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Used Car Reliability Ratings

Beware of common problems with top-selling models

Last updated: February 2014
Dodge Grand Caravan
This minivan has more problems than most vehicles.

 

If you are looking for a used car, you’re in good company. More than 40 million Americans are expected to buy used cars this year—more than twice as many as will purchase new cars. Shoppers are seeking to get the most for their money and avoid rapid initial depreciation that comes with a new car. But by purchasing used, you take greater risks. And as our data shows, even top-selling models can have their share of problems.

Each year, Consumer Reports tracks reliability problems by surveying its subscribers. Data from our latest Annual Auto Survey come from experiences with 1.1 million vehicles, giving us deep insights into what goes wrong. What we found is that even reliable cars can have troubles, and some cars should be avoided altogether.

In this issue we’re presenting our reliability data a little differently from years past. Although the survey gathers information on 17 potential trouble spots, from brakes to transmissions, we’ve boiled them all down to a single verdict for each model year. At a glance, you can tell how a model measures up among 360 models (including their variants) you might be considering and see how reliability has changed with age.

To highlight the kinds of problems captured in the latest survey, we’ve singled out top-selling models to draw attention to their detailed problems. The problems noted in these summaries are those that occurred at a higher rate compared with other vehicles of the same age.

Editor's Note:

This article also appeared in the April 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.


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