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Report: Auto repair costs highest in New Jersey last year

Posted On Wed, June 12, 2013

Traditionally, car insurance rates are lower for vehicles that have a strong safety record and don't breakdown with any frequency. Nevertheless, just about everyone encounters a "check engine" problem that can cost some money to get fixed.

But of all the states wherein motorists had to pay for an engine-related issue, New Jerseyans spent the most, a new report indicates.

According to vehicle information provider CarMD, New Jersey-based automotive owners spent an average of $392 on car repairs last year. Compared to 2011, that's a 20 percent increase in labor rates and an 8 percent uptick in the cost of parts.

Motorists in the Garden State also spent the most on catalytic converters, parting with an averaging of $1,112 to have them replaced after they fell into disrepair.

Leon Chen, CEO of CarMD, noted that New Jersey wasn't the only Atlantic state to see auto repair expenses rise.

"We saw a dramatic shift in the top five most expensive states for average car repairs, as many drivers along the East Coast incurred rising auto repair costs, while they simultaneously contended with Hurricane Sandy's aftermath," said Chen. "Car owners in many states also continued to put off small repairs, contributing to cumulative failures with increased repair costs."

Repair expenses rise substantially in Northeast
Regionally, Northeast motorists experienced the largest jump in repair costs, elevating 11 percent in 2012 from 2011. Meanwhile, in the West - a part of the country that has often seen repair costs elevate - they swelled by only 6 percent.

"As summer approaches, it's important for drivers in all states to be aware of the effect of temperature extremes on car parts, and to replace failing parts as recommended or as soon as a problem is detected," said David Rich, technological director at CarMD. "All 1996 and newer model vehicles have sophisticated on-board diagnostic computers that can detect problems early, often before you're left stranded."

The summer is always a time of year that sees more motorists making road trips, be them short or over a great distance. Either way, it's imperative to prepare the vehicle for the excursion. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a list of recommendations motorists should be sure to consider before families pile into the car, such as preparing an emergency roadside kit, and checking the tires, as well as the wiper blades.

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