Annual CarMD State-by-State Ranking of Car Repair Costs Finds Drivers in New Jersey Paid Most for Check Engine Repairs in 2012

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    As average repair cost rises 10% nationwide, 4 out of top 5 most expensive
    states are on the East Coast

     

    IRVINE, Calif. (June 11, 2013) – When the dreaded check engine light

    illuminates on the dashboard, drivers in New Jersey now pay the most in the
    nation to have it diagnosed and repaired, at an average cost of $392.99,
    according to CarMD.com Corporation <http://www.carmd.com/&gt; ’s analysis of
    more than 160,000 repairs made on vehicles with check engine light problems
    in 2012. Indicating a coastal shift from West to East, and rounding out the
    top five most expensive U.S. states/districts for auto repair were no. 2
    District of Columbia, no. 3 California, no. 4 North Carolina and no. 5
    Maryland. Increased frequency of expensive repairs, such as catalytic
    converter replacement, in those states with higher average repair costs
    indicates drivers in some areas continue to put off small repairs that
    spiral into more expensive problems and drive up check engine-related repair
    costs. The complete ranking is available at http://www.carmd.com
    <http://www.carmd.com&gt; .

    “CarMD taps our extensive Vehicle Health Index check engine light database
    to rank repair costs by state, providing the industry and consumers with
    insight on trends that impact cost of ownership and vehicle life,†said
    Ieon
    C. Chen, CEO, CarMD.com Corp. “In 2012, we saw a dramatic shift in the top
    five most expensive states for average car repairs, as many drivers along
    the East Coast incurred rising auto repair costs, while they simultaneously
    contended with Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath. Car owners in many states also
    continued to put off small repairs, contributing to cumulative failures with
    increased repair costs. With costs and vehicle age up from coast to coast,
    we encourage the industry and car owners to utilize this data to help
    maximize vehicle life and minimize repair costs.â€

    The average cost for check engine light-related repairs in the U.S. in 2012
    was $367.84, up 10% from 2011. The Northeast experienced the largest percent
    increase (11.56%). But the West, historically known for having some of the
    highest car repair costs, saw only a 6.53% increase in costs. California is
    the only western state among the top five this year.

    From 2011 to 2012, vehicle owners in New Jersey saw a 20.7% increase in
    labor rates and an 8.2% increase in parts costs, making it the state with
    the highest average parts cost. New Jersey drivers also paid more than the
    U.S. average for many repairs, including catalytic converter replacement at
    $1,112.48 per transaction. CarMD attributes this hike to several factors
    such as more than double the number of trips to the repair shop spurred by
    Hurricane Sandy-related flood damage that either resulted in new repairs or
    uncovered unrepaired problems that had been put off for some time.

    On a more positive note, as hybrid repair costs across the country trend
    down, New Jersey owners paid the least to replace a hybrid battery at
    $2,005.05 on average, as compared with Arizona’s high of $4,409.94. Some
    factors that can contribute to repair costs include availability of
    diagnostic capabilities and technicians trained to service these vehicles,
    as well as vehicle population mix. Catalytic converter repairs were the
    second most common reason the check engine light came on in three of the
    five states with the highest repair costs. This is a very pricey part that
    is often the result of extensive vehicle age, or putting off smaller repairs
    such as spark plugs or oxygen sensors.

    The following is CarMD’s ranking of the five states with the highest car
    repair costs in 2012:

    StateAverage
    Parts CostAverage
    Labor CostAverage Total
    Car Repair Cost in 2012
    (Parts & Labor)
    1. New Jersey
    $256.28$136.71$392.99
    1. District of Columbia
    $247.97$143.65$391.62
    1. California
    $247.13$143.24$390.37
    1. North Carolina
    $249.32$140.59$389.91
    1. Maryland
    $250.79$136.99$387.78

    CarMD ranking of states with the lowest car repair costs:

    StateAverage
    Parts CostAverage
    Labor CostAverage Total
    Car Repair Cost in 2012
    (Parts & Labor)
    51. Vermont$153.82$115.90$269.72
    50. West Virginia$180.16$130.33$310.49
    49. South Dakota$182.90$128.98$311.88
    48. Delaware$183.23$130.39$313.62
    47. Iowa$181.20$133.57$314.77

