Congress is considering legislation to ensure that the right to repair vehicles – all vehicles, Class 1-8 – is available to anyone qualified to repair them. For trucking, this right is essential. Why? Because as vehicles become more complex, access to the appropriate tools, diagnostic software, and parts is becoming more important not only for the truck dealer, but for the independent repair shop and those qualified to do their own vehicle maintenance, as well. The bill is known as the REPAIR Act (H.R. 906, aka Right to Repair) and is currently sitting in the House Energy and Commerce committee, awaiting a full committee vote before it goes to the House for a vote.

The bill is important to all those involved in trucking. The reason is because it helps ensure that your truck can get repaired where and when you want it repaired.

Imagine you’re in the middle of No Place and your truck breaks down next to the No Place Independent Truck Garage. What luck, right? Definitely, unless the No Place Independent Truck Garage doesn’t have the proper diagnostic software to diagnose and help repair your truck. Why don’t they have it? Because your truck manufacturer won’t sell them the diagnostic software – the reason being they are rightfully concerned about larger-scale issues such as cybersecurity, and there’s no law currently on the books to require them to sell the software at a reasonable price to the No Place, or any, independent repair shop. So, you have to take your truck to the nearest dealer, a short 80 miles away.

Of course, the No Place Independent Truck Garage is willing to tow your truck to the nearest dealer, but it comes with a hefty price tag.

In short … you’re stuck.

Let’s delve a bit into this proposed legislation to explore why it’s critical for your consideration and, most importantly, your support to get this enacted.

What Is Right to Repair?

Right to Repair is a pretty broad term. In a nutshell, it ensures that consumers and companies have the ability to repair the products they purchase – either themselves, through a dealer, or through an independent repair shop.

Right to Repair provides equal access to the software, systems, manuals, training, etc. that are needed to repair the devices. Products covered can range from electronics – like your cellphone, stereo, or other device – and agricultural equipment, including tractors and combines, to our cars and the full range of commercial vehicles.

At present, Right to Repair legislation is made possible by state governments. Some states have Right to Repair laws or are soon to be getting Right to Repair laws. Some states don’t. Some laws exclude vehicles while others do just the opposite.

Hence the problem. Different states, different rules, and different products covered. It’s a patchwork of confusion and contradiction. Vehicles tend to transcend state lines, so it starts to get tricky concerning what protections you may have that enable you to do repairs (based on the state where you live).

Right now, four states have enacted or are considering Right to Repair laws for vehicles: Colorado, Maine, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

While state regulations can be helpful, they can be difficult for a transcontinental industry like trucking. Federal legislation, like H.R. 906, helps to level the playing field and ensure that wherever you live in the U.S., you can get access to the information you need to repair your vehicle (or to have it repaired by any shop).

Of course, time is of the essence. The bill needs to be passed in this, the 118th, Congress, which ends with the close of 2024. In an even more realistic perspective, passage must happen before the election; otherwise, Congress goes into the lame duck session where little gets accomplished. This means that the process starts over in the new legislature next year – and only if the bill is reintroduced.

Sounds Like a Good Idea. Why Not?

It is a good idea, but not everyone agrees.

Some in our industry feel that access impacts cybersecurity, making vehicles more vulnerable to hackers, which can create issues ranging from congestion to crashes. Suppliers like Bendix are also concerned about cybersecurity and believe working with our OEM partners is critical to avoiding potential issues or openings that may let hackers in.

Others advocate that the industry MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that exists between some independent repair shops and the OEMs is all that’s needed. In other words, the Right to Repair already exists. The problem with MOUs is that they tend to be voluntary – not every OEM has to participate, and they are not enforceable. Only a law is enforceable.

A few more people are concerned that advanced safety systems may not be repairable by independent folks or shops. These devices, they reason, are too complex for the local garage to handle. That complexity is why it’s vital to ensure that repairs can be made quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. This is what training is for.

As for parts, it’s not the production of parts that’s important. What is an ongoing significant concern is that company trade secrets are protected as part of the final legislation. No company, including Bendix, should be mandated to share its intellectual property with any group. Industry trade groups and others want to keep it that way. What is key is that parts are available and priced equitably. An independent shop should have the same access to parts that an OEM dealer has. Parity is the goal. Focusing the bill on availability and equitable pricing of parts, not on production of parts, will help ensure effective repairs can be made in a timely manner and without excessive costs.

It’s not a perfect bill, but with some exceptions, as we’ve noted, the bill can deliver what’s needed to ensure that vehicles – all vehicles, not just cars and light trucks – can be repaired properly by those qualified to do so, whether by dealers, independent shops, or a qualified mechanic.

Why Does Trucking Need This Law?

For me, three words sum up Right to Repair: uptime, choice, and cost.

Choice – Everyone wants the freedom to choose. That’s why monopolies are rare in this country. If your only choice is the OEM dealer, then what do you do if there’s not one near or the cost is too high? Competition is critical to help drive the opportunity for competitive pricing and ensure that you can get your truck repaired quickly – wherever in the U.S. you may be. Lack of choice impacts productivity and revenue in the same manner as downtime.

Cost – It’s the law of supply and demand. In other words, if independent shops can’t compete, then prices will rise. And, if prices rise, what happens to fleets that can’t afford the higher costs? H.R. 906 helps reduce the inflationary factors that could appear if competition is limited by lack of repair options and parts.

But there’s one other point that needs to be addressed.

Cybersecurity – This is an area that has captured nearly everyone’s concern. Bendix has to consider cybersecurity aspects for all its products that have an electronic control unit (ECU). It’s a concern that must be addressed by all involved in the production and support of a product that can connect for updating – via a cable, Bluetooth®, or over the air. However, it should not limit who can access and repair these products.

There are other reasons why H.R. 906 is good for trucking – from jobs to supply chain and more – but from my view, these are the big four in terms of impact.

How Does Bendix Support Right to Repair Today?

An educated, skilled technician helps keep fleets and drivers on the road, delivering goods and making money. Keeping brakes in good shape – along with safety systems, wheel-ends, compressors, and air dryers – is a critical part of this effort, helping to ensure not only productivity but safety as well.

Bendix helps vehicle repair technicians – all technicians, not just those employed by truck dealers – stay in the know on our products through a variety of approaches:

• Our ACom® PRO™ diagnostic software is available to anyone who repairs.

• Our Tech Team is available at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE (1-800-247-2725) to provide technical support and expertise when you’re evaluating a technical issue or in the middle of a repair.

• Bendix Service Data Sheets, Technical Bulletins, Installation Instructions, and other key technical information is readily available 24/7/365 in the document library at

• Our online educational portal – – delivers access to a wide variety of how-to-repair videos.

• Our two-day and three-day advanced in-person brake schools are available (for a fee) around the country for hands-on education on system operation and repair.

We see the Right to Repair as important for everyone in our industry. That’s why we offer these options today and plan more for tomorrow.

Right to Repair Makes Sense – Doesn’t It? So, What Can You Do?

Trucking has never been a “shy” industry. It’s time to make your voice heard. Reach out to your House and Senate congressional representatives and let them know that this bill is important to you, your business, and the industry as a whole. It’s vital that H.R. 906, the REPAIR Act, sees the light of day before this Congress goes dark. Your congressperson needs to hear your voice, so make it a point to contact them today. Together, we can ensure the Right to Repair for all of us.

Bendix Blog

Technical and industry insight from OUR experts.

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