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Interesting article about the “Right-to-repair bill”….

The federal “cash for clunkers” program succeeded in bringing customers back to new car lots after a long absence, but most people are still driving the car they had. Increasingly they are driving to their local mechanics to make sure those cars last even longer.

That is good news for the independent automotive repair industry because car owners are now willing to spend their money on repair work rather than take on new car payments, and they are saving on those repairs at independent shops.

But while consumers appear content to keep their older cars on the road, they are increasingly discovering that their car’s computerized systems may be conspiring to force them to turn to more expensive dealer repair shops even when those cars are out of warranty.

Most consumers experience this when they see a ‘check engine’ light or another warning that suddenly appears on their dashboard. When they bring it into independent (non-dealer) shops like ours, they simply want the underlying problem fixed so that pesky light goes off.

Sometimes, however, we can’t shut off that light even when we can make the underlying repair.

Most legislation on Beacon Hill is controversial and ultimately difficult to decipher, but Right to Repair is straightforward: You own your car and you should have the right to choose where it gets repaired and not be forced back to dealer mechanics.

House Bill 228 and Senate Bill 124 are controversial only because car manufacturers don’t want car owners to have unfettered access to their own repair information and are fighting it vigorously. That alone should flash a warning light for legislators and consumers that might read: Check Manufacturer’s Motives Now.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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