Aging Cars Mean Higher Repair Costs, though Hybrids are Improving

CarMD.com released its 2013 Car­MD Vehi­cle Health Index rank­ing of check engine-relat­ed car repairs and costs for mod­el year 1996 to 2012 vehi­cles. For the first time in six years of this study, car repair costs jumped 10% nation­wide to $367.84 on aver­age per repair. The no. 1 most com­mon repair remains a faulty oxy­gen sen­sor, which can reduce fuel econ­o­my by as much as 40%. With gas prices and repair costs ris­ing, this annu­al Index sheds light on vehi­cle fail­ure data and repair trends that impact safe­ty and reduce fuel econ­o­my.

There’s good news for fuel econ­o­my increas­ing through hybrid elec­tric vehi­cles. Hybrid repair costs con­tin­ue to drop with increased vol­ume of hybrids on the road, and parts and peo­ple qual­i­fied to ser­vice them. The most expen­sive repair in 2011 was “replace hybrid invert­er assem­bly” at $4,098, which decreased by near­ly 5% in 2012. Hybrid repairs no longer hold the top spot. The big­ger prob­lem for vehi­cles over­all is the age they’re reach­ing – now sur­pass­ing 11 year on aver­age, mean­ing cost­ly and cat­a­stroph­ic repairs con­tin­ue to rise.

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