Which States Paid The Least And The Most For Car Repairs? CarMD Knows

Which States Paid The Least And The Most For Car Repairs? CarMD Knows

The latest Vehicle Health Index from CarMD finds that the District of Columbia has the most expensive check engine repairs; Vehicle owners in Ohio paid the least for car repairs in 2018.

CarMD.com has released its latest state ranking of check engine light-related car repair costs, which finds Ohio has the lowest average repair cost ($354.24), improving one spot from its no. 50 ranking last year, while the District of Columbia has the highest average repair cost ($414.02) for the second consecutive year. Rounding out the five most affordable states for car repair over the past year were Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin and Vermont. After D.C., Connecticut, California, Georgia and New Jersey were the most expensive states for repairs. CarMD analyzed data from more than 11.4 million cars, trucks, vans and SUVs needing repairs in 2018 to compile this ranking. 

This infographic map of the U.S. highlights the states with the highest and lowest check engine-related car repairs costs during calendar year 2018, according to CarMD. A leading provider of automotive diagnostic data, CarMD publishes this data annually to bring awareness about the importance of check engine light health to reduce cost of ownership and reduce emissions output for cleaner air.

“Several factors contribute to a state’s average repair costs, including vehicle age and type, how difficult the repair is, parts required, how much time is needed to make the repair, and what the repair shop charges per hour,” said David Rich, technical director, CarMD. “To help reduce the cost of repairs and avoid unexpected car repair costs, drivers should stay up-to-date on scheduled maintenance, address warning lights as soon as possible and find an independent repair shop or dealership they trust.”    

A leading provider of automotive diagnostic data and business solutions, CarMD.com Corp. publishes this annual state-by-state ranking as part of its CarMD Vehicle Health Index to bring awareness about the importance of check engine light health in order to reduce cost of ownership and reduce emissions output for cleaner air. The full ranking can be viewed here

CarMD’s ranking of the five states/districts with the highest car repair costs in 2018:

1. District of Columbia, $414.02

2. Connecticut, $413.91

3. California, $403.13

4. Georgia, $402.66

5. New Jersey, $401.59

CarMD ranking of the five states/districts with the lowest car repair costs in 2018: 

47.   Vermont, $359.64

48.   Wisconsin, $356.84 

49.   Michigan, $356.16 

50.   Maine, $354.38 

51.   Ohio, $354.24

Key Findings

Car Repair Costs are Up: The average cost to repair a check engine light in Ohio was $354.24, which was nearly 6 percent higher than the previous year when drivers in Ohio paid $335.26 on average for parts and labor. The average cost to repair a check engine light issue on a vehicle in D.C. in 2018 was $414.02 – up nearly 3 percent year-over-year from $402.92 in 2017, and a few dollars higher than the previously reported high of $410.98 in 2016.

Labor Costs: For the third consecutive year, Vermont vehicle owners had the lowest average labor cost ($134.53) when you average all of the labor done on varying check engine light-related car repairs reported to CarMD. This is not surprising since the most common cause of a check engine light on Vermont cars and trucks was a loose or missing gas cap, accounting for 7.8 percent of repairs.  Drivers in Mississippi paid the most for labor ($163.97), where the most common repair was to replace ignition coils and spark plugs. Type of repair, how long the repair will take and the shop’s hourly rate can all factor into the average labor cost.  In Vermont, the most commonly repaired vehicle was a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado.  In Mississippi it was a 2004 F150.

Parts Costs: Drivers in Connecticut paid the most on average for parts ($264.60), while drivers in Michigan paid the least for parts ($201.74). The most frequently recommended repair in both states was to replace one or more oxygen sensors.  In D.C., the parts portion of the bill for oxygen sensor replacement(s) was $174.35 on average while it was only $129.65 for an oxygen sensor part(s) in Michigan.  Type of vehicle, type of repair and whether original equipment (OE) parts are used factor into the average parts cost. In Connecticut the vehicle needing the most check engine-related repairs was a 2005 Nissan Altima.  In Michigan, it was a 2004 Ford F150.

CarMD’s state ranking of repair costs was derived from analysis of 11,419,150 needed repairs identified for model year 1996 to 2018 vehicles from Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018 reported to and analyzed by CarMD’s nationwide team of ASE-certified technicians. All 51 U.S. states/districts, including the District of Columbia, are represented in this Index. The repairs are related to a vehicle’s on-board diagnostic (OBD2) system, which is standard on all vehicles manufactured since 1996. It monitors emissions-related systems within a vehicle, triggering the check engine light when a problem occurs. CarMD does not report on problems that are outside the scope of a vehicle’s OBD2 computer monitoring such as tires, and mechanical parts like belts and hoses. 

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