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    • By Counterman
      Judge Douglas Woodlock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a notice on April 15 of another delay to provide a decision on the Right to Repair court case in Massachusetts.
      Citing “the resurgence of a demanding criminal trial schedule, resumption of long delayed in-court non-trial proceedings coupled with insistent writing responsibilities in other matters,” Woodlock extended the date to resolve the matter and invited the defendant (the commonwealth of Massachusetts) to “make a further modified stipulation to adjust the relevant date necessary for an appropriate period of consideration in support of a fully satisfactory opinion until no later than July 2, 2022, to bring this case to an appealable final judgement.”
      The judge previously stated that he would 
      link hidden, please login to view. Approved by Massachusetts voters on Nov. 3, 2020, by an overwhelming 75% to 25% margin, the new Right to Repair law would require manufacturers to provide vehicle owners both access and control of the diagnostic and repair data generated by their vehicles.
      Subsequent to the vote, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation filed a lawsuit (Alliance for Automotive Innovation vs. Maura Healey, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) in November 2020 asking the court to overturn the data-access ballot question based on a host of allegations including cybersecurity concerns, insufficient time to comply with the new data-access requirements and their contention that the ballot initiative is preempted by federal law.
      The Auto Care Association says it continues to fight for consumers’ right to choose where they get their vehicle maintained and repaired through both state and 
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    • By Counterman
      The Auto Care Association, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), CAR (Consumer Access to Repair) Coalition and Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) applaud U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) for co-sponsoring the Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act. 
      Introduced in February 2022 by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) to provide consumers rights to their vehicle’s repair and maintenance data and safeguard a free and fair repair market, the REPAIR Act (
      link hidden, please login to view) is the only federal Right to Repair legislation that addresses this critical need in the automotive industry. Davidson is an automotive industry alumnus who ran his family business: a small-batch machining and fabricating business that was transformed into a high-volume contract fabrication and injection molding manufacturer during his tenure.
      “By prohibiting vehicle owners from accessing and sharing data they generate, manufacturers stop consumers from accessing third-party repair shops,” said Davidson. “American vehicle owners have a right to control their data, and a right to access third-party repair shops, tools and parts. This bill would end manufacturers’ anti-competitive practices and restore consumer property rights.”
      “Thanks to Congressman Davidson, the bill is now a bipartisan effort,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association. “We thank the representative for recognizing that consumers deserve the right to choose where they get their vehicle repaired. In a time where Americans rely on their vehicles more than ever and are keeping their vehicles longer due to economic uncertainty, we hope that other legislators follow suit.”
      “AASA applauds Rep. Davidson for joining Rep. Rush on this critical legislative push,” said Paul McCarthy, president and CEO of AASA. “The consumer’s ability to continue to have choice in where to repair, service and maintain their vehicles is at stake. The bipartisan support from this bill, as we saw with the bipartisan-supported ‘Nixing the Fix’ report from the FTC, speaks to the fact that this automotive right to repair effort is not partisan, it is to support consumers, competition and free markets. Without action, consumers will face rising costs and fewer options. We look forward to working with both representatives on this important effort.”
      “The CAR Coalition applauds Rep. Davidson for co-sponsoring the REPAIR Act,” CAR Coalition Executive Director Justin Rzepka said. “This bipartisan legislation is critical to protecting the rights of consumers in the post-collision auto repair market. It is also crucial to ensuring the security and accessibility of vehicle data. As the cost of cars and repairs rise, consumers need more choices, not fewer, when it comes to repairing their own vehicles. The CAR Coalition looks forward to working with Rep. Davidson and Rep. Rush to advance the REPAIR Act on behalf of consumers across the country.”
      “SEMA and the specialty automotive aftermarket appreciate Representative Davidson standing up for free and fair competition for consumers looking to service, repair, or modify their vehicle,” said Daniel Ingber, vice president, government and legal affairs, SEMA. “The bi-partisan REPAIR Act must be passed to protect access to vehicle systems, tools and information necessary for independent repair and modification services for millions of consumers.”
