Bipartisan Auto Right to Repair Legislation Re-Introduced in Congress
By Stacey Miller
Critical Federal legislation will provide consumers rights to repair their vehicle while protecting a free and fair repair market
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., BETHESDA, Md., DIAMOND BAR, Calif., and WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 10, 2023 – MEMA Aftermarket, Auto Care Association, CAR (Consumer Access to Repair) Coalition, and Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) applaud United States Reps. Neal Dunn (R-FL), Brendan Boyle (D-PA-02), Warren Davidson (R-OH-08), and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA-03) for reintroducing the ‘Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act’ (H.R. 906). The legislation will ensure the preservation of consumer choice, a fair marketplace, and the continued safe operation of the nation’s 292 million registered passenger and commercial motor vehicles, 70% of which are maintained by independent repair facilities.
The REPAIR Act will accomplish this by:
- Preserving consumer access to high quality and affordable vehicle repair by ensuring that vehicle owners and their repairers of choice have access to necessary repair and maintenance tools and data as vehicles continue to become more advanced.
- Ensuring access to critical repair tools and information. All tools and equipment; wireless transmission of repair and diagnostic data; and access to on-board diagnostic and telematic systems needed to repair a vehicle must be made available to the independent repair industry.
- Ensuring cybersecurity by allowing vehicle manufacturers to secure vehicle-generated data and requiring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop standards for how vehicle generated data necessary for repair can be accessed securely.
- Providing transparency for consumers by requiring vehicle owners be informed that they can choose where and how to get their vehicle repaired.
- Creating a stakeholder advisory committee and providing them with the statutory authority to provide recommendations to the FTC on how to address emerging barriers to vehicle repair and maintenance.
- Providing ongoing enforcement by establishing a process for consumers and independent repair facilities to file complaints with the FTC regarding alleged violations of the requirements in the bill and a requirement that the FTC act within five months of a claim.
As vehicle technology continues to advance, new barriers to a competitive auto repair market are emerging. These barriers limit consumer choice in where to repair their motor vehicles and increase the cost to repair and maintain vehicles. The REPAIR Act will reduce these barriers, putting consumers’ interests first.
Rep. Dunn is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which has responsibility for consumer protection matters (among several other topics) and is where the bill has been referred.
“When it comes to repairing their automobiles, consumers deserve options,” said Representative Dunn. “The REPAIR Act would give owners, including the rural communities in my district, secure access to critical data so the service center of their choosing can replace parts and repair their vehicles. I am proud to support competition in the vehicle repair industry and this important legislation.”
“There are hundreds of neighborhood mechanics in Philadelphia”, said Representative Boyle. “The last thing those small business owners need is to be boxed out of making a living. This legislation would not only protect the business relationships between automobile owners and their mechanics, but it also ensures consumers continue to have more options on where to go for repairs.”
“By prohibiting vehicle owners from accessing and sharing data they generate, manufacturers stop consumers from accessing third-party repair shops,” said Representative Davidson. “American vehicle owners have a right to control their data, and a right to access third-party repair shops, tools and parts.”
“Working families in rural America can’t afford to take a day off to drive their car to the dealership for a costly repair. The REPAIR Act is a bipartisan solution to improve vehicle data access laws to give working families more choices for repair when their car breaks down,” said Representative Gluesenkamp Perez. “I appreciate Representatives Dunn, Boyle, and Davidson for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion to improve repair laws for families who work for a living.”
The bill is introduced on significant momentum for choice in repair. In November 2020, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly voiced their support for Ballot Question 1 (also known as Right to Repair) with 75% of the vote, which preserves their right as vehicle owners to have access to and control of their vehicle’s mechanical data necessary for service and repair at the shops of their choice. In May 2021, the FTC released their Nixing the Fix report which highlighted barriers that vehicle manufacturers have instituted to squash a consumer’s right to repair. The FTC strongly supports expanding consumer repair options and found “scant evidence” for repair restrictions imposed by original equipment manufacturers. In July 2021, President Bident issued the “Promoting Competition in the American Economy” executive order which encouraged the FTC to address anti-competitive repair restrictions. In December 2022, the Digital Fair Repair Act was signed into law by NY Governor Kathy Hochul and in January 2023, John Deere signed an MOU with the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The REPAIR Act is the only bill that addresses vehicle maintenance and repair restrictions, including heavy duty vehicles the U.S. economy depends on for freight transport.
Automotive aftermarket companies can urge legislators in their district to also co-sponsor the bill by visiting repairact.com.
About MEMA Aftermarket
MEMA Aftermarket exclusively serves manufacturers of aftermarket components, tools and equipment, and related products, an important part of the automotive parts manufacturing industry which supports 871,000 American jobs. MEMA Aftermarket is a recognized industry change agent – promoting a collaborative industry environment, providing a forum to address issues and serving as a valued resource for members across all areas of the aftermarket including light vehicle, commercial vehicle, and remanufacturing.
MEMA, The Vehicle Suppliers Association, is the leading trade association in North America for vehicle suppliers, parts manufacturers, and remanufacturers. Automotive and commercial vehicle suppliers are the largest manufacturing sector in the United States and lead the way in new vehicle innovations. MEMA has been the voice of the vehicle supplier industry since 1904. Its more than 1,000 members are Strong by Association.
Members supply the aftermarket with the parts that keep millions of vehicles on the road, fueling international commerce and meeting society’s transportation needs. MEMA members are committed to safety and sustainability.
MEMA has offices in Southfield, Mich.; Research Triangle Park, N.C.; and Washington, D.C. Learn more at aftermarketsuppliers.org.
About Auto Care Association
Auto Care Association is the voice of the auto care industry, a $400 billion plus industry comprised of more than 4.5 million American workers. Providing advocacy, educational, networking, technology, market intelligence and data resources to serve the collective interests of members, the Auto Care Association serves the entire supply chain of the automotive aftermarket: businesses that manufacture, distribute and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, tools, equipment, materials and supplies, and perform vehicle service, maintenance and repair. To learn more, visit www.autocare.org.
About the CAR Coalition
The CAR Coalition is committed to preserving and protecting consumer choice and affordable vehicle repair by ensuring competition in the automotive collision parts industry. Members include: Allstate, American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA), Automotive Manufacturers Equipment Compliance Agency, Inc. (AMECA), AutoZone, Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA), Diamond Standard, Geotab, KSI Auto Parts, and LKQ Corporation. Learn more at carcoalition.com
SEMA represents the $48 billion a year specialty equipment automotive aftermarket industry. The trade association includes more than 7,500 businesses nationwide that manufacture, distribute, market and retail specialty parts and accessories for vehicles. The industry employs over one million Americans and produces appearance accessories, racing and performance parts, restoration equipment, and high-technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles. Learn more at sema.org.