I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

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Alexa9
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I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Alexa9 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:41 pm

I am buying a car before the year is over. I've heard the deals are the best at the end of the year. What are the most/least reliable makes to look at and avoid? I know it depends on the model but I'm interested in overall brand quality. Longest lasting, least problems. This is my impression from research so far:

Toyota
Honda
Subaru
Mazda
Ford
GM
Nissan
BMW
Mercedes
Audi/VW
Chrysler/FIAT

Thesaints
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Thesaints » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:45 pm

BMW's reliably impress passengers and passers by alike.

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munemaker
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by munemaker » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:49 pm

You could add Jeep and Fiat to the bottom if you like.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by kjvmartin » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:51 pm

I subscribed to one month of Consumer Reports for < $10 on my last car buying endeavor. Was a good resource.

I've had superb results with Mazdas, Hondas, and Chevrolets. I had a poor experience with a Ford Focus.

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Alexa9
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Alexa9 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:51 pm

Thesaints wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:45 pm
BMW's reliably impress passengers and passers by alike.
They are nice looking and conservative. The turbos and electronics in German cars are supposedly unreliable.
kjvmartin wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:51 pm
I subscribed to one month of Consumer Reports for < $10 on my last car buying endeavor. Was a good resource.

I've had superb results with Mazdas, Hondas, and Chevrolets. I had a poor experience with a Ford Focus.
Consumer Reports seems biased. I trust Bogleheads more! :beer

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:52 pm

Buy a 2 year old Lexus.

Let the first owner eat the initial depreciation.
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Watty
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Watty » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:53 pm

Be sure to research the reliability the CVT transmission if you are looking at a car with one. Some models have had problems.

killjoy2012
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by killjoy2012 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:55 pm

http://www.jdpower.com/ratings/study/Ve ... ke/1881ENG
2017 Vehicle Dependability Ratings & Awards
Award Recipients by Category

Small Car
2014 Chevrolet Sonic

Compact Car
2014 Toyota Prius

Midsize Pickup
2014 Honda Ridgeline

Midsize Sporty Car
2014 Chevrolet Camaro

Compact Premium Car
2014 Lexus ES

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by MrNewEngland » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:56 pm

My RX-8 starts over 75% of the time. Or close to that.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by JoeJohnson » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:14 pm

killjoy2012 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:55 pm
http://www.jdpower.com/ratings/study/Ve ... ke/1881ENG
2017 Vehicle Dependability Ratings & Awards
Award Recipients by Category

Small Car
2014 Chevrolet Sonic

Compact Car
2014 Toyota Prius

Midsize Pickup
2014 Honda Ridgeline

Midsize Sporty Car
2014 Chevrolet Camaro

Compact Premium Car
2014 Lexus ES
Unfortunately 3 years is not the time period where reliability matters most.

creditdefaultswaps
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by creditdefaultswaps » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:23 pm

You can get a fully-loaded Mazda, Kia or Toyota for <= $30K - even a hybrid in some cases. I've had great experiences with all, especially in the > 150K mileage range.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Leesbro63 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:12 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:52 pm
Buy a 2 year old Lexus.

Let the first owner eat the initial depreciation.
IMHO, bad advice. Cost per mile, a 2-3 year old Lexus might be more than New. They hold their value so well that the value is to buy new and hold.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Slacker » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:19 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:41 pm
I am buying a car before the year is over. I've heard the deals are the best at the end of the year. What are the most/least reliable makes to look at and avoid? I know it depends on the model but I'm interested in overall brand quality. Longest lasting, least problems. This is my impression from research so far:

Toyota
Honda
Subaru
Mazda
Ford
GM
Nissan
BMW
Mercedes
Audi/VW
Chrysler/FIAT
Probably need Lexus up there with Toyota and Acura with Honda.
I believe Kia & Hyundai would be right up there with Toyota and Honda, near the top but not at the top, at this time (and they also have cars that are top safety picks according to the IIHS).

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by William4u » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:33 pm

Consumer Reports does not like the reliability of honda/acura. They used to be reliable in the 90s, but not so much now. CR's "talking about cars" people slam the reliability of nissan, and honda's rating isn't much better. There is an episode of CR's "talking about cars" in which they lament hondas poor reliability relative to toyota and kia (and relative to what it used to be). I can't remember which one.

Of course, hondas are way more reliable than Jeeps, for example. They are middling in reliability.

