Vehicle Health Index
Published by CarMD, April 2015
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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™.
- 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.
- Hybrids accounted for only one of the top 10 most expensive repairs in 2014 as opposed to three the previous year.
- 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.
- The average cost to replace a hybrid battery was up 11 percent in 2014 from $3,140 in 2013 to $3,479 in 2014.
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!
2014’s most common ‘check engine’ vehicle repairs for…