A bumper crop of parts-and-labor cost increases has made the Garden State the most expensive state when it comes to having your car fixed. With an average total diagnostics-and-repair bill of $392.99, New Jersey ascended to No. 1 in 2012 from No. 10 a year earlier on CarMD.com Corp.’s annual state-by-state ranking of car-repair costs, the California-based consumer-information provider announced today.
New Jersey was in good company, though; the repair-cost trend in 2012 generally moved from west to east while associated expenses nationwide headed north, as motorists’ attention to their check-engine lights went south. Whereas the western U.S. accounted for all five of the top states with the highest repair costs in 2011, Eastern states including New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland, as well as the District of Columbia, dominated the top five in 2012, with California being the lone West Coast representative. Overall, repair costs across the nation related to vehicles’ check-engine lights averaged $367.84, a 10% increase; the Northeast saw the greatest increase among regions, at nearly 11.6%, while the West rose just more than 6.5%. CarMD cited vehicle owners’ procrastination in having repairs made, particularly catalytic converters, as a major reason for the increases as delayed repairs become more expensive as problems worsen.