September 17, 2015 10:30 AM, EDT

New Agreement Puts Independent Repair Shops, Heavy-Duty Fleets on Equal Footing with Dealerships

John Sommers II for TT

Fleets, independent  repair shops and  parts distributors – thanks to a new agreement between trade groups – will find themselves on a par with dealerships for the first time when it comes to repairing heavy-duty trucks.

The agreement puts the independents on a par with dealerships for the first time.

This information will now include critical wiring diagrams and locations of sensors and controllers and the ability to “reflash” the onboard computer modules after the repair.

The vehicle manufacturers will now make available the same diagnostic information and repair code descriptions that are available to the dealers for model year 2010 and later trucks and buses over 10,000 pounds sold in the United States and Canada, with some exceptions such as for motorhomes and vehicles with off-road engines.

The voluntary memorandum of understanding, which includes provisions for licensing fees, takes effect Jan. 1, 2016. Playing key roles in crafting it were the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association and the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network, which represents independent aftermarket distributors.

“The MOU was developed to address concerns expressed by independent service providers that they have better and more-timely access to OEM-controlled information,” Jed Mandel, president of EMA, said in a statement. “One of the significant benefits of the MOU is that it addresses the unique characteristics of the heavy-duty vehicle manufacturing industry as well as the special needs of independent heavy-duty repair shops.”

Mandel added, “With that accomplished, we can avoid a patchwork and potentially disruptive effort to regulate service information through government action.”