Car owners in 4 east coast states pay the most to have an issue diagnosed and repaired, according to a CarMD.com analysis of more than 160,000 repairs made on vehicles with check-engine light problems in 2012.
The most expensive state in the country is New Jersey, according to the report, with an average cost of $392.99 per repair. The District of Columbia, North Carolina and Maryland are also in the top 5. The only exception is California, which landed in the number 3 spot, with an average repair cost of $390.37.
The results mark a dramatic change from years past, in which western states generally saw the most expensive auto repair costs.
"In 2012, 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 Leon C. Chen, CEO, CarMD.com Corp in a press release.
In New Jersey, the most expensive car repair state, there was a 20.7 percent increase in labor costs and an 8.2 percent increase in parts costs from 2011 to 2012, according to the study.
Repair costs are considerably less expensive in Vermont, West Virginia, South Dakota, Delaware (which bucks the east coast trend) and Iowa. Vermont is the least-expensive state for car repairs, according to the study, with an average cost of $269.72 per repair.
For comparison, the average cost of a check-engine light-related repair nationwide is $367.84, which is a 10 percent increase from 2011.
While the average costs per state are an interesting reference point, the take home point from this study is to not put off small repairs because they can snowball into something much worse, as evidenced by those poor car owners on the eastern seaboard who took their cars in after Sandy hit.
"With costs and vehicle age up from coast to coast, we encourage the industry and car owners to utilize this data to help maximize vehicle life and minimize repair costs," Chen said.
For the full list of repair costs according to state, head over to CarMD.com.