May / June 2019 Blog …Tesla, Right to Repair and Elon Musk

In the fall of 2012 a referendum known as “Right to Repair” passed in Massachusetts. It is the only state (still is as of May 2019) where an independent shop can sue the manufacturer of a motor vehicle (gas or electric) if the OEM did not keep the playing field level in terms of service information, replacement parts, tools, equipment, software updates, scan tools and training information. It is in keeping with NASTF (National Automotive Service Task Force) and tries to keep independent shops on an equal footing with dealerships. The law has never been tested but it does apply to Tesla. If your Tesla failed our annual strict safety test you must have it fixed at the repair shop that did the test or tow it to the shop of your choice. Every car in Massachusetts gets safety tested every year. Obviously the State emissions test does not apply to pure electric cars. Most car owners bring their vehicles to the shop they like and if something is wrong it gets fixed. Those are the facts. Things may change with Tesla as they deliver more Model 3 cars but currently if a Tesla Roadster, Model S or X failed for a safety defect (like a cracked windshield) you must have it fixed by Tesla, even out of warranty cars. Service information is made available only to Massachusetts repair shops but not scan tools or software downloads. Therefore a shop anywhere in the world will have no help from Tesla (except limited information in my home state) about Tesla, not because we wanted it that way but Tesla will not cooperate with us.  

Now, does Elon understand the repair industry in America (or anywhere)? I think not.  I have a feeling that my two fictitious Italian Maserati / Ferrari shop owner brothers named  Bruno and Antony in Boston with some “Wicked Smaht Hahvid” lawyers will not enjoy the fact that a good customer with a Tesla S cannot get their car fixed at Brunos. A failed “safety inspection” for a broken windshield needs a  scan tool to finish the job. That is not right. Stay tuned.

PS. I live in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Pronounced “Woos-Ta”