Can the government legislate independent auto repair?
That’s what Representative Joe Barton seems to be thinking. Barton, who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the Motor Vehicles Owners Rights to Repair Act back in 2001 and reintroduced it again in 2003 and 2005.

According to supporters, today's vehicles are more complex than those of yesteryear and require more specialized training and tools. Since both are provided by automakers, vehicle owners are forced to go to dealerships or approved facilities for repairs which are usually more costly than independent garages. Worse, says Barton, repair quality will actually worsen since such facilities would have no competition.

Under the bill, auto manufacturers would, for example, be required to provide diagnostic equipment to independent shops with equivalent capabilities as franchised repair facilities.

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