      Automotive aftermarket companies can urge legislators in their district to also co-sponsor the bill by visiting 
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    • By Counterman
      In our 2022 Distribution Preview in
      link hidden, please login to view, aftermarket leaders talk about some of the key issues affecting the industry, and discuss their plans, goals and expectations for the year ahead. This year, we added several fun “Lightning Round” questions that you won’t want to miss.
      Here’s our Q&A with Robert Roos, president of the Pronto Automotive Distribution Network.
      AMN/CM: What did your organization accomplish in 2021 that you are most proud of? 
      RR: Obviously at the beginning of 2021, we announced our merger of the Pronto and Automotive Distribution Network groups. We anticipated that the merger process would be a lengthy one that would encompass all of 2021. I am so very proud of our internal team, the collective membership and all we have accomplished. We have consolidated systems, processes and procedures to allow us to become a more productive and efficient group. While there is still much to be done, we are together a much stronger group than we could have ever been independently. I applaud the efforts of everyone involved in making our dream a reality.
      AMN/CM: What are your thoughts about the business environment for the automotive aftermarket in 2022?
      RR: Currently, we are anticipating the business environment heading into 2022 to be very similar to what we have experienced in the past year. Supply chain issues will continue to challenge us for the foreseeable future. We are hopeful that as we become more accustomed to these challenges as an industry, we will find new and improved ways to navigate these waters and mitigate the impact on our businesses. Even with the headwinds we face, we are optimistic about our industry and our ability to persevere.
      AMN/CM: What do you feel is the greatest threat facing the automotive aftermarket right now? 
      RR: Another year behind us and it seems like the answer to this question continues to be “Right to Repair” and our access to vehicle data. The independent automotive industry won a huge battle in late 2020 when Massachusetts voters passed the Right to Repair bill, but the fight is far from over. Legal battles continue in the courts and our ability to access the necessary data to repair vehicles is still up in the air. We must continue to press the issue and educate people on this important issue. AMN
      AMN/CM: What phrase describes your “words to live by?”
      RR: “We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.” – Max Depree
      AMN/CM: What is your best icebreaker at a networking reception?
      RR: “Hello. I’m Robert …” I definitely need a better line.
      AMN/CM: What is your dream car, or favorite vehicle you’ve owned?
      RR: Dream car – not a good question to ask me. I’m driving an older vehicle now, so I would be happy with just about anything newer.
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    • By Counterman
      U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush on Feb. 3 introduced the Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act.
      HR 6570 would preserve consumer access to high-quality, affordable vehicle repair by ensuring that vehicle owners and independent repair shops have equal access to repair and maintenance tools and data as car companies and licensed dealerships, the Illinois Congressman explained in a news release.
      Consumers prefer independent auto repair shops over licensed dealerships by a wide margin – 70% of the 288 million registered vehicles in the United States are maintained by independent repair facilities. However, inadequate and outdated laws and regulations have made it increasingly difficult for independent repair shops to access critical vehicle data needed for repairs, benefiting car companies and licensed dealerships at the expense of consumers and mom and pop repair shops.
      “Americans should not be forced to bring their cars to more costly and inconvenient dealerships for repairs when independent auto repair shops are often cheaper and far more accessible,” Rush said in a news release. “But as cars become more advanced, manufacturers are getting sole access to important vehicle data while independent repair shops are increasingly locked out. The status quo for auto repair is not tenable, and it is getting worse. If the monopoly on vehicle repair data continues, it would affect nearly 860,000 blue-collar workers and 274,000 service facilities.
      “The lack of meaningful consumer choice in the repair market harms low-income Americans and those in underserved communities most. A single mother who relies on her vehicle to go to work and get her kids to school can’t afford to wait days or weeks to have her car repaired at a dealership that is hours away and more expensive than the auto shop around the corner. That is why I am proud to be introducing the first federal Right to Repair legislation for the auto sector. The REPAIR Act is commonsense, necessary legislation that will end manufacturers’ monopoly on vehicle repair and maintenance and allow Americans the freedom to choose where to repair their vehicles.”
