2020

State Repair Cost Rankings

Published by CarMD, July 2020

Highlights


In its 10th annual state ranking of check engine light-related car repair costs, CarMD finds in 2019 Vermont had the lowest average repair cost ($342.14) while California drivers incurred the highest average repair cost ($414.24). Rounding out the five most affordable states for car repair over the past year were Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. After California, District of Columbia, Georgia, New Jersey and Virginia were the states/districts with the highest repair costs.

CarMD analyzed data from more than 15.9 million cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs needing repairs in 2019 to compile this ranking. This is the second time California has ranked most expensive and the second time Vermont has ranked the least expensive state for car repairs over the past decade.

Several factors contribute to a state’s average repair costs, including vehicle age and type, how difficult the repair is, required parts, how much time is needed to make the repair and what the repair shop charges per hour.

CarMD 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.

CarMD’s ranking of the five states/districts with the highest car repair costs in 2019:

Ranking State Average Labor Cost Average Parts Cost Average Total Car Repair Cost in 2019
(Parts & Labor)
1 California $147.38 $266.86 $414.24
2 District of Columbia $146.83 $263.33 $410.16
3 Georgia $152.50 $257.42 $409.92
4 New Jersey $143.47 $259.96 $403.43
5 Virginia $148.50 $254.69 $403.19


CarMD ranking of the five states/districts with the lowest car repair costs in 2019:

Ranking State Average Labor Cost Average Parts Cost Average Total Car Repair Cost in 2018
(Parts & Labor)
47 Iowa $150.18 $206.39 $356.57
48 Michigan $148.47 $202.30 $350.77
49 Wisconsin $141.08 $208.00 $349.08
50 Ohio $140.61 $208.18 $348.79
51 Vermont $123.68 $218.46 $342.14

Other key findings


  • Labor Costs: For the fourth consecutive year, Vermont had the lowest average labor cost ($123.68). This is not surprising since the most common cause of a check engine light on Vermont cars and trucks remains a loose or missing gas cap, accounting for 8% of repairs. For the second year in a row, drivers in Mississippi paid the most for labor ($160.45), where the most common repair was to replace ignition coils and spark plugs. The 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 2004 Honda Civic. In Mississippi it was a 2004 F150.
  • Parts Costs: In 2019, drivers in California paid the most on average for parts ($266.86), while drivers in Michigan, home to “Motor City,” paid the least for parts ($202.30). The most frequently recommended repair in California is to replace the catalytic converter; catalytic converters are expensive parts that don’t typically fail unless maintenance and other repairs like as a faulty oxygen sensor or ignition coil are ignored, or a vehicle has high mileage. The most common repair in Michigan last year was to replace an oxygen sensor. The type of vehicle, type of repair and whether original equipment (OE) parts are used factor into average parts cost. In California the vehicle most frequently needing check engine-related repairs in 2019 was a 2005 Nissan Altima. In Michigan, it was a 2008 Chevrolet Impala.
  • Decade in Review: Over the past 10 years since CarMD has published this state ranking of check engine light-related car repair costs, Michigan has ranked best three times (2016, 2017 and 2018) while District of Columbia has had the highest average repair cost four times (2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019). The date of the state ranking report is for data collected the previous calendar year.

Stats

State-by-State Ranking of Average Check Engine Light-Related Car Repairs – 2019
(Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Ranking State Avg. Labor
Cost
Avg. Parts
Cost
Avg. Repair Cost
(Parts & Labor)
Change in Rank from
2018
1 California $147.38 $266.86 $414.24 from no. 3
2 District of Columbia $146.83 $263.33 $410.16 from no. 1
3 Georgia $152.50 $257.42 $409.92 from no. 4
4 New Jersey $143.47 $259.96 $403.43 from no. 5
5 Virginia $148.50 $254.69 $403.19 from no. 8
6 Hawaii $139.82 $263.09 $402.91 from no. 42
7 North Carolina $150.65 $252.21 $402.86 No change
8 Colorado $153.58 $247.97 $401.55 from no. 9
9 Connecticut $153.58 $247.97 $401.55 from no. 2
10 Utah $147.06 $252.36 $399.42 from no. 6
11 Maryland $145.76 $253.57 $399.33 from no. 14
12 Tennessee $153.96 $245.12 $399.08 No change
13 Alabama $156.82 $241.19 $398.01 from no. 10
14 Mississippi $160.45 $235.91 $396.36 from no. 15
15 Nevada $143.85 $251.99 $395.84 from no. 13
16 Oregon $144.56 $249.03 $393.59 from no. 18
17 South Carolina $153.58 $239.82 $393.40 from no. 11
18 Texas $150.96 $242.39 $393.35 from no. 24
19 Washington $146.84 $245.95 $392.79 No change
20 Florida $146.84 $245.91 $392.75 from no. 22
21 Louisiana $156.18 $235.97 $392.15 from no. 20
22 Delaware $146.71 $243.28 $389.99 from no. 23
23 Kentucky $152.27 $236.74 $389.01 from no. 17
24 Montana $154.91 $233.75 $388.66 from no. 27
25 Rhode Island $137.79 $249.82 $387.61 from no. 16
26 Idaho $148.40 $238.71 $387.11 from no. 25
27 Arizona $143.44 $242.12 $385.56 from no. 30
28 Wyoming $153.76 $229.45 $383.21 from no. 21
29 Arkansas $155.66 $227.10 $382.76 from no. 26
30 Massachusetts $135.89 $244.78 $380.67 from no. 29
31 New Mexico $148.73 $231.44 $380.17 from no. 28
32 Pennsylvania $143.70 $235.84 $379.54 from no. 35
33 Oklahoma $158.57 $220.32 $378.89 No change
34 West Virginia $148.84 $228.47 $377.31 from no. 41
35 South Dakota $153.62 $222.91 $376.53 from no. 34
36 New York $138.60 $237.48 $376.08 from no. 37
37 Missouri $151.47 $223.73 $375.20 from no. 32
38 Arkansas $146.92 $226.54 $373.46 from no. 31
39 Illinois $145.19 $227.32 $372.51 No change
40 Kansas $151.96 $219.84 $371.80 from no. 38
41 Minnesota $149.82 $221.49 $371.31 from no. 36
42 New Hampshire $134.43 $231.28 $365.71 from no. 44
43 Nebraska $149.76 $214.62 $364.38 No change
44 Indiana $147.59 $209.84 $357.43 from no. 46
45 North Dakota $149.73 $207.32 $357.05 from no. 40
46 Maine $137.58 $219.18 $356.76 from no. 50
47 Iowa $150.18 $206.39 $356.57 from no. 45
48 Michigan $148.47 $202.30 $350.77 from no. 49
49 Wisconsin $141.08 $208.00 $349.08 from no. 48
50 Ohio $140.61 $208.18 $348.79 from no. 51
51 Vermont $123.68 $218.46 $342.14 from no. 47

derek chenn2020 CarMD State Index