IRVINE, Calif., Apr. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — CarMD, a leading provider of automotive diagnostic information, today released its 2017 CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ of check engine-related car repairs, costs and  trends. The report found that a faulty oxygen sensor, which negatively impacts fuel economy if ignored, remains the most common reason drivers experience a check engine light. CarMD also found that model year 2005 vehicles were most likely to have a check engine light on, while newer model 2015 and 2016 cars and trucks each accounted for less than 1 percent of reported check engine incidents. The Index is based on data analyzed by CarMD from more than 5.3 million in-use 1996-2016 vehicles in the U.S. during 2016.

«While check engine issues can occur on any age vehicle at any time for many different reasons, this report reminds owners of 10- to 12-year-old vehicles to be vigilant with their maintenance routines and to be prepared for the possibility of a check engine light repair,» said David Rich, CarMD’s Technical Director. «CarMD has monitored car repair and maintenance trends for two decades and found that when vehicles are properly maintained, they tend to experience fewer check engine light problems than those whose owners put off scheduled maintenance and small repairs.»

A new service called CarMD® Garage is now available online at This helps vehicle owners stay on top of car maintenance with reports that show the maintenance services due on their vehicle. VIN decoding, warranty status, technical service bulletins, safety recalls, predicted failure data, title history, automated and accurate parts purchasing, repair cost estimates and other information is also available. CarMD Garage is designed to help consumers make informed decisions about repair, maintenance, used car and parts purchases, and to help drivers lower the overall cost of vehicle ownership.

CarMD found that the average cost to repair a check engine problem in the U.S. in 2016 was $398 including parts and labor, which is up 2.7 percent year-over-year. The five most common problems found to trigger the check engine light in 2016 were a faulty oxygen sensor, catalytic converter, ignition coil and spark plug issue, loose or damaged fuel cap and faulty mass air flow sensor.  They range in cost from $17 to replace a gas cap to $1,190 or more for a catalytic converter. This year’s Index found the only region to experience a decrease in repair costs was the West, where vehicle owners had a slight reprieve with a 1.1 percent drop in car repair costs. Drivers in the Northeast paid the most for check engine repairs ($401) while drivers in the Midwest paid the least on average ($385) for parts and labor. Car repairs and associated costs can be affected by region, maintenance decisions of previous owners, as well as the vehicle’s age.

The 2017 CarMD Vehicle Health Index analyzed 5,345,588 repairs reported to and validated by CarMD’s network from Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016. The full Index, including the 25 most common check engine-related repairs, percent of reported check engine light repairs by vehicle age, 11-year history of U.S. car repair costs, list of most common repairs by region, and 10 least/most expensive repairs is available at  

The following are highlights from this year’s report:

– According to CarMD, the following are the five most common check engine light-related car repairs and associated average repair costs, including parts and labor. If left unrepaired, each can negatively impact fuel economy and harm the environment.

  1. Replace oxygen sensor – $258
  2. Replace catalytic converter – $1,190
  3. Replace ignition coil(s) and spark plug(s) – $401
  4. Tighten or replace fuel cap – $17
  5. Replace mass air flow sensor – $378

– The type of car repairs and associated costs vary by region.

  • The most common repair on vehicles in all four regions was «replace oxygen sensor(s)» but the parts and labor cost for this repair varied from $253 in the Midwest to $266 in the Northeast.
  • Vehicle owners in the Midwest experienced the largest increase in average repair costs, which were up 5.7 percent from $364 in 2015 to $385 in 2016.  

– Vehicle age affects the likelihood and type of check engine light repair incidents.

  • An 11-year-old model year 2005 vehicle was most likely to report having a check engine light on, accounting for 10.8 percent of such problems reported to CarMD in 2016. Model year 2006 vehicles comprised 10 percent of reported check engine issues, followed by model year 2004 vehicles (9.5%) and 2007 vehicles (9%).
  • Model year 2015 vehicles were least likely to experience a check engine issue, accounting for just 0.40 percent of reported problems.
  • The most common causes of a check engine problem on a 2005 vehicle were faulty ignition coils and spark plugs, accounting for 7 percent of repairs and costing on average $410 to fix. A loose gas cap was the top reason drivers of 2015 vehicles sought help for the check engine light, accounting for 13 percent of recommended fixes and almost always covered as a warranty repair.

Click here to view the detailed 2017 CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ report. For additional information, including customizable reports, contact [email protected].

About CarMD
Based in Irvine, Calif., CarMD is a leading provider of automotive diagnostic information, products and services that leverage and empower the capabilities of the on-board diagnostics (OBD2) port. CarMD has worked with a network of ASE-certified technicians to build and validate the most comprehensive database of OBD2-related expert repairs and associated costs from which CarMD draws its Vehicle Health Index™. This Index is released each April in conjunction with National Car Care Awareness Month to provide vehicle owners and the industry with a comprehensive and independent report on vehicle repair trends. This 2017 Index statistically analyzes more than 5.3 million in-use vehicle problems. For information on CarMD’s products and third-party software service solutions, visit

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