The Most Reliable And Cheapest To Fix Cars On The Road – Forbes

Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2016

The 2012 Honda CR-V leads CarMD’s lists of cars needing the fewest “check engine” repairs and those that cost the least to resolve. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Nobody wants to go deep into debt for several years to buy or lease a car that will ultimately prove to be more trouble than it’s worth, requiring regular trips to the shop for what can be exceedingly expensive repairs. Even though a vehicle may be under warranty, it’s still a hassle to take it in – worse, to have it towed – to a dealer’s service department every time the “check engine” light on the instrument panel illuminates.

Considering that automotive reviewers are not soothsayers, the only way for car shoppers to gauge a given make and model’s ultimate reliability is to consider its past performance in that regard. Both Consumer Reports and JD Power rate cars for their dependability based on the results of surveys, the former coming from subscribers and the latter via new-vehicle purchasers. Unfortunately, both those sources have been spreading the underlying concept of reliability a bit thin in recent years, as vehicle owners become increasingly testy over what some might consider mere inconveniences.

While a low-graded car might have once been one that’s prone to breaking down, the aforementioned surveys now tend to slam cars for their confounding multimedia control systems and other human-machine interface issues. Problems with electronics now account for 20 percent of all consumer-reported car glitches in J.D. Power’s reliability ratings.

We’d like to believe a cautious consumer could realize how onerous it might be to operate a car or truck’s infotainment system on the showroom floor and, say, detect uncomfortable seats and excessive wind noise during a test drive, even one that’s undertaken with a chatty salesperson occupying the passenger’s seat. Discerning which new vehicles can go the distance without suffering bona fide mechanical problems is another story. Though most industry observers would agree that new vehicles are more soundly built than ever, some fare better historically than others.

Chiming in with their own set of reliability data is the auto repair website CarMD, with its 2016 Vehicle Health Index, which highlights those makes and models that both suffer the fewest check-engine-light-related problems and those that are the least-expensive to repair when they do require a trip to the shop. The results are based upon reported repairs for 4.7 million new and used cars from the 1996 through 2016 model years.

Among automakers, Toyota and Honda lead the list of cars and trucks for which the fewest number of check engine repairs were necessary, with Nissan, Audi, and Volkswagen rounding out the five top performing brands in this regard. Hyundai models boast the cheapest check engine repair costs at an average $318.50 per unit, followed by Mazda ($334.82), Kia ($338.57), Chevrolet ($347.28), and Chrysler ($347.86). Buick, Hyundai, and Jeep are the only three brands to place among the 10 top brands on both CarMD’s Repair Frequency and Lowest Average Repair Cost lists.


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