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Alexa9
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Alexa9 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:37 pm

William4u wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:33 pm
Consumer Reports does not like the reliability of honda/acura. They used to be reliable in the 90s, but not so much now. CR's "talking about cars" people slam the reliability of nissan, and honda's rating isn't much better. There is an episode of CR's "talking about cars" in which they lament hondas poor reliability relative to toyota and kia (and relative to what it used to be). I can't remember which one.

Of course, hondas are way more reliable than Jeeps, for example. They are middling in reliability.
Good to know thanks very helpful. I think Toyota it is.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Nate79 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:51 pm

Top - Toyota/Lexus
Bottom - Fiat/Chrysler
Even worse - Tesla

AntsOnTheMarch
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:57 pm

I’ve owned 2 Honda’s in the last 26 years. By my own anecdotal survey, they are dead on reliable.

manuvns
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by manuvns » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:03 pm

I have owned Honda accord 2002 , toyota corolla 2001 , hyundai santa fe 2002 , lexus rx 2007 and toyota prius 2005 . of these toyota and lexus have been most reliable . i have heard porsche are reliable too if you can afford it .

msk
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by msk » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:17 pm

Only the makes I owned, over several decades, the actual samples I owned. Totally anecdotal. Most reliable to least:
Lexus, Lexus, Toyota, Mercedes, Hyundai, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Porsche, Toyota, Ford, Peugeot, Jaguar

As you can see, not all Toyotas (or whatever make other than Lexus) are created equal. I think most makes these days are far more reliable than they were in pre-Lexus days. Lexus raised the yardstick, to the great benefit of all consumers.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by IMO » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:05 am

There's so many personal stories about reliability/unreliability about cars. I think if you search you can sometimes find if a specific car model may have a definitive type of issue, one example being the Nissan CVT transmission. However, even with that issue, it may have been certain year(s) and it may or may not mean there is any continued problem that wasn't resolved by the companies engineers.

Consumer reports had discussion about certain car models burning excessive oil with certain models/cars/engines, with a noted example being certain BMW's (and other makers). Previous post mentioned how Consumer Reports apparently downgraded Honda's reliability rating.

The point? It really is getting harder and harder to determine reliability of cars simply by ranking brands, IMO.

I think with the cost of repairs, it is more and more important to look at car warranties. The more comprehensive, the longer, the better. I go further and say when automakers have shorter and more limited warranties, isn't that a potential reflection of the automakers own impression of their vehicle's real life reliability? (If you're powertrain is as good as you say, then anti-up and warranty it for a long time/mileage, period.)

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by b.lock » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:06 am

It's not just how reliable the car is, it's also how much it costs to fix. Toyota (any year) and Hyundai/Kia (after 2005 or so) are very reliable and cheap and easy to fix. Volvo's are generally reliable, but usually expensive to fix just like BMW, Audi/VW, and Mercedes.

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snackdog
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by snackdog » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:33 am

I assume you are not looking for anecdotal evidence since that is not very useful.

JD Powers publishes annual studies of reliability. Currently Kia and Hyundai rank highest followed by GM and BMW.

Toyota is average. Honda/Acura/Lexus below average.

http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2 ... -study-iqs

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:21 am

snackdog wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:33 am
I assume you are not looking for anecdotal evidence since that is not very useful.

JD Powers publishes annual studies of reliability. Currently Kia and Hyundai rank highest followed by GM and BMW.

Toyota is average. Honda/Acura/Lexus below average.

http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2 ... -study-iqs
That JD Power information is interesting. It looks like both CR and Power like Kia. Other makes they seem to have different opinions sometimes.

Because of that I am sort of interested in the Kia Cadenza. It supposedly is not selling very well and the last time I looked the local KIA dealer had none but if I travel out of town I can find some Cadenza models to look at.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by racy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:09 am

My car reliability experience through the years:
Triumph TR7 - would just die unexpectedly
Jeep Cherokee & Laredo - annual gasket replacements for oil leaks
Mazda 626 - engine warning light could never be fixed
Mazda Miata - (same as above)
Honda Accord - no problems
Toyota Tacoma pickup - no problems
Toyota RAV4 - no problems
Lexus NX 200t - no problems
Honda Ridgeline pickup - no problems

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:18 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:51 pm

Consumer Reports seems biased. I trust Bogleheads more! :beer
CR buys all the cars the actually test, puts then them through a series of objective and subjective tests in the hands of people who do this for a living and are not beholden to the manufacturers via advertising dollars.

