And we all hate check engine lights.
It always happens at the worst time. The check engine light on your car's dashboard suddenly turns on just when you're about to embark on a road trip or a night out with friends. Sometimes it's only a sensor acting up and there's no problem. Or, it could be something serious. In any case, you need to get it checked out fast. But which brand is the least expensive to repair when that light goes on?
According to CarMD, via The Car Connection, that would be Mazda. Findings released last week showed that the Japanese automaker boasts an average repair bill of $285.70 for check engine light-related repairs.
CarMD examined 10 automakers and a total of 100 models from 1996 to 2018 model years. The data only showed cars whose check engine lights went on from October 1, 2017 until September 1, 2018. Lo and behold, the data found that the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata is the least expensive Mazda vehicle to repair, coming in at $81 for a CEL code. Do note, however, that this model year Miata is not listed on CarMD's own "10 Vehicles with the Lowest Average Repair Costs". Why? Because CarMD claims the sample size of Miatas is too small. Those brands include Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, and Mitsubishi, which comes as no surprise.
Also note that there's a difference between most reliable brands and those that are cheapest to repair for CEL issues. Mazda is not the most reliable brand overall, but its vehicles will be the least expensive to fix for a CEL code.
In fact, Toyota, Acura and Hyundai were found not only to be among the most reliable brands, but also the least likely to have a CEL in the first place. Mazda does not even place on the top ten list for that. It doesn't even place on the top 10 most reliable vehicles, based on CarMD's data. That honor belongs to the 2016 Audi Q5, followed by the 2017 Honda Civic, and the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek. The main takeaway here is that Mazda is simply the cheapest brand for repairs when there's a CEL. That's it. It's not the most reliable, nor is it the least likely to have a CEL in the first place.