||Study Identifies States with Highest/Lowest Auto Repair Costs
We all know that it can rapidly drain your wallet getting repairs done on some of the more exotic import vehicles, but even for mainstream brands, repair costs can quickly add up if you're out of warranty.
And a new study suggests that no matter what product you own, costs will vary widely depending upon where you live.
Somewhat surprisingly, though, it's not New York or California that top the list, according to a new survey by auto repair website CarMD. A study based on 163,000 repairs made by ASE-certified technicians found that Wyoming motorists paid the highest cost in the country for repairs triggered by that dreaded dashboard "Check Engine" warning light.
On average, repairs (including parts and labor) averaged $389.18 for Wyoming residents, about 17% more than the national average. By comparison, the lowest-cost shops were located in Indiana, where repairs for the same work came in at about $100 less -- an average of $283.95.
Curiously, seven of the 10 most expensive states were located out West, according to CarMD, including the top seven.
Location may impact more than just the cost of repairs. CarMD suggests that by locating at higher elevations, Wyoming and some other states at the top of the list may just naturally see warning lights triggered more frequently.
The annual study did have a mix of good news and bad. Labor costs actually dipped a bit during 2011, the time period covered by the report, but parts costs were up.
For local residents, there might not be much to be done about having to get repairs done in Wyoming or Utah or California -- ranked 1-2-3 this year. But the most costly states also happen to be popular tourist destinations, according to Art Jacobsen, vice president, CarMD.
“With the higher cost for repairs in popular western vacation destinations, our data illustrates the need for summer travelers to make preventative maintenance and vehicle safety checks paramount in their road-trip preparation," he suggested.
The report also highlights the fact that many of the repairs motorists experience -- especially on long trips -- could be prevented.
"We are encouraged to see overall repair costs trending down this year but recognize that drivers are still putting off small repairs such as spark plugs and oxygen sensors that can quickly turn into more serious problems," stressed Jacobsen.
Having an engine tuned according to the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule, CARMD noted, could preclude a premature failure of its catalytic converter, a much more expensive repair.
Add the possibility of a breakdown that could leave you stranded, an ounce of prevention is clearly worth a pound of cure when it comes to basic vehicle maintenance, the study underscores.
The 10 Most Expensive States for Average Repair Costs
1. Wyoming, $389.18
2. Utah, $378.54
3. California, $367.86
4. Montana, $364.29
5. Arizona, $362.65
6. Colorado, $359.05
7. New Mexico, $358.62
8. North Carolina, $355.89
9. Georgia, $350.66
10. New Jersey, $350.03
The 10 Least Expensive States for Average Repair Costs
1. Indiana, $283.95
2. Maine, $289.56
3. Wisconsin, $289.90
4. Iowa, $289.91
5. New Hampshire, $292.66
6. Michigan, $293.57
7. South Dakota, $295.78
8. Vermont, $302.22
9. Louisiana, $306.74
10. Ohio, $308.11
(Source: The Detroit Bureau, 06/26/12)
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