The moment you see your check-engine light illuminated on your dash, all that’s likely on your mind is how much the impending repair will cost. Sure, you can tighten the gas cap to see if that’ll turn the light out, but if that doesn’t work, you’re probably going to have to take it in or risk some serious damage to your car.
Just hope your mechanic isn’t in the District of Columbia. According to a study by automotive diagnostic information provider CarMD, the District of Columbia has the highest check-engine-light-related repair costs of any district or state in the country, with the average repair in 2018 totaling $414.02.
What makes a repair cost so much in the district? David Rich, technical director at CarMD, said several factors determine a state’s average repair cost, including vehicle type and age, how difficult the repairs are, parts and time required for the repair, and the per-hour charge by the repair shop.
According to the CarMD report, car repair costs are up across the board year-over-year. While D.C. had neither the highest average labor cost (that was Mississippi) nor the highest average cost for parts (Connecticut), the combination of high labor and parts costs have kept the district at the top of the list for the second year in a row.
Where else wouldn’t you want to be when your check-engine light comes on? Here are the five states and districts with the most expensive repairs in 2018:
1. District of Columbia: $414.02
2. Connecticut: $413.91
3. California: $403.13
4. Georgia: $402.66
5. New Jersey: $401.59
There are a few things drivers can do to prevent these costly or unexpected repairs, Rich said.
“Drivers should stay up to date on scheduled maintenance, address warning lights as soon as possible, and find an independent repair shop or dealership they trust,” he advised.
Or, perhaps just move. Here are the five states with the lowest repair costs in 2018, according to CarMD:
1. Ohio: $354.24
2. Maine: $354.38
3. Michigan: $356.16
4. Wisconsin: $356.84
5. Vermont: $359.64
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