The RepairPal Institute Car Repair Index

March 8, 2016
When it comes to the price of auto repair, all states are not created equal. And while you may be shelling out the big bucks for a latte or an apartment in places like New York, you may be surprised to find that getting your car fixed there is relatively affordable.

We at the RepairPal Institute wanted to better understand the variance in pricing across the U.S., so we used our proprietary auto repair database to measure the average cost of three common repairs (water pump, alternator, and brake pad replacements) on three popular car models (2010 Ford F-150, 2010 Honda Accord, and 2010 BMW 328i) in a range of zip codes across each U.S. state.

Interestingly, the nation's most populous states were not the most expensive places to get an auto repair. The top five U.S. states by population ranked #9 (Illinois), #11 (California), #23 (New York), #27 (Texas), and #32 (Florida) on the 'most expensive' list. Perhaps increased competition in these states helps keep prices in check. 

Want to guess the most expensive state? Think north, way north. It's Alaska, coming in at $1,374 for the three repairs, which is 17% above the national average of $1,176. The exact reason is not confirmed but could possibly be due to shipping costs of parts to remote areas. 

Unfortunately, the northern half of the contiguous U.S. won't be catching any breaks either. Repairs tend to be more expensive in the North than in the South, and making matters worse, cold weather is one of the leading causes of damage to auto parts. So northerners get hit with higher bills, more often. 

And how about the car capital of America? Michigan – despite being the birthplace of the auto industry and home to over 50 of the top 100 U.S. auto suppliers – is the #2 most expensive place to get a car repair. Go figure.

When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, John Denver had the right idea – drive those country roads to West Virginia, where the cost of the three common repairs is $1,033. That's 12% below the national average. 

Just like the price of gas and insurance, repair costs inevitably vary by state. What's important is knowing that you're getting a fair price for where you live. To find out what auto repairs should cost in your area, try out our free estimator tool: so you know you're not getting taken for a ride.


>>  Top 25 Most Expensive States for Auto Repair
(average repair cost per state in parentheses)

1. Alaska ($1,374)
2. Michigan ($1,289)
3. Connecticut ($1,271)
4. Massachusetts ($1,246)
5. Missouri ($1,226)
6. New Hampshire ($1,225)
7. Nevada ($1,224)
8. Washington ($1,220)
9. Illinois ($1,215)
10. Pennsylvania ($1,214)
11. California ($1,212)
12. Minnesota ($1,212)
13. Colorado ($1,207)
14. Maryland ($1,204)
15. Arizona ($1,193)
16. New Jersey ($1,192)
17. Oregon ($1,192)
18. Virginia  ($1,192)
19. Ohio ($1,188)
20. Delaware ($1,185)
21. Wisconsin ($1,182)
22. Kansas ($1,181)
23. New York ($1,181)
24. Georgia ($1,177)
25. Montana ($1,175)

>>  Top 25 Most Affordable States for Auto Repair

1. West Virginia ($1,033)
2. Kentucky ($1,087)
3. Arkansas ($1,088)
4. Wyoming ($1,095)
5. Mississippi ($1,102)
6. Oklahoma ($1,122)
7. Maine ($1,125)
8. Idaho ($1,130)
9. Nebraska ($1,131)
10. South Dakota ($1,140)
11. Utah ($1,143)
12. Iowa ($1,148)
13. Vermont ($1,149)
14. Alabama ($1,153)
15. Louisiana ($1,154)
16. North Dakota ($1,155)
17. Rhode Island ($1,155)
18. Tennessee ($1,155)
19. Florida ($1,159)
20. Indiana ($1,160)
21. South Carolina ($1,166)
22. New Mexico ($1,168)
23. North Carolina ($1,170)
24. Texas ($1,171)
25. Hawaii ($1,174)

About the Author

Eric Lawton is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

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