2015

Vehicle Health Index

Published by CarMD, April 2015

Highlights


The 2015 CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ report on common check engine-related car repairs found that 2014 saw virtually no change in car repair costs, up only 0.6 percent, comprised of a 2.7 percent increase in average labor costs offset by a 2.8 percent decrease in parts costs. The oxygen sensor, which can negatively impact fuel economy by as much as 40 percent, remained the most common check engine light repair. Click to see the 25 most common check engine repairs.


New to the top 10 list of common check engine repairs this year are “replace thermostat” and “replace fuel injectors.” Those who own or are responsible for servicing vehicles should know that some parts like the thermostat have to work harder and may need to be replaced more frequently in extreme temperature environments. The fuel injectors can be susceptible to clogging from fuel tank debris resulting from frequently driving with the fuel light on, fueling up with low-grade gas or putting off regular maintenance such as fuel filter replacement.

Other key findings

  • Evidencing the notion that drivers should not panic when their car’s check engine light comes on, the 10 least expensive fixes accounted for more than 11 percent of repairs in 2014, while the 10 most expensive repairs accounted for less than 1 percent of repairs. Problems that were typically free to fix included tighten loose gas cap and remove USB device.


  • Where you live can impact the cost of car repairs.
    1. In 2014, drivers in the West paid the most at $423 on average for check engine light repairs, while drivers in the Midwest paid the least at $375.
    2. Drivers in the South paid $400 on average, and car owners in the Northeast paid $418 for parts and labor combined.


  • While type and cost of repairs varied by region, replace oxygen sensor and replace catalytic converter were the no. 1 and no. 2 most common repairs respectively from coast to coast.
    1. The no. 3 most common repair on cars in the West was a mass air flow sensor (MAF), which can be susceptible to dry, dusty summer road conditions or snow, salt and ice. An easy and affordable way to keep this sensor healthy is by keeping your car’s air filter clean, which can cost as little as $30 to replace versus as much as $400 for a MAF.
    2. The no. 3 most common repair in the Midwest and Northeast this past year was a damaged or loose fuel cap, which is something that can be easily diagnosed with a handheld OBD2 tool such as the CarMD® Vehicle Health System™.
    3. The third most common repair on cars in the South was the replacement of both the ignition coil(s) and spark plug(s). A prime example of how ignoring a smaller problem can result in the need for more than one repair, if left unaddressed a spark plug can cause eventual ignition coil and catalytic converter failure resulting in 15 percent to 200 percent in additional repair costs, as well as a 25 percent reduction in fuel economy.


  • CarMD found that while some hybrid repairs have increased, the more expensive repairs continue to drop in price as hybrid part availability and technicians trained to service hybrids grow.
    1. Hybrids accounted for only one of the top 10 most expensive repairs in 2014 as opposed to three the previous year.
    2. For the fifth consecutive year, the cost to “replace hybrid inverter assembly” trended down dropping as much as 50 percent from $2,800 in 2013 to $1,350 in 2014.
    3. The average cost to replace a hybrid battery was up 11 percent in 2014 from $3,140 in 2013 to $3,479 in 2014.

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


2014’s most common ‘check engine’ vehicle repairs for…

Rank Vehicle Repair Total average repair cost
(parts & labor)
% 2014 Repairs
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $259.30 7.10%
2 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,157.27 5.89%
3 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $0.01 5.40%
4 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $413.92 3.58%
5 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $247.39 3.57%
6 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $408.62 3.54%
7 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $361.56 3.28%
8 Replace Thermostat $213.20 2.18%
9 Replace Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve and Clean All EGR ports $349.88 1.95%
10 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $554.36 1.75%
11 Replace Wheel Speed Sensor(s) $242.23 1.60%
12 Inspect Battery and Charging System and Repair as Necessary $109.38 1.58%
13 Replace Camshaft Position Sensor (CMP) $214.94 1.55%
14 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $181.40 1.44%
15 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $180.22 1.40%
16 Replace Intake Manifold Gasket(s) $442.36 1.31%
17 Replace ABS Control Module $839.29 1.16%
18 Replace Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor (ECT) $174.00 1.12%
19 Replace Throttle Body Assembly $570.60 1.10%
20 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Canister Vent $217.56 0.94%
21 Replace Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor (AFR) $355.58 0.90%
22 Replace Crankshaft Position Sensor (CKP) $237.47 0.87%
23 Replace Differential Pressure Feedback (DPFE) Sensor $209.65 0.86%
24 Replace Fuel Tank Pressure (FTP) Sensor $338.88 0.84%
25 Replace Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) Valve and Hose $135.78 0.79%

