Car reliability prediction

Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
99
Location
Schaumburg, IL
How do you gauge reliability when you buy a car? In the past,l I have often purchased used vehicle. This often mean there was an existing track record I could look at at least for the years the vehicle was release. Consumer Report and JD power also report findings, but both are based on surveys which may be skewed. For example, may be certain groups of owners may answer survey over another group. Would there be a source from people who repair cars and see what type of issue appear for the past model? My perception of car reliability like a lot of people are based on past experience with their brand. My parents got several GM cards in the early 80's. They were shall we say terrible. When I eventually scrape enough money to buy a car, I got a Japanese model (I think it was a used Acura Integra, back when they were cheaper). My previous car was a Ford Focus, which actually lasted over 225K miles but did had quite a bit of problems. In some ways, it was still somewhat of an improvement over the original Acura, which require greater maintenance item. Newer cars appear to have longer interval between maintenance. Are there sites on cost of ownerships and such? Paul
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
41,936
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted by Donald
The first gauge would be is it a 20 year old Jaguar. If so unreliable. .
A 20 year old anything has a good potential of being unreliable. smile
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
334
Location
Rainville, USA
Owner/enthusiast forums for that make and mode are a million times better than any commercial sites. You get real world experiences and find out about all the common issues and what years those occurred, as well as ways to fix those issues. Caveat that by saying I don't buy new models and wait a few years for them to get some age/miles on them, i also typically only buy "facelifted" years as they not only change styling but often sneak in little bug and mechanical fixes from the debut years of that car
 

Kestas

Staff member
Joined
Jun 4, 2002
Messages
14,217
Location
The Motor City
Don't buy first model year cars or the last model year. For the last year the manufacturer may skimp on repairing dies and just wear the heck out of them. I've heard it said that it takes five years to get most of the bugs out of a model.
 

NO2

Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
968
Location
Michigan
CR is about as accurate as you are going to get. CR subscribers tend to be biased toward some more reliable brands. I would use a combination of the reliability prediction, repair cost (not reflected in CR) , and owner satisfaction. For instance a Dodge Charger might not have the best reliability, but has very high customer satisfaction. Also look at the problem areas. Infotainment system issues are pretty common even in otherwise reliable cars, but might be UI related - just hard to use or complicated. If it's something in the engine, transmission, or body hardware, just cross it off the list. Not every car is reliable even across a reliable brand. Never buy the first year after a refresh or redesign. By year 3 you are mostly OK. Personally, I go by personal usability, owner satisfaction , repair/maintenance costs (luxury and Euro cars are higher), then reliability. Most car models are extremely reliable compared to even a few decades ago. Some things have not changed. I don't like GM seats or their controls. I like Ford infotainment but don't like their higher depreciation. Better to buy one used . I like Subaru AWD, but since they don't depreciate much better to buy one new. Just make your own criteria.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Messages
1,209
Location
Huntington WV
One more vote to visit forums of the make and model of the vehicle you are interested in. My Audi has been great except for a thermostat housing leak and it was replaced under warranty. On the forums this is really the only thing that most report on the B9 A4.
 
Joined
Jul 21, 2002
Messages
6,596
Location
KY
Originally Posted by JEL01
Owner/enthusiast forums for that make and mode are a million times better than any commercial sites. You get real world experiences and find out about all the common issues and what years those occurred, as well as ways to fix those issues.
You need to be aware that relying on the experiences of actual owners is diametrically opposed to the prevailing BITOG philosophy that maintains that valid data on reliability can only be obtained from individuals who have yet to even sit in the vehicle in question.
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
41,936
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
I stick with the brands that have earned their reputation.
That's what led me to buy a Honda, and I was very disappointed with that purchase. I suppose I got a lemon.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2009
Messages
117
Location
Minnesota
I have been using consumer reports for years and for a lot of cars it is great. However for some cars that are built for younger people do not get represented well in C.R. because most members of C.R. are of the Boomer generation. So say a sports car for younger people may have 100 respondents the cushy Buick SUV may have 20,000 respondents. Another place to look is carcomplaints.com They show which vehicles and years of vehicles are experiencing good or bad reliability.
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
199
Location
PA
Consumer Reports is a good place to start. I've found Edmunds to be a great resource especially for used cars. They give honest opinions. Add in the online car forums too. They go into detail about the specific issues a car model has as well as recalls and TSBs. Be prepared to do a lot of reading. Just remember these are all tools that should be used together. I buy used cars as well and am looking at a compact/midsize SUV for my daily driver, whenever we get back to commuting. I'm looking at 2-4 year old Acura RDX, Ford Edge and Nissan Murano as well as CR-V and CX-5. Good luck.
 
Joined
May 10, 2005
Messages
2,098
Location
Jupiter, Fl
I use general knowledge first, then I spend a lot of time on forums dedicated to the vehicle I am interested in. I typically can get a pretty good idea of what to expect, my experiences have always been better than what is described on the forums. If there are 7 common failures that happen to everyone, I might experience one or two over many years of ownership. If you see a lot of crazy stuff about totally random failures, I would tend to avoid that. I didn't follow my own advice one time, thinking that surely the car couldn't have that many random documented problems, I was wrong.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2014
Messages
3,897
Location
Canada
Originally Posted by dtownfb
I've found Edmunds to be a great resource especially for used cars. They give honest opinions.
+1 Best FREE info you'll find on the net!
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
8,693
Location
Atlanta,GA
Peruse car model specific online forums to inquire about typical problem parts. This way I'm able to derive context. For example if you went into a BMW forum you'd find a litany of issues, but in almost all cases the vehicle has been modified to produce more power than stock and it's a second owner so wear-n-tear from tge original owner is unknown.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
3,306
Location
near Cincinnati, OH
1) Research the specific engine and tranny in what you're considering, especially at owner web forums. These two big ticket items make or break the value, as does undercarriage rust on crucial areas like strut supports and floor pan (unless you're looking for a project to practice your welding on, lol). 2) Realize that the high popularity, reliable vehicles retain more resale value. That can be a fair value to someone who would pay a premium to have a shop do all repairs, but for someone who can DIY a large % of repairs, you can come out ahead not paying the premium up front for one of the highest ranked vehicles. 3) When buying used, and the older the more relevant it is, how the prior owner took care of it means quite a lot. I don't really mean "proper" maintenance by the standards of someone here who insists on changing every fluid ever two years (besides oil), rather things like did they keep it clean, garage kept, have repair records, use quality parts. Even if fluids are old, if the subsystem they're in is still working fine, you can change fluids and go from there establishing that baseline for a replacement interval. Once a vehicle gets past about 80K mi, I would always take them on a case by case basis and less based on make or model. I also assess the owner, if that owner looks like a crack addict or slob, that probably tells you how they took care of the vehicle up until they washed and vacuumed it to get it pretty to sell. Granted right now with everyone shut inside, some people are letting themselves go because they're not working every day (can't even get a haircut, lol) so keep that in mind.
 
Last edited:
Top