2020

Vehicle Health Index

Published by CarMD, April 2020

Highlights


This year marks the 10th anniversary of the CarMD Vehicle Health Index. CarMD has spent a decade reporting on check engine light-related problems, repairs and associated costs. How have check engine light-related car problems changed in the past decade? CarMD reports on data from >41 million cars and trucks needing repairs from 2010 – 2020.


This 2020 Index statistically analyzes more than 15.9 million failures and recommended repairs for vehicles in the U.S., over the past calendar year, as well as highlights from the past 10 years.


In 2019, costs to repair check engine light issues were up just 1% on average in the U.S. Labor rates were down just over 5%, and parts costs were up about 6%.


In 2019, for the first time since CarMD has reported on these rankings, “replace catalytic converter” was the most common check engine light repair. Catalytic converters are costly repairs that don’t typically fail unless maintenance and other repairs are ignored, or a vehicle is up there in age. This can be partially explained by the trend up in average vehicle age from 11.7 years in 2018 to 11.8 years in 2019. Back in 2010 when CarMD first started publishing Vehicle Health Index data, the average vehicle age was 10.6 years old. As people keep their cars and trucks longer, the automotive aftermarket will need to adjust related parts forecasts accordingly.


In 2019, we saw national check engine light repair costs trend up slightly. While labor costs were down 5.5% year-over-year from 2018 to 2019, parts costs were up 5.7%. In looking at a decade of data as reported by the CarMD Vehicle Health Index from 2010 to 2020 for the previous calendar year, car repair costs are 7% higher than they were when CarMD started reporting this data 10 years ago.

Wait, there’s more


If you’re interested in more info on the current state of vehicle health, download the PDF below. What you see on this page is only about 10% of all the info we have to offer – don’t miss the rest!


Stats


Rank Vehicle Repair Total Average Repair
Cost
(Parts & Labor)
% 2019
Repairs
Change in Rank
Since 2018
Where this Fix Ranked in 2010
1 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,375.70 5.69% from no. 3 No. 3 (6.4% of repairs)
2 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $245.88 5.67% from tie for 1st No. 1 (9.3% of repairs)
3 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $386.89 5.23% from tie for 1st No. 20 (1.1% of repairs)
4 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $25.00 4.57% No Change No. 2 (9.3% of repairs)
5 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $345.69 4.28% from no. 7 No. 4 (4.4% of repairs)
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $214.98 3.84% from no. 5 No. 8 (2.6% of repairs)
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $144.07 3.54% from no. 6 Not ranked
8 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $457.63 2.70% from no. 9 Not ranked
9 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $150.85 2.46% from no. 8 No. 21 (1.0% of repairs)
10 Replace Thermostat $240.46 2.27% No Change No. 15 (1.4% of repairs)

(Ten most common vehicle repairs are based on 15,869,285 repairs recommended in calendar year 2019 on 1996-2019 model year vehicles. This data applies to > 85% of cars, light trucks, minivans, SUVs and hybrids on the road in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Average Repair Cost in the West (Parts & Labor) % 2019 Western U.S. Repairs   Change in Western Rank
Since 2018
1 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,434.23 5.65% from no. 3
2 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $258.65 5.25% from no. 1
3 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $25.45 4.88% from no. 4
4 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $360.41 4.84% from no. 5
5 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $385.07 4.77% from no. 2
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $218.37 3.91% No Change
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $147.64 3.09% No Change
8 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $479.37 2.57% from no. 9
9 Replace Thermostat $237.92 2.49% from no. 8
10 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $339.02 2.15% Not listed in 2018

(Ten most common vehicle repairs in the Western U.S. are based on 4,064,819 repairs in 2019 in AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA and WY. This data applies to roughly 85% of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs on the road in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Average Repair Cost in the Midwest (Parts & Labor) % 2019 Midwest U.S. Repairs Change in Midwest Rank Since 2018
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $234.89 5.91% No Change
2 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,345.94 5.29% No Change
3 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $24.76 4.72% from no. 4
4 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $389.24 4.48% from no. 3
5 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $141.17 4.00% No Change
6 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $327.06 3.77% No Change
7 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $215.76 3.34% No Change
8 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $147.42 3.04% No Change
9 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $477.96 2.92% No Change
10 Replace Thermostat $243.20 2.29% No Change

