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Overall Repair Costs Down 6% In 2011, According To CarMD

Replace oxygen sensor was the most common “check engine” light problem in the recently released CarMD Vehicle Health Index. Rounding out the Top 5 were: loose or missing gas cap, replace catalytic converter, replace ignition coil (new to the Top 5 this year), and replace mass air flow sensor.

Overall auto repair costs were down 6 percent from the previous year, according to the CarMD study, despite a 1.4-percent increase in parts costs, which was more than offset by a 17-percent decrease in labor rates. “Despite the fact that the average vehicle age is at an all-time high of nearly 11 years, 2011 saw a decrease in average national auto repair cost,” said Art Jacobsen, vice president of the Irvine, CA-based company. “However, the CarMD data also shows that consumers continue to put off small repairs, which can result in much more expensive, catastrophic repairs and negatively impact fuel economy.”

The latest Vehicle Health Index is drawn from an analysis of roughly 165,000 repairs and 150,000 diagnostic trouble code scenarios in the CarMD database. The April 2012 CarMD Vehicle Health Index is available at