Drivers in Wyoming may be fewer and farther between than high-traffic cities like Los Angeles and Atlanta, but they're shelling out the most cash for car repairs, according to new data from CarMD.com.
At an average of $389.18 per repair, Wyoming consumers spend 17 percent more than the national average ($333.93) and about $100 more than the least expensive state for repairs, Indiana.
The data was compiled from more than 160,000 reported "check engine light" repairs.
The state was closely followed by its neighbors in the West and Midwest: Utah, California, Montana and Arizona, which rounded out the top five.
As for why these states have it so rough, CarMD chalks it up to mother nature: "Harsh weather and high altitude ... may wreak havoc on vehicles," it notes. "More remote locations with widespread and reduced access to parts and people to service vehicles, which results in motorists' tendency to put off smaller repairs."
Those smaller repairs are often among the easiest to fix and can turn into real money sucks if ignored. Busted oxygen sensors are a prime example. They're the most common "check engine light" repair, and if left unrepaired can reduce gas mileage by 40 percent and cost consumers as much as $900 in added fuel costs. They're also a cinch to fix yourself.
"If you can work a wrench you can fix an oxygen sensor," says Art Jacobsen , vice president, CarMD. Just locate the sensor (use your car manual for guidance), unclip it and slip in the new one
The good news is car repairs have dropped about 6 percent from 2010, with 40 states seeing decreases.
Check out the top five most and least expensive states for repairs. A full ranking can be found here.
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