Automakers have agreed to voluntarily share computer codes used to diagnose vehicle repairs with independent mechanics. Supporters of the plan said it would help consumers by ensuring that neighborhood repair shops, not just new car dealers, are able to fix digital and computer-controlled vehicles. The deal was announced by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler; the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers; and the Automotive Service Association. Under terms of the agreement, automakers will provide the service codes for a fee to independent service shop operators by Aug. 31, 2003. Independent shops will have the same opportunity to purchase tools and manuals needed to make repairs as automotive dealers.