Monthly Archives: November 2020

Your Check-Engine Light Is On — How Much Are Repairs Gonna Cost Ya?

Your Check-Engine Light Is On — How Much Are Repairs Gonna Cost Ya?

Motorists in the nation’s capital and most populous state paid the most in 2019 to address problems indicated by vehicles’ check-engine light, according to a study by CarMD. Citing data gathered from nearly 16 million vehicles that needed repairs in 2019, the Irvine, Calif.-based automotive diagnostic info provider said today that California and the District of Columbia ranked highest and second-highest, respectively, for such repairs in 2019. Californians who needed repairs to address check-engine lights doled out $414.24 per repair, on average, to address such problems in 2019. The District of Columbia came in at $410.16. Georgia ranked third, at $409.92, while New Jersey ($403.43) and Virginia ($403.19) rounded out the top five.

Related: What Does the Check-Engine Light Mean?

2020 Hyundai Palisade Specs & Reviews Find a 2020 Hyundai Palisade Near You
To some extent, those results reflect the local cost of living. An study published in April ranked California and the District of Columbia among the top three priciest states to live, with New Jersey and Virginia landing in the top 15. Georgia, meanwhile, is an outlier: The Peach state landed a peachy-keen ranking on’s list — it’s the 10th cheapest place to live — yet ranked third priciest for check-engine repairs from CarMD.

What about the least-expensive states for such repairs? Try Vermont ($342.14, per CarMD), Ohio ($348.79), Wisconsin ($349.08), Michigan ($350.77) and Iowa ($356.57).

How Costs Are Calculated
Repairs encompassed vehicles dating back to the 1996 model year, when the industry adopted its current OBD II standard for onboard diagnostic systems. Data from OBD II diagnostic tools sold by CarMD and Innova Electronics, an affiliated company, helped inform the study, as did data from CarMD’s private-label diagnostic tools, said Kristin Brocoff, a spokesperson for the company. Such tools chronicle regional problems that triggered check-engine lights in 2019, for which the company applied local repair rates.

Devices “report what the findings were to our database, and the database spits out the repair, and the master technician confirms that’s what the fix was,” Brocoff told “Basically this is the average in terms of parts and labor.”

2020 Repair-Cost Rankings
Rankings for all 50 states and the District of Columbia are as follows (keeping in mind that CarMD’s list excludes repairs that don’t trip the light, from suspension components to belts and hoses):

  1. California ($414.24 per repair, on average)
  2. District of Columbia ($410.16)
  3. Georgia ($409.92)
  4. New Jersey ($403.43)
  5. Virginia ($403.19)
  6. Hawaii ($402.91)
  7. North Carolina ($402.86)
  8. Colorado ($401.55)
  9. Connecticut ($401.55)
  10. Utah ($399.42)
  11. Maryland ($399.33)
  12. Tennessee ($399.08)
  13. Alabama ($398.01)
  14. Mississippi ($396.36)
  15. Nevada ($395.84)
  16. Oregon ($393.59)
  17. South Carolina ($393.40)
  18. Texas ($393.35)
  19. Washington ($392.79)
  20. Florida ($392.75)
  21. Louisiana ($392.15)
  22. Delaware ($389.99)
  23. Kentucky ($389.01)
  24. Montana ($388.66)
  25. Rhode Island ($387.61)
  26. Idaho ($387.11)
  27. Arizona ($385.56)
  28. Wyoming ($383.21)
  29. Arkansas ($382.76)
  30. Massachusetts ($380.67)
  31. New Mexico ($380.17)
  32. Pennsylvania ($379.54)
  33. Oklahoma ($378.89)
  34. West Virginia ($377.31)
  35. South Dakota ($376.53)
  36. New York ($376.08)
  37. Missouri ($375.20)
  38. Arkansas ($373.46)
  39. Illinois ($372.51)
  40. Kansas ($371.80)
  41. Minnesota ($371.31)
  42. New Hampshire ($365.71)
  43. Nebraska ($364.38)
  44. Indiana ($357.43)
  45. North Dakota ($357.05)
  46. Maine ($356.76)
  47. Iowa ($356.57)
  48. Michigan ($350.77)
  49. Wisconsin ($349.08)
  50. Ohio ($348.79)
  51. Vermont ($342.14)

The check-engine light typically flags problems related to your vehicle’s emissions system, which is why an illuminated light usually means you’ll fail an emissions test. It can stem from myriad circumstances: In its Vehicle Health Index published in April, CarMD found nearly 1,300 possible fixes for an illuminated light. Those range from a catalytic-converter replacement (an average $1,375 repair, per CarMD’s 2019 data) to a loose or damaged gas cap (an average $26 in 2018). Indeed, the repair most frequently recommended in California — the priciest state in this year’s study of 2019 data, and the third-priciest a year ago — was replacing a catalytic converter.

