Do You Have a Right to Repair What You Own?

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Properitery Specialty Tools
wbswenberg   8/9/2012 11:04:29 AM
I don't have a problem with specialty tools when I'm allowed to buy them.  But when I can't buy them I'm unhapply and will just have to make it.  And remember to buy a different brand.  I've purchased speciality tools for my '84 Toy 4X4 Pickup.  I've also been denided being able to buy.  I don't like it.  Now about the cost.  If it is too much I'll just buy close and modify it.  Why make something that uses non standard tools?  It is like not being to be able to get a repair manual.  The dealer and manufacture got enought of my money at sale time.  It is like Mil-Std.  But then I would go for a standardized car.  I think that is why the VW bug was such a big hit.  Easy to fix with lots of spart parts.  I think price, mileage, maintenance, repair.  Not blue-tool compatable.  I am envious of the large screen maps however.  Over folded.  However the emap is not going to be working where I go.

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Re: why legislation???
kf2qd   8/9/2012 10:33:06 AM
Here's teh problem, You buy a car because it was supposed to be a good value and then your local dealer decides to cut costs by hring a number of poorly trained shop workers. (I have had to deal with them...) but he still charges you the $90.00 . hour shop rate. You have to return your vehicle numerous times and the dealer is happy because he is getting his money but you aren't getting much value for your investment...

While it may be easy to say "Buy a different car" that is not always an option. If you can't get the car fixed that youhaven't paid for, you are supposed to go deeper in debt to buy another car? If you can do that you must be rather rich...

Kind of like the advice that folks are given when the job prospects dry up, "Just move ..." and what exactly do I do with my house that I have here which won't sell because there are no jobs?

Competition does wonders for the quality of service. If there is competition the dealer that has a poor customer service program will have some motivation to improve, and the customer has some recourse other than to jsut stuff it.

It is also interesting to note the cost of repairs of a vehicle after 5 years. Some manufacturers change accesories every year. Others have used the same parts for decades. Guess which one costs more to maintain. it comes down to differences like $100 for an altenator from comapny A and $700 from company B. But the adds don't tell you that.

bob from maine
User Rank
Repair information
bob from maine   8/9/2012 10:22:30 AM
There is no easy answer to the issue of accurate repair information. The company mentnioned, Mercedes has a tremendous stake in brand recognition and reliability. They have decided that some categories of repair can potentially damage the companies reputation if incorrectly done. All auto manufacturers have invested heavily in documenting and training on maintenance and repair and they feel they deserve a return on this investment. Conversely, an auto repair technician has invested tens of thousands of dollars in tools and years in training to become proficient in their trade.They work for years to build and keep a customer base and are depended upon to do the job right the first time. After 50 years as a professional repair technician on many mechanical and electronic platforms I am confident that if the legislature gets involved in this issue, they will apply a simplistic solution to a complex problem and make things a whole lot worse.

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Re: Repair parts
TexasTJ   8/9/2012 9:55:17 AM
Exactly.  I work in an industry where self repair of the products has gotten members of the public injured and killed.  Lawyers still go after the original manufacturer when owners have jumped out safety interlocks.

I'm FOR self repair of most items, but when it can cause injury or death to third parties, we need to examine how far we go to encourage it.

Second, will the law only cover "businesses" or everybody?  I don't like laws that create new rights for certain classes of people.  The reporter shield law is a perfect example.  It extends "rights" to a certain group to do (or not do) things that would land non-members (say, bloggers for example) in court.

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Re: why legislation???
ttemple   8/9/2012 9:49:19 AM
This doesn't take legislation to fix.  The consumer has all the power here.  If enough people go to a dealer and complain, then go buy their car from a manufacturer that is more "cooperative", the company will change its policy.  No new laws required.

Consumer pressure would fix this issue much faster than legislation.

