Study Finds Car Repair Bills Steepest in Wyoming, Lowest in Indiana

Wyoming is the most expensive state to get your car fixed in according to a recent study from CarMD.  Paying an average of $389.18 for “check engine”-related repairs, motorists in the western state shelled out 17 percent more than the U.S. average of $333.93.

The annual study collects data from CarMD’s network of certified technicians, analyzing 163,582 repairs made between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. All repairs considered in the study were related to the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic computer and “check engine” system, which is standard in all cars from 1996 onward.

As was the case last year, the five most expensive states were in the west, with Wyoming being followed by Utah, California, Montana, and Arizona, which averaged $378.54, $367.86, $364.29, and $362.65, respectively. The only two states to return from last year’s top five, however, were California and Arizona, which was ranked most expensive in 2010. Part of the reason western states are more expensive is because they typically experience warmer and dryer weather conditions and have more airborne dust, according to CarMD. In Montana’s case, high altitude and remote service locations far away from parts distributors also contributed to the high cost.

The five least expensive states were New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Maine, and Indiana, which averaged $292.66, $289.91, $289.90, $289.56, and $283.95, respectively.

To further break down the cost, the survey separates parts and labor expenses. In 2011, Americans spent an average of $215.32 on parts, and $118.61 on labor. Average labor cost in Wyoming was $141.48, 19 percent more than average, while parts costs were 15 percent higher at $247.70, the highest in the nation. Maine had the cheapest parts at an average of $175.91. Labor was cheapest in Vermont, costing $98.90 on average, and most expensive in Colorado at $143.17.Texas was closest to the national average at $333.75, with $113.54 going towards labor and $220.21 towards parts.

Oxygen sensor replacement was the most common repair found in the study, costing an average of $246.39 across the U.S. The oxygen sensor measures how much unburned oxygen is present in the exhaust system and reports back to the car’s computer so it can adjust accordingly. CarMD suggests that many drivers ignore a faulty oxygen sensor because the vehicle’s performance will feel the same. However, the company says doing so can lead to a reduction in fuel economy by as much as 40 percent and can also lead to a failure of the catalytic converter, the second most common repair in Wyoming, accounting for 5.72 percent of all repairs and costing an average of $1030.63.Drivers in Nebraska paid the least to replace an oxygen sensor, at an average of $209.81, while drivers in Illinois had to fork out an average of $313.25 for the same repair.

Check out the full list here to see where your state ranks.

Source: CarMD

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