Tuesday, 31 October 2000 09:00

Aftermarket Wins Three-Year OBD II Battle in California

California Governor Gray Davis has signed into law SB 1146, a bill mandating that the independent aftermarket will have access to service information and tools necessary to repair and maintain vehicles equipped with on-board diagnostic computers (OBD systems). 

John Goodman of Automotive Service Councils, one of the founding members of the California Automotive Task Force (CATF) that originally took on the task of mobilizing the aftermarket industry, said, "Passage of this landmark legislation is an excellent example of the grassroots strength of the industry when it works together."

"This is a monumental victory for the aftermarket and consumers. SB 1146 ensures that car owners will continue to have access to the most convenient and affordable vehicle aftermarket in the world," said Al Gaspar, President and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).

AAIA and the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association comprise the Automotive Parts and Service Alliance (APSA). The Alliance worked closely with the Automotive Service Council and the California Consumer Choice Coalition, a group of state and national aftermarket groups, consumer and vehicle safety groups to spearhead a concerted grassroots effort to obtain passage of the bill.

"Our job is only three-quarters complete,? cautioned Jim Eady, President of the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association. ?The Alliance now looks forward to working with the California Air Resources Board in developing regulations in order to implement the SB 1146 requirements. With a January 1, 2002 deadline, there?s still a great deal of work to be done.

OBD systems, which were phased-in beginning in 1994, became standard on all new cars and trucks in 1996. The new law ensures that independent repair shops and parts makers will no longer be denied access to the crucial electronic information and tools needed to perform OBD-related maintenance and repairs, and to produce compatible replacement parts for OBD-equipped vehicles.

Specifically, SB 1146 would provide:

Full access to all emissions related service information, enhanced diagnostic tools and reprogramming capabilities.

Disclosure of information which will assist aftermarket manufacturers build parts that work properly with OBD II systems.

Yearly reports by the California Air Resources Board and the Bureau of Consumer Affairs to the State Legislature regarding the availability of competitive parts and repairs for emissions related systems. Ability of manufacturers to petition courts for trade secret protection, while still requiring disclosure if necessary to provide for competition in the aftermarket.

Prohibition against the use of any encryption or defeat devices that would prevent the installation of a non-original equipment part.