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Seniors Could End Up Stranded Without Right to Repair Act

  • Published: 2010-04-08 : Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association.
  • Synopsis: Seniors could end up forced to go to a dwindling number of car dealers for their vehicle maintenance and repairs.

Main Document

Senior Center for Health and Security Warns: Millions of Seniors Could End Up Stranded Without Right to Repair Act

A white paper produced by the Senior Center for Health and Security warns that without passage of the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act (S3181/HR2057), which guarantees Americans the choice of where and by whom their vehicle is repaired, "millions of older Americans could end up stranded, forced to go to an ever-dwindling number of car dealers for their vehicle maintenance and repairs."

"The white paper from the Senior Center of Health and Security emphasizes the importance of the Right to Repair Act to the motoring public, especially seniors which depend on their vehicles to get them to their jobs, doctor's appointments and the store," said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). "Passage of the Right to Repair Act will ensure competition in the vehicle repair industry, giving motorists the choice of where they have their vehicle maintained and repaired. This will mean that senior citizens, many of whom live on fixed incomes, will be able to continue to obtain affordable and convenient service for their vehicles and not be forced to choose between car repair and daily living expenses."

The white paper entitled Warning! Consumers at Risk! Will America's Seniors Lose the Right to Repair Their Cars and Buy Affordable Repair Parts? Includes the following passages:

How many seniors will be impacted

Over the next 20 years, the United States will experience a substantial growth in senior drivers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of those over 75 will grow from 18 million to 31 million between 2008 and 2028. The National Institute on Aging has estimated that almost 10 percent of the nation's drivers are older than 65, and that percentage could increase rapidly in the next decade as the 'Baby Boom' generation continues to reach that milestone. By 2030, projections suggest that one in five Americans will be age 65 or older. What are the feverishly sought monopolies that will affect millions of seniors

"The first is the 'right to repair.' While most people take it for granted, the critical right to repair one's motor vehicle is quickly eroding, and America's seniors stand to lose heavily as the erosion continues. What is the 'right to repair' It is the option to have your car repaired at the repair facility of your choosing, the one you think is the most convenient, the one that has the record for honesty and integrity, and the one that provides the finest service and parts at the best price. Unfortunately, unless something is done to protect consumers, that right to repair and the ability to purchase affordable high-quality repair parts may soon disappear forever...

"If the independent repair shops continue to lose the ability to access the necessary diagnostic and repair information, one day soon motorists will be stuck with no feasible alternative to the car dealers and the repair shops directly or indirectly tied to the automakers. Car owners, having perhaps spent tens of thousands of dollars for their vehicle, will lose the right to have that vehicle repaired at a shop of their choosing - all thanks to modern technology and the fact that the technology in question can be used against them by the car companies...

"Unlike the car companies and the car dealers, older American consumers aren't looking for a government bailout, but just to have the ability to have their vehicles repaired with high-quality affordable parts, at the reasonably-priced local independent repair shops which are so important to them and their independence."

The complete text can be found at

About the Senior Center for Health and Security

Through the power of education, The Senior Center for Health and Security seeks to enhance the lives of older Americans. The Senior Center for Health and Security is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization. The Senior Center also works to educate seniors on all of the options available to help them gain more satisfying, productive, and secure retirements. In tandem, the Senior Center works to help policy makers, administrators, and the media understand the special needs of older Americans and to ensure they have access to the best and broadest array of choices.

About Right to Repair:

The Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act (S3181) was introduced into the Senate by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sam Brownback (R-KS). The House version of the bill (HR 2057) was introduced by Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and George Miller (D-CA). The Right to Repair Act protects consumers from a growing vehicle repair monopoly by requiring car companies to make the same service information and tools capabilities available to independent repair shops that they provide to their franchised dealer networks. The legislation further provides car companies with strong protections for their trade secrets.

For more information about the Right to Repair Act, visit

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