Public and Private Coordination Needed If Auto Repair Problems Are To Be Reduced

HRD-80-30: Published: Jan 11, 1980. Publicly Released: Jan 28, 1980.

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Federal, State, and local officials say that consumer auto repair problems are serious, persistent, and increasing. While many auto repair problems are caused by the increasing complexity of cars and the failure of consumers to properly maintain them, GAO believes that the most direct causes are the shortage of skilled mechanics and unfair or questionable business practices used by some repair facilities.

The Federal Government has done little to reduce auto repair losses. State, local, and industry programs have provided some consumer benefit, but their effectiveness has not been evaluated, and it is not clear which approaches work best. GAO felt that the Federal agencies could do more to reduce consumer auto repair problems by evaluating existing approaches, providing technical and research assistance to State and local governments, and encouraging development of new ideas. However, the most essential Federal role is to coordinate the efforts of the various public and private organizations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is developing such a committee but it lacks congressional input and independent funding and staffing.

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