• 2015

The Fix – The amber light means “go” for repair shops

From failing oxygen sensors to failing catalytic converters, triggers of the “Check Engine” light in vehicles can lead to some costly repairs. Add to that a slight increase in the overall cost of car repairs and you have an equation that plays favorably for a repair shop’s bottom line.

  • The average cost of repairs is impacted by region, with the highest average repairs occurring in the West ($423.38) and the lowest found in the Midwest ($375.41).
  • New to the top 10 list of “Check Engine” light repairs are “replace fuel injector” and “replace thermostat.”
  • The average cost for a “Check Engine” light repair in 2014 was nearly unchanged from the previous year, going up only 0.6 percent. It includes a 2.7 percent increase in labor and a 2.8 percent decrease in parts costs.


  • Remind customers that “replace fuel injector” conditions occur more when they repeatedly drive with the low fuel light on, or when using inferior gas or failing to replace fuel filters at designated intervals.

  • The 10 least expensive fixes for a “Check Engine” light accounted for 11 percent of repairs in 2014 (as a group). The 10 most expensive fixes, (including catalytic converter replacement), accounted for less than one percent (as a group). However, catalytic converter replacement rank second individually (5.9 percent) as a likely repair for a “Check Engine” light condition.

  • The most common “Check Engine” light repair remains the oxygen sensor, accounting for over seven percent of such repairs.


  • The average repair for a “Check Engine” light condition in 2014 was $390.38. The breakdown was $161.61 for labor and $228.77 for parts.
  • One of the cheapest “Check Engine” light Repairs is a loose or missing fuel cap.


Note: “Check Engine” light data is courtesy of 2015 CarMD Vehicle Health Index. Visit: www.carmd.com for more information.

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