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Re: why legislation???
greg   8/9/2012 1:52:24 AM
nobody is asking for the actual source code of the ecm. nobody is asking how the pistons are made, how they get their cylinder wall coating to stick to the engine block, how they make a complex suspension link in one piece without welding. people are asking (insisting) for the ability, for a price, to read the fault codes the computer is spitting out, the steps a customer must take to get the cv joint out of the transmission, how to replace a faulty gas tank fill sensor. nothing truly Intellectual Property, if that's what the manufacturers are claiming, and not just you, then theyre hiding behind the term.
and chiltons manuals are kinda poo IIRC. ex. "step 1-remove engine." i was all about the bentley manuals.

User Rank
Repair parts
Tim   8/8/2012 10:26:16 PM
If it is equipment that you own, it should definitely be in your right to repair it.  On the other side though, if you repair your own equipment you really transfer the reliability of the vehicle or equipment to you letting the manufacturer off the hook for any future failures.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
"Substandard parts" sounds like an excuse
Ann R. Thryft   8/8/2012 6:08:50 PM
Ah, Chilton (said in a tone echoing Homer's "Ah, beer."). I have fond memories of guy friends, my husband and me all studying the different system diagrams and instructions for several cars, trying to troubleshoot a problem, and usually successfully making (mostly minor) car repairs to avoid a mechanic's fee. Although I usually avoided electrical repairs, all the other ones were made crystal-clear. Like Jon, I don't remember any problem with "substandard parts". Sounds like hogwash. I keep my cars for about 10 years and still haven't had parts replacement problems: usually it's matched by an equivalent with a different number that works just as well. The people at O'Reillys, Kragen and other auto parts houses find them right away in those giant databases in the sky.

User Rank
Re: why legislation???
ttemple   8/8/2012 6:04:29 PM
I think that there are enough car manufacturers  to preclude monopolistic problems.  I see the automotive industry as a very competitive business.

Obviously, the manufacurers are trying to protect the repair revenue stream for their dealers, whom rely heavily on that revenue stream to stay alive.  I don't think there is really that much money in new car sales for the dealers. (however I have never been in that business, so I am possibly completely misguided.)

When a manufacturer ceases to supply parts, arrangements should be made to somehow transfer the intellectual property to other interested parties.  This routinely happens when companies go out of business.  There is usually residual value to the intellectual property, and it gets sold.  The machine tool industry is a great example.  People bought the intellectual property of companies like Sundstrand, Gray, etc., for the express purpose of the ongoing support revenue stream.  What they got for their purchase price was drawers full of old prints, from which they could manufacture spare parts.

The prescription drug industry plays by the patent laws.  They know what the rules are, and they have to live with them.  This however does not mean that the drug companies give away the manufacturing processes for making the drugs when the patents run out.  The formulation may be patented, and as such, "public", but how to synthesize the drug has to be figured out by those who wish to "copy" it.  If the government forced the drug companies to divulge all trade secrets, I would have a big problem with it.  (Spare me painting some scenario where one company owns a drug that is going to save the world and won't share it with other companies so that enough can be produced , etc. etc.)

 By the way, the government doesn't enforce patents.  The government allows you to attempt to enforce patents that it grants you.  It is all on your nickel, not theirs.

Do you think that Microsoft should be required to give you the source code for Windows so you can "repair" it yourself?  Where do you draw the line?


Charles Murray
User Rank
Charles Murray   8/8/2012 5:48:05 PM
I would imagine that the hang-up here is the software. Automakers are paranoid about giving too much access to their software, especially when it comes to engine and powertrain control modules. As we've discussed many times on this site, the cost of writing software is tremendous. The Ganssle Group estimates that software development costs about $20 to $40 per line of code (which means that an ECM with 500,000 lines of code might cost $10 million to $20 million to develop), so it's hard to blame the automakers for being reticent about this. I, too, used to do my own simple engine repairs and I wish I could still do them, but I can't afford the software-based diagnostic equipment and I can't really blame the auto companies for not wanting to sell it to me. The bottom line is that I understand why people want to do their own repairs, but I also understand why automakers are so protective of their software.

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