NEW RELEASE ON AN INDIE LABEL
IF you’re worried about the cost of car servicing and the new industry code that limits information given to independent repairers, fear not. The issue has been in the media spotlight but we haven’t heard the last of it — amendments will come sooner rather than later.
Car companies and dealers want to protect information that is exclusive to their cars. The maker spend millions on development and the dealers outlay lots on lavish showrooms (at the makers’ insistence) and need to recoup their costs.
It is understandable they want customers to stay within the dealer network.
However, it is mandatory in Europe and North America for car brands to make available the same information to franchised dealers and independent mechanics alike, for a fee.
Here, independent repairers don’t dispute paying a fee, they just want access to the same information as overseas peers. The car industry insists they already have access. But we need a better definition of access.
Some local mechanics resort to searching on Google because the overseas websites for independent repairers (again, mandatory in Europe and North America) often lock them out once they type in an Australian vehicle identification number.
I support taking your car to a franchised dealer if it is still within the warranty period, because if something goes wrong just out of warranty, the car maker will be more inclined to look favourably on the problem.
Using an independent repairer will not void your warranty provided appropriate (and preferably genuine) parts are fitted.
Once a car reaches, say, five years old (the average in Australia is 9.7 years) I can understand why motorists turn to indie mechanics.
The car industry adopts the stance of new-car buyers. For most cars, the warranty expired long ago. If common sense prevails, a fairer code will soon be drafted.