    Other key findings:

    – The states that pay the most: The 2011 ranking found all five states
    with the highest repair costs were from the West. For 2012, three hail from
    the Southeast, one from the Northeast and California remains the only
    western state among the five states with the highest repair costs.
    o A gap has begun to close between the states/regions with the
    highest/lowest repair costs (i.e. there was no change in Arizona’s average
    repair cost, yet it dropped in rank from no. 5 to no. 22, with many states
    from other regions rising).
    – The states that pay the least: Two of the five states with the lowest
    car repair costs are from the Midwest (Iowa and South Dakota) and two are
    from the South/Southeast (Delaware and West Virginia). Rounding out the most
    affordable states for auto repair is Vermont, the only Northeastern state to
    enjoy a drop in average car repair costs in 2012.
    – Year-over-year trends: A majority of states/districts experienced an
    increase in repair costs in 2012, with the exceptions being Delaware, New
    Mexico, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
    o D.C. had the largest increase in repair costs, up 20% from 2011 to 2012.
    This is partially attributed to the type of repairs being made.
    Time-consuming repairs that cost over $1,000 accounted for nearly 10% of
    D.C. repairs in 2012, as compared with 7% in 2011, while quick-fix, gas
    cap-related problems were down five points.
    o Wyoming saw the biggest drop with a nearly 17% dip in average repair
    costs. Some very positive news for Wyoming is catalytic converter
    replacements have dropped from the second to seventh most common repair,
    showing drivers in Wyoming are taking better care of their cars and may also
    be trading in older model vehicles for newer ones.
    – Labor charge trends: Drivers in Vermont paid the least in labor at
    $115.90. While still low, this is up from Vermont’s labor rate of $90.85 in
    2011. For the second consecutive year, Colorado is the state with the
    highest labor charge at $150.75 on average.
    – Parts cost trends: Drivers in Vermont also paid the least for parts
    at an average of $153.82, with those in New Jersey paying the most
    ($256.28).

    “As summer approaches, it’s important for drivers in all states to be
    aware
    of the effect of temperature extremes on car parts, and to replace failing
    parts as recommended or as soon as a problem is detected,†said David Rich,
    CarMD’s Technical Director. “All 1996 and newer model vehicles have
    sophisticated on-board diagnostic computers that can detect problems early,
    often before you’re left stranded. CarMD encourages drivers to heed warning<
    br /> signs, such as the check engine light, and get repairs made before that next
    road trip to help reduce the potential for roadside emergencies and inflated
    repair costs.â€

    CarMD’s state-by-state ranking of repair costs was derived from analysis of
    161,350 repairs made on model year 1996 to 2012 vehicles from Jan. 1, 2012
    through Dec. 31, 2012 by CarMD’s nationwide network of Automotive Service
    Excellence (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 check engine system, which is
    standard on
    all vehicles manufactured since 1996. The on-board diagnostic (OBD2) system
    monitors approximately 80% of systems on these vehicles, triggering the
    check engine light when a problem related to emissions output or drivability
    occurs. The CarMD Vehicle Health Index database and average repair cost
    findings do not include problems that are outside the scope of a vehicle’s
    OBD2 computer monitoring such as tires, and mechanical parts like belts and
    hoses.

     

     

    State-by-State Ranking of Average “Check Engine†Light Car Repair
    Costs –
    2012
    (Source: CarMD.com Corp., CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™)

