Repair facilities – Michigan (.gov)

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Licensed repair facility owners and employees can access tools, resources, and industry bulletins through their CARS e-Services account. Instructions for setting up an account are available under Forms and publications.
Per state law, if you own or operate a business performing any of the following functions for compensation, you must be registered with and licensed by the State of Michigan:
Repair Facility Checklist
To obtain a license, you will need to complete, sign, and submit a Repair Facility Application. Prior to doing applying for registration, it is also necessary to read through the Repair Facility Manual and Motor Vehicle Service and Repaid Act and attest that you understand these requirements. 

If applying online, you must also complete a Repair Facility Certification statement. 
Repair Facility Original Application   
Repair Facility Application Signatures and Certification Page   
If closing a repair facility, you will need to submit a Michigan Repair Facility Closeout Statement to the Michigan Department of State, surrender or dispose of your registration, and cease all business performing vehicle repairs.  

Michigan Repair Facility Closeout Statement  
State law gives the Michigan Department of State the authority to deny, suspend, or revoke a license or certification if the licensee or applicant has not complied with the provisions of the Acts or Rules. Repair facilities may receive a written warning, be placed on probation, be fined, or have their license suspended if the actions cannot be resolved.
All administrative actions are reported through Online Services under Repair Facility Services.
Go to Online Services
A repair facility or mechanic who performs a motor vehicle repair without a license issued by the Michigan Department of State is in violation of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act.

Information regarding an unlicensed repair facility or uncertified mechanic can be provided anonymously to the Michigan Department of State as follows:

Michigan Department of State
Regulatory Monitoring Division
P.O. Box 30046
Lansing, MI 48909-7546

Phone: 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424) 
Fax: 517-373-7419

You can also file a complaint against a repair facility through Online Services. 
Go to Online Services
Repair facility licenses expire annually, following the date your application was first approved. Ahead of your license expiration date, the Michigan Department of State will send you a renewal form by mail. 

You cannot perform vehicle repairs after your license expiration date. 
Your new registration should arrive in the mail within a few weeks of processing your application. When you receive your new repair facility license, you are required to post it prominently where customers can see it.
You can renew your repair facility license up to 60 days in advance of its expiration. 
Renew online
To renew your repair facility license online, you will need your: 
Go to CARS e-Services

Renew by mail 

To renew your repair facility license by mail, you will need your:
If your repair facility license is lost or destroyed, apply for a replacement immediately. To do so, submit the following to the Business Compliance and Regulation Division:
Mail or fax the information and payment to: 

Michigan Department of State
Office of Investigative Services
Business Compliance and Regulation Division
Lansing, MI 48918
Fax: 517-335-2810
To update your address on your repair facility license, complete a Repair Facility Change of Address Notification form. Mail, fax, or email your completed form to: 

Michigan Department of State
Office of Investigative Services
Business Compliance and Regulation Division
Lansing, MI 48918

Fax: 517-335-2810

Repair Facility Change of Address Notification 
To update the owner, officer, director, member, or stockholder of your repair facility on your repair facility license, complete a Change of Owner, Officer, Director, Member, or Stockholder Application to submit through your CARS e-Services account online or by mail or fax to: 

Michigan Department of State
Business Compliance and Regulation Division
430 West Allegan St. 
Lansing, MI 48918
Fax: 517-335-2810

Any corporation, LLC, or partnership owner/officer/partner/member changes must be filed with the proper regulatory agency prior to submission of this form. Michigan-based companies should file with the Department of Regulatory Affairs Corporations Division.

Change of Owner, Officer, Director, Member, or Stockholder Application 
All vehicle repair facilities are required to display their current valid repair facility license issued by the Michigan Department of State. The registration must be clearly visible to customers. 

In addition, state law requires repair facilities to record and maintain a record of every vehicle that is repaired at the facility for at least 5 years (MCL 257.1318). 
Repair facilities must keep the following records for every vehicle repaired at their business:
Records must be kept for at least five years. Records of warranties, contracts or agreements that extend beyond 5 years must be maintained until the warranty or contract period expires.

Records are subject to inspection by law enforcement officials and Michigan Department of State investigators during unannounced visits to repair facilities.

Major Component Part Record 
Repair facilities are required by law to display a consumer information sign informing customers of their basic rights under the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act [MCL 257.1332a(1)]. 

