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Hybrid Repair Costs Drop, Especially In The Northeast

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State-by-state ranking of car repair costs for 2012, from CarMD

State-by-state ranking of car repair costs for 2012, from CarMD

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We have good news and bad news for hybrid car owners. 

First the bad news: basic car repairs are more expensive than they used to be. According to a CarMD survey of repair costs across the U.S., problems associated with the "check engine" light cost $367.84 to repair in 2012. That's 10% higher than in 2011.

A little more bad news: on the whole, rates on the East Coast seem to be outpacing the rest of the country. Things were at their worst in New Jersey, where motorists paid an average of $392.99 for repairs last year.  

The good news? As we reported a few months ago, repairing hybrid cars is getting cheaper.

And by sheer coincidence, it's cheapest of all in New Jersey.

In 2012, New Jersey motorists paid an average of $2,005.05 to have their hybrid batteries replaced. At the other end of the scale, in Arizona, the price was over twice as high, at $4,409.94. 

The drop in hybrid repair costs is likely due to the growing popularity of hybrid vehicles, which means that more shops stock parts for those vehicles and hire mechanics to install them. As a result, prices come down thanks to economies of scale and good old fashioned capitalist competition.

CarMD doesn't suggest why hybrid repair costs are so low in New Jersey, though. We know that hybrid penetration is high in that market -- at least higher than in Arizona -- so naturally, repair costs should be lower there.

But hybrid repairs may have been especially common in New Jersey last year due to Hurricane Sandy. The storm destroyed thousands of vehicles and forced many more owners to bring in their cars for repair. That jump in service may have temporarily brought down repair prices. We'll know whether it's part of a larger trend when the 2013 figures roll in next year. 

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Comments (3)
  1. Most people I know ignore the "check engine" light because it is usually a false alarm and it costs an arm and a leg just to find that out.
     
    Post Reply
    +1
    Bad stuff?

     
  2. You can buy bluetooth enabled engine code checkers/resetters for less than $20 these days. They work with smart phones, tablets and free apps.
     
    Post Reply
    +1
    Bad stuff?

  3. If there were many totaled hybrids caused by Sandy, could their still good batteries be used to replace any bad batteries in the hybrids needing them? That is, used batteries are cheaper than new ones, therefore, costs for repairs have gone down.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

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