Ranking of car repair costs by state

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check engine light

How much that check engine light will cost you depends on what state you live in. Image: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr/CC BY

Auto repair by state varies, just putting electrical tape over that “check engine light” will not help in the long run. But how much it will cost to turn that light off depends on the state you live in. Many will be surprised to find that Wyoming leads the pack for most costly auto repairs, according to a new report by CarMD.

Turning off ‘check engine’ light

In its latest survey, CarMD crunched 2011 auto repair by state data from about 163,000 ASE-certified technicians, finding the average cost per state to squelch the “idiot light.” In general, the report found that labor costs were down, but the cost of parts was up.

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Art Jacobsen, vice president of CarMD, said:

“We are encouraged to see overall repair costs trending down this year, but recognize that drivers are still putting off small repairs.”

The earlier the better

The report noted that ignoring the “check engine” light can cause small problems to escalate into larger ones. It said that the replacement of catalytic converters — a high-cost repair — is becoming more common on its list of frequent repair issues. In many cases, if owners had replaced an oxygen sensor — the most common repair found by CarMD — when the light first illuminated, they could have saved hundreds.

The top and bottom ten – auto repair by state

Wyoming drivers can expect to pay an average of $389.18 for parts and labor to turn of the offending dashboard light, the nation’s heighest. Drivers in Indiana pay the least, with an average of $283.95. Seven of the states with the highest repair costs were on the western side of the nation.

The most costly 10 states for the repairs, in descending order, were Wyoming, Utah, California, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, Georgia and New Jersey. The ten least costly states, moving up the list, are Indiana, Maine, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, South Dakota, Vermont, Louisiana and Ohio.

Labor vs parts

The combined¬†auto repair by state totals factor in both the cost of labor and the cost of parts. When viewed separately, the states stack up in a different order. Vermont saw the lowest labor costs, at $98.90 per hour. The highest cost of labor was Colorado’s $134.17 an hour.

Maine had the lowest parts costs at $175.91. Wyoming kept its dubious honor of being the most expensive when it came to parts. That cost in the cowboy state came to $247.70.

Vested interest

CarMD has a vested interest in the automotive diagnostic industry. It makes automotive diagnostic tools and offers support to automotive repair shops.

Auto Repair by State Sources:

Market Watch
Inside Line

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