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"Opinion ‘Car Talk’ host: Independent auto shops deserve the right to repair your car September 28, 2022 at 7:00 a.m. EDT (Washington Post staff illustration; images by iStock) Ray Magliozzi is one half of NPR’s show “Car Talk,” a longtime independent repair-shop owner, a Dear Car Talk columnist and a car reviewer on CarTalk.com. When your car breaks, what do you do? Okay, after you utter a certain word? You have to decide where to take the car to get it fixed, right? You really have two choices. You can go to the dealership or an independent repair shop. However, some car manufacturers don’t want to share key information for diagnosing and fixing cars with independent shops — and that’s something that’s not only bad for repair shops but also bad for you. As a radio host who has advised thousands on their car problems and as an independent shop owner myself, I know all too well that car owners benefit when they have more choices. Congress is considering a national “right-to-repair” law, and lawmakers need to pass it to protect your rights as a consumer. Story continues below advertisement Back in the old days, when people were still switching over from traveling by mastodon, you repaired cars with your eyes, ears, nose and hands — and, if you were desperate, a Chilton repair manual. Now, you often repair a car by first plugging a computer into the on-board-diagnostics port and seeing what the computer tells you is broken. So, what’s the problem? Carmakers and their dealerships want to maintain control of modern diagnostic tools, which forces customers to come to them for repairs. Even though independents are willing to pay to license these tools, dealers see an advantage in exclusivity. Dealerships have always had certain advantages. They have better coffee in their waiting rooms. Heck, they have waiting rooms. They have clean restrooms that don’t double as auxiliary air-filter storage. They also work on your particular make of car all day, every day. So they might be familiar with an oddball problem because they’ve worked on 4,000 Camrys. Story continues below advertisement Independent shops are small businesses, run by individuals — some of whom are terrific people and mechanics and some of whom will blame your car troubles on demonic possession and give you essential oils to fix it. But independent shops have their own advantage: price. Their labor and parts costs are usually much lower — hey, who do you think is ultimately paying for the dealerships’ coffee and fancy couches? Some research has found that dealers, on average, charged as much as 20 percent more than independent shops for the same repairs. This article was featured in the Opinions A.M. newsletter. Sign up here for a digest of opinions in your inbox six days a week. There’s also the matter of distance. Not every town in the United States has a stop light, let alone a dealership for every car brand. There are 16,752 franchised car dealers in the United States, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association, but there are nearly 240,000 repair shops — meaning that for a lot of people, an independent shop is the only nearby option. Story continues below advertisement At Car Talk, there are times we’ll strongly recommend an independent shop for standard work like brakes, shocks, the engine and regular service. And there are times we’ll recommend going to the dealership, like when you have a particularly rare problem that might be unique to your make and model. But at the end of the day, you should take your car to the dealer to be fixed because you want to not because dealers have hoarded all the key information. Beyond the information needed to diagnose and fix your car, dealerships also want to maintain control of your car’s telematics. What are telematics? Well, now that everything is connected to the internet, your car can notify your dealer when your car needs an oil change or has a blown sensor. Using the software they’re denying to independent shops, the dealer can then diagnose the trouble code, call you and schedule a repair. Most modern cars already have this ability. Car manufacturers point to the importance of keeping your car’s data safe — including your location, say — as a reason to deny independent shops access to these tools and codes. They are right about the need for data security, but part of privacy is that you should be the one to decide who has access to your data. Story continues below advertisement At least 17 states have laws on the books stating that your vehicle’s data belongs to you. Many independent repair shops will need to invest in tools to keep customer data secure, but just because they’ll need to invest doesn’t mean they can’t compete with dealers. Lack of choice — and competition — is never good for the consumer. So consumer groups and independent shops are promoting what they call right-to-repair legislation, guaranteeing consumers more choice by requiring automakers to license their data with independent repair shops. The voters in my fair state of Massachusetts approved just such a law in 2020. In 2021, 27 states introduced or passed similar legislation. Beyond those state laws, there’s a national push to protect consumers and independent shops. H.R. 6570, a national right-to-repair bill, has been sitting with the House Energy and Commerce Committee for months. My Car Talk colleagues and I know not everyone will support right-to-repair laws. Dealerships won’t like the level playing field. Mechanics might not like how much work they’ll actually have to do. Still, this is an issue everyone else can get behind. If you own something, you should be able to choose where to repair it. "
This is my first post so sorry if I’m all over the place. I’ve had my 2014 Sierra slt for about two years now. I got it with 116k miles and I’m at about 174k right now. Since the day I’ve bought the truck it’s been nothing but issues. You name it, it’s happened. Four separate water leaks (sunroof, gps antenna, third brake light, and cab vents), 2 transfer case control modules, problems with the power steering going out, brakes going out at low speeds. A couple of months ago my transmission went out and it also needed various other repairs totaling over $20k. Now my park assist sensors don’t work, my rear doors don’t open from the inside and also don’t lock from the outside, reverse lights and camera don’t work, and it constantly dings at me to service my trailer brake system (seriously, it chimes at me about every two seconds as I’m going down the road, telling me to service the trailer brakes). I’ve gone through and checked every ground I can find and nothing helps. Today I went through every single fuse and relay in the truck. I found a couple of blown fuses and replaced as needed, but still no change. I’m at a loss for what to do at this point as I’m stuck with the truck after all the money I’ve sunk into it. Does anybody maybe have any solutions to any of these problems? I’m desperate for answers, anything helps.
So I tried searching in the forum and I'm not sure if it's working right, but I only found one post that addressed this, but the OP I guess gave up on it. I apologize if this post is a repeat. I have a 2015 Sierra 1500 AT and I love everything about it.... except a couple of things I'm working on adding (leveling kit (done), larger tires (done), trailer brake, wireless charger, any mods I can do to the touch screen, etc.). One of those would be a trailer brake control. I would really like to avoid having to use an aftermarket switch, but in doing the research, the wiring harness in the truck won't allow for the addition of the factory module and I don't want to have to try to figure out how to reprogram the ECU to show up on the dash. So, I have to go aftermarket. I purchased the Hopkins Insight controller to try to avoid having the bulky box near my legs but got to thinking how I can adapt the factory switch (which I ordered) to work with the Hopkins controller. First issue, there's a third button for the Hopkins that the OEM module doesn't have, which isn't a big deal, I can figure that one out. Second, and main issue, is the rheostat or slider switch. I will end up doing some testing on it but I wanted to see if anyone has had any experience with this or might know where I can find the specifications or diagrams for both the OEM switch and the Hopkins. My goal is to hide as much of this aftermarket install as I can, minus the display and third button. @pgamboa I thankfully stumbled upon your videos awhile back and was wondering where you obtained your electrical connectors? I want to be able to attach the factory switch as clean as possible and wanted to try to find the right connectors. Thank you!
So I had this problem and it started while driving in a rain storm. It sounded like someone knocking on a door constantly for about a full minute. Perfect knock on wood sound. Then it stopped. Then about ten minutes later the tire pressure monitors quit working and tire signal flashed and tire pressures on all tires showed line instead of pressure. Everything went back to normal after five minutes. Twenty minutes later DIC screen says remote not detected. I left car with remote in pocket and doors locked. When I got back doors would not unlock with handle button. I left remote in car and walked away and car locked with remote inside. Had to get locksmith out for that one. Tire light went back on and was not sensing all tires. Changed battery in remote. Reprogrammed remote and would only start with remote in special pocket and kept saying no remote detected. One hundred miles down the road everything started working correctly. Please help if anyone can