CarMD, a leading provider of automotive diagnostic data and business solutions, released its 2019 CarMD Vehicle Health Index
report. This annual VHI report provides an overview of information related to check engine-related car repairs, costs and trends.
Top 5 Reasons for Check Engine Light
The report found that in 2018 – for the first time since CarMD has reported these rankings – there was a tie in the no. 1 most commonly diagnosed check engine light repair with “replace ignition coil(s) and spark plug(s)” and “replace oxygen sensor” each accounting for 5.91% of repairs. This past year, U.S. vehicle owners also saw a 6.5% year-over-year increase in the average cost to repair check engine light issues with costs up across all four U.S. regions.
- TIE #1: Replace oxygen sensor
- TIE #1: Replace Ignition Coil(s) and spark plug(s)
Rounding out the five most common problems found to trigger the check engine light after ignition coil and spark plug, and O2 sensor were 3) catalytic converter, 4) loose or damaged fuel cap and 5) ignition coil (without sparkplug replacement). There was a slight increase in ignition coil issues, while slightly fewer mass air flow sensor, oxygen sensor and EVAP purge control valve replacements in 2018. Spark plugs and ignition coils work together to help the engine start, and keep running. Faulty spark plugs can trigger ignition coil failure, which is why they are often replaced simultaneously. High under-hood temperatures and age can also cause them to fail.
- #3: Catalytic Converter
- #4: Loose or Damaged Fuel Cap
- #5: Ignition Coil (without sparkplug replacement)
Average Check Engine Light Repair Costs
CarMD found that the average cost to repair a check engine problem in the U.S. in 2018 was $381 including parts ($224) and labor ($157), which is an 11% increase in labor and 3.5% uptick in parts costs.
Costs By Region
Repair costs were up across all regions of the U.S., with the West seeing the largest increase (8%) and Midwest only seeing a 1% increase. Vehicle owners in the West paid the most for check engine-related car repairs ($387) – nearly 6% more than drivers in the Midwest, who paid the least ($366). The most common repair in the West, Midwest and Northeast was “replace oxygen sensor(s)” while it was “replace ignition coil(s) and spark plug(s)” in the South.
About the Report
The 2019 CarMD Vehicle Health Index analyzed repairs needed on 7,167,314 in-use vehicles reported to and validated by CarMD’s network from Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018. The full Index, including the 10 most common check engine-related repairs, 10-year history of U.S. car repair costs, list of most common repairs by region, and 10 least/most expensive repairs is available here
On a side note, I’ve owned a CarMD diagnostic scanner for many years and highly recommend it. To watch a demo of it, or to purchase one, click here
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