News Feed Item

CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ Highlights Importance for Drivers to Heed Dashboard Warnings as Check Engine Repair Costs Rise 6.7 Percent Nationwide

Polar Vortex-stricken Midwest and Northeast see 9 percent hike in car repair costs,but hybrid repairs drop as much as 28 percent

IRVINE, Calif., April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CarMD, provider of leading-edge car repair data and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, today released its 2014 CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ report on common check engine-related car repairs, associated costs and annual trends for model year 1996 to current vehicles. For the second year in a row, 2013 saw an increase in car repair costs that were up 6.7 percent overall, comprised of a 13 percent uptick in labor costs and 3 percent increase in parts. The oxygen sensor, which can negatively impact fuel economy by as much as 40 percent, remained the most common reason for check engine light repairs. For the fourth consecutive year hybrid repair costs declined – this year by as much as 28 percent. This Index also found that type and frequency of repairs were impacted by weather extremes, consumer driving and repair behavior, and vehicle age.   

Top 10 Check Engine Car Repairs (Source: 2014 CarMD Vehicle Health Index)

"Thanks to today's technology, consumers and fleet manager have access to more information than ever before to help them take a proactive role to extend vehicle life and minimize cost of car ownership," says Doug Sobieski, CarMD's chief marketing officer. "CarMD's data highlights the importance of making minor adjustments to your car maintenance and repair routines to account for driving habits, type of vehicle and even climate. This CarMD Vehicle Health Index demonstrates how ignoring dashboard warning lights can drive up the cost of ownership with increased fuel usage and a domino effect on needed repairs." 

The 2014 CarMD Vehicle Health Index analyzed more than 145,000 repairs reported to and validated by CarMD's nationwide network of factory-trained, Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-certified technicians from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013. The full Index, including the 25 most common check engine-related repairs and a list of most common repairs by region, is available at http://corp.carmd.com.  The following are highlights from this year's report.

This past year saw temperature extremes with the fourth warmest year on record.  It also had more daily record lows than highs for the first time in 20 years1, with record-breaking cold across much of the East, Midwest and parts of the South. Repair costs were up across each U.S. region, but the Polar vortex-stricken Northeast and Midwest regions saw a 9 percent increase in average car repair costs, while the South and West each only incurred a 5 percent increase. Visits to the repair shop were down in the Northeast and Midwest regions whose drivers took their cars in for diagnosis and repairs 26 percent and 17 percent less respectively, but battery and thermostat-related repairs were up in these two regions. Drivers in the West had 12 percent fewer check engine-related problems repaired, but car repairs were up 8 percent in the South.

"Replace thermostat" moved up five spots from no. 18 to no. 13 among most common repairs in 2013. The thermostat, which is responsible for allowing coolant to flow in and out of the car's engine, is susceptible to overheating, sludge, age and can even freeze up during very cold weather. The two repairs that dipped the most in CarMD's Index ranking were "remove aftermarket alarm" and "inspect for faulty wiring," both of which dropped eight spots to no. 15 and no. 20 respectively, a trend CarMD attributes to improvements in features and quality by automotive manufacturers on newer-model vehicles. 

The most expensive repair seen by CarMD's technician network in 2013 was "replace transmission assembly and reprogram engine control module" ($5,984). Transmission-related repairs accounted for six of the 10 most expensive repairs, but saw a 10 percent reduction in frequency, also a likely a result of the surge in number of newer cars on the road. While most car repair costs were up, hybrid repairs continue to drop with increased volume of hybrids on the road, as well as more parts available and people trained to service them. Hybrids accounted for three of the top 10 most expensive repairs in 2013 as opposed to four of the top 10 the previous year.  In 2011, "replace hybrid inverter assembly" cost $4,098 on average to repair; in 2012 the same repair was $3,927; and in 2013 this repair cost $2,826. All but one of the 10 most common repairs saw an increase in repair costs, as the no. 1 most common repair "replace oxygen sensor" decreased 11 percent in 2013 over the previous year.

The CarMD database and Index also tracks recall-related repair trends. While it is not typically a common repair, General Motors vehicles accounted for 61.5 percent of "replace ignition switch" repairs reported to CarMD's database in 2013.   

