2014

Vehicle Health Index

Published by CarMD, April 2014

Highlights


Car repair costs across the U.S. were up 6.7 percent in 2013 on top of a 10 percent year-over-year rise from 2011 to 2012.

  • Average repair costs in 2013 were $392.49 still short of their high of $422.36 in 2006.
  • Average labor costs were up 13 percent and parts costs were up 3 percent over the previous year.


All but one of the 10 most common repairs saw an increase in repair costs.

  • The no. 1 most common repair “Replace Oxygen Sensor” decreased 11 percent in 2013 over the previous year.


Weather can affect repair costs.

  • Drivers in the Northeast and Midwest experienced 9 percent increases in average repair costs.
  • The West and South only had a 5 percent uptick.

Weather can also affect car parts. 2013 saw temperature extremes with the fourth warmest year on record. It also had more daily record lows than highs for the first time in 20 years*, with record-breaking cold across much of the East, Midwest and parts of the South.

  • Battery and thermostat-related repairs are among the parts that saw an increase in repair frequency, which can be partially attributed to their sensitivity to heat and cold.
  • “Replace thermostat” experienced the largest jump in rank among most common repairs.
  • Battery inspections/replacements were new to the top 10 repairs in the Midwest this year, possibly a result of cold weather.


The gap between regions continues to close.

  • In 2013, drivers in the Western U.S. paid the most for car repairs at an average cost of $404.53, which was only 9 percent more than drivers in the Midwest who paid the least ($368.04) and in line with drivers in the Northeast ($402.73).
  • Two years ago in 2011 drivers in the West paid 17 percent more than drivers in the Midwest for repairs.


Hybrid repairs continue to drop with increased volume of hybrids on the road, as well as more parts available and people trained to service them.

  • In 2013, drivers in the Western U.S. paid the most for car repairs at an average cost of $404.53, which was only 9 percent more than drivers in the Midwest who paid the least ($368.04) and in line with drivers in the Northeast ($402.73).
  • Two years ago in 2011 drivers in the West paid 17 percent more than drivers in the Midwest for repairs.


Paying attention to small problems and recommended maintenance schedules extend the life of your car and minimize check engine-related repairs.

  • Each of the top 10 most common check engine problems can negatively impact your car’s fuel economy.
  • The O2 sensor’s life can be extended by using factory- recommended fuel types, and getting regular oil and spark plug changes.
  • April Car Care Awareness Month is a good time to address problems. Ignore a spark plug and a $10 part can turn into a $420 ignition coil and spark plug repair. Ignore that and you risk damaging your car’s catalytic converter at an average cost of $1,150, not to mention reduced MPG.

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


2013’s most common ‘check engine’ vehicle repairs for…

Rank Vehicle Repair Total average repair cost
(parts & labor)
% 2013 Repairs
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $261.61 7.55%
2 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $0.11 7.17%
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,154.23 6.10%
4 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $361.95 3.35%
5 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $423.61 3.35%
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $250.94 3.00%
7 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $420.34 2.89%
8 Inspect Battery and Charging System and Repair as Necessary $110.82 2.54%
9 Replace Exhaust Gas Recirculation(EGR) Valve and Clean All EGR ports $351.97 1.93%
10 Inspect for Faulty Vacuum Hose(s)and Repair As Necessary $122.52 1.89%
11 Replace Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) Valve and Hose & Grommet $131.59 1.80%
12 Replace Wheel Speed Sensor(s) $245.45 1.75%
13 Replace Thermostat $199.78 1.73%
14 Replace ABS Control Module $841.28 1.67%
15 Remove Aftermarket Alarm System $108.77 1.66%
16 Replace Intake Manifold Gasket(s) $430.68 1.57%
17 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $536.46 1.57%
18 Replace Camshaft Position Sensor (CMP) $223.15 1.55%
19 Replace Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor (ECT) $180.27 1.34%
20 Inspect for Faulty Wiring and Repair as Necessary $138.09 1.19%
21 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $179.10 1.10%
22 Replace Crankshaft Position Sensor(CKP) $244.54 0.86%
23 Replace Throttle Body Assembly $576.05 0.85%
24 Replace ABS Modulator Assembly $1,420.04 0.82%
25 Replace Throttle Position Sensor(TPS) $235.21 0.75%

(Top 25 most common vehicle repairs are based on 145,571 repairs made in calendar year 2013 on 1996-2014 model year vehicles. This data applies to roughly 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
(parts & labor)
% 2013 Repairs
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s)(O2S) $269.47 7.18%
2 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $0.08 6.65%
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,164.36 5.59%
4 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $433.55 4.01%
5 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $366.03 3.36%
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $242.07 2.99%
7 Inspect Battery and Charging System and Repair/ Replace as Necessary $111.85 2.59%
8 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $408.85 2.38%
9 Replace Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve and Clean All EGR ports $365.43 2.11%
10 Replace Camshaft Position Sensor (CMP) $224.03 1.85%

