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The right to repair items | Select

There’s a movement called “Right to Repair” made up of people who think that there should be items available to buy that, if needed, the average person could fix on their own. Interesting.

Think back to what people did when their cars would break down. Fifty years ago, the average person could literally do the repairs on their own. Most everyone had the tools, space and knowhow to make simple auto repairs. The whole concept of fixing your car is laughable now. With a a computer chip controlling nearly every running part of a vehicle, there’s no way a person could just pop the hood and replace a belt or replace a carburetor. Even professional car service workers many times have to use a computer to diagnose and fix a problem.

When a tractor broke down during harvest, it wasn’t something that the guys could get a wrench out and tighten or loosen or replace a broken part. The problem had to do with a computer setting in the tractor and harvest ground to a halt until an extremely busy repair person/computer guru came to fix the problem.

The Right to Repair people believe this concept is all wrong. They also think that our culture throws away way too many items because they can’t be repaired. I remember when people could repair small appliances. No one does that anymore. It’s easier just to buy another one.

Imagine if companies would have a line of products that were purposely made with less features and instead were made to take apart and fix if needed. These items would come with a couple of tools and complete instructions on how they could be repaired if need be.

You could buy a Right to Repair car that would be more like a Ford Model A but, if it broke down, you could pull it into the garage and fix it on your own.

These items would be made for 30 years use instead of two.

It sounds probably more fun than is actually practical.

I like the idea that I could fix my own vacuum cleaner but then I like having a robot vacuum that knows where its charging station is after it’s vacuumed the living room.

But how empowering it would be if I could fix our car when it wasn’t running well. The thing is, I don’t even understand how to change a tire on my bike. The chains and all baffle me.

Still, having products available to buy that are simple enough to fix on our own is an interesting concept and probably worthwhile. That’s especially true when there’s an uncertainty about the availability of new items and the computer chips that run them.