They are not the be all in reviews (they historically downplay the sheer enjoyment of a fine running automobile although this has changed a bit recently) but to ignore the volumes of data they generate and the thousands of surveys they get from owners in favor of random posts on a financial forum seems to self-defeating to me.
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Hoi Polloi » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:36 am

We have owned every make on your list over the last three and a half decades with the exception of Nissan and Mercedes, and I think you have the order of most to least reliable exactly right. Good luck in your search!

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by cutterinnj » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:42 am

Your list is missing Lexus ( essentially a really well-made Toyota) which goes at the top

My move for about the last 10 years is to buy the ES model a few years out and let the first owner take the depreciation.

Currently driving a loaded 2014 I got for 24k, with unlimited mileage original Lexus warranty on it for about 3 more years.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by NJdad6 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:46 am

Good info above. As mentioned, Kia rated higher than Honda with Hyundai about even with Honda. Reliability really depends on the model. For example a 4 cyl Accord should be extremely reliable where a Pilot will be about average. Also, traditional v6/i4 engines tend to be more reliable than turbo engines and manual/5 or 6 speed ATs tend to be more reliable than dual clutch or 8/9 speed ATs (I am sure there are exceptions). It is worth while picking up the CR car ratings issue. It will provide expected reliability at the model level.

IMHO most of the models rated above average will be reliable. For example, with proper maintenance the overall reliability and dependability of a comparable Camry, Accord, Optima, Sonata, Mazda 6, etc. will be about the same. Get the model that best meets your needs (comfort, safety, MPG, etc.). Good luck.

Steven in NC
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Steven in NC » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:14 am

We are in our 4th Honda. I should say my wife is. My wife loves them (Odyssey) and I am kind of blah about them. We drive them well passed the factory warranties. There is ongoing maintenance cost and it's not cheap. They are good vehicles and yes they are reliable but not as great as some people make them out to be. There is ALWAYS something needing expensive attention. I would have a similar response about Toyotas/Scions we have owned.

You don't really indicate what you need your car to do. If you are needing basic transportation just for yourself go with a Civic/Corolla/Prius. If you need bad weather performance go with a 4Runner/Subaru/Grand Cherokee (gasp by many - but it's my vehicle of choice and it's awesome). If you need a kid hauler go with an Odyssey. Etc, etc, etc...

One could make the analogy of buying a car comparable to buying toilet paper. The cheapest option to get the job done or a truly emotional connection needing all of the comforts one can buy.
:sharebeer

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by dbr » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:18 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:51 pm
Thesaints wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:45 pm
BMW's reliably impress passengers and passers by alike.
They are nice looking and conservative. The turbos and electronics in German cars are supposedly unreliable.
kjvmartin wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:51 pm
I subscribed to one month of Consumer Reports for < $10 on my last car buying endeavor. Was a good resource.

I've had superb results with Mazdas, Hondas, and Chevrolets. I had a poor experience with a Ford Focus.
Consumer Reports seems biased. I trust Bogleheads more! :beer
Bogleheads don't actually know what make car will be the most reliable bought today. I don't really think Bogleheads are all that sure what cars have been most reliable up to now. Anyone can post that they have had good or bad experiences with owning a particular car, but that means nothing.

If you want my opinion regarding what can be read regarding auto reliability by brand it is that Lexus is the only make that might actually be a step above all the rest. It is probably true there are some makes that actually are a step below the rest, maybe like Jeep and Fiat. Most of the rankings are really just a big muddle in the middle where there is no real choice. Things change from year to year. It is also not that helpful to skate where the puck was by bringing up stories about some issue or another some brand has had in the past.

The comments about some makes being very expensive to repair should be attended to even if those makes are not actually unreliable.
Last edited by dbr on Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dm200
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by dm200 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:21 am

New or Used?

How old?

How much more are you willing to pay for more reliability? (Purchase price, fuel economy and service/maintenance)

Most libraries have Consumer Reports available. Check out what they say.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by chrisjul » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:22 am

munemaker wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:49 pm
You could add Jeep and Fiat to the bottom if you like.
I agree

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by chrisjul » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:24 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:37 pm
William4u wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:33 pm
Consumer Reports does not like the reliability of honda/acura. They used to be reliable in the 90s, but not so much now. CR's "talking about cars" people slam the reliability of nissan, and honda's rating isn't much better. There is an episode of CR's "talking about cars" in which they lament hondas poor reliability relative to toyota and kia (and relative to what it used to be). I can't remember which one.

Of course, hondas are way more reliable than Jeeps, for example. They are middling in reliability.
Good to know thanks very helpful. I think Toyota it is.

