Major Revisions Applied to Automotive Repair Act in Calif.
September 19, 2018—The 2018 California Legislative session was extremely successful for the automotive repair industry, according to the California Automotive Business Coalition (CalABC)
CalABC, along with other industry leader groups that includes The Oil Changers Association, IAPA, ASCCA, CAWA, CAA, ACA, ITW, Tire Dealers Association with support letters from CNCDA and AAA, was successful this year in obtaining major revisions to the Automotive Repair Act. Governor Brown signed AB 3141 today, and it will now include a requirement that oil change businesses become registered with the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).
After seven years of effort, working this year with Assembly Member Low and his staff to come to an agreement with all these associations and groups, we were able to make significant amendments to Low’s BAR Sunset bill AB 3141. AB 3141 now includes addressing significant changes to the Automotive Repair Act, this is a major accomplishment for our industry and the consumers we serve.
During a recent BAR Advisory Meeting and Workshop, industry members discussed the importance of defining what constitutes preventative maintenance and minor services and the importance of businesses that focused on those services becoming registered with the BAR. During one of the initial workshops on this topic, Mike Flanigan from the Flanigan Firm was quoted saying “Anyone who works on vehicles for compensation should be registered with the BAR”
This led to a collective effort by Jack Molodanof, the Senior Policy Advisor for CalABC and Lobbyist for many of the associations in the automotive repair industry, Mike Flanigan and CalABC taking the lead role in the effort to revise the standards for automotive repair rules that would provide a level playing field by requiring currently non-registered repair shops to become registered. While past attempts were unsuccessful, AB 3141 is the culmination of nearly a decade of work by CalABC and countless others to move a bill that would provide for more consumer protections that did not exist with non-registered repair shops.
The original 1970s Automotive Repair Act (ARA) §9880.1(e) exemption for preventative maintenance and minor services has been the subject of controversy in recent years. Consumers appreciate convenient, cost-effective maintenance-only service, but regulated repair facilities cannot offer the same streamlined approach due to the current ARA estimate requirements. Currently exempt maintenance-only facilities are so specialized and small in physical size that they operate on very low profit margins entirely dependent on volume which requires speed.
Adding the current Automotive Repair Dealer (ARD) estimate requirements to those facilities would levy an increase in transaction time, which will harm the business model. Now that all oil change businesses are regulated by BAR, all ARDs are afforded the same exception from estimate requirements for customer orders of preventative maintenance-only, this now provides current automotive repair dealers the opportunity to provide streamlined process for estimate requirements in the newly revised ARA, while keeping the oil changers successful business model intact.
The new regulation is intended to protect consumers and unify the industry under the Automotive Repair Act through a streamlined initial estimate process for customer orders of preventative maintenance-only and would provide benefits of regulatory certainty to both industry participants and government enforcement agencies while preserving California consumers' access to the convenient, cost-effective preventative maintenance services which consumers have shown a desire to purchase.
CalABC’s Board of Directors and members would like to thank Governor Brown for signing Assembly Member Low’s bill AB 3141. AB 3141 BAR Sunset Bill now includes all the proposed amendments set forth by CalABC, the Oil Changers Association and the other groups who worked together tirelessly with Assembly Member Low and his staff, as well as Jack Molodanof, Michael Flanigan and the CalABC Board of Directors to facilitate this significant change in the Automotive Repair Act.