It’s a common scenario for many University of Maine students: you are driving back to the Ave on a weekday afternoon after finishing your last class. Maybe this time, you hear a loud thud on the roundabout near the Alltown gas station.
Immediately, you pull into the parking lot to check the car and notice one of the axles is damaged. It is about 3:30 p.m., so you call the nearest mechanic to see if your car can be taken in. The mechanic asks what type of car you have – a Toyota, for example. Under current legislation, they could say, “You have to take that to a licensed dealer for Toyota despite the fact I could fix it for a lower price.”
This is a frustrating reality for many. If Maine had an Automotive Right to Repair, this reality could be altered to where you save money and not be taken advantage of by monopolies that have been allowed to profit off of something basic, like where you can take your car for repairs.
Come Nov. 7, 2023, Mainers will have the option to make what sounds logical become reality. The Automotive Right to Repair is Question 4 on the ballot and would allow a consumer to prevent vehicle manufacturers from putting barriers on repair. Your choices on where you can go for repairs would be greatly expanded.
This question applies to more than just car repairs. What about the diagnostics system in the car, an essential step a mechanic must see before car repair? The Right to Repair would allow you and other mechanics access to the data. It would seem like simple logic to allow data to be seen by the driver. However, people currently do not enjoy the luxury of knowing data about their own car.
Furthermore, an Automotive Right to Repair would allow for a wide array of tools and brands to be used for repair. Currently, various car companies require certain brands of tools to be used. This is because these companies can gouge the driver out of more money.
Kate Kahn, spokesperson for the Maine Right to Repair Coalition, states, “This issue is about choice. Consumers want the ability to choose where to take their cars or trucks to be repaired. They do not want to be told they can only take their autos to expensive dealerships.”
An Automotive Right to Repair is crucial in returning power to the people for further control over their property. This allows tackling car company monopolies that currently dictate where you can get a car repaired and take more of your money. This money could have been saved by visiting a local mechanic, which also fosters a healthier community by shopping locally. To ensure all this can be achieved, vote Yes for Question 4.