(Top 25 most common vehicle repairs are based on 98,051repairs made in calendar year 2014 on 1996-2015 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
(parts & labor)
% 2014 Repairs
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $265.99 6.31%
2 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,180.81 4.79%
3 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $407.39 4.15%
4 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $0.43 3.61%
5 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $354.69 3.20%
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $248.60 3.16%
7 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $429.84 2.57%
8 Replace Thermostat $214.47 1.98%
9 Replace Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve and Clean All EGR ports $366.98 1.79%
10 Replace Camshaft Position Sensor (CMP) $234.08 1.73%

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Western U.S. are based on 20,718 repairs in 2014 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) $246.33 8.14%
2 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,115.05 5.20%
3 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $0.37 4.65%
4 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $359.84 3.23%
5 Replace Wheel Speed Sensor(s) $257.75 2.86%
6 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $398.28 2.84%
7 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $245.52 2.83%
8 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $444.03 2.70%
9 Replace Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve and Clean All EGR ports $332.20 2.34%
10 Replace Thermostat $203.85 1.88%

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Midwestern U.S. are based on 12,500 repairs in 2014 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) $263.06 8.52%
2 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,149.01 6.57%
3 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $0.39 4.56%
4 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $247.25 3.25%
5 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $403.91 3.18%
6 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $405.76 3.11%
7 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $366.31 2.76%
8 Replace Wheel Speed Sensor(s) $229.59 2.62%
9 Inspect Battery and Charging System and Repair as Necessary $108.86 2.32%
10 Replace Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve and Clean All EGR ports $342.63 1.96%

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Northeastern U.S. are based on 12,261 repairs in 2014 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) $259.46 6.81%
2 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,160.82 6.37%
3 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $406.79 4.36%
4 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $0.11 4.18%
5 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $247.36 4.03%
6 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $412.04 3.58%
7 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $363.77 3.46%
8 Replace Thermostat $212.10 2.48%
9 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $530.47 1.93%
10 Replace Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve and Clean All EGR ports $350.51 1.91%

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Southern U.S. are based on 47,555 repairs in 2014 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.)

2014’s repair costs…

Year Labor Parts Total Avg Repair Cost
2014 $161.61 $228.77 $390.38
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 2013 average repair cost 2014 average repair cost
US -0.6% $392.49 $390.38
West +4.6% $404.53 $423.38
South +2.4% $391.39 $400.88
Northeast +3.9% $402.73 $418.55
Midwest +2.0% $368.04 $375.41

Rank Vehicle Repair Type of Vehicle(s) Total repair cost
(Parts & Labor)
1 Replace Transmission Assembly Various Vehicles $6,400
2 Replace Engine Various Vehicles $5,500
3 Repair Transmission Assembly Various Vehicles $5,400
4 Replace Transmission and Torque Converter Various Vehicles $5,250
5 Replace Transmission Assembly and Reprogram Electronic Control Module (ECM) Various Vehicles $4,700
6 Replace Hybrid Battery and Reprogram Engine Control Module (ECM) Various Hybrid Vehicles $4,140
7 Replace Compuvalve Module Late ‘90s Ford F-150 Trucks $4,130
8 Replace Engine Block Assembly 2007-20012 Nissan Sentra Vehicles $4,060
9 Replace Transmission Assembly Various Vehicles $3,880
10 Replace Transmission Speed Sensor and Reprogram Transmission Control Module (TCM) 2007-2008 Nissan Altima and Sentra Vehicles $3,600

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Cost
(Parts & Labor)
1 Inspect Engine Oil for Correct Level and Viscosity Usually free
2 Remove USB Device Usually free
3 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary Usually free
4 Replace Fuel Cap $34.07
5 Correct Engine Oil Level $79.90
6 Inspect Battery Condition & Charge $86.69
7 Correct Engine Coolant Level $98.08
8 Reinstall Intake Air Duct $108.36
9 Remove Aftermarket Accessories $108.36
10 Replace Brake Light Bulb(s) $108.36

(Ten most/least expensive repairs are based on 98,051 verified repairs made and input into the CarMD database by the company’s team of factory trained repair professionals in 2014. 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.)

derek2015 CarMD Vehicle Health Index