We haven’t heard about the Right to Repair Act for a while, and honestly I hoped it was dead in the water. Unfortunately not though, just yesterday it was passed through the NJ state assembly.
For those who don’t know, the “Right to Repair Act” is a piece of legislation that would allow everyone free access to various manufacturer’s codes that you would need to decipher the readings on the ECM/ECU readers. Sounds complicated, but its not. Every modern car has a “brain” or an ECM – you can plug in a computer to that brain and read all sorts of important info about the car. Certain manufacturers make their codes particularly difficult to decipher so that you have to take them to certified technicians to get work done.
Now, the bill sounds like a good idea, right? Don’t let companies have a monopoly on their mechanical work, right? Wrong, and here’s why:
The free market would eventually force those companies to let everyone have those codes anyway because if even one of their competitors let their codes be known, the price to repair that competitors cars would drastically decrease, making the competitors cars a better value. Follow me?
Automakers want to sell cars, and if people start to realize it’s going to cost them an arm and a leg to just diagnose their Mercedes, meanwhile, BMW lets their codes be known, BMW sales would start to overtake Mercedes sales. Instead, we’re wasting time and money on a frivolous bill that does exactly what would happen in a free market anyway.