2018

Vehicle Health Index

Published by CarMD, April 2018

Highlights – Check Engine Light Insight at a Glance


The check engine light comes on when a vehicle’s computer sees a problem that affects emissions or drivetrain issues. If ignored, it will hurt the environment, the car’s fuel economy and lead to more problems down the road. The CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ reports on the most common check engine light-related problems, repairs and associated costs. Published annually since 2011, this Index provides year-over-year car repair data.


Don’t panic when the check engine light comes on, but get it diagnosed ASAP. It can be as simple as a loose gas cap. But a flashing check engine light can indicate a more serious problem such as an engine misfire that needs immediate attention from roadside assistance.

Diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) are 5-digit alphanumeric codes that identify the trouble area and help identify why the check engine light is on.

The 1st character is a letter that defines the main system where the problem ocurred. The 2nd is a number that identifies the type of code. The 3rd IDs the affected system, and the 4th and 5th characters define the section of the system that’s malfunctioning.

The most common DTC in 2017 was
P0420, which indicates Catalyst B1 Deterioration that often signifies a faulty oxygen sensor or cataltyic converter.


According to CarMD’s findings, in 2017 the oxygen sensor remained the no. 1 most common check engine light culprit, followed by no. 2 ignition coil and spark plugs, no. 3 catalytic converter, no. 4 loose or damaged gas cap and no. 5 EVAP purge control valve.

The good news! U.S. car repair costs were down 10% year-over-year from 2016 to 2017 for cars needed check engine parts and labor. The average cost – $357

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


Calendar year 2017’s most common ‘check engine’ vehicle repairs for…

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Average Repair
Cost
(parts & labor)
% 2017
Repairs
Change in Rank
Since 2016
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $238.29 5.90% No Change
2 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $367.56 5.66% from No. 3
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,271.01 5.09% from No. 2
4 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $26.00 4.35% No Change
5 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $146.65 3.67% from No. 8
6 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $340.87 3.63% from No. 5
7 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $217.69 3.54% from No. 6
8 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $151.33 2.92% from No. 10
9 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $447.03 2.69% New to top 10
10 Replace Thermostat $225.40 2.53% from No. 9

(10 most common vehicle repairs are based on 7,167,314 repairs recommended in calendar year 2017 on 1996-2017 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) % 2017 Repairs Change in Western Rank
Since 2016
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $240.88 5.90% No change
2 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $367.65 5.33% from no. 3
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,256.92 5.25% from no. 2
4 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $25.57 4.57% No change
5 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $341.16 3.83% No change
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $217.96 3.63% No change
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $146.62 3.59% from no. 8
8 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $150.71 2.89% from no. 10
9 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $468.86 2.72% New to list
10 Replace Thermostat $225.83 2.56% from no. 9

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Western U.S. are based on 2,541,701 repairs in 2017 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) % 2017 Repairs Change in Midwest Rank Since 2016
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $243.97 5.88% No change
2 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $368.92 5.36% from no. 3
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,259.81 5.30% from no. 2
4 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $25.40 4.57% No change
5 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $341.81 3.97% from no. 6
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $218.66 3.71% from no. 9
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $146.70 3.47% No change
8 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $150.88 2.79% from no. 10
9 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $475.46 2.72% New to list
10 Replace Thermostat $225.33 2.56% from no. 8

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Midwestern U.S. are based on 1,691,401 repairs in 2017 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) % 2017 Repairs Change in NE Rank Since 2016
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $241.02 5.96% No change
2 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,259.34 5.41% No change
3 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $369.32 5.16% No change
4 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $25.27 4.49% No change
5 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $340.97 4.00% No change
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $217.69 3.69% No change
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $146.80 3.41% from no. 8
8 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $151.40 2.83% from no. 10
9 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $488.13 2.79% New to list
10 Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs $332.09 2.53% from no. 7

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Northeastern U.S. are based on 1,006,396 repairs in 2017 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) % 2017 Repairs Change in Southern U.S. Since 2016
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $239.36 5.84% No change
2 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $367.86 5.45% from no. 3
3 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,265.52 5.14% from no. 2
4 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $25.63 4.47% No change
5 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $340.92 3.85% No change
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $217.78 3.65% No change
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $146.09 3.58% from no. 9
8 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $150.91 2.86% from no. 10
9 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $466.13 2.74% New to list
10 Replace Thermostat $224.83 2.55% from no. 8

(Top 10 most common vehicle repairs in the Southern U.S. are based on 2,952,616 repairs in 2017 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.)

2017’s repair costs…

Year Labor Parts Total Avg. Repair Cost
2017 $141.16 $216.29 $357.45
2016 $162.46 $235.41 $397.87
2015 $155.15 $232.16 $387.31
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 $356.05
2009 $138.37 $221.13 $359.50
2008 $135.21 $220.98 $356.19

(Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Region % Difference 2016 average repair cost 2017 average repair cost
U.S. -10.1% $397.87 $357.45
South -10.5% $399.95 $357.71
West -10.2% $398.95 $358.05
Midwest -6.3% $385.40 $361.11
Northeast -9.7% $401.22 $362.17

(Source: CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™)

Rank Vehicle Repair Most Expensive Repair Cost
(Parts & Labor)
1 Replace Engine $7,050
2 Replace Electronic Power Steering (EPS) Control Unit $5,201
3 Replace Transmission Assembly and Reprogram Electronic Control Module (ECM) $5,130
4 Replace Transmission and Torque Converter $5,051
5 Replace Audio and Visual (AV) Control Unit $4,293
6 Replace Transmission Case and Torque Converter $4,245
7 Replace Hybrid Battery and Reprogram Engine Control Module (ECM) $4,149
8 Replace Compuvalve Module $4,105
9 Replace Transmission Assembly $3,905
10 Replace Hybrid Battery $3,798

(Ten most/least expensive repairs are based on 7,167,314 repairs recommended and input into the CarMD database by the company’s team of factory trained repair professionals in 2017. This data is for model year 1997 to 2017 OBD2 cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Repair Cost
(Parts & Labor)
1 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $26
2 Replace Air Conditioning (A/C) Compressor Clutch Relay $38
3 Replace Electronic Engine Control (EEC) Fuse $46
4 Perform DTC Confirmation Procedure $47
5 Repair Ground Wire From The Front of The Engine To The Body $48
6 Clean Ground Wire $49
7 Replace Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Boost Sensor Vacuum Hose $52
8 Inspect for correct air filter and air box is securely latch properly $53
9 Replace Electronic Throttle Control System (ETCS) Fuse $53
10 Replace Secondary Air Injection Control Solenoid Valve Vacuum Hose $55

(Ten most/least expensive repairs are based on 7,167,314 repairs recommended and input into the CarMD database by the company’s team of factory trained repair professionals in 2017. This data is for model year 1997 to 2017 OBD2 cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

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hoa2018 CarMD Vehicle Health Index