2016

State Repair Cost Rankings

Published by CarMD, June 2016

Highlights


When a vehicle’s check engine light comes on, drivers in California now pay the most ($435) on average, while vehicle owners in Michigan pay the least ($354) to have it fixed, according to CarMD, which analyzed data from more than 1 million vehicles needing repairs in 2015. Rounding out the five most expensive states for auto repairs are Wyoming (no. 2), Maryland (no. 3), North Dakota (no. 4) and New Jersey (no. 5). After Michigan, the most affordable states for car repairs are Indiana (no. 50), Ohio (no. 49), Wisconsin (no. 48) and Iowa (no. 47).

When vehicles have check engine light problems, the leading culprit is a faulty oxygen sensor, the most frequently diagnosed repair in 25 states. Properly operating oxygen sensors are important to a car’s performance and to the environment; if left unfixed, a faulty O2 sensor can negatively impact a car’s fuel economy and cause damage to other parts of the car.

A leading provider of automotive diagnostic information, CarMD publishes this annual state-by-state ranking as part of its CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™. It is designed to bring awareness to car and truck owners about the importance of check engine light health to minimize cost of ownership. CarMD also offers online and in-app Health and History reports to enable vehicle owners and used car shoppers to check for upcoming maintenance items, most common check engine light repairs and Predictive Failures™, listing the likelihood of potential upcoming repairs, including estimated labor and parts costs.

Other key findings


  • U.S. Average: The average cost for check engine light-related repairs in the U.S. in 2015 was $387. 31. Florida is closest to the U.S. average at $387.37, which is just 6 cents from the national mean.
  • Labor and Parts Costs: Michigan vehicle owners paid the least for both labor ($150) and parts ($203) on average. Drivers in Wyoming paid the most for labor ($175) on average and vehicle owners in Vermont paid the least for parts ($131). Several factors contribute to average parts and labor costs, including vehicle make and age, parts availability, difficulty of repair and hourly labor rates.
  • Repair Costs Vary by State: The same repair can vary in cost from state to state. To replace a car’s ignition coil(s) and spark (plugs), the average cost is $435 in Washington, whereas the same type of repair in Vermont costs 16 percent less at $364 on average. A catalytic converter replacement costs on average $1,226 in New Hampshire, but only $891 in Hawaii. And the average cost for parts and labor to replace a car’s oxygen sensor(s) in 2015 varied from a low of $216 in Wyoming to a high of $290 in Delaware.
  • It Pays to Address Small Problems: The least expensive states tend to have a higher percentage of repairs that can be addressed in a matter of minutes versus major parts replacements that require days in the shop. For example, loose gas cap-related problems happened nearly twice as much in Wisconsin as in North Dakota. CarMD encourages vehicle owners to have check engine problems diagnosed early because in many cases it is a common repair like an oxygen sensor or simple, affordable fix like a loose gas cap causing the problem. Addressing warning lights early helps reduce the chances of doing additional damage to your vehicle.

Stats

CarMD’s ranking of the five states/districts with the highest car repair costs in 2015:

Ranking State Average Labor Cost Average Parts Cost Average Total Car Repair Cost in 2015
(Parts & Labor)
1 California $167.85 $267.62 $435.47
2 Wyoming $174.98 $252.77 $427.75
3 Maryland $149.57 $269.80 $419.37
4 North Dakota $159.26 $259.98 $419.24
5 New Jersey $147.68 $270.87 $418.55


CarMD ranking of the five states/districts with the lowest car repair costs in 2015:

Ranking State Average Labor Cost Average Parts Cost Average Total Car Repair Cost in 2015
(Parts & Labor)
47 Iowa $148.15 $210.12 $358.27
48 Wisconsin $145.49 $211.41 $356.90
49 Ohio $144.69 $211.69 $356.38
50 Indiana $148.17 $207.81 $355.98
51 Michigan $150.29 $203.84 $354.13


State-by-State Ranking of Average Check Engine Light Car Repair Costs – 2015
(Source: CarMD.com Corp., CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™)

Ranking State Avg Labor
Cost
Avg Parts
Charge
Avg Car Repair
Cost
(Parts & Labor)
Change in rank from
2014
1 California $167.85 $267.62 $435.47 from 4
2 Wyoming $174.98 $252.77 $427.75 from 51
3 Maryland $149.57 $269.80 $419.37 from 19
4 North Dakota $159.26 $259.98 $419.24 from 11
5 New Jersey $147.68 $270.87 $418.55 from 3
6 Rhode Island $141.65 $275.27 $416.92 from 29
7 Connecticut $144.51 $271.96 $416.47 from 5
8 Colorado $168.46 $247.88 $416.34 from 14
9 Montana $172.85 $243.21 $416.06 from 50
10 District of Columbia $150.63 $260.52 $411.15 from 1
11 Georgia $153.71 $256.31 $410.02 from 7
12 Virginia $150.71 $258.59 $409.30 from 23
13 Idaho $166.15 $242.12 $408.27 from 35
14 Utah $165.05 $242.93 $407.98 from 22
15 Washington $167.59 $240.18 $407.77 No change
16 Alaska $158.40 $248.69 $407.09 from 45
17 New Mexico $170.69 $234.37 $405.06 from 8
18 Oregon $162.52 $241.55 $404.07 from 32
19 Hawaii $170.11 $233.93 $404.04 from 30
20 Massachusetts $140.25 $260.39 $400.64 from 25
21 Nevada $162.42 $237.76 $400.18 from 41
22 Delaware $147.64 $250.66 $398.30 from 2
23 North Carolina $149.14 $246.00 $395.14 from 6
24 Mississippi $157.46 $233.46 $390.92 from 36
25 Vermont $130.54 $260.25 $390.79 from 47
26 Arkansas $173.54 $217.11 $390.65 from 9
27 Kentucky $150.46 $239.09 $389.55 from 13
28 New Hampshire $142.24 $247.25 $389.49 from 40
29 South Carolina $151.09 $237.88 $388.97 from 21
30 New York $142.73 $246.01 $388.74 from 20
31 Florida $146.98 $240.39 $387.37 from 17
U.S. Average $155.15 $232.16 $387.31
32 Texas $153.32 $233.17 $386.49 from 16
33 Arizona $160.98 $224.66 $385.64 from 26
34 Tennessee $151.24 $233.97 $385.21 from 28
35 Minnesota $151.80 $232.93 $384.73 from 37
36 Alabama $152.81 $230.23 $383.04 from 33
37 Pennsylvania $147.92 $233.29 $381.21 from 12
38 Louisiana $154.14 $227.07 $381.21 from 10
39 West Virginia $149.85 $224.56 $374.41 from 44
40 Nebraska $149.48 $223.78 $373.26 from 49
41 Illinois $147.56 $224.69 $372.25 from 43
42 South Dakota $147.26 $223.00 $370.26 from 24
43 Oklahoma $153.65 $216.06 $369.71 from 39
44 Missouri $149.40 $219.31 $368.71 from 31
45 Kansas $151.98 $216.72 $368.70 from 18
46 Maine $141.42 $220.02 $361.44 from 42
47 Iowa $148.15 $210.12 $358.27 from 34
48 Wisconsin $145.49 $211.41 $356.90 from 46
49 Ohio $144.69 $211.69 $356.38 from 38
50 Indiana $148.17 $207.81 $355.98 from 27
51 Michigan $150.29 $203.84 $354.13 from 48

derek chenn2016 CarMD State Index