The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act garnered further support in Congress this week with the addition of Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Corrine Brown (D-FL) and William Lacy Clay (D-MO) as co-sponsors.

The act, which was introduced less than a month ago, would require car companies to make the same service information and tools available to independent repair shops that they provide to their franchised dealer networks. This is increasingly necessary as vehicles become increasingly sophisticated with virtually every system either monitored or controlled by computers. The heavy-duty aftermarket is watching the bill closely, as commercial truck repair outlets face the same challenges.

Bob Barr and Ralph Nader voiced their support of the bill in an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle this week, saying the legislation would allow independent repair shops to compete for business currently reserved for the manufacturers. Barr is a former member of Congress from Georgia and was the Libertarian Party's nominee for president in 2008. Nader is a consumer advocate and the Green Party's candidate for president in 2008.

Barr and Nader claimed the current limitation increases costs of repairs and restricts choice for the consumer.

The editorial argued that opposition from the manufacturers has prevented the legislation from going through in the past. In contrast, 80 percent of Americans polled who identify themselves as supporters of one of the two major parties favored the bill, according to Republican pollster the Tarrance Group and the Democratic pollster Lake Research Partners.