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Rep. Markkanen drives auto mechanic licensing update through House

Published: Feb. 19, 2020 at 4:24 PM EST
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State Rep. Greg Markkanen’s proposal to update Michigan’s outdated licensing rules for auto mechanics was approved today by the House with unanimous bipartisan support.

State law intends to require mechanics to have a special certification to work on larger commercial trucks because they typically have more advanced components.

Markkanen (R- Hancock) said his plan updates the law to more accurately reflect the larger size of modern pickup trucks and make sure a special certificate is not required to service a pickup.

“When the current rules were established, it made sense to classify any vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds as a heavy-duty truck that requires the special certificate,” Markkanen said. “Now, many pickup trucks weigh more than 10,000 pounds – and their engines, transmissions and other components are not any different than the mechanics in smaller cars and trucks.”

For example, Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD truck models produced between 2001 and 2019 weigh between 10,000 and 13,020 pounds. Models of the Ford F-350 produced between 1999 and 2019 weigh between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds.

Markkanen said the situation has caused problems for auto repair shops of all sizes.

“If a small shop doesn’t have a special heavy-duty mechanic on duty they have to turn away anyone who shows up in a pickup truck, even if the customer only wanted a basic brake job,” Markkanen said. “Heavy-duty certified mechanics in a larger shop might get pulled away from a job on a legitimate heavy-duty truck to perform a routine repair on a pickup truck.”

Markkanen’s proposal, House Bill 5194, updates the definition of a heavy-duty truck to include any vehicle with a weight rating of more than 14,000 pounds. With this change, a special certificate would no longer be needed to work on pickup trucks that weigh between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds.

The plan now advances to the Michigan Senate for further consideration.