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Know your rights: How the Right to Repair ruling is impacting service providers

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Managing Editor of Fleet Equipment Magazine

In September of 2015, the Commercial Vehicle Right to Repair Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed. The ruling applies to trucks made in the U.S. and Canada, model years 2010 and newer, and gives aftermarket repair shops reasonable access to OEM service information and diagnostic tools. This proprietary information was made available as of Jan. 1 of this year; OEMs are required to license the information and any associated tools at “fair and reasonable” prices.

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In essence, what this all means is that if something goes wrong with a truck, the fleet manager has other options besides routing the truck to a dealership, which can be especially useful if the dealership isn’t close by. Before the Right to Repair Memorandum was signed, only dealers had the necessary information to respond to a truck or engine’s fault codes. Right to Repair levels the playing field for their aftermarket service counterparts.

The data is also now available to every truck dealership in every state, regardless of OEM affiliation—meaning fleets can now bring their Volvo into a Peterbilt dealership, for example, and still receive service. The MOU also states that by 2018, vehicle and engine manufacturers will be required to provide access to their onboard diagnostic and repair system information system on an interface other than its own and with software that can run on an ordinary computer through the Internet.

While the MOU is not legally binding, the members of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association have all agreed to follow the guidelines.

So how does all this impact fleets? It starts with uptime. A truck that has to go out of its way to visit a dealership rather than a closer repair facility is one that’s potentially not getting as much time on the road as it could. Of course, turn-around times and number of vehicles a repair facility is servicing vary wildly in every service situation.

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Beyond that, having more choices is a benefit to the consumer in any situation. A fleet manager can now visit his or her preferred technician or repair shops in every situation if they wish, or find the lowest price in each situation, rather than be at the mercy of whatever the dealer wants to charge.

Mitchell 1’s TruckSeries, for example, is a subscription service that is made up of labor estimating, diagnostic trouble code procedures and repair information for all-makes of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Kristy LaPage, business manager for the commercial vehicle group with Mitchell 1, says that Mitchell 1 welcomes the Right to Repair (R2R) legislation.

“Mitchell 1 was founded with the belief that people need information to fix vehicles,” LaPage says. “Any and all sources of information available to help technicians perform their jobs more efficiently will ultimately benefit the aftermarket as a whole. This new legislation will help strengthen the relationships between OEMs and information providers like Mitchell 1, and will help us support aftermarket shops in their ability to repair vehicles accurately and efficiently.”

Mitchell 1 offers online access to complete repair, diagnostic trouble code procedures and labor estimating information for Class 4-8 trucks online for the use of small and multi-make repair facilities, providing them with information normally reserved for dealerships and large fleets through its flagship software, the TruckSeries software suite.

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Another service software developer is TMW Systems, provider of the TMT Fleet Maintenance and TMT Service Center software.

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TMT Fleet Maintenance is a maintenance management solution designed to help fleets better control costs while improving vehicle uptime. The software integrates management of all maintenance areas, including P/M schedules, parts inventory, fuel and tire usage, mechanic hours, billing, warranty recovery, and more.

TMT Service Center is a solution for independent repair and maintenance operations. In addition to its set of shop management tools, the software allows users to offer electronic invoicing, P/M notice tracking, 24/7 access to vehicle history reports, online service reservations, and more. For both TMT Fleet Maintenance and TMT Service Center, available diagnostic resources enable users to define and diagnose OEM fault codes and perform comprehensive diagnoses and repairs.

TMW Systems is also looking beyond the first step of Right to Repair and believes that a deeper partnership between the parties would be more helpful than simply providing the raw data.

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