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Car Reliability:
Which Vehicles Hold Up Best Over the Long Haul?

Tow Truck Photo - Reliability

What's Important?
Features, Dependability, or a Little of Both

 

Each one of us has a unique perspective when buying a new or used car, truck or SUV. One purchaser has to have a 4x4 truck, another wants a sports car, and another will take pretty much anything—as long as it's yellow. But one important aspect that most of us can agree on is car reliability. We want a vehicle that doesn't break down often and will require minimal repairs for the life of the ride. But often times the importance of reliability is overlooked, instead we focus on performance, luxury, price, cup holder placement—the color yellow—and so on.

Durability/Reliability data in different categories

 

Such as: exterior, interior, engine mechanical, engine electrical and so on. One vehicle may be problem-free in one area, yet continually breaks down in another. We should also keep in mind that initial quality and car reliability can be two different things. For example: a sharp looking truck with a high performance engine runs smooth, sounds great and has all the horsepower you could ask for. When the odometer reaches about 30,000 miles (well below normal engine lifespan), the engine blows a head gasket. And the failure is not just a freak of nature, but an engineering defect which has caused the same premature failure on a high number of vehicles with the same design engine.

Start out by taking a look at the Reliability History of the Manufacturer

 

Of course, no vehicle is perfect, and failures occur to the best of the best. But we want to avoid vehicles which have a history of failures in several areas. Lemons do exist. Those are the cars that are continually in the auto repair shop for a wide range of problems following relatively low mileage. The worst is when it all hits the fan just as the manufacturer's warranty expires. That's why it's important to analyze histories, expert opinions and Car Reliability Ratings Reports on any new or used vehicle you're getting ready to buy. As a matter of fact, a smart consumer should do the same type of research when purchasing any product of significant value.

 

Comparison by Manufacturer Part 2: Reliability Ratings
Check out the ShopTalk articles regarding Car & Truck Reliability.

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