The US states with cheapest car repair and maintenance costs
As soon as you reach the age even to consider the possibility, the thought of owning a car is on everyone’s mind. Having a car symbolizes freedom and independence, just you and the machine and the wide-open road.
However, encapsulated in that youthful dream of freedom, the cost of owning and maintaining a car is often forgotten; god forbid it breaks down and then requires repairs.
To help you reckon with the potential typical costs of owning a car, we have compiled the average costs per state for general maintenance, safety inspections, tax, and insurance, plus average repair costs.
In addition, if you wish to save further on costs for car parts for repairs, check out our discount codes for auto parts. Most quotes were taken for a Honda Accord, one of the most commonly owned cars in the states.
Without any more delay, let’s dig into which US states are the cheapest and most expensive to own a car.
The US States with Cheapest Overall Car Maintenance and Repair Costs
From repairs and safety inspections to car insurance, there are several regular costs associated with owning and maintaining a car, but which states offer the most affordable upkeep costs?
Total Car Repair and Maintenance Costs: $2,253.19
Coming in first as the ultimate cheapest overall US state in which to own and maintain a car is Maine.
This state has the cheapest car insurance average in the whole of the United States and one of the cheaper car maintenance costs, helping to bag it the number one spot here.
2. New Hampshire
Total Car Repair and Maintenance Costs: $2,330.86
Next up, New Hampshire is our second cheapest state for overall car repair and maintenance costs. Something that is a bit of a trend here, the average insurance cost for New Hampshire being low seems to make a significant difference.
Total Car Repair and Maintenance Costs: $2,432.24
Finally, we have Virginia as our third-cheapest state in the US, with a total cost of $2,432.24, only a couple hundred dollars in price difference from the other two cheapest states. Again, Virginia has a comparatively low average price for car insurance costs.
The US States with Most Expensive Overall Car Maintenance and Repair Costs
Total Car Repair and Maintenance Costs: $4,664.30
Michigan is our most expensive state overall, and it seems to be due to that linking factor previously mentioned: car insurance prices. To vary this much from state to state is astonishing.
Michigan’s average annual car insurance price is $3,466, which is eye-watering and expensive. That’s more than $1,000 more than Maine’s combined costs.
Total Car Repair and Maintenance Costs: $3,849.69
The second most expensive state overall is Louisiana, with an incredibly expensive car insurance cost, at $2,608 per annum, which is more than every cost of Maine combined.
Total Car Repair and Maintenance Costs: $3,705.60
Finally, to complete the trend we have seen here, we have Nevada, yet another state with mind-bogglingly high car insurance costs–$2,486 again as expensive as every single cost for Maine combined. But, on the bright side, it’s close.
The US States with the Cheapest Car Repair Costs
Average Labour Cost: $136.00 | Average Parts Cost: $205.83 | Total: $341.83
If enticingly low car repair costs are what you seek, look no further than Ohio, as they come in as our cheapest US state for car repairs. On average, costing a total of $341.83, which encompasses both labor and parts.
Average Labour Cost: $136.30 | Average Parts Cost: $205.82 | Total: $342.12
Coming in at a very narrow-gapped second place is Maine, costing a total of $342.12 on average. This is only 29 cents more expensive than Ohio, very fine margins indeed.
Average Labour Cost: $138.12 | Average Parts Cost: $206.33 | Total: $344.45
Wisconsin, like Maine, has both ranked pretty well on car affordability indexes in recent years, so it’s no surprise to see Wisconsin grab the last rank in the top three cheapest. With a total average cost of $344.45 for car repairs, it’s again a relatively small margin.
The US States with the Most Expensive Car Repair Costs
Average Labour Cost: $145.16 | Average Parts Cost: $265.57 | Total: $410.73
Consistently ranking as one of the most expensive states to live in amongst various financial reports and research, California is also the most expensive state in America for car repairs.
Costing, on average, $410.73 for labor and parts–a considerable change from Ohio.
Average Labour Cost: $137.79 | Average Parts Cost: $268.70 | Total: $406.49
Another state that in recent years has ranked as one of the most expensive to live in, Connecticut comes in as the second most expensive for car repairs here, costing drivers $406.49 on average.
Average Labour Cost: $149.43 | Average Parts Cost: $254.20 | Total: $403.03
And the final spot for the top three most expensive states for car repairs is the state of Colorado, coming in at $403.03 on average. Colorado also had one of the highest costs for the labor of repairs.
