84 Per Cent Of Independent US Repairers View Data Access As Their Top Business Issue

The US Auto Care Association (ACA) released results from a new nationwide survey highlighting the challenges that independent repairers face when servicing vehicles, often forcing them to turn away business.

According to the ACA, the findings reiterate the immediate need for passing the bipartisan REPAIR Act, which would ensure that vehicle owners and repairers of their choice have access to the vehicle data, tools, and software required to maintain modern vehicles.

The results indicate:

  • Eighty-four per cent of independent shops view vehicle repair and maintenance data access as the top issue for their business, surpassing other timely considerations such as technician recruitment and retention along with inflation.
  • The majority (63 per cent) of independent shops experience difficulties making routine repairs on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Half of independent shops (51 per cent) report sending up to five vehicles per month to the dealer due to vehicle data restrictions.
  • Vehicle data limitations cost independent shops an estimated US$3.1 billion each year.

“This research sheds new light on the stark reality facing the 273,000 shops and 900,000 technicians in the United States if Congress fails to take action on federal right-to-repair legislation,” said Bill Hanvey, President and CEO of the Auto Care Association. “Without change, local repair shops will be forced to turn away more and more business, leaving car owners with no choice but to foot outsized bills at the dealership.

“The REPAIR Act is critically needed to protect America’s vibrant network of local, independent repair shops that offer trusted service, convenience, and choice to millions of American drivers during the car repair process.”

According to the ACA, vehicle data restrictions disproportionately hurt small independent repair businesses by making it harder for them to offer certain repair services and parts to their customers, which can force car owners to use a dealership for some repairs, as evidenced in the survey. “This growing trend is particularly concerning when considering that consumers prefer independent repair shops to dealerships for vehicle repairs, according to separate research from Consumer Reports,” said the Association.

“These new findings elevate the first-person stories of independent repairers featured in the Auto Care Association’s new video campaign highlighting the impacts of unfair repair restrictions.”