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#1 of 576 Right To Repair - A Hot Issue
Feb 06, 2007 (3:07 am)
The increased use of computers and electronic controls in new cars is a serious threat to independent garages. It is also a threat to competition in the vehicle repair business, as we have known it. The reason for this is that car companies possess the ability to control access to the information and tools necessary for the independent service industry to stay competitive with new car dealers. The upshot is that, in some cases, owners have no choice but to take their vehicles back to the dealer for maintenance and repairs.
There is proposed legislation to prevent car companies from denying independent garages access to the information and tools required to remain competitive with the franchised dealers. I think this issue is sufficiently important to open a discussion.
#2 of 576 Re: Right To Repair - A Hot Issue [hpmctorque]
Feb 06, 2007 (10:41 am)
I think mfrs deserve the right to exclusivity on their technologies for a certain amount of time. They developed it, or at least ponied up for the licensing, and deserve to reap some reward for their investment.
I propose they retain exclusivity for diagnosis and repairs on any new technology for no more than the period from the time of initial release to the market to the end of warranty on that technology plus six months...
Feb 06, 2007 (2:07 pm)
The consumer could see price gouging as a result - this is not like a kitchen appliance. If it breaks down, it is not cheap enough to discard (hopefully recycle! ) and replace, it must be fixed.
If the dealers don't have to compete on price with independents, they won't.
Progressive manufacturers should be working collaboratively with independents anyway, because it would improve the product...
Feb 06, 2007 (2:17 pm)
Once out of warranty, it should all be fair game.
#5 of 576 The warranty
Feb 06, 2007 (2:30 pm)
Should have no effect on how a car is repaired. There has already been legislation dealing with this very issue, at least in California. If the manufacturer and dealer have full control of warrantee repairs they can charge whatever they want for normal servicing. They already have a parts monopoly for at lest the first year and in some cases even longer than that. Mechanics and their ability are already controlled by state certification. I can only hope the dealers, who have not been part of the manufacturing process, are not allowed unfair privelage to the information necessary to repair a persons car after that person has spent their money buying the product. For those of us living some distance from a dealer that would be like a double tax.
#6 of 576 If they have exclusivity...
Feb 06, 2007 (3:20 pm)
during the warranty peiod of the intial release, then they are stuck paying for the repairs anyway. Give 'em an extra six months from the expiration of warranty on the first vehicle inservice date, and let the indies go at it then.
Who's going to take a warrantied vehicle to an independent for warranty service anyway?
Of course, the poor indies have to buy the tech from someone anyway, don't they?
#7 of 576 release the info,
Feb 06, 2007 (6:33 pm)
Let the independent buy the info.
The people that developed it have a right to benefit from their efforts, so charge substantial prices for it, but sell it. We pay MicroSoft license fees for WINDOWS(tm) why not car makers for their intellectual property?
#8 of 576 How About The Back Yard Mechanic?
Feb 06, 2007 (10:02 pm)
Should the do-it-your-self market be abandoned?
#9 of 576 is there really
Feb 06, 2007 (11:27 pm)
anything else that the backyard mechanic can do, apart from changing the fluids and brake pads? Shade tree mechanics are rapidly becoming a thing of the past with the tech that is increasingly commonplace in today's cars.
I think at the very least anything that relates to a state standard (thinking of smog checks here) should be available to indies right from the get-go. What if, as someone else said, you live 100 miles or more from a dealer and there is a problem in the emissions system?
I mean, these automakers are not selling products in a vacuum, they are closely regulated and required to pass inspections in most states every couple of years.
#10 of 576 Re: is there really [nippononly]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Feb 07, 2007 (9:35 am)
I would like to see some way to present error codes to owners in easily readable form (through the NAV screen or dashboard?) and a way for owners to run at least diagnostic software so that they know what the engine light is really telling them (stop now or wait or blow it off or ???). Also, just like Microsoft sends you patches, maybe some day you will be able to correct certain driveability faults in the same manner with your car.
As for independent shops---I think IF the tools required to fix the car become punishingly expensive, there might be cause for legal action or a regulatory process, e.g., if Dell Computers forced all independent repair shops to buy a $100,000 diagnostic tool, that would just about force all Dell owners to buy new computers rather than fix their old ones....
Uh-oh, have I just unlocked a new conspiracy?