Stop Repairing Cars Say Automakers

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Stop Repairing Cars Say Automakers

Automakers are starting to support copyright laws which could stop car owners repairing their own vehicles.
Comments filed with federal agencies will decide if working on a car infringes copyright violations. The reasoning being modern cars have become too complex for the average car owner to work on them, which could leave a vehicle dangerous to use and drive.


This problem has come out of the Digital millennium Copyright act 1998, which now affects cars in general due to their vast amounts of computing hardware and software, i.e. if you tinker with a car manufacturers hardware and software you could be potentially infringing copyright!
They also say that due to the complexity of modern vehicles, many parts of the car’s functionality could be made dangerous if the correct equipment is not used by an authorized dealer, Third-party providers do not know the vehicles or are able to work on them as well as the manufacturers themselves, i.e. the manufacturers know the cars the best.

Counter to this argument, third-party groups against the idea pointed out certain manufacturers failed to find flaws in certain car’s hardware and software in recent years and it has taken third-party providers to highlight the problems.

Which way this motion will go we will know in short time. Both sides are coming up with their reasons, stacked very high before a final decision is made, but the fact of the matter at present is the concern that future vehicles can only be worked on by authorized dealers.
This has always been a major pain for car owners as fixes on cars have always been more convenient, cheaper and sometimes more reliable than a dealer. But the most important point is that manufacturers are now potentially taking away the third-party industry of car repair and not allowing people to work on their own cars, at least modern cars.

The industry itself has put cars in this position by making them so technically complicated.
We do like the gadgets in our cars, but that also means more stuff to fix and more knowledge to fix them. So, it’s a bit of a vicious circle where new gadgets are put on cars, we like them, manufacturers see we like them so include more of them, but then say they are so complicated to fix, you can only take them to a dedicated dealer and not work on them yourself.

This point has been coming for a long time.
Everybody talks about how modern cars are fixed more with a laptop than a wrench these days, so this is the ultimate conclusion.
It may try to make sure that all cars are fixed correctly by skilled mechanics with the correct equipment, but any decision that is a blanket decision will mean many car owners are left in the position where they cannot afford the dealers repair rates or even the inconvenience of having to travel to recognize dealers, than have a local car mechanic do the fix.

Above all these points, I see the matters being more the fact of if you buy a product, you have ownership of that product. If there are caveats for what you can do with that product, it becomes more of a rental item than ownership.
When I buy a car I want to know that I can work on any part of it and replace any part of it as I wish; it’s my car. I don’t want a situation where I buy a car and know that any maintenance has to be done by an authorized dealer only, no matter how skilled I am as a mechanic and if I have the equipment to perform the fix or not.

The video below shows the benefits of how the modern car can be diagnosed and repaired, but my cynical head cannot help but think why do we need apps, Google glasses, software programs and remote diagnosis to now fix a problem on a car? In some ways it just seems overkill, when we have come from a time when we could drive into a garage, a mechanic could evaluate the car from his vast knowledge, fix it on the spot or we could even do the repair ourselves.
What happened to the old ways of opening the manual, following instructions and doing the repair?

If you would like a seemingly unrelated analogy, look at Prohibition. It was introduced by well-meaning, but ultra-idealist bodies wanting to make the nation a better place. It stopped people doing things as a blanket, nationwide decision. They thought they were doing the right thing.
As it was a blanket, nationwide decision, it didn’t take into account all the caveats that didn’t make it dangerous or evil and what was the end result? It was completely overturned in time. But it also meant it drove things completely underground.
If you stop people as a blanket decision working on cars themselves, it will bring forth an industry of people who can hack the system, do the fixes without the manufacturers knowing.
Also, us humans like to tinker. We like to fix and repair things. It’s how we got to where we are in the world. So potentially, this decision could make some vehicles even more dangerous, as it’s inevitable that some cars will be fixed this way.
Blanket decisions never work or at least in the long term.

Before this decision goes either way, there is going to be lots of discussion for and against, but I personally cannot see any of the benefits other than the manufacturers taking the whole ownership of the repair and aftermarket parts industry.

This is more a concern for vehicles made over the last decade, then classic era muscle cars, but the impact will affect us all.


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