CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™

April 2011 Report – Quick Snapshot Corp., is pleased to debut the first annual CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™.  This groundbreaking Index is the first ever to divulge a range of statistics regarding the most common repair and reliability problems and costs that affect 1996 and newer vehicles driven in the U.S. – foreign and domestic.  While other organizations provide valuable information on consumer satisfaction, buyer behavior, product quality and even vehicle history reports, no organization – until now, has put its finger on the pulse of the raw data associated with vehicle failure and repair issues.   Below is a quick snapshot of this year’s index results.


Most Common Fixes

  • 4 out of 5 of the most common automotive repairs are related to durability (Replace O2 sensor (9.34%), replace catalytic converter (6.40%), replace mass air flow sensor (4.36%) and replace spark plugs/wires (3.71%) are all fixes that are most often associated with age and vehicle longevity)
  • Gas Cap is no longer the most common fix for vehicles 
  • From 1996 - 2009, a loose, missing or cracked gas cap was the most common repair, accounting for 10% of fixes on cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs
  • In 2010 the #1 most common fix became “replace O2 sensor” (9.34%), edging out gas cap that moved to the #2 spot (9.28%)





Most Common Type of Vehicle Failures

  • In 2010, the most common type of vehicle failure was a Misfire (13.8%)
  • Misfire is one of the most severe fault codes in a vehicle.  It is a serious problem that drivers should never ignore, especially when accompanied by a flashing “check engine” light, which means you are doing mechanical damage by continuing to drive.


Repair Costs

  • In 2010, the national average for automotive parts increased slightly (0.5%); and labor costs increased about 10% in 2010, with consumers paying on average 3% more for car repairs in 2010 than in the previous calendar year, but down nearly 13% from 2006 repair costs
  • Auto repair costs, including parts and labor, are most expensive in the Southwest region of the U.S. and least expensive in the Midwest
    - The average cost of vehicle repairs from 1996 to 2010 in the U.S. was $305.56 per repair
    - The average cost of vehicle repairs from 1996 to 2010 in the Southwestern U.S. was $341.37 per repair
    - The average cost of vehicle repairs from 1996 to 2010 in the Northeastern U.S. was $310.42 per repair
    - The average cost of vehicle repairs from 1996 to 2010 in the Midwest was $294.53




Most Expensive Fixes

  • The most expensive fix in the CarMD database from 1996 to 2010 is “remove cylinder and inspect/replace as needed” ($8,200).  And while “remove cylinder and inspect/replace as needed” is the most expensive fix, it is not a common fix, representing less than one-half percent (0.1%) of repairs in the CarMD fix database
  • Conversely, the least expensive fix – also one of the most common – is “inspect gas cap/tighten or replace as needed” (< $3.00 to fix in most cases)
  • Two of the top 12 most expensive fixes are for hybrid vehicles, including “replace hybrid inverter assembly” (>$7,300) and “replace hybrid battery” (>$2,730)











Most Common Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs)

  • P0171”System Too Lean” is the most common diagnostic trouble code (DTC) for 1996-2010 vehicles
  • A P0171 code may be triggered by a range of issues from a dirty air filter to a faulty Mass Air Flow sensor, which measures the amount of oxygen in the engine; it may result in lack of power or even hesitation or surge upon acceleration
  • If not fixed, a P0171 code, as well as most DTCs, can lead to expensive repairs and headaches down the road.