Repair facilities must produce the signs in line with the following requirements:
Signs must be placed by the cashier’s area and at each location where service orders are written. 
The name and Michigan certificate number of each mechanic who performs a diagnosis and/or repair must be listed on your final invoice. If repair work is performed by a trainee under the supervision of a certified mechanic, the name and number of the certified mechanic must also be listed on the final invoice along with the name and permit number of the trainee.
A repair facility is required to provide a written estimate in each instance when the price of the diagnosis, service or repair of a motor vehicle will be $50 or more. 
In any repair transaction, the “customer” is the owner or operator of the vehicle brought for service or repair. 

In a damaged vehicle transaction, the customer is not the insurance company or extended warranty company, unless the customer has given the insurance company a written, signed authorization to act as his or her agent in the transaction.

Approval for repairs may be given only by the owner of the vehicle or the person operating the vehicle when repairs are requested. 

Unless the insurance company presents the repair facility with a signed, written authorization from the owner or operator to contract for repairs, no work may commence at the sole direction of the insurance company or extended warranty company. 

Generally, the repair facility must still give the customer a written estimate. In a few cases, the facility may obtain a signed waiver of estimate, as provided in the law.

Additional repairs and considerations
For additional repairs costing more than 10% or $50 (whichever is less) above the original estimate, specific written or oral authorization must be obtained from the customer, unless the customer specifically gives the insurance company or extended warranty company a signed, written authorization to act as his or her agent in all aspects of the repair.

The following conditions must also be met:
A repair facility is required to provide a written estimate in each instance when the price of the diagnosis, service or repair of a motor vehicle will be $50 or more. The price of the estimate must reflect as closely as possible the actual cost of the repair. 

A written estimate must contain the following information:
Exceeding a written estimate 
If the repair facility informs the customer that the actual price for a repair will exceed the written estimate (or the stated limit in a waiver) and the customer does not want the work performed, the customer is financially liable for all reasonable costs to return the vehicle to the condition it was in when it was brought to the facility. 

Drop-off vehicles
A repair facility may not have the opportunity to give the customer a written estimate when a vehicle is towed to the facility or left before or after the facility’s normal business hours. 

In these instances, the facility may comply with the written estimate or waiver requirement by doing one of the following:
“No charge” estimate
A “no charge” estimate is a compliant estimate. It advises the customer that the facility will make no charge unless the customer specifically authorizes more work. 

The estimate may be amended later either by written or oral approval from the customer. It is important to write “No Charge” on the estimate. 

The estimate amount should never be left blank.

Diagnostic estimates
The need for some repairs cannot be determined without first inspecting or disassembling a vehicle or a component. Only the cost to disassemble and inspect can be accurately estimated. 

Estimates for only the cost of disassembly and/or inspection are called diagnostic estimates. Diagnostic estimates may be provided under the law. 

Here are the steps:
In some cases, a customer may waive a repair facility’s obligation to provide a written estimate. This is done through use of a written waiver of estimate. 

A repair facility may obtain a written waiver of estimate from the customer under the following conditions:

The customer makes a request for service or parts.
Emergency waiver 
When an emergency occurs and a certified mechanic is not available, a customer may voluntarily request repairs using a waiver of liability. A “waiver of liability” releases a facility from liability resulting from the performance of a major repair by someone other than a certified mechanic.

An emergency waiver is not a waiver of the customer’s right to a written estimate before repairs are begun. It does not relieve a facility from compliance with other requirements of the law. 

The emergency waiver is designed for isolated situations only and is never a substitute for a facility’s employing mechanics certified in the areas of major repair ordinarily offered by the facility.

A repair facility may issue an emergency waiver if at least one or more of these conditions are met:
A copy of the waiver must be provided to the customer. 
Long-term waiver 
A repair facility may make a long term written arrangement either with an individual customer or with a commercial or “fleet” customer. This is called a “long-term” or “blanket” waiver of estimate. 

An estimate or a waiver of estimate is not needed for each vehicle repaired. A long-term waiver may be executed in the form of a contract between the facility and the customer. 

The contract should meet the following conditions:
While repairing a vehicle, repair facilities must comply with certain requirements, especially if the repair deviates from the norm. 
It may be necessary for a repair facility to perform labor or install parts in addition to what was listed in the original written estimate. The following steps must be followed:
Verbal authorization 
When a facility obtains verbal approval for added parts or labor, the facility should document the authorization in its work order. It is important to be consistent in obtaining authorizations. 

