The American Military Society on Thursday, Oct. 7, requested that Congress support passage of the Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act on behalf of its membership, which includes active, reserve, National Guard, retired and veterans of the uniformed services, their families and survivors.
“Military personnel and their families are often stationed in remote locations far from any dealerships, relying on independent repair shops to service their vehicles,” says Charles C. Partridge, Col., USA (Ret.) of AMS. “Spouses of deployed service members, holding their families together alone, are particularly disadvantaged when their local auto repair shop is denied ready access to repair information from the car companies. Most do not have the time to find the nearest dealership, drive all the way there and wait for their sole source of transportation to be repaired. That is one more burden that military families do not need to face. All consumers benefit from competition, but those serving our country and their families derive particular benefit from being able to obtain affordable, effective and convenient repairs for their vehicle.”
The Right to Repair Act requires that car companies provide full access at a reasonable cost to all nonproprietary service information, tools and safety-related bulletins needed to repair motor vehicles. The legislation provides car companies with strong protections for their trade secrets, only requiring them to make available the same diagnostic and repair information they provide their franchised dealers to the independent vehicle repair market.
“As cars become more complicated with more computer systems, the problem becomes more acute,” Partridge says. “Selling a car without complete access to repair information is like selling prescription drugs without the doctor’s dosing instructions. It doesn’t make sense. That’s why we are asking Congress to rectify this situation and support passage of the Right to Repair Act. Our military families should not be forced back to the dealer for service, and passage of Right to Repair would ensure that they can conveniently and affordably have their vehicles serviced at the shop of their choice.”
The Right to Repair Act has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. The Senate version of the bill (S. 3181) was introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and has five co-sponsors. The House version (H.R. 2057) was introduced by Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) and currently has 71 co-sponsors.