States with the highest and lowest auto repair costs

When that annoying "check engine" light starts glowing on your dashboard, what kind of repair bill are you facing? Actually, that depends to a large degree on where you live. Your cost will be highest if you live in Connecticut and lowest if you live in Michigan, according to new research by CarMD, which provides information about diagnosing and repairing auto problems.

In Connecticut, you'll pay an average of $411 to cope with check engine problems, while the bill in Michigan will be $343. The other top five most expensive states after Connecticut are District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Georgia and Maryland. The least expensive states after Michigan are Maine, Wisconsin, Hawaii and Ohio.

And regardless of whether you live in a high- or low-cost state, don't ignore that check engine signal. The most common repair when the light goes on is the oxygen sensor. But if you fail to deal with that sensor problem immediately, it can lead to more costly repairs -- such as replacing the emission-controlling catalytic converter, at an average cost of $1,190.

"Many drivers ignore check engine light problems because it seems like their car is driving just fine, or they don't like the initial repair quote. Yet they don't realize that ignoring it will almost always end up causing additional costs and repairs down the road," said David Rich, technical director for CarMD.

To compile its rankings, CarMD collects data from a network of technicians certified by the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) organization. This study covered a total of over 11.5 million repairs in calendar 2016 on model years 1996 to 2016. Since 1996, all vehicles have had an on-board diagnostic system which triggers the check engine light when a problem occurs related to emissions.  

Here's the complete state-by-state list of  how much such repairs cost.

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    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.