States with most expensive car repair costs
The average cost to repair a car rose 10 percent nationwide, with four of the top five most expensive states shifting from the West to East Coast, according to CarMD.com's annual ranking.
Garden State drivers pay the most, an average of $392.99, for diagnosis and repair of "check engine" issues. That's about $25 more than the nationwide average of $367.84 for last year, up 10 percent from 2011.
The Northeast experienced the largest percent increase (11.56 percent) but the West, historically known for having some of the highest car repair costs, fared better with a 6.53 percent increase in costs.
The following is CarMD's ranking of the five states with the highest average car repair costs in 2012:
- New Jersey: $392.99
- District of Columbia: $391.62
- California: $390.37
- North Carolina: $389.91
- Maryland: $387.78
The five states with the lowest average car repair costs for 2012:
- Vermont: $269.72
- West Virginia: $310.49
- South Dakota: $311.88
- Delaware: $313.62
- Iowa: $314.77
"In 2012, we saw a dramatic shift in the top five most expensive states for average car repairs, as many drivers along the East Coast incurred rising auto repair costs, while they simultaneously contended with Hurricane Sandy's aftermath," Leon Chen, CarMD CEO, said in a statement. "Car owners in many states also continued to put off small repairs, contributing to cumulative failures with increased repair costs. With costs and vehicle age up from coast to coast, we encourage the industry and car owners to utilize this data to help maximize vehicle life and minimize repair costs."
Insurance.com's article "Something to hold on to: Comprehensive and collision insurance" addresses the trend of continuing to drive older cars longer and how that impacts insurance. Fueling the trend is the sour economy and historically low used-car depreciation rates. In some cases, it may make sense to continue to carry full coverage even if your car is not a new model.
Des Toups is a writer, editor and expert on insurance, cars and personal finance. He has written extensively about all three for national publications such as MSN and major newspapers such as the Seattle Times. He has been quoted about insurance issues in The New York Times, USA Today and Kiplinger's. Follow him on Twitter @destoups.