      The REPAIR Act will update existing laws to reflect the modernization of automobiles and the importance of consumer choice in auto repair, according to Rush. The legislation is written to foster a competitive environment for vehicle repair while prioritizing cybersecurity and safety for vehicle systems.
      Specifically, the REPAIR Act would:
      Preserve consumer access to high-quality and affordable vehicle repair by ensuring that vehicle owners and their repairers of choice have access to necessary repair and maintenance tools and data as vehicles continue to become more advanced. Ensure access to critical repair tools and information. All tools and equipment, wireless transmission of repair and diagnostic data, and access to on-board diagnostic and telematic systems needed to repair a vehicle must be made available to the independent repair industry. Ensure cybersecurity by allowing vehicle manufacturers to secure vehicle-generated data and requiring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop standards for how vehicle generated data necessary for repair can be accessed securely. Provide transparency for consumers by requiring vehicle owners be informed that they can choose where and how to get their vehicle repaired. Create a stakeholder advisory committee and provide them with the statutory authority to provide recommendations to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on how to address emerging barriers to vehicle repair and maintenance. Provide ongoing enforcement by establishing a process for consumers and independent repair facilities to file complaints with the FTC regarding alleged violations of the requirements in the bill and a requirement that the FTC act within five months of a claim. The Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), Auto Care Association, CAR (Consumer Access to Repair) Coalition and Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) applauded Rush for introducing the legislation.
      “Today is one of the most memorable and important days in the history of the aftermarket. The REPAIR Act will help guarantee consumers’ rights and the ability of the industry to ensure their vehicles operate safely,” said Paul McCarthy, president and CEO of AASA. “From the repair shop to the board room, this effort has been fueled by the people of the aftermarket, and we couldn’t be prouder of that alignment behind this important legislation. This effort supports principles of competition, consumer choice and safety that we believe will benefit the whole automotive industry in the long run. We look forward to working with Representative Rush and our industry colleagues towards passage of this critical legislation.”
      By way of a
      link hidden, please login to view (MOU), vehicle owners and technicians are supposed to have the same access to information, tools and software that automakers make available to their franchised dealers. However, as vehicles become more technologically advanced, vehicle data is increasingly being transmitted wirelessly and sent only to vehicle manufacturers, who then have the ability to determine who can access the data and at what cost. Independent repair shops – which are cheaper than dealerships and preferred by the vast majority of car owners – are effectively locked out. The resulting landscape has reduced choice and raised costs for consumers, who spend an average of 36% more on vehicle repair at dealerships than at independent repair shops. Limited access to data has already impacted repairs for 37% of vehicles in the United States, and this number is set to increase dramatically in the coming years – by 2030, 95% of new vehicles sold around the world by 2030 will have wireless data-transmission capabilities.
      In May 2021, the FTC
      link hidden, please login to view highlighting the barriers auto manufacturers have instituted to block consumers’ Right to Repair. In the report, the FTC supported expanding consumer repair options and found “scant evidence” for the repair restrictions imposed by original equipment manufacturers. In a subsequent link hidden, please login to view on the report, the FTC noted that these repair restrictions create hardships for families and businesses and that the commission was “concerned that this this burden is borne more heavily by underserved communities, including communities of color and lower-income Americans.” In July, President Biden issued an link hidden, please login to view encouraging the FTC to address anti-competitive repair restrictions. “Ensuring consumer choice while retaining a free and competitive market across the vehicle lifecycle is at the heart of this legislation,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association. “As personal transportation has become more essential than ever, we need to make sure that 288 million American motorists have access to affordable, safe and secure repairs for their vehicles. The tenets of this bill are principles-based, balanced and address concerns shared across the automotive industry. Passage of this bill will keep consumers at the wheel while preserving an industry that contributes 4.4 million U.S. jobs and 2% GDP.”
