Big vote on Right to Repair legislation today!

April 5, 2012

The Massachusetts Senate is slated to vote on the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act today (April 5, 2012). The bill would require that car companies make available for purchase the same service information and tools that they already provide to their franchised dealers.

"Unlike other versions of Right to Repair, the legislation being considered on Thursday will require that, beginning in 2015, car companies must maintain electronic sites containing the same diagnostic and repair information already available to dealers," says Aaron Lowe, vice president of government affairs for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association.

"These sites would be available to the aftermarket through a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly subscription. Furthermore, the legislation would mandate that independent shops be able to access a vehicle's on-board computers for diagnostic and repair purposes through a standardized vehicle interface that meets the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) J2534 standard."

The J2534 standard was developed by the manufacturers to comply with United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements that all vehicle programming of emissions-related systems be done through a standardized interface. "Many vehicle manufacturers such as Toyota currently use that same interface to perform vehicle diagnostics and repairs," says Lowe.

The Massachusetts Right to Repair ballot measure was approved by the commonwealth's attorney general last September. The measure was subsequently certified by the secretary of state after the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition submitted more than 100,000 signatures in support of Right to Repair from Massachusetts registered voters.

The legislature has until May 2, 2012 to take action to enact Right to Repair or the measure will appear on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot.

For more information, check out these links:

"Massachusetts repairs pack Right to Repair hearing."

"Right to Repair stalls in Massachusetts."

"Right to Repair up to Massachusetts voters."