CarMD Releases 2019 Vehicle Health Index

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May 6, 2019—The annual CarMD Vehicle Health Index reports on the most common check engine light-related repairs, costs and trends to provide auto repair professionals with the tools to remind vehicle owners about the importance of paying attention to maintenance needs and inspections to help avoid unforeseen problems.

In 2018—for the first time since CarMD has reported on these rankings—we saw a tie in the no. 1 most common check engine light repair, with “replace ignition coil(s) and spark plug(s) and “replace oxygen sensor” each accounting for 5.81 percent of repairs. Rounding out the top five are no. 3 “replace catalytic converter(s),” no. 4 “tighten or replace loose or damaged gas cap” and no. 5 “replace ignition coil(s)”

According to the report, U.S. car repair costs were up 6.5 percent year-over-year from 2017 to 2018. The average check engine light repair cost is now $380.

This increase was comprised of an 11 percent increase in labor and 3.5 percent increase in average parts costs.

While auto repair costs are on the rise, they are still more than 4 percent below the 10-year high of $397 in 2016.

Car repair costs were up across all four U.S. regions.

The West saw the largest increase (8 percent) and vehicle owners in the Midwest only paid about 1 percent more for repairs, reports CarMD.

Vehicle owners in the West paid the most for check engine-related car repairs ($387)—nearly 6 percent more than drivers in the Midwest, who paid the least ($366).

The most expensive repair was “replace engine,” costing as much as $7,150. Drivers shouldn’t panic when their car’s check engine light comes on because this repair only accounted for one-half of 1 percent of repairs. Some of the least expensive repairs included “replace gas cap,” and “replace electronic throttle control system (ETCS) fuse” – both which typically cost under $50.

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