2011

Vehicle Health Index

Published by CarMD, April 2011

The majority of the top 5 most common failures and fixes in the index are related to durability vs. faulty parts, supporting industry statistics that consumers are holding onto cars longer and manufacturers are making vehicles to last longer. The data also demonstrates that durable parts, which should last longer, are failing more frequently due to lack of maintenance. As vehicles age, the index repeatedly illustrates the impact of maintenance on gas mileage, safety, the environment and costs.  Ignoring small problems is fueling more expensive repairs.  Additionally, as hybrids are aging and approaching 10 years on the market, the cost of repairs is still high. And, for the first time since on-board diagnostics was added to vehicles, gas cap is no longer the top fix for “check engine” problems. In fact, 4 of the top 5 fixes (replace O2 sensor, catalytic converter, spark plug and mass air flow sensor) are related to vehicle durability.

Highlights


Hybrids account for 2 of the top 10 most expensive repairs in 2010. The 2nd most expensive vehicle fix for 2010 is “replace hybrid inverter assembly” (>$7,000). “Replace hybrid battery,” (>$2,700) is no. 6.


Overall repair costs are down nearly 16% from a high point in 2006.  Vehicle owners in Southwest pay 10% more for vehicle repairs than in Northeast and 16% more than those in Midwest.


No. 1 repair in ‘10, “replace Oxygen Sensor,” can lead to a 40 percent reduction in gas mileage if ignored. Faulty O2 sensor costs less than $200, including parts and labor.


From 1996-2009, loose, missing or damaged gas cap was no. 1 reason for “check engine” related repairs. Bumped to No. 2 in 2010, loose, damaged or missing gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate each year.

Snapshot

CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™

April 2011 Report – Quick Snapshot

CarMD.com Corp., is pleased to debut the first annual CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™.  This groundbreaking Index is the first ever to divulge a range of statistics regarding the most common repair and reliability problems and costs that affect 1996 and newer vehicles driven in the U.S. – foreign and domestic.  While other organizations provide valuable information on consumer satisfaction, buyer behavior, product quality and even vehicle history reports, no organization – until now, has put its finger on the pulse of the raw data associated with vehicle failure and repair issues.   Below is a quick snapshot of this year’s index results.

Most Common Fixes

  • 4 out of 5 of the most common automotive repairs are related to durability (Replace O2 sensor (9.34%), replace catalytic converter (6.40%), replace mass air flow sensor (4.36%) and replace spark plugs/wires (3.71%) are all fixes that are most often associated with age and vehicle longevity)
  • Gas Cap is no longer the most common fix for vehicles 
  • From 1996 – 2009, a loose, missing or cracked gas cap was the most common repair, accounting for 10% of fixes on cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs
  • In 2010 the #1 most common fix became “replace O2 sensor” (9.34%), edging out gas cap that moved to the #2 spot (9.28%)

Most Common Type of Vehicle Failures

  • In 2010, the most common type of vehicle failure was a Misfire (13.8%)
  • Misfire is one of the most severe fault codes in a vehicle.  It is a serious problem that drivers should never ignore, especially when accompanied by a flashing “check engine” light, which means you are doing mechanical damage by continuing to drive.

Repair Costs

  • In 2010, the national average for automotive parts increased slightly (0.5%); and labor costs increased about 10% in 2010, with consumers paying on average 3% more for car repairs in 2010 than in the previous calendar year, but down nearly 13% from 2006 repair costs
  • Auto repair costs, including parts and labor, are most expensive in the Southwest region of the U.S. and least expensive in the Midwest
    1. – The average cost of vehicle repairs from 1996 to 2010 in the U.S. was $305.56 per repair
    2. – The average cost of vehicle repairs from 1996 to 2010 in the Southwestern U.S. was $341.37 per repair
    3. – The average cost of vehicle repairs from 1996 to 2010 in the Northeastern U.S. was $310.42 per repair
    4. – The average cost of vehicle repairs from 1996 to 2010 in the Midwest was $294.53

Most Expensive Fixes

  • The most expensive fix in the CarMD database from 1996 to 2010 is “remove cylinder and inspect/replace as needed” ($8,200).  And while “remove cylinder and inspect/replace as needed” is the most expensive fix, it is not a common fix, representing less than one-half percent (0.1%) of repairs in the CarMD fix database
  • Conversely, the least expensive fix – also one of the most common – is “inspect gas cap/tighten or replace as needed” (< $3.00 to fix in most cases)
  • Two of the top 12 most expensive fixes are for hybrid vehicles, including “replace hybrid inverter assembly” (>$7,300) and “replace hybrid battery” (>$2,730)

Most Common Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs)

  • P0171”System Too Lean” is the most common diagnostic trouble code (DTC) for 1996-2010 vehicles
  • A P0171 code may be triggered by a range of issues from a dirty air filter to a faulty Mass Air Flow sensor, which measures the amount of oxygen in the engine; it may result in lack of power or even hesitation or surge upon acceleration
  • If not fixed, a P0171 code, as well as most DTCs, can lead to expensive repairs and headaches down the road.

