A new study shows California is among the five most expensive states for car repairs. It looked at 160,000 repair bills given to drivers who pulled into auto shops because the "check engine" light came on. It found the nationwide average cost of repairs was $334, in 2011. The average cost in California, was $368. The lowest costs were charged in Indiana at $284. The big question is, why? Ford service manager Mark Sasser has been in the auto business for 25 years. He believes higher labor costs and labor rates are at fault.
“ In California, we have different bureau of automatic regulations and different smog regulations which the smog equipment that we have to provide in California to do smog is a heavy investment, so some states that don't have that say, in Nevada, without the same smog laws, the repairs would be less, because they don't have the initial business investment,” explained Sasser.
Jim Medina owns Van Ness Auto Repair in Fresno. He believes the bad economy's to blame. He says people are holding on to their cars longer, “We're repairing a lot of vehicles that they usually wouldn't repair. Obviously, it's cheaper to repair them than to go out and buy a new one.”
Despite the higher costs, Sasser said bills in the valley still aren't as bad as other areas in the state.
“Central Valley here, most of the dealer ships far from $110-$120 and independent shops are $75-$95. That's in the valley. You go to the Bay Area, you can have dealership up to $200 an hour for labor rates, that's going to drastically increase the cost of each repair,” said Sasser.
Wyoming topped the list of average cost of repairs, at $389. Utah, Montana and Arizona also made the top five list for most expensive car repair costs.
Maine, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Hampshire trailed Indiana for the most inexpensive car repair costs.