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President's Ponderings: Right To Repair

By Edward Luttrell - President's Ponderings Blog (6/8/11)

  JUNE 9, 2011 --

I have discovered a bill in Congress that I am in strong support of, the Motor Vehicle Owner’s Right to Repair Act of 2011 or H.R.1449. This bill has bi-partisan support and deserves to move through Congress in my view.

I’ll admit that many years ago I turned wrenches for a living and still like working on my older “classics”. The newer cars are a pain in the you know where, due to the computers and special tools needed to diagnose and repair almost any problem, but I do still work on them occasionally. 

The reality is that not everyone maintains their own cars and pickups. However, many people have a shop that they trust to work on their cars when they need regular service or repairs done. These are places where you know the mechanic and often the owner has as much grease under their fingernails as any of the employees.

The challenges that small independent shops face in dealing with new cars are substantial. Having the tools available to diagnose today’s complex computer systems is essential and having access to up-to-date information in order to replace many components is critical. That is all that the House bill asks for and it makes a lot of sense to me.

The dealer-only parts will still be ordered from the dealers and the aftermarket parts will still be available to the independent shop or to the guy like me that likes to save a bit of money by fixing their own vehicle.

The big change will be that information and tools that are available to the auto dealerships will be required to be available to the public. I may still need to buy a tool, which will get my wife to sigh once again, but I will not need to take the car to the dealer to be fixed.

Especially in rural America, independent shops fill a need that dealerships often cannot fill due to distance. The Motor Vehicle Owner’s Right to Repair Act of 2011 makes good sense for rural America. If you have a shop you trust, let your Representative know what you think about this bill. If you’re one of those like me, who uses a grease rag now and then, contact your Representative… and then watch the knuckles with that wrench.

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