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


1996 to 2010′s repair costs…

Rank Vehicle Fix Total % 2010 Fixes
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $238.71 9.34%
2 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap andTighten or Replace as Necessary $0.80 9.28%
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s)with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,001.74 6.40%
4 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $376.69 4.36%
5 Replace Spark Plug Wires and SparkPlugs $311.40 3.71%
6 Replace Exhaust Gas Recirculation(EGR) Valve and Clean All EGR ports $288.19 2.85%
7 Replace Engine Coolant TemperatureSensor (ECT) $132.62 2.65%
8 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $213.16 2.58%
9 Replace Intake Manifold Gasket(s) $326.74 2.05%
10 Remove Aftermarket Alarm $75.85 1.96%
11 Replace Camshaft Position Sensor(CMP) $181.11 1.73%
12 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $518.16 1.67%
13 Replace Positive CrankcaseVentilation (PCV) Valve and Hose $97.86 1.58%
14 Inspect for Vacuum Leak atEvaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid and Repair
as Necessary
$70.83 1.49%
15 Replace Thermostat $147.54 1.43%
16 Inspect for Faulty Vacuum Hose(s)at EVAP System and Repair as Necessary $98.64 1.29%
17 Replace Positive CrankcaseVentilation (PCV) Valve, Tube and Grommet $84.65 1.17%
18 Inspect for Faulty Wiring atEngine Harness and Repair as Necessary $126.31 1.12%
19 Replace Differential PressureFeedback (DPFE) Sensor $185.31 1.07%
20 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and SparkPlug(s) $393.32 1.07%
21 Replace Evaporative Emissions(EVAP) Purge Solenoid $144.33 1.04%
22 Reprogram Engine Control Module(ECM) $88.83 0.97%
23 Replace Crankshaft Position Sensor(CKP) $180.42 0.95%
24 Replace Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor(AFR) $295.26 0.94%
25 Inspect for Faulty Vacuum Hose(s)and Repair as Necessary $78.38 0.84%
Rank Vehicle Fix Avg. Repair Cost (Parts & Labor) % U.S. Vehicle Repairs
1 Inspect for Loose FuelCap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $ 3.00 10.21%
2 Replace OxygenSensor(s) (O2S) $ 233.42 9.26%
3 Replace CatalyticConverter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $ 980.38 6.37%
4 Replace Mass Air Flow(MAF) Sensor $ 369.83 4.92%
5 Replace Spark PlugWires and Spark Plugs $ 300.60 3.83%
6 Replace Exhaust GasRecirculation (EGR) Valve and Clean All EGR ports $ 283.92 2.77%
7 Replace IgnitionCoil(s) $ 208.41 2.57%
8 Replace IntakeManifold Gasket(s) $ 316.47 2.27%
9 Replace Engine CoolantTemperature Sensor (ECT) $ 128.35 2.02%
10 Replace FuelInjector(s) $ 579.55 1.99%
11 Replace CamshaftPosition Sensor (CMP) $ 184.05 1.59%
12 Replace PositiveCrankcase Ventilation (PCV) Valve and Hose $ 93.36 1.57%
13 Replace DifferentialPressure Feedback (DPFE) Sensor $ 180.54 1.50%
14 Remove AftermarketAlarm $ 73.84 1.41%
15 Replace Thermostat $ 145.00 1.38%
16 Replace PositiveCrankcase Ventilation (PCV) Valve, Tube and Grommet $ 79.66 1.16%
17 Reprogram EngineControl Module (ECM) $ 84.93 1.15%
18 Inspect for VacuumLeak at Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid and Repair
as Necessary
$ 66.84 1.11%
19 Inspect for FaultyVacuum Hose(s) at EVAP System and Repair as Necessary $ 92.97 1.03%
20 Replace CrankshaftPosition Sensor (CKP) $ 185.57 1.03%
21 Replace EvaporativeEmissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $ 139.59 1.02%
22 Replace Air/Fuel RatioSensor (AFR) $ 287.44 0.97%
23 Replace Engine ControlModule (ECM) $ 738.63 0.94%
24 Replace IgnitionCoil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $ 380.12 0.94%
25 Inspect for FaultyWiring at Engine Harness and Repair as Necessary $ 119.47 0.90%
U.S. Region Parts Labor Total Average Repair Cost
All U.S. Regions $103.27 $202.28 $305.56
Northeast $102.46 $209.96 $310.42
Midwest $104.55 $189.98 $294.53
Southwest $128.77 $212.60 $341.37
Year Labor Parts Total Average Repair Cost
2010 $143.61 $212.44 $356.04
2009 $138.37 $221.13 $359.50
2008 $135.21 $220.98 $356.19
2007 $152.92 $256.98 $409.91
2006 $131.06 $291.30 $422.36
Rank Vehicle Fix Total Cost (Parts & Labor)
1 Remove Cylinder andInspect for Faulty Components. Replace As Necessary. $8,216.97
2 Replace HybridInverter Assembly $7,391.57
3 Replace InverterAssembly w/Converter $3,921.68
4 Replace Transmission Assemblyand Reprogram Electronic Control Module (ECM) $3,699.34
5 Replace Cylinder HeadAssembly and Replace Spark Plug(s) $3,608.36
6 Replace Camshaft andLifter(s) $3,077.74
7 Replace Gas MassSensor $3,055.21
8 Replace Injection Pump $2,974.54
9 Replace Transmissionand Torque Converter $2,867.96
10 Replace Hybrid Battery $2,731.87
11 Replace IntegratedMotor Assist (IMA) Battery $2,701.62
12 Replace CatalyticConverter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) and replace Engine
ControlModule (ECM)
$2,691.91
13 Replace Fuel InjectionPump $2,444.69
14 Inspect Transmissionand Repair as Necessary $2,177.28
15 Replace TorqueConverter $1,765.15
Rank Vehicle Fix Total Cost (Parts & Labor)
1 Remove Cylinder and Inspect forFaulty Components. Replace As Necessary. $5,393.07
2 Replace Hybrid Inverter Assemblyw/Converter $3,926.01
3 Replace Cylinder Head Assembly andReplace Spark Plug(s) $3,781.87
4 Replace Transmission Assembly andReprogram Electronic Control Module (ECM) $3,627.90
5 Replace Transmission and TorqueConverter $2,968.02
6 Replace Hybrid Battery $2,731.87
7 Replace Integrated Motor Assist(IMA) Battery $2,603.31
8 Replace Catalytic Converter(s)with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) and replace Engine
Control Module (ECM)
$2,588.31
9 Replace Fuel Injection Pump $2,502.34
10 Clean Ground Wire $1,893.47
11 Replace Torque Converter $1,887.00
12 Replace Cylinder Head Assembly $1,826.68
13 Inspect Transmission and Repair asNecessary $1,798.41
14 Replace Turbo-Charger Assembly $1,623.44
15 Replace Rocker Arm Assembly(s) $1,560.96