Paying attention to small problems, recommended maintenance schedules, recalls and dashboard warning lights can all contribute to extending vehicle life and minimizing cost of ownership, whether you're an individual driver or fleet manager. Each of the five most common check engine problems reported by this CarMD Vehicle Health Index can negatively impact fuel usage and potentially cause a domino effect of needed repairs if left unaddressed. Here are five money-saving examples of why it's important to address the five most common check engine problems early:

  1. The no. 1 most common repair, replace oxygen sensor ($260 on average to repair) can lead to a 40 percent reduction in gas mileage if ignored, which equates to roughly $900 per year in extra fuel costs. A faulty O2 sensor can also lead to costly catalytic converter damage ($1,154 on average to repair), ultimately costing as much as $2,300 in total if left unchecked.
  2. The no. 2 most common check engine "repair," tighten or replace fuel cap, costs on average only $0.11 to address, meaning most just need to be tightened versus replaced. Ignoring a loose gas cap can result in roughly a 1 percent dip in fuel economy costing as much as a $100 extra per year at the pump. Not realizing a loose gas cap may be the root cause of the check engine light can also result in an unnecessary trip to the repair shop with associated diagnostic fees. 
  3. The average cost to replace catalytic converter, the no. 3 most common repair, rose 5 percent from $1,101 in 2012 to $1,154 in 2013. In most cases, a catalytic converter won't fail unless a related part like a bad spark plug or O2 sensor is ignored for too long.
  4. Replace spark plug(s) and wire(s) moves up to the no. 4 most common repair. When the weather turns cold fuel doesn't vaporize as easily, so droplets can form and foul the plug. The cost to replace plugs and wires jumped nearly 6 percent to $361 in 2013. A prime example of how ignoring a smaller problem can result in the need for more than one repair, if left unaddressed a spark plug can result in eventual ignition coil and catalytic converter failure. The no. 7 most common repair, the cost to replace both ignition coil(s) and spark plug(s) is $420 on average.  Add a catalytic converter replacement and the cost can be as much as $1,500.
  5. The no. 5 most common repair is replace mass air flow sensor, which is responsible for metering the air coming into the car's engine and determining how much fuel to inject into the engine. When malfunctioning, it can lower fuel economy by as much as 25 percent. Mass air flow sensor replacement costs have jumped roughly 3 percent from $410 to $423 over the past year, but are vital to saving money at the pump.

About CarMD

Based in Irvine, Calif., CarMD is a leading-edge Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions provider. Our applications leverage and empower the capabilities of the on-board diagnostics (OBD2) port. This enables our partners and their vehicle owners to implement solutions featuring industry-changing innovations and ideas. Our solutions are developed to service the automotive Telematics industry. Using the OBD2 port, CarMD's easily deployed software reads and delivers information on the health and scheduled maintenance of the vehicle. CarMD's business solutions also include an array of fleet management products. Our vehicle asset management, health and service management products are designed to lower the cost of vehicle ownership. CarMD's network of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-certified technicians has built the largest, most up-to-date database of diagnostic trouble codes, expert repairs and related costs, from which CarMD draws its Vehicle Health Index™, and supports its SaaS solutions. The Index is released each April in conjunction with National Car Care Awareness Month to provide vehicle owners and the industry with a comprehensive and independent report on vehicle repair trends. This 2014 Index statistically analyzes more than 145,000 repairs. For more information about this Index, including methodology and archived data visit http://corp.carmd.com. For information on CarMD's products and third-party software service solutions, visit www.carmd.com.

1 Source: National Climatic Data Center and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140409/LA99372-INFO


More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
In the 21st century, security on the Internet has become one of the most important issues. We hear more and more about cyber-attacks on the websites of large corporations, banks and even small businesses. When online we’re concerned not only for our own safety but also our privacy. We have to know that hackers usually start their preparation by investigating the private information of admins – the habits, interests, visited websites and so on. On the other hand, our own security is in danger bec...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
Enterprises have been using both Big Data and virtualization for years. Until recently, however, most enterprises have not combined the two. Big Data's demands for higher levels of performance, the ability to control quality-of-service (QoS), and the ability to adhere to SLAs have kept it on bare metal, apart from the modern data center cloud. With recent technology innovations, we've seen the advantages of bare metal erode to such a degree that the enhanced flexibility and reduced costs that cl...
Donna Yasay, President of HomeGrid Forum, today discussed with a panel of technology peers how certification programs are at the forefront of interoperability, and the answer for vendors looking to keep up with today's growing industry for smart home innovation. "To ensure multi-vendor interoperability, accredited industry certification programs should be used for every product to provide credibility and quality assurance for retail and carrier based customers looking to add ever increasing num...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his session at @DevOpsSummit 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will show how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that enables everyon...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
“Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CloudBerry Backup is a leading cross-platform cloud backup and disaster recovery solution integrated with major public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
Regulatory requirements exist to promote the controlled sharing of information, while protecting the privacy and/or security of the information. Regulations for each type of information have their own set of rules, policies, and guidelines. Cloud Service Providers (CSP) are faced with increasing demand for services at decreasing prices. Demonstrating and maintaining compliance with regulations is a nontrivial task and doing so against numerous sets of regulatory requirements can be daunting task...
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
Between the mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Charles Kendrick, CTO at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how business and deve...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...