The US States with the Lowest Car Tax Rates
Car Tax Rate: 0% | Average Car Insurance Cost per Annum: $1,533.00
To kick things off, we have a three-way tie for the top spot for car tax rates. Alphabetically first up is Alaska, with 0% and an average car insurance cost of $1,533 per year, around $127 per month.
Car Tax Rate: 0% | Average Car Insurance Cost per Annum: $1,963.00
Next up is Montana, with 0% for its state car tax rate and an average insurance cost of $1,963 per annum, quite a bit more than Alaska for the insurance costs.
1. New Hampshire
Car Tax Rate: 0% | Average Car Insurance Cost per Annum: $1,070.00
And finally, for the three-way tie, we have New Hampshire, which also has a 0% car tax rate and the incredibly affordable price of $1,070 per year for car insurance. That works out at around $90 monthly, which is pretty cheap.
Car Tax Rate: 0.5% | Average Car Insurance Cost per Annum: $1,548.00
Oregon takes the next spot, with a very low car tax rate of 0.5% and an average car insurance cost of $1,548 per year, a similar monthly rate to Alaska.
Car Tax Rate: 2.0% | Average Car Insurance Cost per Annum: $1,724.00
A bit of a jump up now, as Alabama has a car tax rate of 2%, a four times increase on Oregon. And its average car insurance costs per annum come to $1,724, which works out to be around $143 per month.
The US States with the Highest Car Tax Rates
Car Tax Rate: 7.3% | Average Car Insurance Cost per Annum: $2,135.00
Once again, California comes in first place for one of the most expensive rankings. A car tax rate of 7.3%, making it the highest in the USA, and a car insurance cost of $2,135 per annum–the highest figure we’ve seen so far in that regard in these rankings.
Car Tax Rate: 7.0% | Average Car Insurance Cost per Annum: $1,270.00
The first state to clock in with a 7% car tax rate is Indiana, in a three-way tie with Rhode Island and Tennessee. However, this state has one of the lowest annual costs for car insurance. Its average car insurance per annum is $1,270, around $105 per month.
2. Rhode Island
Car Tax Rate: 7.0% | Average Car Insurance Cost per Annum: $2,092.00
Next up on the three-way tie, we have Rhode Island, with little surprise, also coming in with a 7% care tax rate. However, the big difference is in insurance.
Rhode Island’s average car insurance costs per annum come to $2092, which is considerably more than Tennessee and Indiana (the other two states it tied with on car tax).
Car Tax Rate: 7.0% | Average Car Insurance Cost per Annum: $1,477.00
Finally, we have Tennessee in our third tie for second place. The state car tax rate is 7%, and the average cost of car insurance per annum is $1,477, coming to $123 per month.
Car Tax Rate: 6.9% | Average Car Insurance Cost per Annum: $2,486.00
Taking the official third spot is Nevada, with a state car tax rate of 6.9%, almost 14 times higher than that of Oregon. And with its average cost of car insurance per annum coming to $2,486, it also has one of the highest costs in that respect.
The US States with Cheapest Car Safety Inspection Cost
50 Point Safety Inspection Cost: $89.99
Another tie, this time it’s between four states. First up, we have Delaware, which costs $89.99 for a 50-point safety check and includes an oil and filter change in the price for the state quotes we gathered. Now, that seems like good value.
50 Point Safety Inspection Cost: $89.99
The next tied state is Montana, also appearing with the lowest rates for car tax and insurance. Interestingly enough, Montana happens to be one of the states where such safety tests are not a legal requirement.
1. New Hampshire
50 Point Safety Inspection Cost: $89.99
New Hampshire is next and this is a state that legally requires drivers to have period safety inspections carried out on their cars.
50 Point Safety Inspection Cost: $89.99
The final state in this tie, Oregon, is another state to have appeared with the lowest car tax rates. Once again, Oregon is another state where such safety checks are not legally required.
50 Point Safety Inspection Cost: $92.29
Now, we have a price change in Hawaii which makes it the official second-placed state for the lowest safety inspection costs. Just a few dollars more expensive than the tied states above, $92.29 will get you a safety test and oil change.