1996 to 2010’s most common vehicle “check engine” light repairs for…

Rank Repairs in the Northeast % NE Repairs – 1996 to 2010
1 Inspect For Loose Fuel Cap & Tighten/Replace As Necessary 11.8%
2 Replace O2 (Oxygen) Sensor(s) 10.5%
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) 7.3%
4 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor 4.6%
5 Replace Spark Plug Wires & Spark Plugs 4.1%
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) 2.5%
7 Replace EGR Valve & Clean all EGR Ports 2.5%
8 Replace Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) Sensor 2.2%
9 Replace Intake Manifold Gasket(s) 2.0%
10 Replace Fuel Injector(s) 1.9%
Rank Repairs in the Midwest % Midwest Repairs – 1996 to 2010
1 Inspect For Loose Fuel Cap & Tighten/Replace As Necessary 10.9%
2 Replace O2 (Oxygen) Sensor(s) 9.2%
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) 5.9%
4 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor 4.7%
5 Replace Spark Plug Wires & Spark Plugs 4.2%
6 Replace EGR Valve & Clean all EGR Ports 3.0%
7 Replace Intake Manifold Gasket(s) 2.8%
8 Replace Fuel Injector(s) 2.4%
9 Replace Ignition Coil(s) 2.3%
10 Replace Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) Sensor 2.1%
Rank Repairs in the Southwest % Southwest Repairs – 1996 to 2010
1 Replace O2 (Oxygen) Sensor(s) 8.5%
2 Inspect For Loose Fuel Cap & Tighten/Replace As Necessary 8.1%
3 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor 6.0%
4 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) 5.9%
5 Replace Spark Plug Wires & Spark Plugs 3.8%
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) 2.8%
7 Replace EGR Valve & Clean all EGR Ports 2.6%
8 Replace Intake Manifold Gasket(s) 2.3%
9 Replace Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) Sensor 1.9%
10 Replace Fuel Injector(s) 1.9%

