Hi there — I’ve been doing a lot of research (Googling) as of late to truly understand car reliability. I’ve been reading through sites like Carcomplaints.com, Truedelta.com, Consumer Reports, JD Power, specific car model forums, etc. What I really want to is, how accurate is this information? For example, you can look on Car Complaints and see that some models have awful reliability, but then you dig into it and realize it’s only five reported incidences of the same problem. And then you look at other websites that barely mention this particular problem.
So what gives? Even if it is a major problem, what are the chances you would end it up with it if you bought that particular model and year?
I hope the accuracy you desire from reliability indexes isn’t expected in my response!
Remember, vehicles are not a typical widget rated as a single element. They are Russian Nesting Doll widgets with more layers than a skyscraper packed with croissants. The sheer number of fail points (triggering a customer concern) is mind-numbing. And not every “skyscraper” is the same: mid-cycle improvements, part number changes/upgrades, trim level changes, software updates, etc. mean it’s physically impossible to get this right.
Then again, faith shall be restored when these data sources go into a reliability index:
- Manufacturer recall and TSB data
- Short Term Customer Satisfaction data from third party information sources (like JD Power)
- In-warranty repair and part number interchange and supersession data from manufacturers. (Honda, Toyota, Nissan, GM, Ford, etc)
- Post-warranty repair data from all franchised dealerships and independent repair facilities. (Sears Auto, Goodyear, Firestone, etc)
- Inventory churn rate from major auto parts manufacturers (Bosch, BWD, Denso, etc) and auto recyclers. (Car-Part.com, LKQ)
- Keyword density or Word Cloud analytics on all automobile forums and major social media websites (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
There’s the full spectrum, literally from cradle to grave. With months of tech geek labor to get these databases talking to each other, and countless formulas filtering all this data into a single year/make/model, you can see the lifetime repair cost of any vehicle. Maybe Watson‘s up for the gig.
Getting all that data, especially from car and component manufacturers? Not likely.
What say you, Best and Brightest?
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