The Trenton Times

By: LAURIE EHLBECK - Trenon, NJ - December 31st, 2008

The New Jersey Assembly recently passed legislation -- The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act -- allowing consumers to have their vehicles repaired where and by whom they please.

Currently, vehicles that are equipped with computers -- even those with expired warranties -- are forced to return to the new car dealerships for repairs.

The bill is now in the New Jersey Senate's hands and needs to be passed as quickly as possible and signed by the governor.

Over the past 10 years, vehicle repair has become more complex. Since the expansion of the Clean Air Act, vehicles have been manufactured with computers that control vital systems from brakes to steering, electronics, even tire pressure. Literally dozens of complex computer systems control everything from the engine to the exhaust system. Mechanics need cutting-edge technology to stay ahead of the curve.

But neither repair shops nor consumers can always get the information they need to complete repairs.

At the heart of this problem is the fact that dealerships and manufacturers make their highest profits on repairs, not vehicle sales.

The car companies are making it difficult to have consumers' vehicles repaired at the independent repair shops.

Motor vehicle owners should have the right to choose where they take their vehicle to be repaired.

LAURIE EHLBECK

Trenton

The writer is state director of National Federation of Independent Business.

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