Car Reliability Histories

Understanding how common reliability problems are in different areas

Mechanic working under a car Photo: iStock

How are cars holding up? The reliability history charts, included on each car model page at CR.org, give you the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. (To find our ratings and reliability information, go to our main Cars page and select a vehicle by make and model.)

The reliability data comes from our Auto Reliability Surveys of Consumer Reports members. In all, we received responses on over 300,000 vehicles in our latest surveys, detailing 2000 to 2020 models.

Consumer Reports members reported on problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime in any of the trouble spots included in the table below.

The scores in the charts are based on the percentage of respondents who reported problems in each of the 17 trouble spots. Because high-mileage cars tend to encounter more problems than low-mileage cars, problem rates were standardized to minimize differences due to mileage. As part of the continuous improvement process, new this year CR is adjusting for the vehicle owner’s age, based on our findings that older owners are more likely to report fewer problems.

How to Read the Model Page Charts

To check on the reliability history of a particular year’s model, start with the overall reliability verdict score. It shows whether the model had more or fewer problems overall than the average model of that year, calculated from the total number of problems reported by members in all trouble spots. Because problems with the engine, major; engine cooling; transmission, major; and drive system can be serious and expensive to repair, our calculations give extra weight to problems in those areas.

More on Car Reliability

To see how the model that’s currently on sale is likely to hold up, look at the new-car predicted reliability in the model overview. For this rating, we averaged a model’s overall reliability verdict score for the newest three years, provided the vehicle didn’t change significantly in that time and hasn’t been redesigned for 2022. We have found that several model years’ data are a better predictor than the single most recent model year. We also include a prediction for a model that has been redesigned or is new based on its reliability history, the manufacturer’s track record, and our expert knowledge of similar models and/or models that share components. (Learn more about car reliability.)

To see a model’s individual strengths and weaknesses, look at the scores for each of the 17 trouble spots. The “Average Problem Rates” chart below shows rates for models in the surveys in each trouble spot by model year. Scores are based on the percentage of survey respondents who reported problems for that trouble spot compared with the average of all vehicles for that year.

In the charts, a model year with an * identifies the year of a major redesign or introduction.

What the Trouble Spots Include

ENGINE (or ELECTRIC MOTOR), MAJOR: Engine or electric motor rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbocharger or supercharger, timing chain or belt.

ENGINE (or ELECTRIC MOTOR), MINOR: Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, electric motor malfunction, fuel leaks, oil leaks.

ENGINE COOLING: Radiator, cooling fan, water pump, thermostat, antifreeze leaks, overheating.

TRANSMISSION, MAJOR: Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, premature clutch replacement.

TRANSMISSION, MINOR: Gear selector and linkage, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission, leaks.

DRIVE SYSTEM: Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, four-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive components, driveline vibration, electrical failure, traction control, electronic stability control.

FUEL SYSTEM/EMISSIONS: Sensors (O2 or oxygen sensor), emission-control devices (includes EGR), fuel-injection system, fuel gauge/sender, fuel pump, problems filling up the tank.

ELECTRICAL (or CHARGING) SYSTEM: Alternator, starter, hybrid/electric battery replacement, hybrid/electric battery-related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, spark plugs and wires failure, auto stop/start, electric vehicle charging.

CLIMATE SYSTEM: A/C compressor, blower (fan) motor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate system, electrical failure, refrigerant leakage.

SUSPENSION/STEERING: Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

BRAKES: Antilock system, parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure, premature wear, regenerative braking.

EXHAUST: Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, heat shields, leaks.

PAINT/TRIM: Paint (fading, chalking, peeling, or cracking), loose interior or exterior trim or moldings, rust.

BODY INTEGRITY (Noises/leaks): Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, seals and/or weather stripping, air and water leaks.

BODY HARDWARE: Windows, locks and latches, doors or sliding doors, tailgate, trunk or hatch, mirrors, seat controls (power or manual), seat belts, sunroof, convertible top, glass defect.

POWER EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES: Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, USB port, alarm or security system, remote engine start, heated or cooled seats, heated steering wheel, headlights, automatic headlights.

IN-CAR ELECTRONICS: CD player, rear entertainment system (rear screen or DVD player), radio, speakers, in-dash GPS, display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth), voice-control commands, steering-wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, infotainment hardware replacement, software over-the-air fixes.

Average Problem Rates

The chart below shows the average problem rates by trouble spot for vehicles from the 2014 to 2018 model years, the period when the factory bumper-to-bumper warranty has typically expired. For example, on average, the 2017 models have a 2 percent problem rate for brakes; noises and leaks; and power equipment.

Trouble Spots20142015201620172018
Engine, major2%1%1%1%1%
Engine, minor22111
Engine, cooling111<1<1
Transmission, major11111
Transmission, minor11111
Drive system11111
Fuel system22111
Electrical1111<1
Climate system32211
Suspension32111
Brakes32221
Exhaust1<1<1<1<1
Paint/trim11111
Noises/leaks22222
Body hardware11111
Power equipment23222
Power equipment43333

Car Reliability

See our complete guide to car reliability.


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