What Is a PCM?

What Is a PCM?

The powertrain control module, also known as PCM, is your vehicle’s mind. It deals with the motor, transmission and different frameworks dependent on data it gets from different sensors around the vehicle. It is only one of many microchips on the present vehicles that run everything from the environment control framework to the force windows.

Related: What Is a Dual-Clutch Transmission?

How Does the PCM Work?

The PCM gets signals from sensors that action wind current into the motor and out the exhaust, the coolant temperature, how far down the gas pedal pedals is, the speed at which each wheel is turning and different boundaries.

It at that point utilizes that data to settle on many choices each second, like how much fuel to infuse into every chamber, when to fire the sparkle plugs and when a programmed transmission should change to an alternate gear to convey the best presentation for the current conditions.

A few vehicles allude to the PCM as the “motor control module” or “electronic control unit.” Others, essentially more established ones, have separate control modules for the motor and programmed transmission that stay in steady contact with one another — like BFFs on their iPhones — in light of the fact that the transmission responds to what the motor is doing and the other way around.

At the point when this progression of data between the PCM and other installed PCs and sensors works appropriately, the outcome is smooth and proficient execution, with the PCM consistently rolling out fundamental improvements with no fight.

Yet, really quick and savvy when everything is great, they can be imbecilic as blocks when things turn out badly. For instance, if an oxygen sensor in the fumes framework conks out, the PCM will fix its advanced head and unfit to figure how to change the air-fuel blend going into the motor. The registration light will likely go on — a sob for help — and the motor may run generally, have drowsy speed increase or different issues. Similarly, if the PCM comes up short, the motor will not beginning.

Since PCMs depend so vigorously on contributions from different sources, they at times are dishonestly blamed for causing a registration light or motor issue. Regardless of whether the difficulty code for a registration light focuses to the PCM, mechanics test PCMs and regularly check contributions to ensure it is the guilty party prior to supplanting it.

When Is It Time to Replace Your Tires?

When Is It Time to Replace Your Tires?

Conventional exhortation says that when your tire track is worn out to where the section estimates only 2/32 of an inch (and that is the tire track profundity law in certain states) or when the track wear marker bars are appearing, at that point it’s an ideal opportunity to put new tires on your vehicle.

With numerous tires, however, drivers will encounter a huge loss of safe footing and slowing down capacity in downpour and snow before at that point. Since tires wear bit by bit and numerous vehicle proprietors don’t routinely check their tires for track profundity or lopsided wear, the deficiency of footing may not get evident until the vehicle slips as opposed to halting in a very small space, as it once did.

Related: How Do I Find the Correct Tire Pressure for My Car?

New tires regularly have from 10/32 to 11/32 of an inch of tire track profundity when they’re new. The profound track, in addition to sections and cuts cut into the sides of the track, permit water and snow to escape from under the tire so it can keep up satisfactory hold. As the track wears and the notches and cuts become shallower, more dampness stays caught under the tire. The tire at that point rides on a dangerous surface of water (“hydroplaning”) or snow as opposed to “gnawing” the asphalt.

The outcome is longer halting distances, more wheel turning in speed increase and less grasp reciprocally.

At the point when this slipping and sliding begins to happen — and how serious that absence of foothold is — will fluctuate by tire plan and could come a long time before it would seem that you have uncovered tires that should be supplanted. For certain tires, the wellbeing misfortune could come when there’s still, say, 5/32 of an inch of track profundity left, which would appear to be all that anyone could need to try not to purchase new tires. A few tires, however, basically have better wet-asphalt and snow foothold than others and will keep up it with less profundity for additional miles.

Mechanics can assess tires for strange or over the top wear, measure track profundity with a check and exhort how much tire life is left. Profundity measures to check worn tires are accessible at parts stores for do-it-yourselfers, in addition to there’s consistently the penny test: Insert a Lincoln-head penny (top of the head should go head first) into a track groove; on the off chance that you can see the highest point of Honest Abe’s head, you need new tires.