Why Are Mechanics ‘Officially’ Blocked From Fixing Cars?

A mechanic went viral when he posted a TikTok about technicians being locked out of computer systems in a new Dodge Ram.

TikTok user Shorty of Shorty’s Speed Shop (@shortysspeedshop) garnered over 301,000 views when he showed viewers what mechanics had to do to be able to repair newer car models.

“It has officially happened. 2024 Ram 3500, authorization denied,” Shorty said as he showed viewers the computer screen. “Cannot get into anything on this except generic OBD2 Software.”

Shorty went on to explain that this update made his “manufacturer software 100 percent irrelevant.”

Then, Shorty showed viewers the Vehicle Security Professional (VSP) Registry on the National Automaker Service Task Force (NASTF) website. According to NASTF, automakers require mechanics to become credentialed VSPs if they want to purchase key and immobilizer codes, PIN numbers, and special tool access from Automaker websites. A VSP is required to “verify proof of ownership/authority prior to performing any security operation.”

“It’s all part of the NASTF Security Professional Registery,” Shorty explained.

Shorty believes that this rule allows manufacturers to lock mechanics out of anything they “deem security sensitive.” Shorty then broke down the “requirements to gain VSP access.” According to him, these include a $325 fee “every two years” and a $100 fee for every subsequent two-year license renewal. He says mechanics also need “commercial liability insurance of $1 million” and a “fidelity or employee dishonesty bond of $100,000.”

The VSP application page on NASTF’s website confirms that there is a $100 Application Fee that covers a “Two Year Renewal” and a $325 Primary Account fee that covers a “Two Year License.” It also confirms his claims about the required commercial liability insurance and fidelity or employee dishonesty bond.

“There’s a lot of people that don’t know that this is going on, and it’s going to affect everybody getting their cars fixed,” Shorty remarked.

Viewers were furious with this newest hurdle that kept mechanics locked out of computer systems.

“Right to repair legislation is a necessary thing,” a commenter stated.

Shorty replied with an explanation about how “right to repair covers generic OBD data,” which he already has access to.

@shortysspeedshop NASTF has done their deed! Every tech must now be “credentialed” in order to have acess to whatever modules the manufacturer dictates as “security sensitive” #NASTF #security #automotive #automotivetechnician #scantool #mechanic #mechanicsoftiktok #cartok ♬ Killswitch Lullaby (Slowed + Reverb) – The Lonely Tree

What is ‘right to repair’?

Ever since vehicles became closer to computers than cars of yore, right to repair advocates—a group insisting that manufacturers make parts, diagnostic tools, and diagrams available for third-party mechanics—have advocated for the right of small shops and owners to repair vehicles. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states and Puerto Rico considered right to repair legislation in 2023. As of 2024, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) reports that 33 states have some form of right to repair laws.

However, many of these laws revolve around the right to repair farm equipment, not the right to repair passenger cars. One mechanic coined the term “planned obsolescence” when he described how companies are forcing owners to take cars to their dealerships for repairs instead of independent mechanics.

According to an NBC article, the argument at the heart of the right to repair debate is that mechanics can’t afford new tools for every update a company does, and manufacturers claim that giving mechanics access would give away their intellectual property.

Another of Shorty’s viewers wrote, “The car companies want to put small guy out of business.”

“Wow you need a license to access diagnostics. That’s insane,” a third agreed.

“Shop rates are gonna continue going higher $$$$$. These additional costs just get passed down like everything else!” another commented.

Others claimed that these new systems will drive consumers to purchase older vehicles.

“All we got to do is stop buying those cars for a short time. We can live on an older car for a little while,” a viewer advised.

“Yeah will be buying an older car!! Those were more fun anyways!” a second agreed.

“I went shopping for a new truck, they sold me on just rebuilding my 60 year old one,” another shared.

Some argued that the new requirements were to protect cars from theft.

“It’s because people are coding keys to steal vehicles. But I agree we should be able to access everything!” a viewer said.

“I’m sure it has nothing to do with people stealing cars,” another quipped.

The Daily Dot reached out to Shorty’s Speed Shop via TikTok comment. No other form of contact was available.

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Parks Kugle

Parks Kugle is a writer and reporter based in San Antonio. His work has appeared in Lumina Literary Journal, Wicked Local Newspapers, and various publications across the U.S. He enjoys comics and gardening.

Parks Kugle


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