50 Point Safety Inspection Cost: $92.55
The last one for the cheapest safety inspection costs, we have Alaska, costing just a few cents more than Hawaii–although this is another state where such safety tests are not legally required, however where that’s the case, it’s usually safer to get the test done anyway. Road safety and all that.
The US States with the Most Expensive Car Safety Inspection Cost
50 Point Safety Inspection Cost: $98.70
Ohio is our state that comes out first for the highest cost for a safety inspection test – though bear in mind that this also includes an oil and oil filter change. And in fact, the price difference isn’t that considerable.
50 Point Safety Inspection Cost: $95.11
Now it’s Alabama, that state with one of the least in place for legally binding safety checks on your vehicle. $95.11, however, is surely much cheaper than not getting your car checked out and potentially breaking down.
50 Point Safety Inspection Cost: $95.08
Coming in third for the most expensive states for this procedure is Louisiana. As of 2012, you now have the option of getting a certificate valid for two years instead of one.
That makes the necessity of having this safety check done less frequent and as such, lowers the cost spread.
The US States with the Cheapest Car Maintenance Costs
*For this section, quotes for other general maintenance were unavailable: i.e. other perishable fluid replacements, timing belt replacement, and battery replacement.
All quotes were taken for a Honda Accord, one of the most commonly owned cars in the United States.
Oil Change: $89.99 | Tire Rotation: $94.25 | Air Filter Replacement: $156.29 | Brake Pads Replacement: $402.94 | Total Maintenance Cost: $743.47
Montana has established itself as a regular on the cheaper end of these rankings. Now it’s back as the cheapest state for car maintenance costs.
One of the most common things you hear, even on TV, is to change your darn oil! But, with a few other general maintenance jobs, Montana totals $743.47 on average for those costs, making it the cheapest state.
Oil Change: $92.29 | Tire Rotation: $94.25 | Air Filter Replacement: $157.65 | Brake Pads Replacement: $409.73 | Total Maintenance Cost: $753.92
Next up is Hawaii, previous indexes for car costs have this state ranking quite expensively. However, due to a range of circumstances likely to affect this, it’s come way down.
Average maintenance costs come to $753.92, including oil change, air filter, brake pads, and tire rotation. The latter job helps to prolong the lifespan of the tread of a tire.
Oil Change: $92.55 | Tire Rotation: $94.25 | Air Filter Replacement: $157.81 | Brake Pads Replacement: $410.49 | Total Maintenance Cost: $755.10
Finally, we have Alaska as the last state for the cheapest maintenance costs, coming in at a total of $755.10.
After already having featured on the low car tax ranking, it’s no surprise to see it return for low car maintenance costs, as that seems to be the trend with some states here.
The US States with the Most Expensive Car Maintenance Costs
Oil Change: $94.80 | Tire Rotation: $104.25 | Air Filter Replacement: $179.14 | Brake Pads Replacement: $457.13 | Total Maintenance Cost: $835.32
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Washington, the state that houses Olympia as its capital as our most expensive for general car maintenance costs. However, the cost difference between Washington and Montana is less than $100.
2. New Jersey
Oil Change: $93.38 | Tire Rotation: $104.25 | Air Filter Replacement: $178.30 | Brake Pads Replacement: $452.94 | Total Maintenance Cost: $828.87
Across the way from New York, we have New Jersey, which will be ranking as our second most expensive state for car maintenance costs. Coming to a total of $828.87, the difference between this and Montana grows even smaller.
3. Rhode Island
Oil Change: $93.57 | Tire Rotation: $104.25 | Air Filter Replacement: $178.18 | Brake Pads Replacement: $452.38 | Total Maintenance Cost: $828.38
Finally, placing in third for the most expensive US states costs for car maintenance is Rhode Island. Interestingly enough, Massachusetts shares a state border with Rhode Island, and their maintenance costs are split by just 38 cents.
To begin, we simply gathered a list of each state in the United States. From there, we used CarMD to get the average cost for car repairs in each state.
To get an average for the car insurance rates by state, we used GO Banking Rates, and for the car tax rates, we used Factory Warranty List – as these two factors tend to go hand in hand.
And finally, to get the safety inspection costs and general maintenance costs, we used Your Mechanic to get quotes, using one of the most commonly owned cars in the US, a Honda Accord.
Finally, we added up all of the costs (excluding tax, as that is a percentage and not a raw number) to get the overall repair and maintenance costs of owning a car in the US.