October 2018 Government Affairs Update



· How fuel system induction service became official “preventative maintenance” in California and what it means for the rest of the country

· Federal Trade Commission tells OEMs to untie branded products and services from warranty coverage

· Right to Repair rides again to tackle telematics


Fuel System Induction Service recognized as “preventative maintenance”

Although experts know that fuel system cleaning is a critical preventative maintenance service especially for the increasingly common GDI engine, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) for years challenged its application by fast lube operators.  One argument claimed the service wasn’t useful; i.e., a “wallet flush.”  Another claimed it was too technical to be considered preventative maintenance.  Without ever undertaking a rule making or issuing a clarification on the subject, BAR enforcement agents took it upon themselves to arbitrarily decide when the service could be done, going so far as to prohibit the service for certain fast lube operators while giving others—like dealerships—a pass. 

The situation looked grim until AOCA Policy Advisor Joanna Johnson realized the state Auto Repair Act contained a regulatory exemption for spark plug cleaning—a key aspect of fuel system service—and the tables could be turned against BAR’s anti-competitive, anti-consumer behavior.  To prove the point, she sought assistance from Illinois Tool Works, Inc. (ITW)’s Joe Farr, Kevin Washington, and Laura Blalock, who initiated an immediate study of the effects of induction-based fuel system cleaner on spark plugs in newer GDI engines.  Sure enough, ITW proved their process cleans spark plugs (among other benefits), which BAR—and later legislators—could not deny as both valid in method and necessary in results for consumers.  ITW’s Kevin Washington further supported the association by flying out to Sacramento twice from D.C. to provide invaluable technical expertise and a healthy dose of forthright discussion at meetings with the agency, state legislators, Ms. Johnson, AOCA Executive Director Kristy Babb, AOCA Deputy Director Dave Murillo, AOCA GAC Bicoastal Subcommittee co-chair Matt Webb (Premier Oil), and his attorney Griffith Tonkin (Arthofer & Tonkin).  Petter Parelius, Director of IT for Oilstop, also played a critical role by providing testimony at BAR’s legislative Sunset Review hearing.

As a result of this intense team effort, BAR, former repair industry opponents, and the California Assembly agreed to create a new, comprehensive legislative definition of “preventative maintenance” that would include by name fuel system induction service.  Like the other preventative maintenance services defined in AB 3141, fuel system induction service (and pour-ins) will be exempt from formal estimate procedures to best preserve customers’ access to a cost-effective, streamlined automotive maintenance experience.  AB 3141 was signed by Governor Brown in September and goes into effect January 1, 2019.

Despite being one of the longest standing types of automotive maintenance, in recent years some automakers continue to cast doubt on fuel system cleaning by prohibiting it or referring to it in TSBs only as a type of “repair.”  North Carolina’s Consumer Council’s webpage on the subject is not unusual. However, given that California is the fifth largest economy in the world, their endorsement of fuel system induction service as legitimate preventative maintenance marks the beginning of re-establishing the importance of the service nationwide.  It will be up to the industry to continue collecting valuable data and promote it.


Federal Trade Commission says “Untie the NOT [covered under warranty]”

If you’re feeling like a broken record with your customers, let the Federal Trade Commission do the talking for you.  They’re getting better at it:

“Untie the NOT. Take a fresh look at your own warranties. Unless you meet one of Mag-Moss’ narrow exceptions, do not condition warranty coverage on consumers’ use of parts or service from you or someone you authorize.” https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/business-blog/2018/04/ftc-staff-sends-warranty-warnings

Here's another helpful FTC website link for customers.   


Right to Repair: Telematics poses new threat to aftermarket access

Telematics is a form of wireless technology that is quickly becoming an integral part of the "connected" vehicle—expected to be the new normal by 2020.  Although this technology is intended to make the driving experience safer and more convenient via monitoring and data collection, it is also yet another way to cut out aftermarket service providers.  This can happen because vehicle owners don’t currently own the data produced by their vehicles, nor do they have the ability to control how or where it is sent.  Remote diagnosis of vehicle problems sounds great to consumers until they find out only automakers can take advantage of the information.  It’s so bad that automakers have even refused to give post-crash vehicle owners access to their own event data recorder information.  If legislation isn’t passed to stop it from happening, automakers will surely exploit their exclusive access to direct all repair and maintenance to their franchised dealers and designated third parties.

