WASHINGTON-Independent auto repairers are pleased with a proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that would give them complete access to auto makers' emissions repair and on-board diagnostic information.
The EPA published the notice in the June 8 issue of the Federal Register. In it, the agency said it wants to change its Service Information regulations for light-duty vehicles and trucks, beginning in the 2005 model year.
Under the proposal, vehicle manufacturers would be required to:
* Make the full text of emissions-related service and training information available via the World Wide Web;
* Provide equipment and tool companies with information that allows them to develop equipment that allows them to reprogram on-board diagnostic devices;
* Give enhanced diagnostic information to aftermarket scan tool manufacturers;
* Make manufacturer-specific diagnostic tools available for sale to anyone who wants them; and
* Provide any other manufacturer-required OBD information to the aftermarket.
It is Congress' clear intent that motorists have freedom of choice in vehicle repair and service, the EPA stated in the document. ``It is essential for independent technicians to have access to timely and accurate emission-related service and repair information,'' it said.
``Industry estimates indicate that independent technicians perform up to 80 percent of all vehicle service and repairs,'' it added. ``Further, independent technicians perform more repairs on older vehicles, which are more likely than newer vehicles to have higher emissions, than technicians in franchised dealerships.''
The EPA set an Aug. 7 deadline for interested parties to submit comments on the proposal.
The entire automotive aftermarket has fought for years to gain access to OBD and emissions-related information, according to Roy E. Littlefield III, government relations director for the International Tire & Rubber Association. ``People who are in auto repair have a very hard time getting information,'' he said.