Auto Service World
News   April 25, 2024   by Adam Malik

How big a concern right to repair is for shops

The vast majority of independent repair shops in the U.S. put the right to repair issue at the top of their list of concerns for doing business going forward.

The Auto Care Association — the U.S.-based national body representing sectors of the automotive aftermarket — recently released findings from a nationwide survey of repair shops that underscored the hurdles faced by independent repair facilities in servicing vehicles, often compelling them to decline business.

Key findings reveal that 84 per cent of independent repair shops rank access to vehicle repair and maintenance data as their top business concern, outranking issues such as technician recruitment, retention and inflation. Furthermore, 63 per cent of these shops face difficulties in making routine repairs daily or weekly due to data access restrictions. Notably, 51 per cent of shops reported having to send up to five vehicles per month back to dealerships because of these restrictions.

Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, emphasized the severe impact of these limitations.

“This research sheds new light on the stark reality facing the 273,000 shops and 900,000 technicians in the United States. Without legislative action, local repair shops will increasingly have to turn away business, forcing car owners to pay higher prices at dealerships,” he said.

The financial toll is also significant, with vehicle data restrictions costing independent repair shops an estimated $3.1 billion annually. These restrictions disproportionately harm small independent businesses, making it difficult for them to offer certain services and parts, and often leaving car owners with no alternative but the dealership for some repairs.

This growing issue is highlighted at a time when consumer preference leans towards independent shops over dealerships for vehicle repairs, the association noted.

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