I agree. I have not had good luck with Hondas. Toyota or Mazda for me.

dbr
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by dbr » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:39 am

When the language turns to such terminology as "slamming" one thing or another, I think one is reading hyperbole rather than well considered information.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Spirit Rider » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:42 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:51 pm
Consumer Reports seems biased. I trust Bogleheads more! :beer
I dearly love my fellow Bogeheads, but unbiased they are not.

It always amazes me that Bogleheads agonize over expense ratios, return projections, and SS break even analysis. Yet they make vehicle decisions based on anecdotal information.

The truth is that modern vehicles are far more reliable than decades ago. While there can be a bigger spread in reliability from the best to the worst vehicle in each category. There is generally very little difference between the top five brands in a category.

However, is does not appear that many Bogleheads factor in the greatly inflated purchase price of their beloved "more reliable" brand over the often minor increase in maintenance costs of supposedly "less reliable" brand.

For sake of discussion, let us assume Brand A is perfect. If Brand A cost 20% more than Brand B and Brand A has 0% of purchase price in non-periodic maintenance costs over 10 years, but Brand B has 5% of purchase price in non-periodic maintenance costs over 10 years. Which is a better buy?

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by corgimom11 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:46 am

I have owned two Lexus cars. Zero issues whatsoever.

I am on the fence about Subaru. My husband has a 2 year old WRX (completely stock, purchased new, no mods ever performed to the car) that he is presently sitting in the dealership waiting to see what's going on because it can't even pass its first emission inspection to renew the registration on the car. Apparently dealership says it is because he doesn't put enough miles on his car. Inspector said he should drive the car around a bit and get it warmed up and see if sensors work. So he is presently driving from here in the DFW area to the Oklahoma border and back before taking it back to the inspector.
Last edited by corgimom11 on Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

dbr
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by dbr » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:54 am

Spirit Rider wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:42 am
Alexa9 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:51 pm
Consumer Reports seems biased. I trust Bogleheads more! :beer
I dearly love my fellow Bogeheads, but unbiased they are not.

It always amazes me that Bogleheads agonize over expense ratios, return projections, and SS break even analysis. Yet they make vehicle decisions based on anecdotal information.

A position I posted strongly against.


The truth is that modern vehicles are far more reliable than decades ago. While there can be a bigger spread in reliability from the best to the worst vehicle in each category. There is generally very little difference between the top five brands in a category.

Indeed so.

However, is does not appear that many Bogleheads factor in the greatly inflated purchase price of their beloved "more reliable" brand over the often minor increase in maintenance costs of supposedly "less reliable" brand.

For sake of discussion, let us assume Brand A is perfect. If Brand A cost 20% more than Brand B and Brand A has 0% of purchase price in non-periodic maintenance costs over 10 years, but Brand B has 5% of purchase price in non-periodic maintenance costs over 10 years. Which is a better buy?

The cost of an unrealiable car is not in direct costs but in inconvenience and corollary damage in time spent, opportunities missed, safety (not of the car but being stuck in a road at -20F with a car that does not run), and so on. If it were really true that one could "buy" reliability it would be a bargain at any price. But the current Lexus is so vomit ugly you can't buy that car even if you wanted to.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by bottlecap » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:03 am

Your list looks pretty good. Maybe you have Subaru a little high, but your research is probably better than mine.

JT

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:40 am

Good point about modern cars. I have had 3 Toyotas, 1 Honda, and then several of the supposedly less dependable brands. I feel that I have gotten great service out of all of them.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by JoeJohnson » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:48 am

snackdog wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:33 am
I assume you are not looking for anecdotal evidence since that is not very useful.

JD Powers publishes annual studies of reliability. Currently Kia and Hyundai rank highest followed by GM and BMW.

Toyota is average. Honda/Acura/Lexus below average.

http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2 ... -study-iqs
You bash anecdotal evidence and then post a link to 90 day initial quality which has nothing to do with reliability :oops:

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by JoeJohnson » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:51 am

Steven in NC wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:14 am
...There is ALWAYS something needing expensive attention...
Such as? Every car needs general maintenance; regardless of brand.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by emoore » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:59 am

I'll agree strongly that most if not all cars today are much more reliable than 20 years ago. My most reliable car so far has been a 2011 VW GTI which looks bad from a CR standpoint but I've not had any issues.

