Auto Repair Costs Vary Greatly by State

If the “check engine” light in your car or truck goes on, it’s usually a sign that you’re in for a costly repair. Exactly how costly the repair will be depends on a number of things, including the state in which you reside.

Recent studies have found that the cost of the average check engine-related repair increased by 10 percent in 2012, and actual costs varied widely based on the area of the country in which they were performed.

According to CarMD’s most recent vehicle repair cost survey, Vermont was the most affordable state in which to have your vehicle repaired. New Jersey was found to have the highest repair costs – 50 percent higher, on average, than in Vermont.

In past surveys, West Coast states tended to have the highest auto repair rates, but that situation has changed. California was ranked as the third costliest state for auto repairs, behind New Jersey and the District of Columbia.  North Carolina and Maryland accounted for the other two spots in the top-five costliest states for auto repairs. Oregon and Washington fell to No. 10 and No. 12 respectively.

The study of 161,000 vehicle repairs found that the Northeast was the most expensive area of the country in which to have your vehicle fixed.

CarMD CEO Leon C. Chen said, “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.”

Average repair costs in the Northeast rose 11.6 percent compared to 2011, but that number pales in comparison to the District of Columbia where repair costs increased by 20.56 percent in 2012. According to CarMD, “This is partially attributed to the type of repairs being made. Time-consuming repairs that cost over $1,000 accounted for nearly 10 percent of D.C. repairs in 2012, as compared with 7 percent in 2011, while quick-fix, gas cap-related problems were down five points.”

Wyoming dropped from the most-expensive state for check engine-related repairs in 2011 to the 45th in 2012, as the average cost dropped a whopping 16.67 percent.

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