A report from GOBankingrates.com shows New Jersey car repair rates are fifth-highest in the country, averaging about $385 for a vehicle annually.

GOBankingrates.com found New Jersey is about average for sales tax, insurance premiums and gas prices. But our vehicle repair costs are the fifth-highest in the country.

Greg Kopf of CARiD.com explains  that high repair cost number.

"labor rates will, without a doubt, be higher here. The cost of living is higher. It really depends on the actual demographic of where an individual lives," he said.

These are costs for jobs like swapping out a battery or doing an oil change or a brake job, changing head lights or tail light or performing a basic tune-up with a multi-step checklist.

Kopf says car owners can also lower car repair costs by learning to do simple maintenance themselves. Even with today's more complicated cars, there are still tasks the owner can perform. It starts with thoroughly reading your owner's manual.

"There's a lot of preventative maintenance and normal repair work that is still very achievable with a basic set of tools," he said. "Things like replacing the brake pads and rotors on your car. Taking that to an average shop, a ballpark on that could be anywhere from $350 to $400 per axle. But if you're quite handy, you can do brake pads and rotors for $120 to $150."

He says owners can sometimes head off a big repair bill if they notice a problem early.

"Not feeling right while you're driving, it's always important to get it checked out and deal with it before it gets any worse because sometimes what could be simple and easy fix it could get a lot worse if you just tend to let it go."

Joe Cutter is the Senior News Anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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