      The full text of the REPAIR Act is available
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    • DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.


      DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.


      DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.

    • By Counterman
      Admittedly, windshield wipers aren’t the most glamorous component on a vehicle. For many drivers, they’re merely an afterthought – until they can barely see out their windshield. With winter weather approaching, however, this is an ideal time to talk to your customers about replacing their worn-out wiper blades before they become a serious safety hazard.
      Signs of Wear
      Most manufacturers recommend replacing wiper blades every six to 12 months. That’s all well and good, but the reality is that wipers are among the most overlooked maintenance items on a vehicle. If the rubber blade hasn’t completely disintegrated, chances are some of your customers will insist on keeping them until there’s a total failure. There’s an even greater chance your customers don’t even know when their wipers need to be replaced because they don’t know what to look for on the blade.
      With the seasons changing, now is a great time to encourage your customers to inspect their wiper blades for signs of wear. Studies show that winter and summer can be especially harsh on wiper blades. With rain, snow and sleet pelting our windshields as we approach the end of the year, visibility behind the wheel is more likely to be top of mind for many drivers who otherwise ignore their wipers.
      According to
      link hidden, please login to view (part of the First Brands Group), motorists should look for these signs of wear. Some might be discoverable by physically examining the blades, while other problems will be more apparent when the windshield wipers are in use. Streaking/smearing
      Worn and dirty wiper blades are a major cause of streaking.
      Skipping/chattering
      If wiper blades go unused for a long period of time, they can develop a curvature that causes them to not make proper contact with the windshield. This can result in a skipping or chattering sound when they’re in use.
      Splitting
      Cold weather and freezing temperatures make the rubber hard and brittle, which can result in wiper blades splitting.
      Squeaking
      If there’s a buildup of dust, dirt or other debris on the windshield glass, the wipers won’t make a smooth pass and can make a squeaking sound.
      “The remedies for fixing streaking/smearing, squeaking and skipping/chattering windshield wiper blades are the same: Keep your windshield clean and free of dirt, dust and debris,” ANCO explains on its website. “Avoid operating your wipers on a dry windshield. If the windshield isn’t wet enough when you run the wiper blades, it can cause skipping that creates squeaky wipers. Clean your wiper blades with washer solvent or water to help eliminate streaks and smears.”
      If these remedies don’t address the problem, it’s probably time for new wiper blades.
      The same goes for wiper blades that are starting to split. The split will only get worse and will lead to poor wiping performance when it matters most – while driving in rain, snow or ice.
      The biggest mistake most vehicle owners make is replacing only one wiper (the bad one) instead of the pair. They think they’re saving money, but if one side is worn out, the other side isn’t far behind. Better to replace them both at the same time because both blades are needed to keep the entire windshield clear. Also, if they drive an SUV, minivan or hatchback, it’s a good idea to replace the wiper blade on the rear window while they’re at it.
      Winter Survival Tips
      ANCO offers a number of tips for keeping wiper blades in working order during the winter months. For example, some motorists who don’t have a garage will pull the blades up and away from the windshield when their vehicle is parked outside overnight. The idea is to prevent ice from building up on the blades and preventing the blades from sticking to the windshield. However, some people argue that this practice causes unnecessary wear and tear on the springs in the wiper arm.
      A less controversial suggestion is to make sure the wipers are turned off when parking the vehicle. This way, when the vehicle starts up, the wipers won’t automatically start operating, which can potentially damage the wipers if the windshield is coated with snow and ice.
      For motorists who are really passionate about protecting their wiper blades, they can cover them with tube socks when not in use, or wipe the blades with rubbing alcohol to prevent them from freezing to the windshield. And for goodness sake, use an ice scraper – not the windshield wipers – to clear ice and snow from the windshield. Sitting in the vehicle with the defroster on max while the wipers struggle to break through a thick layer of snow and/or ice is a recipe for damaging the wiper blades.
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