1996 to 2010’s most common type of vehicle failures for…

Rank Type of Vehicle Failure for 1996 to 2010 Percentage
1 Engine Misfire 10.34%
2 Evaporative Emissions SystemLeak 9.49%
3 System Too Lean 7.85%
4 Catalytic Converter Failure 5.05%
5 Evaporative Emissions System Failure 5.52%
6 Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) System Failure 3.70%
7 Oxygen (O2) Sensor Failure 3.61%
8 Coolant Thermostat Failure 2.16%
9 Camshaft Position Sensor (CMP) Failure 0.92%
10 Air Injection System Failure 0.83%
Rank Type of Vehicle Failure for 2010 Percentage
1 Engine Misfire 13.8%
2 Evaporative Emissions SystemLeak 8.3%
3 System Too Lean 6.7%
4 Evaporative Emissions System Failure 5.7%
5 Catalytic Converter Failure 4.0%
6 Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) System Failure 3.8%
7 Oxygen (O2) Sensor Failure 3.4%
8 Coolant Thermostat Failure 2.5%
9 Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF) Failure 1.6%
10 Camshaft Position Sensor (CMP) Failure 0.9%
Rank Type of Vehicle Failure in the Northeast % NE Failures – 1996 to 2010
1 Engine Misfire 9.9%
2 Evaporative Emissions SystemLeak 6.7%
3 Evaporative Emissions System Failure 5.0%
4 System Too Lean 4.3%
5 Catalytic Converter Failure 3.8%
6 Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) System Failure 2.7%
7 Oxygen (O2) Sensor Failure 2.6%
8 Coolant Thermostat Below Regulating Temperature 2.1%
9 Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF) Failure 1.3%
10 Secondary Air Injection System Malfunction 1.0%
Rank Type of Vehicle Failure in the Midwest % Midwest Failures – 1996 to 2010
1 Engine Misfire 11.0%
2 Evaporative Emissions SystemLeak 8.7%
3 Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) System Failure 4.0%
4 System Too Lean 3.9%
5 Catalytic Converter Failure 3.5%
6 Oxygen (O2) Sensor Failure 3.0%
7 Coolant Thermostat Below Regulation Temperature 2.4%
8 System Too Rich 1.4%
9 Secondary Air Injection 1.2%
10 Mass Air Flow Sensor Failure 0.9%
Rank Type of Vehicle Failure in the Southwest % SW Failures – 1996 to 2010
1 Engine Misfire 11.4%
2 Evaporative Emissions SystemLeak 5.2%
3 Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)Flow Insufficient 4.9%
4 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold 4.9%
5 Coolant Thermostat Failure 2.6%
6 System Too Lean 2.6%
7 Camshaft Position Sensor (CMP) Failure 1.5%
8 Crankshaft Position Sensor (CKP) Failure 0.9%
9 Transmission System Failure 0.7%
10 System Too Rich 0.7%

1996 to 2010’s most common diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) for…