Steven in NC
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Steven in NC » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:33 pm

JoeJohnson wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:51 am
Steven in NC wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:14 am
...There is ALWAYS something needing expensive attention...
Such as? Every car needs general maintenance; regardless of brand.
-Side doors routinely wearout
-Alternator failure
-Valve cover gasket leaks
-Poor ECO mode with broken engine mounts

None of which I would call general maintenance.

Should I go on?

General Maintenance that ALL vehicles require that is expected.
-Oil
-Tires
-Brakes
-Timing Belts (Toyota gets an Amen for using chains on some models)
-Axles

I see you picked my one comment to debate. I said multiple times that Honda's are reliable and they are. But some would make it sound like they are by far away the best vehicle value on the road. I am hear to say there is not much separation between Honda's and <most> other well engineered cars on the road.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by dm200 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:44 pm

JoeJohnson wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:51 am
Steven in NC wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:14 am
...There is ALWAYS something needing expensive attention...
Such as? Every car needs general maintenance; regardless of brand.
My very wonderful 1998 Toyota Camry (bought used 2 years ago) now has only 82,000 miles. "Stuff" goes - from minor things (like short circuited tail light or power window or power door lock) to timing belt (will want to do next year) to "vapor lock" canister ($550). Then maintenance and servicing routine costs as well as tires (paid $250 for two Michelins).

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by TravelforFun » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:45 pm

AntsOnTheMarch wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:57 pm
I’ve owned 2 Honda’s in the last 26 years. By my own anecdotal survey, they are dead on reliable.
I got 300k miles out of my Honda CRX before I traded it in. We have two Lexus now (80k and 30k) and have not had to do any repairs on them. Japanese automotive reliability is what keeps us away from American and German products.

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Spirit Rider
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by Spirit Rider » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:17 pm

dbr wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:54 am
The cost of an unrealiable car is not in direct costs but in inconvenience and corollary damage in time spent, opportunities missed, safety (not of the car but being stuck in a road at -20F with a car that does not run), and so on. If it were really true that one could "buy" reliability it would be a bargain at any price. But the current Lexus is so vomit ugly you can't buy that car even if you wanted to.
Yes, but we are not talking absolute reliability vs. absolute unreliability. We are talking about a very, very, very reliable car vs. a very, very, very, very reliable car. It is all a matter of degree. For the vast majority of vehicles above the median reliability level, we are probably talking about a few occasions of one-time maintenance issues over the life of the car. Then of course, there are the true lemon brands, models, and specific vehicles.

I have owned five new vehicles over four (4) decades (including one dubbed by CR as the "worst of the worst"). I have kept them from 8 - 12 years, 130K - 150K miles and have never been disabled by the side of the road. I would argue that reliability may be a function of design, but unreliability is a function of proper maintenance and recognizing when a vehicle has reached the unreliable stage and it is time for replacement.

donaldc
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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by donaldc » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:33 pm

Avoid first year model changes. When car manufacutures introduce a new model or engine, reliability and build quality suffers. Wait for the 2nd year model. I had a Sienna and Plug in Prius which both first year models that had problems that Toyota fixed in the following years. In fact my 2012 Plugin Prius is at the dealership for 3 weeks and counting waiting for Hybrid system fix. Dealer said only applies to the first batch of Plugin Prius.

Look at Tesla first year production cars. They're terrible but successive years improved and fixed all those teething problems.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by DaftInvestor » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:41 pm

Best deals at end of year isn't necessarily true - it depends upon the make and model.
I found the best deals (have paid thousands below invoice price on new cars) occur when there is a lot of inventory on the lots and just prior to new models coming out - sometimes this is the spring or summer for many makes/models.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:12 pm

Cars are both more reliable and more costly to repair than in the past. With all the tech features for safety and convenience more can go wrong and can be difficult to impossible to DIY—and expensive to pay to fix. I’ve had several TPMS sensors go out over the years. They’re expensive. Last one I chose to ignore and just check pressure old skool with gauge but I bet someone will say that’s not safe. But it would been just fine 10 or 20 years ago.

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Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

Post by jalbert » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:26 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:41 pm
I am buying a car before the year is over. I've heard the deals are the best at the end of the year. What are the most/least reliable makes to look at and avoid? I know it depends on the model but I'm interested in overall brand quality. Longest lasting, least problems. This is my impression from research so far:

Toyota
Honda
Subaru
Mazda
Ford
GM
Nissan
BMW
Mercedes
Audi/VW
Chrysler/FIAT
I think Toyota, Honda, and Subaru depreciate at a slower rate than Mazda or Ford. Thus, I prefer Toyota, Honda, or Subaru if buying new, and Mazda or Ford if buying used.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

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