    RankingStateLabor
    RateParts
    CostAverage Car Repair Cost
    (Parts & Labor)Avg. Repair Cost
    % ↑/↓from 2011Change in Rank
    from 2011
    1New Jersey$136.71$256.28$392.99↑12.27%↑ from no. 10
    2District of Columbia$143.65$247.97$391.62↑20.56%↑ from no. 32
    3California$143.24$247.13$390.37↑6.11%No change
    4North Carolina$140.59$249.32$389.91↑9.56%↑ from no. 8
    5Maryland$136.99$250.79$387.78↑11.55%↑from no. 12
    6Georgia$143.07$242.22$385.29↑9.87%↑from no. 9
    7Connecticut$134.50$260.60$385.10↑11.00%↑from no. 14
    8Colorado$150.75$233.97$384.72↑7.15%↓from no. 6
    9Virginia$138.36$243.82$382.18↑10.00%↑from no. 13
    10Oregon$146.72$233.50$380.22↑9.84%↑from no. 15
    11Florida$138.80$238.66$377.46↑15.45%↑from no. 28
    12Washington$141.09$234.21$375.30↑7.47%↓from no. 11
    13Rhode Island$127.58$243.72$371.30↑12.24%↑ from no. 25
    14Utah$149.49$221.13$370.62↓2.10%↓from no. 2
    15Hawaii$139.37$230.96$370.33↑7.79%↑ from no. 16
    16South Carolina$142.04$225.56$367.60↑12.46%↑from no. 29
    17Kentucky$138.09$228.73$366.82↑9.48%↑from no. 20
    18New York$132.49$232.04$364.53↑7.72%↓from no. 18
    19Texas$139.64$224.66$364.30↑9.15%↑from no. 23
    20Nevada$139.38$224.87$364.25↑9.54%↑from no. 24
    21Pennsylvania$137.19$226.41$363.60↑14.97%↑from no. 36
    22Arizona$142.26$219.24$361.50no change↓from no. 5
    23Arkansas$138.91$222.41$361.42↑12.45%↑from no. 35
    24Montana$144.38$215.44$359.82↓1.22%↓from no. 4
    25Massachusetts$124.58$233.79$358.37↑11.13%↑from no. 34
    26Mississippi$138.95$216.74$355.69↑8.53%↓from no. 25
    27Louisiana$140.05$213.90$353.95↑15.40%↑from no. 43
    28Tennessee$139.50$213.81$353.31↑3.87%↓from no. 17
    29Missouri$142.49$210.22$352.71↑13.70%↑from no. 40
    30Kansas$136.96$215.36$352.32↑13.12%↑from no. 39
    31Alabama$139.30$212.72$352.02↑7.74%↓from no. 30
    32Idaho$143.38$205.38$348.76↑4.08%↓from no. 21
    33Nebraska$137.64$208.93$346.57↑6.20%↓from no. 31
    34Minnesota$138.45$207.85$346.30↑7.04%↓from no. 33
    35New Mexico$145.04$199.71$344.75↓3.87%↓from no. 7
    36North Dakota$139.62$204.50$344.12↑11.29%↑from no. 41
    37Illinois$132.39$210.73$343.12↑2.24%↓from no. 19
    38Alaska$142.41$198.11$340.52↑ 3.49%↓from no. 26
    39Oklahoma$137.36$200.52$337.88↑1.09%↓from no. 22
    40Indiana$134.10$195.21$329.31↑15.97%↑from no. 51
    41Wisconsin$134.81$193.93$328.74↑13.40%↑from no. 49
    42Ohio$128.18$200.00$328.18↑8.99%↓from no. 42
    43Maine$133.28$194.80$328.08↑13.30%↑from no. 50
    44New Hampshire$121.88$206.12$328.00↑12.08%↑from no. 47
    45Wyoming$134.62$189.69$324.31↓16.67%↓from no. 1
    46Michigan$134.14$183.13$317.27↑8.07%↑from no. 46
    47Iowa$133.57$181.20$314.77↑8.57%↑from no. 48
    48Delaware$130.39$183.23$313.62no change↓from no. 37
    49South Dakota$128.98$182.90$311.88↑5.45%↓from no. 45
    50West Virginia$130.33$180.16$310.49↓1.04%↓from no. 38
    51Vermont$115.90$153.82$269.72↓10.75%↓from no. 44

    About CarMD
    The mission of Irvine, Calif.-based CarMD.com Corporation is to empower
    consumers and the vehicle market by providing the tools and information
    needed to make better-educated decisions about vehicle health and
    maintenance. An ISO 9001:2008-certified company, CarMD’s premiere
    product is
    the CarMD® Vehicle Health System™, which enables drivers to identify and
    diagnose check engine repairs, safety issues and problems that negatively
    impact a car’s fuel economy. The company has built the largest, most
    current
    database of diagnostic trouble codes, expert fixes and repair costs, which
    it uses to compile its CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™
    <http://corp.carmd.com&gt;
    , a leading automotive repair resource from which this ranking is derived.
    For more information, visit http://www.CarMD.com <http://www.CarMD.com&gt; .

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