Is It Illegal To Fix Your Own Car?

By Chad Ina - February 23, 2016

I know what you may be thinking. Yeah right, illegal to fix my own car. That will be the day when they pry my monkey wrench out of my cold dead fingers.

The thing is, having laws that say you cannot work on your own car, even though you bought it and even if you paid it off in full, may not be a thing of science fiction in the very near future. These may actually come true.

Yes we know, it’s already bad enough that so much of the equipment you need to work on newer cars is proprietary. It really makes you feel like they’ve got you bent over a park bench.

Plus, if you’ve been around for a while you know the reason they do that. It’s the same reason a silly little o-ring for a spacecraft is sold to the Government for a reported, but not verifiable £2,450. That same exact o-ring can be bought at nearly any car parts store for between 30 and 90 pence.

Correlating that back to the auto parts, it’s the same, it’s all about the profits. Some of the markups on proprietary parts and equipment are just insane. So, there you have it, that’s why they do it. It’s massively profitable.

And make no mistake about it, that’s why…

The Car Manufactures Want To Pass Laws That Make It Illegal For You To Work On Your Own Car!

We know, that might take a little time to sink in, but it’s absolutely true. As we will explain below, they are pushing lawmakers very hard with their lobbyists to get a series of laws passed that will make working on your own car or truck on your own property illegal.

Not only that, but, they are also attempting to make any 3rd party modifications illegal as well. So, you would not be able to take your car down to your mechanic or a specialty shop and have them modify it for you either.

To the best of our knowledge this would not have anything to do with external modifications such as custom paint, or a spoiler. It would have to do with the engine and anything associated with any of the mechanical or electrical parts.

As absolutely nuts as this sounds here’s why they say they need these laws.

They Say They Need These Laws Because Of Copyright Infringement

Their reasoning for wanting to pass laws that stop you from working on your cars and any 3rd party modifications is from a provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Section 1201 of the DMCA contains the provisions regarding circumventing technology that protects copyrighted work.

The lobbyists for the automakers have come right out and said that; cars have become too complex for the home repair enthusiast to be able to work on any longer. They cite that; the computer systems that run many of your cars functions are copyrighted and they cannot allow them out into the hands of the public or their competitors.

They have filed for this year’s hearing to have their case come up on the docket. Their initial steps are weighted by saying; the risks of allowing home auto enthusiasts access to sensitive areas such as: steering, throttle control and braking is just too great.

They say in approximate; the risk to their copyrighted systems is so great that it far outweighs any benefit that the automotive enthusiast might derive.

They also cite the safety concerns of the number of automotive accidents that are caused by mechanical failure.

The truth is, those numbers don’t really add up. Roughly 12% to 13 % of accidents are caused by mechanical failure. However, the majority of those were not due to people working on their cars, but from a lack of preventive maintenance. As per previous blog posts, this is imperative. If you don’t already have a workshop manual, ensure to pick on up form here.

Another portion is from failures that would be blamed on the original manufacturers. You quite often hear of recalls from all most every manufacturer for one part or another that failed. So, the majority of those percentages don’t come from home auto enthusiasts at all. They came from the other sources we listed.

Will They Be Able To Pass This?

With that part, we don’t know. It’s nearly impossible to know what the Government will or will not pass.

The only thing we can do is wait and see together.

But, you can bet that we’ll be on it, digging up the real information and then letting you know as fast as possible.

About the Author - Chad Ina

9 comments

  1. Re car maintenance,
    If car manufacturers get there way then surely thay could be held responsible for any accadent caused by mechanical failure as their tecknitions would be the only ones able to service your vehicle. I have had my vehicle serviced at a main dealer and they have cocked up on many occasions, whoops i see a law suit coming, they can’t have their cake and eat it,

  2. It’s already becoming hard to work on car engines yourself, I can remember when you lifted the bonnet of a car you could see the road through the engine, now when you open the bonnet of a car you’re greeted with a sea of plastic! You need a degree in engineering just to remove the engine cover! Let alone start spannering, car’s today don’t need tools to fix them, just a laptop and a lead.

  3. We as drivers know that modern cars contain computers that control much of the cars maniacal parts and difficult for main agents to correct the problem never mind Joe blogs. But what about the guy who drives one of our beloved classics, can we as ordinary drivers say change a wheel, alternator belt, wiper blade, headlamp bulb. Talking about qualifications who issued the Wright brothers a Flying licence

  4. Had a problem recently with the retraction of a convertible roof on a Jag. Told part would have to come from UK at a cost of $112 for a new solenoid. Looked into the problem turns out a $2 magnet would solve the issue. Solenoid failed only because the computer said it didn’t receive feedback from ‘missing magnet’, but that was the problem identified, it was the solenoid!! Poor little mechanic couldn’t work that out, had to order new $112 part. When that would have ultimately failed I would have been asked to pay $785 for a complete convertible carriage assembly to solve the $2 magnet problem. Thank God I can still work on my car. Total possible cost would have been $897.

  5. me to cold dead hands

  6. god help us all if it is left to main agents, most of which can not even identify oil leak

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