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Old 04-24-2014, 01:26 AM   #1
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Car reliability?

While fuel consumption is one piece of the puzzle, I think that car reliability and longevity are even more important aspects.
If a car consumes little fuel but breaks down often and you need to buy another, the fuel that it consumes it negligible.
(By reliability I mean the ability of the car to not break down often, not the ability to not break down suddenly and catastrophically.)

There are rumors that japanese cars are the best when it comes to reliability, but my experience (with a honda) was quite different. Although they tend to be reliable in the sense that they don't leave you suddenly stranded, I've seen that they break down rapidly and progressively. While my BMW left me stranded a couple of times, it appears to be trouble-free in the long run.
The difference between the honda and the bmw is that the honda had only mechanical problems, which tend to be progressive, while the bmw had only electrical problems, which tend to be instantaneous (the consequences).
The honda seemed like a throw-away car, to be used just a couple of years and then buy another, while the bmw seemed like a car one could own it's entire life.

So, what is the car make that is the most reliable, thus will cost less to own (only maintenance and repair!) in the long run AND not leave you stranded often?
I want a car that doesn't consume much fuel, that won't break down often, that won't break down suddenly and when it does break down, parts can be easily (and cheaply) found and replaced.
Please no general answers that have no real useful content in them.
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:56 AM   #2
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Quote:
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So, what is the car make that is the most reliable, thus will cost less to own (only maintenance and repair!) in the long run AND not leave you stranded often?
Toyota gets my vote. The 2 Acura & Honda autos were not as trouble free as the 4 Toyotas I have owned.

I also bought a brand new Honda V45 motorcycle in 1983 & it was troublesome as well.(difficult to start when warm) When I sold it just 3 years later, many commented it was one of the few that made it to 20,000 miles without any wiped cam issues.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
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There are rumors that japanese cars are the best when it comes to reliability
When they first started showing up in the US market, they were seen as cheap junk. Needing to overcome that image was their singular goal and they worked hard at it. Not only, for a time, did they produce cars that, by some popular measures, were more reliable or long-lived, but more importantly they cemented that image indelibly.

The days where they had a real advantage are gone. In my observations and experience, all the major brands are about equal. As you observed, different brands are prone to different types of failures that affect you in a different way.

That said, there is an important part of the equation that you forgot: Cost of repairs, and parts availability.

I'm about to replace a hub and wheel bearing in my sister's 2006 Nissan G35X AWD. The hub is not offered by the aftermarket, only OEM, even though the car is 8 years old (and the hub was used for years before that too). Local dealers want $275+ for the hub alone, and another $200+ for the bearing. Online Infiniti dealers sell the hub for $150+shipping and the bearing for $125, and I have to wait for them to arrive. Then I'm going to have to take the whole front end apart to install them.

On my 2002 GMC Sierra 4WD, an OEM integrated hub/bearing is $300 from a local dealer, or I can buy the same one in an AC Delco box in a parts store on a Sunday night for less, or online for $200, or I can choose from a dozen aftermarket brands including potentially better-made ones and much cheaper ones. It's a piece of cake to replace, remove brakes, unbolt hub, bolt on new hub, replace brakes.

So, considering that, and addressing your request for a specific recommendation...go look at user Ford Man's Ford Escorts with 500,000+ miles on them. Mostly he just keeps putting scheduled maintenance into them, I don't think he encounters many failures. There are also lots of Chevy Cavaliers around the internet with similar stories.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:57 AM   #4
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I have owned ; '86 Park Ave., '96 Taurus, 2000 Ranger, 2004 matrix, 2005 Prius, 2006 HHR, 2001 Sable, and 2013 Sonic.

The only one to die suddenly on me was the Ranger. Just stalled out at an intersection, but restarted a minute or so later. Dealer ended up replacing the ECM under warranty. Then it had the speed sensor go. That affected shifting and max speed, so you could limp home. After buying and installing(real easy) a new sensor, I came across a post stating an iron filing could throw the magnetic sensor off, and there was one on the old sensor.

It and the other Fords have all required a replacement DPFE sensor at some point.

No problems of note with the Toyotas, but I only had them for 30k miles at most.

Same with the Sonic. Except for a mysterious coolant leak that others have, and being looked at under warranty. No problems beyond normal wear with the Buick. The HHR OEM brake rotors weren't has beefy as they could have been, but lasted at least 60k miles. GM also cheaped out on the anti-sway bar linkages. They started clunking, but I only replaced them in order to pass inspection. They and rotors might be future issues for the Sonic.

Some struts and a wheel bearing might not have lasted as long as I wished they had, but my experience is that vehicles will pretty much last and be dependable if taken care off.

Oh, my wife had a Mark VII when I met her. Only thing I remember about it is that we got rid of it when the air suspension bags went because of the repair cost. Only a dealer would touch it.

Because Honda has been mentioned. My brother had a 2000 Accord V6. There were issues with that transmission when mated to the V6. Which is likely the first reason for costly transmission work. That may be the cause for the second time, but the car had also been through two floods.
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:25 AM   #5
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Holycow... Strange you should mention wheel bearings and hub assemblies. Last month I had just replaced the wheel bearing hub assembly in a 2006 GMC Savanna 2500 3/4 ton cargo van. The part was $127, and it was right on the shelf of a local auto parts retailer.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:07 AM   #6
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The cost of down time is relative however. For some, frequent repairs that are "cheap," may be more costly than much fewer ones that are expensive repairs.

Insurance costs and vehicle finance payments factor in as well.

Regarding repairs, I used to use this rule of thumb...$100/month average for repairs was acceptable IF the vehicle was paid for...and said repairs were not too incredibly frequent...
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:29 AM   #7
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I agree. if its paid for, and repairs are not frequent, you can be a bit more forgiving. My 98 K1500 needed new plugs, wires, and a new intake manifold gasket 2 years ago. That bill was $500. I haven't done anything else to it since then except for fuel and oil changes.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:18 AM   #8
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There are so many things that can affect a cars reliability, the main one being usage of course. But things like weather conditions, the kind of roads you use, driving style etc can all have an effect on a car's reliability, so whats the most reliable car? Well how long is a peice of string?
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:46 AM   #9
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Now you can go to the internet to fine how good cars are. I have been driving for 45 years. My Honda's & Toyota's have been rock solid.
My 93 Saturn threw a timing "CHAIN" not "belt" at 30K and the engine got destroyed cost $3500. My Ford's would cost some. My Chevy did ok, normal cost.
My VW 02 Jetta TDI was great for driving but always going to the shop for electrical stuff. In the VW forums they always talk about doing your own work to save money. The cost got to much & I bought a Prius. Great car best I have ever had. I am thinking as cars get away from mechanical parts they will get more solid.
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