Every week there are too many developments in the world of repair for any mere mortal to keep track of. Fortunately, the folks over at the Fight to Repair newsletter are here to help: recapping the most important repair news for iFixit readers. As a special offer, iFixit.com readers can claim a free, 60-day premium membership to the Fight to Repair newsletter. Visit fighttorepair.substack.com/ifixit to claim your premium membership!
If you’re wondering why it is so hard and expensive to get your home appliances fixed these days, a new report by right to repair advocates reveals that it is no accident: nearly 9 out of 10 appliance makers refuse to share repair manuals for their products, even to certified repair professionals.
The investigation by US PIRG, iFixit and Repair.org, surveyed 50 appliance makers, 37 appliance technicians and industry experts.
Beyond the findings highlighted in the iFixit blog summary, the report also identified specific appliance manufacturers that make getting repair documentation difficult for technicians.
Even when they get access to those manuals, technicians sometimes don’t find the information they need. Repair manuals are often lacking fault codes and schematic diagrams needed to complete repairs.
Documentation is often expensive, the report revealed—$919 for GE’s SmartHQ alone. The cost to access that documentation quickly adds up, especially for small appliance repair shops that service a lot of brands.
Technicians pointed to challenges with getting access to parts, too. All but one of the appliance technicians surveyed said they at least occasionally have trouble accessing parts.
The report comes as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) considers requiring manufacturers to disclose appliance repair instructions. The FTC in October released an “Advance Notice of Rulemaking” (PDF) and said it was considering a change to the Federal Energy Labeling Rule to “require manufacturers to include information on how consumers can repair their products.” Access to repair information, the FTC explained, “will strengthen consumers’ right to repair damaged products, without the need to go back to the manufacturer, providing them with potentially lower-cost repair options.”
“The manufacturers that make our home appliances have an incentive to either monopolize repair or discourage it so that their customers are forced to buy new products,” said Nathan Proctor, “People are fed up. It shouldn’t be so hard to access a repair manual. We want dishwashers and refrigerators that are easy to fix and last a long time.”
- Part pairing kills repair: Lauren Greenlee at iFixit discusses how companies use software barriers to prevent consumers, repair shops, and repair professionals from replacing parts. This practice is a threat to the repair landscape and restricts freedom of choice, as manufacturers limit repair options for one reason: to maximize profits.
- Montana Farmers Bureau chief says agriculture right to repair still needs to be fixed: Walter Schweitzer of the Montana Farmers Bureau wrote a piece in the Missoulian pointing out flaws in the recently announced memorandum of understanding (MOU) between John Deere and the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Even if John Deere honored this MOU, it still doesn’t provide the right to repair, only the right to diagnose,” Schweitzer wrote.
- Fairphone gets $53 million in investing round: The Dutch electronics producer of modular smartphones, has raised €49 million ($53 million) in growth capital from a consortium of international investors to strengthen its brand positioning, integrate fair and recycled materials into its products, improve customer service, and increase device longevity.
- Google releases Pixel repair manuals in France: Google has made self-repair manuals available for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro; however, the manuals are currently only accessible to users in France through the company’s support page.
Support for cars produced by Tesla, Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors, Inc.)View Device
- Tesla repairs too expensive for insurers: Insurance companies are writing brand-new Tesla vehicles off as too expensive to repair, according to Reuters, which verified that more than 120 Model Y units were totaled after crashes and listed on auction sites, with most of them having fewer than 10,000 miles on the odometer.
- California introduces electronic repair legislation: Senate Bill 244, known as the Right to Repair Act, builds on existing California law that requires manufacturers to make repair facilities available for 3 years for products that cost $50–$99.99 and for 7 years for products that cost over $100. SB244 would require that any manufacturer providing authorized repair services in accordance with that existing law also make parts, tools, and documentation available to owners, independent repair facilities, and service dealers.