Tire dealers and other independent auto repair shops can breathe easier now that an expansion of the Right to Repair law has been approved by voters in Massachusetts.
Multiple news outlets have reported that on Nov. 3, voters overwhelmingly passed by a roughly three to one margin Question 1 on the ballot, giving vehicle owners and independent repair shops in the state access to the real-time mechanical data from telematics in their customers’ vehicles.
“The drive to pass Question 1 was a grassroots effort with many industry associations, including the New England Tire & Automotive Association, the Tire Industry Association (TIA), independent tire dealerships and wholesalers, joining in the effort,” said TIA CEO Roy Littlefield. “This is a victory for the entire automotive aftermarket and will allow independent repair shops to remain competitive with franchise car dealerships’ service operations as technology in vehicles increases.”
Question 1, according to the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition, “stated that vehicle manufacturers must make available all mechanical information needed to diagnose and repair cars as well as perform routine maintenance starting with 2022 models, over a secure open access platform that independent repair shops can access, when authorized by the car’s owner.”
“By voting yes on 1, Massachusetts has now updated Right to Repair for the modern age of connected vehicles,” said Tommy Hickey, Coalition director.
The victory extends the Right to Repair Act first passed in 2012 in Massachusetts, which was later expanded nationwide. That law mandated that auto makers make available the same diagnostic and repair data available to independents that car companies provide their own car dealerships and certified repair facilities.
But the law exempted data shared wirelessly through telematics. With more than 90% of new cars transmitting real-time repair information wirelessly, independent repair shops would soon have limited or no access, according to a Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee fact sheet.
Opponents to Question 1 raised concerns over consumer privacy, data ownership and usage rights.
The vote sent a clear mandate, Hickey said. “The people have spoken – by a huge margin – in favor of immediately updating right to repair so it applies to today’s high-tech cars and trucks.”