House Subcommittee Examines Impact of REPAIR Act on Vehicle Owners

House Subcommittee Examines Potential Impact of REPAIR Act

Subcommittee members and others expressed enthusiastic support for the legislation.

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce discussed the REPAIR Act (HR 906) Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

The bipartisan Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act would provide consumers with expanded repair options by ensuring that vehicle owners can access repair data and tools needed to repair their vehicles. U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, a Florida Republican, introduced the REPAIR Act on Feb. 9. Since then, the bill has picked up co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.

During the hearing, subcommittee ranking member Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, said she has heard from many of her constituents about the issue of Right to Repair, and that the owners and repairers should have access to the vehicle data needed to make repairs. 

During her opening testimony, Schakowsky also said she is “very much supportive” of the REPAIR Act.

Dunn emphasized that when consumers buy a vehicle, they should own that vehicle, including the right to have it repaired.

“When I buy a product, a house, a motorcycle, an airplane, it belongs to me,” Dunn said during the hearing. “When consumers buy vehicles, the options to repair or service those vehicles [are] being increasingly restricted. … As vehicle data becomes more important to make repairs, it’s unacceptable for the vehicle manufacturers to exclude independent repair shops from accessing that data, especially if they’re the owner.”

He added: “I think forcing auto owners back into dealerships for repairs not only leaves a huge existing industry behind, but it [also] veers toward vertical integration and monopolistic behavior. The REPAIR Act fixes this, just like the hard-working mechanics who fix our cars.”

According to a recent YouGov Survey of 1,000 vehicle owners conducted this summer, a sizable majority of Americans support a federal vehicle right-to-repair law that would prevent automakers from restricting vehicle owners’ repair options.

Americans believe they should be able to decide where and by whom they have their vehicle repaired as well as who has access to their vehicle’s data. They also showed a strong preference for independent repair shops over dealerships. Key results included:

  • 94% want to choose where their vehicle is repaired
  • 93% want to choose who repairs their vehicle
  • 79% are willing to share their vehicle data with independent repair shops
  • 75% support legislation preventing auto manufacturers from restricting consumer access to vehicle data
  • 74% believe vehicle owners should have access to their vehicle data
  • 63% would take their vehicle to an independent repair shop 

“Momentum continues to grow for the bipartisan REPAIR Act,” CAR Coalition Executive Director Justin Rzepka said. “Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle understand that when it comes to repairing their vehicles, consumers deserve and expect choices. That’s why the REPAIR Act is so critical. Access to vehicle data is essential to both vehicle owners and the independent repair shops who serve them. We thank the members of the subcommittee for bringing attention to the REPAIR Act today. Swift action on the REPAIR and SMART Acts is needed to protect access to affordable car repairs and promote freedom of choice.”

The CAR Coalition, a growing group of companies, associations and insurers involved in the independent automotive aftermarket, praised the subcommittee for putting the REPAIR Act on its agenda.

In written testimony, Auto Care Association member Kathleen Callahan, owner of Xpertech Auto Repair in Englewood, Florida, expressed her support for the legislation.

“The REPAIR Act will guarantee that our shops can access the data we need to safely diagnose and repair vehicles today and in the future in a manner consistent with the wishes of the vehicle owner,” Callahan wrote. “The REPAIR Act allows the free market to work by prohibiting competition-busting barriers vehicle manufacturers use to protect their competitive advantage. If the vehicle owner prefers the service shop at their dealership, that is their right, but should they choose to have repairs done at my shop, they should also have that right guaranteed. It’s your car. It should be your data.”

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