The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Right to Repair Act Considered in Connecticut

right to repair (select to view enlarged photo)

Bill No. 160 Protects Motorists' Choice of Who Repairs Their Vehicles

BETHESDA, MD--March 24, 2011: The Right to Repair Act is under consideration in the Connecticut legislature. Proposed Bill No. 160, introduced by Senator Martin Looney, would require car companies to share diagnostic codes with independent repair technicians. The legislation ensures better choices for consumers because independent shops would have equal access to the same non-proprietary repair codes and service information as the new car dealerships.

"Today, nearly every vehicle system, from air bags to tires, is controlled or monitored by on-board computers," said Aaron Lowe, vice president, government affairs for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). "While these computers provide important benefits in terms of safety, fuel efficiency and convenience, they also have provided the vehicle manufacturer with the ability to control who perform repairs."

Lowe testified before the Joint Committee on General Law. He urged the committee to approve the bill to ensure that independent shops have the ability to repair today's highly sophisticated computer-driven vehicle systems, stating that Right to Repair legislation now under consideration in many states and Congress would require car companies to make available, at a fair and reasonable cost, the same tools and information that they make available to their franchised dealers, thus ensuring that consumers can have a choice on where they bring their vehicle.

"The basic concept behind Right to Repair is that a car owner who spends an enormous percentage of their household savings to purchase a new or used car, should have the ability to determine who repairs their vehicle, whether it's the new dealer or the independent shop. In the current scenario, the company has all of the power to make that determination," Lowe said.

Lowe took issue with allegations made by the car companies and their dealers that testified that Right to Repair would require car companies to expose trade secrets.

"Right to Repair legislation provides extensive protection for car company trade secrets and the car companies have never been able to point to a provision in any of the current bills that has the potential to violate their intellectual property rights," said Lowe.

In addition to Connecticut, Right to Repair bills have been introduced in Massachusetts, New York and Oregon. AAIA expects that a Right to Repair bill will be reintroduced in the current session of Congress sometime early this year.

About Right to Repair:

The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act protects motoring consumers from a growing and potentially hazardous vehicle repair monopoly by requiring that vehicle manufacturers provide full access at a reasonable cost to all non-proprietary service information, tools and safety-related bulletins needed to repair motor vehicles. The legislation provides car companies with strong protections for their trade secrets, only requiring them to make available the same diagnostic and repair information they provide their franchised dealers to the independent vehicle repair market.  For more information about the Right to Repair Act, visit Right to Repair.