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.

  • Hybrids only accounted for three of the top 10 most expensive repairs in 2013 as opposed to four of the top 10 the previous year.
    1. In 2011, the most expensive repair was "replace hybrid inverter assembly" ($4,098). In 2013 this repair now cost $2,826.
    2. For 2013, the most expensive repair was "Replace Transmission Assembly and Reprogram Electronic Control Module" (>$5,900) – up 10 percent from 2012.

 

 



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.