(Ten most common vehicle repairs in the Midwestern U.S. are based on 3,693,880 repairs in 2019 in IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD and WI. This data applies to roughly 85% of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs on the road in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Average Repair Cost in the NE (Parts & Labor) % 2019 NE U.S. Repairs Change in NE Rank Since 2018
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $263.64 6.50% No change
2 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,342.41 6.29% No change
3 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $23.56 5.90% No change
4 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $381.96 4.65% No change
5 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $349.04 4.33% from no. 6
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $218.97 3.85% from no. 5
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $148.48 3.82% No change
8 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $151.27 2.64% No change
9 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $451.66 2.22% No change
10 Replace Thermostat $249.26 2.03% No change

(Ten most common vehicle repairs in the Northeastern U.S. are based on 2,159,192 repairs in 2019 in CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI and VT. This data applies to roughly 85% of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs on the road in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Average Repair Cost in the South (Parts & Labor) % 2019 Southern U.S. Repairs Change in Southern U.S. Rank Since 2018
1 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,364.58 5.91% from no. 3
2 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $387.99 5.80% from no. 1
3 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $243.25 5.49% from no. 2
4 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $344.84 4.48% from no. 6
5 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $25.18 4.12% from no. 4
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $212.96 4.07% from no. 5
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $142.81 3.35% No change
8 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $447.42 2.84% No change
9 Replace Thermostat $237.58 2.22% from no. 10
10 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $152.66 2.19% from no. 9

(Ten most common vehicle repairs in the Southern U.S. are based on 7,350,072 repairs in 2019 in AL, AR, DC, DE, FL,GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, OK, TN, VA, SC, TX and WV. This data applies to roughly 85% of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs on the road in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

2019’s repair costs…

Year Labor Parts Total Avg. Repair Cost
2009 $138.37 $221.13 $359.50
2010 $143.61 $212.44 $356.05
2011 $118.61 $215.32 $333.93
2012 $138.96 $228.88 $367.84
2013 $157.23 $235.26 $392.49
2014 $161.61 $228.77 $390.38
2015 $155.15 $232.16 $387.31
2016 $162.46 $235.41 $397.87
2017 $141.16 $216.29 $357.45
2018 $157.04 $223.81 $380.85
2019 $148.26 $236.64 $384.90

(Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Region Total Average
Repair Costs
(2018)
Total Average Repair Costs
(2019)
% Increase/Decrease From 2018 to 2019
South $385.46 $392.47 1.8%
West $386.78 $398.26 2.9%%
Midwest $366.31 $360.44 1.6%
Northeast $379.76 $384.08 1.1%

(Source: CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™)

Vehicle Repair Top Cost of
this Repair
in 2019
Top Cost of
this Repair
in 2010
Replace Engine Block Assembly $7,348 Not Reported
Replace Transmission and Torque Converter $5,280 $3,485
Replace Transmission Assembly $4,310 $3,177
Replace Hybrid Battery $4,330 $2,992
Replace Cylinder Head Assembly $2,625 $1,873
Replace Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM) $1,140 $1,134
Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $2,512 $1,008
Replace ABS Modulator Assembly $1,767 $992
Replace Engine Control Module (ECM) $839 $898
Replace Powertrain Control Module (PCM) $897 $703
Vehicle Repair Cost of this
Repair in 2019
Cost of this Repair in 2010
Tighten or Replace Fuel Tank Gas Cap $25.00 $1.00 (often just needed tightening)
Replace Electronic Throttle Control System (ETCS) Fuse $40.00 Not Reported
Inspect Fuel Cap Gasket $50.00 Not Reported
Adjust Tire Pressure and Reset Tire Pressure Sensor $51.00 $78.00
Clean Ground Wire $57.00 $87.00
Inspect Battery and Charging System $103.00 $84.00
Inspect for Leak at Exhaust Pipe and Repair as Necessary $104.00 $134.00
Inspect Cooling System and Repair As Necessary $105.00 $146.00
Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Hose(s) $105.00 $99.00
Replace Air Filter Element $106.00 $99.00

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derek chenn2020 CarMD Vehicle Health Index