Study: Mazda least expensive automaker when it comes to check engine light problems

December 14, 2018

A new study from CarMD found Mazda is the lest expensive car to repair when a check engine light surfaces on the dashboard.

The findings, released on Wednesday, showed the average repair for a Mazda vehicle cost $285.70 for check engine light-related repairs. The company looked at 10 makes and 100 models that span from the 1996 through 2018 model year. The data strictly involved a car throwing a check engine light between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018.

We have to slightly question the study and the process that led to the conclusion, however. The study mentions the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata as the least expensive Mazda vehicle to repair at $81 for a CEL code. However, the model is not listed on CarMD's "10 Vehicles with the Lowest Average Repair Costs" because CarMD said the sample size of Miatas was too small. 

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That list, instead, calls out mostly Hyundais, Kias, two Toyotas, and a single Mitsubishi. Costs range from $107 to $67 for a CEL repair, which according to the data, means the MX-5 should slot in the list somewhere at $81 for a repair. No Mazda vehicles made the lowest average repair cost list, yet the brand is the cheapest to repair for CEL problems.

It's also worth noting that Mazda is not the most reliable brand, according to this data set. While a Mazda vehicle will allegedly be the least expensive to repair, the data found Toyota, Acura, and Hyundai are the most reliable brands and least likely to throw a CEL. Mazda does not place on the top 10 list here, either. 

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Nor does the Japanese automaker crack the list of top 10 most reliable vehicles when scanning CEL data. The top honor goes to the 2016 Audi Q5, followed by the 2017 Honda Civic, and the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek.

But, if one of the most reliable branded vehicles does throw a CEL, it's likely more expensive to repair. The study also found domestic brands (Dodge, Chrysler, Chevrolet, etc.) are less expensive to repair than Honda or Toyota. Yet, just one American make made the list for the 10 most reliable brands: Buick.

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