The Right to Repair Act (HB 3243) has been introduced into the Oregon legislature that would allow the state’s motorists and their preferred repair facilities to have equal access to the same nonproprietary repair codes and service information as the new car dealerships. Under the bill, repair shops would pay a fair price for the data that would give them the ability to compete on a level playing field, resulting in lower prices for consumers.
“This legislation is critical to motorists all over Oregon, but especially in rural areas,” says Sen. Bruce Starr, R-Hillsboro, a chief sponsor of HB 3243. “If local repair shops don’t have fair access to information and tools to repair cars, motorists will be forced to drive miles to get those repairs at car dealerships.”
Motorist safety is another reason for Right to Repair legislation, according to Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, co-sponsor of HB 3243. “Forcing motorists to drive to other cities for repairs, especially for critical systems such as anti-lock brakes, could pose safety issues, and so could tardy distribution by car manufacturers of safety or recall warnings.”
There are more than 2,500 independently-owned auto repair shops in Oregon and an aftermarket industry that employs more than 25,000 Oregonians, says Rep. Tim Freeman, R-Roseburg, owner of an auto repair shop and co-sponsor of HB 3243. “These jobs in small family-owned businesses are at risk if they have to turn away their customers,” Freeman says.
Under the federal Clean Air Act, there is precedent for car manufacturers to provide all repair shops with Web-based information necessary to maintain air emissions systems on vehicles, says Barbara Crest, NATA executive director. “This nondiscriminatory approach has been in place for years without any problems,” Crest says. “It is a model for what we need in Oregon for all information necessary to repair vehicles and keep motorists safe.”