- Index Findings Each of the 5 most common check engine repairs will negatively impact gas mileage if ignored – some by as much as 40%!
- Car repair costs were up 10% in 2012 after a nearly 6-year trend in dropping costs
- Hybrid repair costs continue to drop
- See most common repairs for your car at
Beginning in 1996, the U.S. government mandated on-board diagnostics (OBD2) for all foreign and domestic cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs sold in the United States. This technology detects malfunctions, sets a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) and turns on the “check engine” light if a problem (or potential problem) is detected. The system is currently installed on about 85 percent of vehicles nationwide. CarMD.com Corporation has built the largest, most up-to-date database of diagnostic trouble codes, expert fixes and associated repair costs with its network of Automotive Service Excellence-certified technicians. This constantly updated database, from which it draws it CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™, continues to double in size annually. The annual Index is released each April in conjunction with National Car Care Awareness Month to provide vehicle owners and the industry with a comprehensive and independent report on vehicle repair trends. CarMD also releases mid-year Index reports, including a June release highlighting state and regional-specific findings; and its November release featuring manufacturer- and vehicle-specific data.
While other organizations provide valuable information on consumer satisfaction, buyer behavior and even vehicle history reports, CarMD is the only organization to put its finger on the pulse of the raw data associated with vehicle failure and repair issues. The annual CarMD Vehicle Health Index CarMD Vehicle Health Index is the first ever resource for media, industry analysts and consumers to analyze and spot trends in car maintenance and repair statistics
Key FindingsThe 2012 CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ illustrates the impact of maintenance on gas mileage, safety, the environment and costs, as vehicles age. Ignoring small problems can fuel more expensive repairs. Thankfully, overall auto repair costs were down 6% in 2011, likely due to independent repair shops and dealerships reducing labor rates to help absorb rising parts costs. The most expensive repair in 2011 was “Replace Inverter Assembly with Converter” ($4,098), applies only to hybrids.
Each of the five most common repairs will reduce gas mileage if ignored. However, when caught early, automotive repairs are almost always more affordable. The 15 least expensive repairs in the CarMD database account for nearly 10% of all repairs and average only $72.03, while the 15 most expensive repairs represent less than 1% of all fixes but average $3,185.09.
The most common repair for the pesky “check engine” light is “replace Oxygen Sensor.” A faulty O2 sensor costs less than $250 to fix, but can lead to as much as a 40% reduction in gas mileage if ignored, which is important to note as fuel costs are on the rise once again. New this year, the CarMD Vehicle Health Index shares the most common repairs by model year, including brand new 2011 vehicles; MY2006, MY2001 and MY1996 vehicles. It’s interesting to note that while the gas cap is the no. 1 culprit for “check engine” problems on 1-, 5-, and 10-year-old vehicles, the percentage of incidents vary greatly.