Congress Moves To Protect Honest Car Mechanics, Chupacabras

Congress is considering a “Right to Repair” bill. The idea, basically, is that car manufacturers’ proprietary systems give them a monopoly on many types of car repairs, making that walking, oil-covered ass crack at your local garage impotent in gouging you twice as much money for a simple repair than its actually worth.

The bill has opponents, like David Pardre of Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE): “Consumers will lose money, they will lose convenience, they will lose their freedom of choice in where to take their cars for repair; and they will lose the most important thing, which is the feeling of ownership.”

Proprietary systems are a pain, but we would tend to trust a manufacturer to repair our car than an auto mechanic. Let’s face it: fair pricing and good service in the auto repair industry isn’t anything we need to preserve, because it doesn’t fucking exist. Might as well put leprechauns on the Endangered Species list.

Congress Considers “Right to Repair” Bill [Consumer Affairs]

Comments

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  1. Kornkob says:

    *shrug* I don’t have a problem finding an honest mechanic outside the dealership here in Madison, WI.

  2. DeeJayQueue says:

    nevermind the fact that some of us actually KNOW how to work on our cars past looking at the dipstick. I want to know that I can go buy a water pump or a serpentine belt for my car and be able to put it on without needing 30 special tools, a manual and a trip to the dealer.

    Oh, and I HATE those stupid plastic cowlings they put over the tender bits of engines these days. It’s like they don’t want us to see that there’s really one in there powering our car.

  3. leftoverboy says:

    If an honest mechanic is what are looking for, check out NPR’s CarTalk.com website and search the Mechanics Files. It is a consumer contributed database of honest wrenchers.

  4. Josh says:

    Consumer Checkbook and Angie’s List, when surveying their members, discovered that most people are much more satisfied with the work of independent mechanics, and pay much less by avoiding dealers. Consumer Reports suggests that you only need to go to the dealer for warranty or recall work.

    By the way, if Consumer Checkbook or Angie’s List cover where you live, they’re each well worth the annual membership fee for detailed comparisons (and the chance to share your own opinions).

  5. geedeck says:

    Actually, this is a hugely anti-consumer bill and I’m suprised you can be so blase about it. Everyone should have the right to work on what they own (within reason, let’s excluse Tom Cruise’s MRI machine).

    Essentially, when this passes, auto manufacturers will be free to design proprietary diagnostic interfaces, and only license those tools to dealers. Allow me to analogize, it would be as if your parents were the only persons on the planet who could take your temperature.

    And while some auto mechanics may be shady, that is in no way to say all are, and to generalize on that level is poor, knee-jerk and discussion derailing.

    tldr; everyone should have the right to repair that which they own

  6. Mary Marsala With Fries says:

    Totally agree with geedeck. Yes, an honest mechanic is rare, but they do exist–I just got back from mine yesterday. They’ve been working for my family for decades; they’re great guys. They had to make 2 new hoses for my car (because the dealer-parts were over $100 each), which took them 3 hours, and they only charged me sixty bucks. A different dealership recently tried to charge me $400 for an OIL CHANGE.

    I bet dealerships would love to force the family businesses that competes with them out of business; they’re just taking a cue from Wal-Mart, right? But nobody–emphatically including the almighty Consumerist–should support such a disgustingly anti-consumer plan. What would King Ben of the Colorful Metaphors say if this was Dell trying to mandate that you could *only* let *them* work on your computer, or Sears forcing you into an exclusive service-contract on your washing machine?

    It’s called “competition”, and we need MORE of it, not less.

    -M.

  7. Kornkob says:

    My understanding of the ‘Right to Repair’ bill is that it would require that automakers offer the same access to service, training and diagnostic information and tools that they give their dealerships, which independant mechanics currently do not have.

    What part of that is anti-consumer?

  8. WMeredith says:

    Having worked in the auto repair industry for a year or two and still having some ties there, I can say that the best place to get ripped of is at the dealer. Always take your car to an independnet mechanic if it’s out from under warranty. Dealer mark-ups on parts tend to be 200% to 300% more than an independent will charge you.

  9. mrscolex says:

    Yeah I’m with kornkob. Maybe the consumerist hasn’t summarized the bill correctly but it seems to me that the “Right to repair” bill, ie: making it so that mechanics have the same access to fix your car as do dealers is promoting competition?

  10. Hawkins says:

    There are lots of honest independent mechanics out there. If you find one, stick with them for life. They will come to know you and your car, and save you thousands.

    Note: do not bring them baked goods at Christmas. They hate that. Give them a gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods, or your local equivalent, so that they can buy ammunition and shit.

  11. matto says:

    Those of us who work on our own cars know what it feels like to be stymied by these proprietary systems. VW/Audi cars have onboard systems which we’ve been locked out of since they stopped giving out SKC codes.

    As it stands, it’s difficult for owners to do simple things like program new keyless entry remotes- we’re forced to go to the dealer because VW won’t give us access codes to the diagnostic systems on the cars we purchased.

    Anyone who thinks this is a fair system is smoking crack. And anyone who expects less than a full ass-raping at dealerships is from another planet.

  12. DeeJayQueue says:

    After actually reading the article, it seems most of us have been snookered by Popken’s overuse of florid backwards sarcasm and metaphor. The bill is actually Pro-Consumer. It makes auto manufacturers share information and equipment on proprietary systems in their cars with independant mechanics.
    What the opponents were actually saying was that they were afraid the 3rd parties would go off and build their own parts (boo hoo, we might lose a guaranteed revenue stream to free market competition).

  13. matto says:

    I’m still outraged, on general principle. Also, I pooped in Ben’s shampoo before I figured out he was just kidding.

  14. John Stracke says:

    The Consumerist has it completely backwards–even citing Padre as opposing the bill instead of supporting it.