TrueDelta Updates August Reliability Stats

Michael Karesh
by Michael Karesh
truedelta updates august reliability stats

Thanks in part to the help of people from TTAC, TrueDelta received a record number of responses to July’s Car Reliability Survey—over 22,300. Updated car reliability stats have been posted to the site for 570 model / model year / powertrain (where warranted) combinations. With partial results for another 464 cars, the total is now over 1,000. These stats include car owner experiences through the end of June 2011, making them over a year ahead of some other sources.

Among 2011s for which we received enough responses, the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee is the only one that’s clearly worse than average thanks to common problems with the optional air suspension (also a common problem area in Mercedes SUVs), sunroof rattles, and a transmission shudder. Get one without the air suspension or the sunroof, and the risk of problems goes way down. The new Buick Regal might also be worse than average, but we have only limited data for this model so far.

The 2011 Fiesta improved to “about average” this time around, so there don’t seem to be many new problems with the car once the initial glitches are taken care of. We’ll have initial results for the 2011 Explorer and 2012 Focus the next time around, in November, with a preview for participants in October. Most new or revised models for which we received enough responses are also near the average, including the BMW 5-Series, BMW X5 / X6, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Edge, Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Sonata, Infiniti M, Kia Sorento, Nissan JUKE, and Volkswagen Jetta.

Three new 2011s clearly had clean starts: the Honda CR-Z, Hyundai Elantra, and Toyota Sienna.

We’ve also updated statistics for the percentage of cars that required no repairs or 3+ repair trips in the past year. These statistics can be more useful than the averages.

We’ll update these stats again in November. The more people participate, the more models we can cover and the more precise these results will be.

To view the updated results:

Car Reliability Survey results

Repair odds stats

Come across something interesting? Have a question? Post it in the comments.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive reliability and pricing data.

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5 of 27 comments
  • Michael Karesh Michael Karesh on Aug 29, 2011

    The current statistics equally count repair trips in which a problem of any severity was successfully fixed. This is a very robust metric, which is very helpful when working with small sample sizes. Nearly a year ago I added a more detailed severity question to the survey. Once we have a year of data with this question (i.e. next time) I'm going to attempt to look at severe problems alone, as measured by how essential were they to the operation of the car. Or maybe I'll still include all problems, but weight them. The danger here is that the more rare something is--and breakdowns that leave people stranded are rare for fairly new cars--the larger the sample size you need to precisely measure it. If you have only one or two breakdowns reported, these could be flukes. So I won't be able to provide these stats for nearly as many models. The components that most often force a tow are the alternator, starter, and battery. We don't even count the last as a battery's lifespan depends very much on how well it is treated. They're also fairly cheap to replace. Other parts, like radiators, water pumps, fuel pumps, and wheel bearings, tend to provide enough warning that people get to the shop before the car stops running (unless the driver ignores the signals). And outright engine or transmission failures? They're exceedingly rare. Even when these are replaced on a car with under 120k miles on it it's usually because of high oil consumption or difficulty shifting, not because of a total failure that requires a tow.

    • See 1 previous
    • Michael Karesh Michael Karesh on Aug 29, 2011

      @mike978 The descriptions for all reported repairs are posted to the site, so it's possible to see what's behind the numbers. For the new Subaru the most common problem has been steering wheel vibrations. Might seem minor, but it was hard to fix in some cases and Subaru bought more than a few cars back. The 2011 Camry is in the last year of its cycle. "Last year" cars often do very well. Two likely reasons: they've have years to work the bugs out, and with the new one coming sales tend to be soft, so they run the line slower.

  • Geeber Geeber on Aug 29, 2011

    Thanks for posting these results. We participate in the survey with our two cars - a 2003 Accord EX and 2005 Focus SE - and both of our particular cars appear to be more reliable than the survey results would indicate. Our mileage is considerably higher than the average mileage for both cars, too.

    • Michael Karesh Michael Karesh on Aug 29, 2011

      Take a look at the "odds" stats: even with the least reliable models there are quite a few owners who've reported no repairs. And the two you own are far from the worst, even if 2003 is the least reliable year for a fairly recent Accord.

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