Rank DTC Code Description Percent of all fixes 1996-2010
1 P0171 System Too Lean 5.5%
2 P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold 4.1%
3 P0300 Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected 3.9%
4 P0442 Evaporative Emission System Leak Detected (small leak) 2.7%
5 P0455 Evaporative Emission System Leak Detected (large leak) 2.7%
6 P0174 System Too Lean 2.3%
7 P0401 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Flow Insufficient Detected 2.3%
8 P0128 Coolant Thermostat (Coolant Temperature Below Thermostat Regulating Temperature) 2.2%
9 P0440 Evaporative Emission System 2.2%
10 P0301 Cylinder 1 Misfire Detected 1.6%
11 P0303 Cylinder 3 Misfire Detected 1.3%
12 P0456 Evaporative Emission System Leak Detected (very small leak) 1.2%
13 P0135 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit 1.1%
14 P0304 Cylinder 4 Misfire Detected 1.1%
15 P0302 Cylinder 2 Misfire Detected 1.1%
16 P0141 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit 1.1%
17 P0446 Evaporative Emission System Vent Control Circuit 1.1%
18 P0441 Evaporative Emission System Incorrect Purge Flow 1.0%
19 P0430 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold 1.0%
20 P0340 Camshaft Position Sensor “A” Circuit 0.9%
21 P0410 Secondary Air Injection System 0.8%
22 P0449 Evaporative Emission System Vent Valve/Solenoid Circuit 0.8%
23 P0172 System Too Rich 0.8%
24 P0101 Mass or Volume Air Circuit Range Performance 0.7%
25 P0406 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Sensor “A” Circuit High 0.7%
Rank NE DTC Code Description % NE DTCs 1996-2010
1 P0171 System Too Lean 4.5%
2 P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold 3.9%
3 P0300 Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire 3.2%
4 P0442 Evap Emission System Leak (Small) 2.8%
5 P0455 Evap Emission System Leak (Large) 2.7%
6 P0128 Coolant Thermostat (Below Regulating Temp) 2.1%
7 P0440 Evap Emission System 2.1%
8 P0401 EGR Flow Insufficient 1.9%
9 P0174 System Too Lean 1.8%
10 P0456 Evap Emission System Leak (Very Small) 1.2%
11 P0303 Cylinder 3 Misfire 1.2%
12 P0301 Cylinder 1 Misfire 1.1%
13 P0441 Evap Emission System Incorrect Purge Flow 1.1%
14 P0410 Secondary Air Injection 1.0%
15 P0302 Cylinder 2 Misfire 1.0%
16 P0135 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit 1.0%
17 P0430 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold 1.0%
18 P0304 Cylinder 4 Misfire 1.0%
19 P0141 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit 1.0%
20 P0446 Evap Emission System Vent Control 0.9%
21 P0449 Evap Emission System Vent Valve/Solenoid 0.9%
22 P0305 Cylinder 5 Misfire 0.7%
23 P0306 Cylinder 6 Misfire 0.7%
24 P0101 Mass Air Flow Circuit Range/Performance 0.7%
25 P0340 Camshaft Position Sensor “A” Circuit 0.7%
Rank Midwest DTC Code Description Percentage of Midwest DTCs 1996-2010
1 P0171 System Too Lean 5.1%
2 P0300 Random Multiple Cylinder Misfire 3.7%
3 P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold 3.5%
4 P0442 Evap Emission Leak (Small) 2.7%
5 P0455 Evap Emission Leak (Large) 2.6%
6 P0440 Evap Emission System 2.5%
7 P0128 Coolant Thermostat (Below Regulation Temp) 2.4%
8 P0174 System Too Lean 2.2%
9 P0401 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Flow Insufficient 2.0%
10 P0410 Secondary Air Injection System 1.2%
11 P0446 Evap Emission System Vent Control 1.2%
12 P0301 Cylinder 1 Misfire 1.2%
13 P0303 Cylinder 3 Misfire 1.1%
14 P0141 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit 1.1%
15 P0430 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold 1.0%
16 P0304 Cylinder 4 Misfire 1.0%
17 P0302 Cylinder 2 Misfire 0.9%
18 P0102 Mass or Volume Air Flow Circuit Low 0.9%
19 P0449 Evap Emission Syst. Vent Valve / Solenoid Circuit 0.9%
20 P0404 EGR Circuit Range / Performance 0.9%
21 P0456 Evap System Leak Detected (Very Small) 0.9%
22 P0306 Cylinder 6 Misfire 0.7%
23 P0340 Camshaft Position Sensor “A” Circuit 0.7%
24 P0172 System Too Rich 0.7%
25 P0135 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit 0.7%
Rank SW DTC Code Description Code Description
1 P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold 4.8%
2 P0171 System Too Lean 3.9%
3 P0301 Cylinder 1 Misfire 3.2%
4 P0401 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Flow Insufficient 2.1%
5 P0442 Evap Emission Leak (Small) 2.0%
6 P0128 Coolant Thermostat (Below Regulation Temp) 1.9%
7 P0455 Evap Emission Leak (Large) 1.8%
8 P0300 Random Multiple Cylinder Misfire 1.6%
9 P0304 Cylinder 4 Misfire Detected 1.6%
10 P0303 Cylinder 3 Misfire Detected 1.4%
11 P0440 Evap Emission System 1.3%
12 P0456 Evap Emission Leak (Very Small) 1.2%
13 P0340 Camshaft Position Sensor “A” Circuit 1.1%
14 P0302 Cylinder 2 Misfire Detected 1.1%
15 P0441 Evap Emission System Incorrect Purge Flow 1.1%
16 P0430 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold 1.1%
17 P0172 System Too Rich 1.0%
18 P0135 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit 0.9%
19 P0335 Crankshaft Position Sensor “A” Circuit 0.8%
20 P0141 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit 0.8%
21 P0102 Mass or Volume Air Circuit Low 0.7%
22 P0410 Secondary Air Injection System 0.7%
23 P0305 Cylinder 5 Misfire Detected 0.7%
24 P0306 Cylinder 6 Misfire Detected 0.7%
25 P0133 O2 Sensor Circuit Slow Response 0.7%
Qbx2011 CarMD Vehicle Health Index