Right to Repair Picks Up Steam in Maine

Feb. 21, 2023

Maine’s Secretary of State’s office certified that the Maine Right To Repair coalition has gathered the necessary number of voter signatures qualifying the initiative to be on the ballot this November.

"The group of Maine independent repair shop owners, employees, and right to repair supporters submitted more than 70,000 voter signatures to the Secretary of State last month," according to a statement issued by Maine Right to Repair advocates.

"The initiative will protect the rights of independent repair shops to repair cars as technology advances and automakers make it increasingly harder to access the repair and diagnostic information necessary to do so. 

"More than 90% of new cars are now equipped to transmit real-time diagnostic and repair information wirelessly only to vehicle manufacturers, threatening the rights of consumers to choose to get the cars they own fixed at trusted independent repair shops or do the work themselves."

“As newer vehicles transmit diagnostic information through wireless telematics directly to the manufacturers and dealerships, it’s critical that we protect consumers’ rights to take their vehicles where they choose to for repairs or fix the cars themselves,” said Tommy Hickey, director of the Right to Repair campaign.  “If this ballot question doesn’t pass, drivers in Maine will have no choice and will be forced to go to more expensive dealerships.”

“Automakers are increasingly using technology to try to shut out local independent car repair shops and automotive technicians from repairing the newest models of cars and trucks,” says Tim Winkeler, president and CEO of VIP Tires & Service, which is based in Lewiston, Maine, and one of the signers of the initiative. “Many of our customers have been coming to us for decades. Their kids now come. They trust us and they shouldn’t be forced to go to pay more at a dealership.”