U.S. Government Accountability Office Report Studies Repair and Consumer Choice as Vehicle Technology Advances

GAO Report

By the SEMA Washington, D.C., office

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report focused on how changes in vehicle technologies affect competition and consumer choice in the vehicle repair market. The "Vehicle Repair: Information on Evolving Vehicle Technologies and Consumer Choice" report was commissioned at the request of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce.

The GAO consulted and reviewed data provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), independent repair stakeholders, auto manufacturers, dealerships, consumer interest groups and other stakeholders such as cybersecurity experts. The report found that if independent repair shops face limitations in access to the data and tools needed for repair, consumers will have fewer repair choices, pay higher repair costs and face the inconvenience of longer wait times or having to travel further for repairs. 

SEMA is advocating for Congress to pass legislation to ensure that consumers and the specialty automotive aftermarket industry have the right to repair and modify motor vehicles. The SEMA-supported H.R. 906, the "Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act," is a bipartisan bill that would ensure that the aftermarket industry will continue to have access to the tools and repair information necessary to produce and install parts used to repair cars, trucks and SUV, including those with telematics. SEMA is advocating for the Energy and Commerce Committee to expand the bill to codify and protect our right to modify motor vehicles. Of note, we are seeking changes to the bill to: 

  • Prevent vehicle manufacturers from employing any technological, legal or cryptographic barriers that impede the ability of an aftermarket parts manufacturer or a vehicle repair facility to produce or install aftermarket parts and software that are custom or modify a vehicle. 
  • Ensure that motor vehicle owners and their designees can access cryptographic or technologically protected vehicle-generated data and safety-critical vehicle systems. 
  • Amend how the bill defines "critical repair information and tools" to include advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) recalibrations necessary to return a vehicle to operational specifications. 

The REPAIR Act was introduced by U.S. Representative Neal Dunn (R-FL) and has 50 bipartisan co-sponsors, including 25 Republicans and 25 Democrats. The U.S. House Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce passed the REPAIR Act in November and the bill awaits consideration in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Click here to send a letter to your U.S. Representative asking them to support and expand the REPAIR Act to protect our right to modify vehicles.  

For more information, contact Tiffany Cipoletti at or visit