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Bad News For Cowboys: Study Finds Highest Repair Costs In The West

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On: Mon, Jul 9, 2012 at 5:20PM | By: Chris Weiss

Bad News For Cowboys: Study Finds Highest Repair Costs In The West

Cowboys might want to consider ditching their big diesel pickup trucks in favor of the real horse power of their ancestors. A new study shows that repair costs relating to the dreaded "check engine" light are highest in some of the states where cows and cowpokes still graze freely. CarMD, manufacturer of the Vehicle Health System diagnostic tool, released its study results last month.

It's a fateful moment for any driver: The brightly colored check engine light pops on during an otherwise routine drive, and your mind immediately starts racing. You're thinking about everything from when your last oil change was to whether you secured the gas cap after your last fill up to cashing out your entire bond and stock portfolio in order to pay for a full emissions system overhaul. It's not a good day.

It's a particularly bad day if you happen to live in the Rocky Mountain region. According to CarMD's study, Wyoming endured the highest check engine repair costs of any state last year with a $389 average, 17 percent higher than the nation's average. Staying right in the purple mountains and greater Southwest, Utah, Montana and Arizona came in numbers 2, 4 and 5, respectively. California had the third highest costs in the study.

CarMD suggests that the reason repairs are most expensive in Wyoming is because of the diffuse nature of the state. Drivers may have to take their cars many miles just to get checked out, so they ignore the warning light and things get worse, making the eventual repair more complicated and pricey. It also blames the state's harsh weather and high altitudes.

In terms of the high prices throughout many western states, CarMD says the dusty atmosphere can cause dirty air filters and ensuing complications. It also notes that the states with the highest prices have many popular but distant and higher-elevation destinations like national parks.

The nationwide average cost for check engine repairs was down six percent from 2010 to just under $334, but even that number exemplifies how frustrating a check engine light repair can be. That $334 is probably more than a lot of people budgeted for an out-of-the-blue auto repair you didn't see coming. That's just an average- it could cost you into the four figures, depending on the issue. Or, it could cost nothing - gotta love the check engine light.

CarMD says that the most common check engine repair was replacing the oxygen sensor, which averages $246.

CarMD looked at data from more than 163,000 repairs made during 2011.


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