The following information is suggested:

• The name of the person providing the added authorization
• The time of day the authorization was obtained
• The dollar amount authorized
• The total amount of the repair bill discussed and agreed upon
• Other information needed to verify the authorization
Diagnostic analyzers are often used to determine the need for motor vehicle repairs. It is the repair facility’s responsibility to ensure that analyzers are functioning properly and diagnose repairs correctly. 

Customers have a right to expect that mechanics and repair facilities are able to use equipment and tools correctly in the course of their work, regardless of sophistication.

The Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act obligates mechanics and repair facilities when an incorrect diagnosis results in unnecessary repairs or a failure to solve the needed repairs. A mis-calibrated or malfunctioning analyzer does not relieve the mechanic or repair facility of liability when unnecessary or faulty repairs are performed.
A repair facility may not be equipped to perform a particular repair and, therefore, may contract with another repair shop to perform needed work. A repair facility which performs the sublet repairs should treat the other facility the same way any other customer is treated.

The sublet shop must comply with the basic provisions of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act and provide written estimates, invoices, return of replaced parts, etc., just like the repair facility contracting for repairs.

Mechanic certification 
When the vehicle is sublet to another repair facility for major repairs, the second repair facility must:
When a major part, such as an engine or transmission, is sublet to another repair facility for repairs, the following is necessary:
The Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act provides that a motor vehicle repair facility or mechanic cannot engage or attempt to engage in a method, act or practice which is unfair or deceptive (MCL 257.1307). 

Prohibited practices 
Every repair facility owner or manager should be familiar with the entire “Unfair and Deceptive Practices” portion of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act and the Administrative Rules. These laws require repair facilities to be fair and honest with customers.  

Some of the unfair and deceptive practices identified in the Rules are:
A repair facility is required to give a final written invoice, i.e., an itemized statement of charges, upon the return of the customer’s vehicle. This must be given to all customers, even when repairs are being performed under warranty.
A written invoice must include the following information and items:
NOTE: A repair facility does not have to guarantee its repairs. If it does, the guarantee must be in writing and must disclose the scope of the warranty, if any, including any limitations that may exist. 
Customers have the right to receive back all parts replaced, except those that must be returned to a supplier or manufacturer for warranty or rebuilding purposes, which the customer is entitled to inspect (MCL 257.1333). 

Some replaced parts do not have to be shown or returned to the customer:
All replaced parts not returned to the customer must be kept by the facility for a minimum of 2 business days after the vehicle has been reclaimed by the customer.
Upon request, a customer is entitled to an explanation of the reason why a part was replaced.

Exchange (core) agreement 
The customer may keep a replaced part which would otherwise be returned to a supplier as part of an exchange agreement under the following conditions:
Garage Keeper Lien 
A garage keeper who has a Michigan repair facility registration is entitled to compensation for proper charges due after storing, diagnostics, repair estimates or servicing a vehicle at the request of the registered owner. 

If the vehicle owner does not pay the charges due, the garage keeper can detain the vehicle and file for a garage keeper’s lien. When properly filed with the Michigan Department of State, the garage keeper’s lien has priority over all other liens.

Application for a Garage Keeper Lien 
Licensed repair facilities can apply for a garage keeper lien, so long as they are: 
The Michigan Department of State offers free virtual trainings to repair facility owners, managers, service advisers, and technicians on the basic requirements of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act and relevant industry information, including:
Repair facilities can register online through CARS e-Services under Repair Facility Services. 

Go to CARS e-Services
May 26, 2022 (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
July 14, 2022 (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
September 22, 2022 (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
November 17, 2022 (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.) 

All trainings are conducted through Microsoft Teams.  
There are two primary laws and several Joint Administrative Rules which address repair facilities in Michigan:
All auto body shops must also comply with federal and state environmental regulations. For information on state regulations, see the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. 

Go to 
Section 17 of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act (MCL 257.1317) permits Department investigators and other law enforcement officers to inspect repair facilities during normal business hours. 

All records pertaining to repair transactions performed within the past five years are subject to inspection. This includes the premises and parts inventories of facilities that engage in vehicle body work. 

Inspections may be unannounced. Facility records must be open to Department investigators and made available during their inspections.
A list of currently licensed or registered dealers and repair facilities is located under Online Services. 

Go to Online Services
A business need not register as a motor vehicle service and repair facility if any of the following apply:
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