WASHINGTON (Nov. 14, 2005) — The House Energy and Commerce Committee may schedule a vote on the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act sometime during the first two weeks of December, according to advocates of the legislation.
The bill would require auto makers to make available to independent auto repairers the same repair and diagnostic information they give their franchised dealers, on pain of legal sanctions.
A hearing Nov. 10 before an Energy and Commerce subcommittee showed independent auto repairers and auto makers still far apart on such questions as the governing board of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), which is designed to field garage owners' complaints about accessibility of auto makers' repair and diagnostic information.
Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., proposed asking the Federal Trade Commission to establish guidelines for an independent NASTF board. But Aaron M. Lowe, vice president of government affairs for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, said an independent board still wouldn't resolve questions about the efficacy of the diagnostic tools auto makers give the aftermarket and about whether the aftermarket would try to steal auto makers' intellectual property.
The Right to Repair Act now has 70 co-sponsors in the House, Mr. Lowe said.