repair shops the ability to service vehicles is a misuse of computers and certainly not in the best interest of consumers. Passage of the Right to Repair Act will ensure that car owners can conveniently and affordably have their vehicle serviced at the repair shop of their choice.”
For more information about the Right to Repair Act, visit www.RightToRepair.org.