Category: Quality

By on February 11, 2017

2016 Nissan Frontier, Image: Nissan

European drivers have a problem. Motorists who own Nissan Navara pickups keep finding their trips cut short by an annoying noise: the sound of their trucks splitting in half.

So many Navaras — sold in North America as the Nissan Frontier — are snapping in two due to extreme frame rust that owners are pressuring governments to do something about. Check out these photos if you think it’s an isolated problem. Read More >

By on February 10, 2017

2015 Chrysler 300S

Update: It was brought to our attention by a spokesperson for FCA that iSeeCars.com’s study includes complaints about parts availability for recall campaigns, which in and of themselves are not necessarily safety issue complaints. These complaints can skew the per-model results in a big way. While iSeeCars works out the data, take the results below with a grain of salt as they will more than likely change. —Mark

Update 2: iSeeCars retabulated the data for the below-mentioned study without recall parts availability complaints and came up with the same top 10 results. Still, the fact remains, not all NHTSA complaints are verified; anyone can submit a complaint, regardless of whether they own said vehicle. In 2010, Toyota ran into problems verifying complaints from NHTSA’s database, and Tesla more recently had issues with one particularly problematic complainer … from Australia.

Safety complaints come in all forms, some of them frivolous, but minor annoyances usually fail to make the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

When all safety complaints leveled against a model are weighed against the volume of vehicles sold, potential customers are left with a clearer picture of what headaches they might expect after signing on the dotted line. Meanwhile, automakers could realize they have a problem to fix.

In a recent study based on NHTSA complaints, one brand showed why quality control is key to keeping a loyal customer base, and how problems in the past can haunt a company for years. Read More >

By on February 8, 2017

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited red

It’s normal for many new car buyers to fall out of love with their vehicles once the honeymoon is over and the thrill is gone, though the majority stick with their vehicles for the long haul — well, until the lease period is up, anyway.

The jilted romantics will run to tell Consumer Reports and anyone else in their immediate vicinity about how unsatisfied they are with their car’s finicky infotainment unit and herky-jerky transmission, but their complaints fail to shed any light on costs. Initial quality and customer satisfaction are nice things, but what about the impact on the buyer’s wallet over time?

Kelley Blue Book can provide some advice, as it tallies up the top brands and models based on ownership costs over a five-year period. Read More >

By on December 2, 2016

15Fusion_IPSYNC

Ford Motor Company has announced a recall of 680,000 vehicles to fix seat belts that might not protect occupants during a crash.

The automaker claims two crashes and two injuries are connected to the failure of driver and and front passenger seat belt anchor pretensioners in vehicles spanning four model years. Read More >

By on November 21, 2016

2008_09_01_09_Tacoma_ACab (1)

Rust, as Neil Young once said, never sleeps, and neither will Toyota — at least, not until it has fulfilled its 12-year promise to inspect and replace (if necessary) hundreds of thousands of corroded truck frames.

Toyota has agreed to pay up to $3.4 billion to appease owners of several previous-decade truck models who launched a class-action lawsuit against the company. Replacing those severely rusted frames won’t be an easy task, and there could be plenty of vehicles needing a completely new skeleton. Read More >

By on November 13, 2016

subaru emblem logo

Remember the I Love Lucy sketch when Lucy gets a job at a factory where she has to wrap chocolates? She’s feeling pretty smug over how well she is performing until they accelerate the line and candies begin spilling out onto the floor and she scrambles around trying to save them all.

Well Subaru is suffering from a similar, less hysterical, problem right now with its own quality control.

Read More >

By on October 31, 2016

Dodge Neon (DriveAllDayPics/Flickr)

Modern vehicles are, for the most part, a treasure trove of technology designed to keep your sorry butt out of the emergency room, but not every driver enjoys such luxuries.

The average vehicle on the road is 11 or 12 years old, hailing from a time when backup cameras needed to be hand held, side airbags were a new and rare option, and five-star safety ratings weren’t easy to come by — especially in the types of vehicles you see in a Walmart parking lot.

Well, we now have a list of the most dangerous average-age vehicles on the road. Expect to lose some sleep if you’re unlucky enough to have one of these rides sitting in your driveway. Read More >

By on October 26, 2016

Nissan owners hoping for relief on a coolant issue that has been causing transmission failures on 2005-2010 Frontier, Pathfinder, and Xterra trucks will be disappointed to find out that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed a petition to issue a recall. The petition filed by the North Carolina Consumers Council claimed that failures were possible in over 857,000 vehicles.

