Car repair costs are on the rise, with cost increases 10 percent above the previous year, according to a new study by CarMD.com. The 2013 CarMD Vehicle Health Index assessed car repairs for 1996 to 2012 cars and found that car repair costs increased to an average of $367.84 per repair nationwide. Parts costs were up an average of 6 percent while labor costs were up an average of 17 percent.
CarMD also noted some good news in the study, stating that consumers were bringing their cars in for repairs 1.3 percent less frequently than before, attributing the drop to manufacturers building cars with parts that last longer. Keeping car repair costs in check is important because it helps keep low car-ownership costs, which includes the monthly auto loan payment, fuel costs, car insurance, maintenance and repairs.
Problems with batteries and charging systems also appeared among the top 10 most common repairs needed for the first time, jumping from 16th to 10th place. The jump is partially due to improved computer systems in cars that can now identify charging problems such as voltage decreases and failing alternators.
In addition, the 15 most expensive repairs also are happening 24 percent more frequently than before, which CarMD attributes to a population of cars that is getting increasingly older, now averaging 11 years old. Last year's most expensive problem, replacing a hybrid car's inverter assembly, declined by 5 percent in frequency, indicating that hybrid repair costs have dropped due to an increase of hybrid cars on the road and an increasing number of qualified service technicians.
The most expensive repair in the current study was "replacing transmission assembly and reprogrammed electronic control module," costing an average of $5,400 for the repair.
How much have you paid recently for car repairs? Are your repair costs high?
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.