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Western U.S. are based on 31,782 repairs in 2013 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
(parts & labor)
% 2013 Repairs
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $247.34 8.22%
2 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $0.02 7.32%
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,149.05 5.44%
4 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $361.76 3.58%
5 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $405.65 2.98%
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $255.41 2.57%
7 Replace Wheel Speed Sensor(s) $269.28 2.52%
8 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $436.39 2.44%
9 Remove Aftermarket Alarm System $108.60 2.33%
10 Inspect Battery and Charging System and Repair as Necessary $109.78 2.22%

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Midwestern U.S. are based on 23,271 repairs in 2013 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
(parts & labor)
% 2013 Repairs
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $268.55 8.69%
2 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $0.00 8.10%
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,153.45 6.27%
4 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $422.90 3.02%
5 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $257.41 2.98%
6 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $359.21 2.97%
7 Inspect Battery and Charging System and Repair as Necessary $109.83 2.81%
8 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $410.38 2.54%
9 Replace Wheel Speed Sensor(s) $224.42 2.46%
10 Replace ABS Control Module $750.54 1.93%

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Northeastern U.S. are based on 23,562 repairs in 2013 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
(parts & labor)
% 2013 Repairs
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $260.69 7.09%
2 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $0.19 7.05%
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,151.93 6.53%
4 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $422.76 3.43%
5 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $361.10 3.40%
6 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $422.85 3.27%
7 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $251.82 3.16%
8 Inspect Battery and Charging System and Repair as Necessary $111.05 2.52%
9 Replace Thermostat $195.77 1.92%
10 Replace Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve and Clean All EGR ports $356.68 1.87%

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Southern U.S. are based on 66,378 repairs in 2012 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.)

2013’s repair costs…

Year Labor Parts Total Avg Repair Cost
2013 $157.23 $235.26 $392.49
2012 $138.96 $228.88 $367.84
2011 $118.61 $215.32 $333.93
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

Region % Difference 2012 average repair cost 2013 average repair cost
US +6.7% $367.84 $392.49
West +5.22% $384.46 $404.53
South +5.08% $372.44 $391.39
Northeast +8.9% $369.81 $402.73
Midwest +9.29% $336.75 $368.04

Rank Vehicle Repair Type of vehicle(s) Total repair cost
(Parts & Labor)
1 Replace Transmission Assembly and Reprogram Electronic Control Module (ECM) Honda Civic 2001-2004
Jaguar X-Type 2002-2008
Range Rover 2003-2009
Volvo 2001-2006
>$ 5,900
2 Replace Transmission and Torque Converter Various Vehicles ~$ 5,140
3 Replace Engine Chevrolet Geo Prizm 2001
Chevrolet Cruz 2011-2012
Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass & Patriot 2007-2009
Mazda RX-* 2004-2005
> $ 5,100
4 Replace Hybrid Battery and Reprogram Engine Control Module (ECM) Honda Hybrid Vehicles 2000-2010
Saturn Vue Hybrid 2007-2009
~$4,000
5 Repair Transmission Assembly Various Dodge, Jeep, Lincoln and VW Vehicles 2000-2009 >$ 3,600
6 Replace Transmission Assembly Dodge Stratus 2000
Jeep Wrangler 2005-2006
Lincoln Aviator 2003-2005
VW Routan 2009
~$ 3,635
7 Replace Transmission Case and Torque Converter Saturn Vue 2004-2004 ~$ 3,490
8 Replace Transmission Valve Body Assembly and Engine Control Module (ECM) Ford Focus 2007
Jaguar S-Type 2005
Toyota Trucks 2001-2002
> $ 3,150
9 Replace Hybrid Battery Various Ford, Honda, Nissan & Toyota Hybrid Vehicles 2000-2009 > $ 3,140
10 Replace Integrated Motor Assist(IMA) Battery Various Hybrid Vehicles ~$ 2,900

Top 10 most expensive repairs are based on 145,571 verified repairs made and input into the CarMD database by the company?s team of factory trained repair professionals in 2013. This data is for model year 1996 to 2014 OBD2 cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs in the U.S. ? foreign and domestic. Although these are the most expensive repairs, very few are common. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Cost
(Parts & Labor)
1 Inspect Engine Oil for Correct Level and Viscosity $0.00
2 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $0.11
3 Replace Fuel Tank Gas Cap $26.42
4 Inspect Air Filter $107.17
5 Inspect Exhaust System $107.17
6 Inspect for Faulty Wiring at Powertrain Control Module (PCM) $107.17
7 Inspect for Vacuum Leak at Air Injection (AIR) System and Repair as necessary $107.17
8 Inspect Exhaust Waste Gate Actuator and Repair as Necessary $107.98
9 Inspect for Faulty Wiring at Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor(s) (AFR) and Repair as Necessary $107.98
10 Disable Air Injection (AIR) System and Reprogram Powertrain Control Module (PCM) $108.25

(Top 10 least expensive repairs are based on 145,571 verified repairs made and input into the CarMD database by the company?s team of factory trained repair professionals in 2013. This data is for model year 1996 to 2014 OBD2 cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs in the U.S. ? foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Qbx2014 CarMD Vehicle Health Index