So-Called 'Right to Repair' Legislation Is Unnecessary

A coalition of aftermarket parts manufacturers (AutoZone, NAPA, Advanced Auto Parts, CarQuest etc.) support legislation to force automakers to turn over proprietary information under the guise that independent mechanics do not have access to the information they need to repair cars.  However, independent repair shops already have access to any information needed to service or repair vehicles, making federal legislation unnecessary.  

In 2002, automobile manufacturers and the Automotive Service Association (ASA), a trade group that represents independent repairs shops, signed an industry agreement keeping independent repairers and franchised dealers on a level playing field with regard to access to vehicle service information and tools.  This agreement created the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), ) a cooperative effort among the independent repair shops, equipment and tool industry, and auto manufacturers to ensure that independent repairers have the necessary service  information, training, and tools.  In 2012, NASTF reviewed only 57 service information requests of the more than 500 million automotive service and repair transactions made that year.  ASA also opposes “right-to-repair” legislation because this issue is already being successfully addressed through an established voluntary and cooperative process.

Key Points

• The so-called “right-to-repair” issue is based on the flawed premise that the information necessary to service and repair vehicles is not available to the aftermarket industry.

• This legislation is unnecessary because automakers and numerous third party vendors (Identifix, ALLDATA, Mitchell1) already sell this service information to independent repairers.  In fact, independent repair shops currently perform 75 percent of all non-warranty repairs.      

• The auto industry has developed a voluntary process to address access to service information and diagnostic tools, and any related problems.

Legislation has not been introduced in the 113th Congress.

March 2014