NC State Ag Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “Why are Driveway Mechanics are Disappearing?”


Mary:  I’m Mary Walden, with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program asks why driveway mechanics are disappearing.  Mike, when we were growing up in the 1950s, tinkering with your car was common.  If the vehicle wasn’t operating correctly, many owners would simply open the hood and fiddle with the engine until the car worked.   Now it seems such driveway mechanics are less common.  What happened?

Mike: Summary Answer

  1. Technology happened
  2. Seems as if almost everything mechanical is run by a computer
  3. Furthermore, manufacturers make is difficult if not impossible for anyone other than an authorized technician to work on the machine
  4. One reason is the difficulty of the inter-workings, but some think it’s a way for the manufacturer to maintain control
  5. Frustration has resulted in a movement called the “right to repair”
  6. Some want legislation requiring manufacturers to provide consumers and independent repairers access to documentation, tools, and spare parts
  7. Besides giving owners more control, supporters say legislation would reduce discarding of many appliances and equipment and promote repair and reuse
  8. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for N C State Extension