Auto repair protections are a win-win for car owners, mechanics


New car buyers in Illinois won stronger consumer protections in 2022 when state lawmakers passed legislation requiring automakers to properly fund warranty repair service provided by trained, experienced technicians at auto dealerships.

We thank the Legislature and Gov. J.B. Pritzker for supporting consumers and the hard-working mechanics who serve as the backbone of new car dealers across the state.

While franchise auto dealers have long provided the reassurance of reliable, accountable service to protect the safety of the driving public, lawmakers took an extra step by ending practices that allowed auto manufacturers to significantly underestimate repair times and pay less than fair-market wages for certified technicians completing important warranty repairs.

The state chose to prioritize consumers and our local labor force over corporate interests and shareholder profits — at no cost to car owners.

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Technicians are no longer facing impossible time constraints imposed by manufacturers to correct factory mistakes. These limitations, enforced by manufacturers enjoying record profits and looking to reduce their costs from warranty programs that provide owners with important safety corrections, previously impacted technicians’ ability to correctly diagnose problems or ensure the quality of their repairs. 

Now, vehicles with design flaws and manufacturing defects have been updated and regularly meet safety and reliability standards.

Illinois vehicle owners have benefited from experienced professionals taking the necessary time to diagnose issues and correct engineering and production errors with fewer disruptions to their lives.

While this change has come at no cost to drivers, it has helped the experts making repairs.

Our member dealers tell us that technicians’ wages have increased, helping to solidify auto technician as a career opportunity in an industry that has been losing workers. This is also obviously positive for current technicians, who previously suffered under unrealistic deadlines and corporate pressures for bigger profit margins. 

The car-buying experience is continuously transforming, providing significant new opportunities for consumers, but one constant remains: Cars will need maintenance and repairs, even brand-new ones. It is nice to know that in Illinois, we are focused on the well-being of consumers and workers who provide that important service, rather than on corporate bottom lines.

Joe McMahon, executive director, Illinois Automobile Dealers Association; John Alfirevich, dealer principal, Apple Chevrolet; Dan Marquardt, VP-dealer-partner, Barrington Buick-GMC

Bearing a joke

A recent Sun-Times article noted that pandas are leaving U.S. zoos and heading back to China. Does this mean that we are now “pandering” to China?

William Dodd Brown, Lincoln Square

Unfair play

I would like to commend Sun-Times reporter Michael O’Brien for addressing the “elephant in the room” in high school sports: the overwhelming competitive advantage that private schools have over public schools. By my count, there were eight games in last weekend’s Illinois High School Association’s football playoffs that pitted public schools against private schools. The private schools were 7-1, and most of the games were not even close. 

Mount Carmel and Loyola Academy are football factories. They can recruit all-star teams from a larger populace compared to most public schools. I know we’re supposed to believe that superior coaching and work ethic are the reasons for their success, but the bottom line is that they simply have better players because they get to play by different rules. It’s a competitive advantage, and until the IHSA fixes it, the private schools will continue to dominate high school sports in Illinois. 

Jim Rodgers, Bloomington


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