The Associated Press (via CNBC) reports that the NHTSA declined to investigate further, stating that the majority of the complaints didn’t describe a safety hazard and that further investigation is not warranted, given its “limited resources.”

That means over three-quarters of a million vehicles have ticking transmission time bombs, and the manufacturer’s half-hearted solution seems designed to help very few owners. Read More >

By on October 26, 2016

Mustang GT350 (HiPo Joe Charles/Facebook]

It was a hot summer, but not quite as sizzling as the top-end Mustangs seen enveloped in flames at various U.S. track days.

Ford Motor Company is attempting to put a lid on that burning pot of controversy — and danger — by recalling 8,000 Shelby GT350/R Mustangs for a defect that could be blamed in a number of spectacular fires. Read More >

By on October 25, 2016

Photo by Scoo. (Photo by Scoo.) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hoping to shed some light on the effectiveness of modern crash avoidance technology, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has spent much of this year evaluating the quality of headlights in late model vehicles.

Its research has shown that most midsize cars could use some serious refinement and small SUVs are downright abysmal in terms of road illumination. So, it may not shock you to hear that most pickup trucks did poorly in those same tests.

In fact, there was only a single model that received a good rating, and you probably don’t know anybody who drives one.  Read More >

By on October 25, 2016

2016 Toyota Prius Touring

Buick grabbed much of the limelight when Consumer Reports released its 2016 reliability survey results yesterday, earning the best-ever brand ranking of any domestic marque. But atop the leaderboard, Lexus and its Toyota parent brand continued the automaker’s reign.

Not surprisingly, three of the five most reliable vehicles in America are therefore Lexus and Toyota products. With the Lexus GS and Toyota 4Runner, the top 10 list is half-filled with Toyota products. Only one vehicle in the top ten is a domestic, the eighth-ranked Chevrolet Cruze.

They may be reliable, but do Americans actually want these vehicles? We took a look at the five least reliable vehicles in America and realized that, yes, in some cases, Americans do want them. In fact, the vehicles on the least reliable list account for 2.7 percent of the U.S. new vehicle market.

When it comes to the five most reliable vehicles in Consumer Reports’ survey, less than 1 percent of the market’s buying habits are represented. Read More >

By on October 25, 2016

2016 Ford Focus

Headlining 2016’s Consumer Reports annual reliability rankings were the dreadful results of four Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ brands. Bringing up the rear in uninterrupted fashion were Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram. Jeep was only three spots ahead of Dodge.

Not coincidentally then, two of the five least reliable new vehicles on sale in America are also FCA products. All five are domestics, though they’re not all built in the United States.

Still, poor reliability does not necessarily correspond to poor marketplace performances. Three of the five least reliable vehicles in America are sales leaders in their respective categories; another is a steady top-tier player.

And one of the least reliable new vehicles on sale today has failed so badly in the marketplace that its days are numbered.  Read More >

By on October 24, 2016

2016 Fiat 500L, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Consumer Reports released its new car reliability ratings today, and one company should take a long hard look at itself in the Italian-American mirror.

The annual report covers brand reliability and includes a list of the 10 best, and worst, vehicles in terms of reliability. While there are some predicable favorites, Buick managed to hit an unexpected home run and electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla surprised everyone with reports of mechanical issues stemming from — get this — the electronics.  Read More >

By on October 24, 2016

CarMax in Raleigh, Image: Ildar Sagdejev [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0]/Wikimedia Commons

When is a completed inspection report not a completed inspection report? When it’s issued by CarMax, a California appeals court has ruled.

The court found the country’s largest used vehicle retailer in violation of a state law requiring detailed inspection checklists for certified used vehicles, Automotive News reports. The ruling, which stems from a lawsuit filed by a customer who claimed CarMax sold him a “certified” lemon, shines light on the retailer’s dodgy vehicle inspection practices. Read More >

By on October 20, 2016

2016 Hyundai Sonata, Image: Hyundai Motor America

The only thing missing is an ejection seat.

Panoramic sunroofs are a great way to add upmarket flair to a solidly mid-range vehicle, bringing occupants closer to the outside world and making joyriding antics a breeze. However, drivers would normally prefer some say over when those large glass panels open. They’d also like to keep them attached to the car. Read More >

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