The Right To Repair Law

Cole Dione, Journalist

The Right to Repair Law

In the world of automobiles, people can get a bit overwhelmed if they get in an accident. If a person does get in an accident, they have a choice, depending on their insurance. Going to small businesses will offer fast and cheap repairs. If you were to bring your damaged vehicle to a dealership, a couple of things can happen. One, the employee or mechanic will give you an estimate, depending on the damage the price can range from $800 to $2,000. Two, once the part or parts are replaced, the mechanic can offer other unnecessary repairs like an oil change or a tire rotation (again, these repairs are 100% unnecessary, this is a trick they use to pull you into their shop.) So this year, it’s up to the people of this country to decide who they want to pay for repairs.

I interviewed Pat, an owner of a collision repair shop. to see what his feelings are about this law. Pat opened Factory Collision Center around January of this year in Middleton, which was a big opportunity for him. Pat’s shop is relatively close to main roads which means more accidents, but for him, that gives him more customers and right now, business is booming. 

I first asked Pat, “How do you feel about this law?” His immediate response was: “This law is misconstrued; it’s full of false information and is a fear tactic which pushes out smaller businesses.” 

Voting yes on Question 1 would mean that people can choose independently where they would want to go to get their car repaired. Voting no would mean that going to dealerships is a requirement for car models starting at the year 2022. I asked Pat about his thoughts on the ramifications of this law being put into effect, and he explained, “For yes, you will continue to have rights to your own vehicle no matter the year. No would create a wormhole for small businesses which means they have a good chance of going out of business.”

For many businesses like Pat’s, voting no would create a huge problem in the automobile industry. If a customer wanted a specific job done to their car, dealerships would not be able to do so because their job is so specific. Starting a job at a professional dealership would require almost a four year college education. 

What we know now is electric cars will be the new automobile. Which means shops have to change their entire garages around. Tools are going to be more limited because electric cars only have so many parts: batteries, wires, and wheels. That’s it. When I asked Pat what he enjoys about owning a garage, his response was positive: “You get to have many perks like control, pride, quality, trust. It gives you freedom in a way as well, you’re allowed to set your own hours and deadlines.”

As of right now, we don’t know what the answer will be. But what we do know is that electric cars will make a big change to the world of auto mechanics.