Massachusetts legislation HD 5153, an Act to enhance, update and protect the 2013 Motor Vehicle Right to Repair Law and Consumer Rights, was introduced on September 18, 2018.  It will be introduced again at the opening of the next session in January 2019.  AOCA supports this effort and encourages members to get involved in their states to pass similar measures.

Government Affairs

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Draft_Write_it_Right_Guide.pdf PDF (1.89 MB) Administration 12/17/2018
AOCA_Presentation_-_TSIA_Annual_Meeting_2018.pptx PPTX (852.89 KB) Administration 12/17/2018
Opalka_v._Amalie.pdf PDF (784.1 KB) Administration 12/17/2018
AOCA_Fast_Lube_Customer_Complaint_Form.docx DOCX (80.96 KB) Administration 11/13/2018
2018_Hyundai_Elantra-GT_Manual.pdf PDF (13.62 MB) Administration 11/13/2018
California AB 3141 PDF (197.34 KB) Administration 10/4/2018
MA HD 5153 PDF (120.82 KB) Administration 10/4/2018
TSIA 2018 Flyer PDF (208.12 KB) Administration 9/19/2018
BAR Estimate Regulation PDF (155.02 KB) Administration 9/18/2018
2018 Update AOCA WM State Enforcement Guide FI.pdf PDF (639.08 KB) Administration 8/10/2018
Sen Nelson-kia-hyundai-response from NHTSA---6.pdf PDF (105.97 KB) Administration 8/10/2018
Center-for-Auto-Safety-Kia-Hyundai-Fire-Defect.pdf PDF (106.6 KB) Administration 8/10/2018
Hyundai Safety Recall LetterRCMN-15V568-7409.pdf PDF (206.7 KB) Administration 8/10/2018
Kia Hyundai Class Action Complaint.pdf PDF (1.01 MB) Administration 8/10/2018
Smolek v Hyundai Kia class action Theta II eng.pdf PDF (749.25 KB) Administration 8/10/2018
FTC MMWA Warning Letter to Hyundai April 9 201.pdf PDF (639.42 KB) Administration 8/10/2018
Kia Hyundai MMWA Complaint NHTSA Petition for .pdf PDF (505.17 KB) Administration 8/10/2018
Proposed Obsolete Automaker Engine Oil Notice PDF (475.18 KB) Administration 8/10/2018
Draft Sheet For Installers To Use W/ Distributors DOCX (18.34 KB) Administration 6/18/2018
Oppose A7914 PDF (247.39 KB) Administration 5/24/2018
Warning letter to Hyundai PDF (639.42 KB) Administration 5/24/2018
Comments Submitted To BAR - April 2018 PDF (546.29 KB) Administration 4/23/2018
Oppose A7914 031518.pdf PDF (247.39 KB) Administration 3/16/2018
OC Interval Proposed_Regulations_Text_4.23.18.pdf PDF (83.64 KB) Administration 3/16/2018
A7914.pdf PDF (2.88 KB) Administration 3/16/2018
2017 18 Chevy Colorado Canyon oil filter remov.pdf PDF (84.16 KB) Administration 3/16/2018
Kia 4th notice recall June 2017 RCMN-17V224-41.pdf PDF (153.26 KB) Administration 2/7/2018
Hyundai Expands Recall PDF (211.19 KB) Administration 2/7/2018
Testimony of Jay Rosenthal PDF (177.31 KB) Administration 2/7/2018
House Bill 434 PDF (83.09 KB) Administration 2/7/2018
2017 GA Agenda PDF (124.15 KB) Administration 2/28/2017
FTC Complaint re Kia PDF (491.21 KB) Administration 1/10/2018
Know Your Federal Rights PDF (196.19 KB) Administration 5/19/2016
Fast Lube Customer Warranty Rights Survey PDF (66.86 KB) Administration 4/18/2016