CarMD.com Corporation recently released its 2013 CarMD Vehicle Health Index Manufacturer & Vehicle Reliability Rankings – the only list to offer an annual ranking of manufacturers and vehicles with the lowest combined “check engine” repair incidents and costs. The Index ranks the top 10 manufacturers, top 100 vehicles overall, top vehicles by category and the most common repairs by make. This year’s Index is based on more than 151,000 specific repairs performed on model year 2003 to 2013 vehicles from Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013. Current and archived indices are available at http://corp.carmd.com.
“CarMD provides information aimed at helping consumers make more informed decisions about vehicle maintenance, service, reselling and purchasing,” says Doug Sobieski, chief marketing officer, CarMD. “Now in its third year, the CarMD Vehicle Health Index Manufacturer & Vehicle Ranking provides car shoppers with insight on what to expect in terms of frequency, type and cost of repairs for the majority of new and used vehicles on the road today and well as previously unavailable comparisons of vehicles.”
Top Ranked Manufacturers
After two consecutive years ranked as no. 2, Hyundai unseats Toyota as the no. 1-ranked manufacturer. Rounding out the top five vehicle manufacturers of 2013 are no. 2 Toyota, No. 3 GM, No. 4 Chrysler and No. 5 Honda.
| (The lower the Index rating, the higher the reliability ranking. Top 10 vehicle manufacturers based on model year 2003-2013 vehicles needing repairs between Oct. 1, 2012 and Sept.30, 2013, and determined by the manufacturers whose vehicles had the fewest percentage of CarMD repair incidents combined with the lowest cost per repair, per number of registered vehicles on the road. Sources: CarMD.com Corp., with vehicle population data provided by R.L. Polk. )
Hyundai’s improved ranking was fueled by its low repair frequency. While Hyundai’s rating actually dropped from 0.67 in 2012 to 0.80 in 2013, it achieved its no. 1 ranking because Toyota’s rating dropped from 0.58 to 0.86. While both Hyundai and Toyota vehicles had more trips to the repair shop and higher year-over-year average invoices per repairs this past year, Hyundai owners saw less impact. Half of the top 10 manufacturers (Hyundai, Toyota, Nissan, Kia and Volkswagen) experienced a drop in reliability rating, with more frequent visits to the repair shop and increased average repair costs. The other five (GM, Chrysler, Honda, Ford and Mitsubishi) saw improved ratings with GM experiencing the largest boost – moving from no. 8 to no. 3. Coming in at no. 10, Mitsubishi ranks in the top ten for the first time this year.
GM had the lowest average repair cost among the top 10-ranked manufacturers ($304.99). Toyota had the highest overall repair cost ($540.53). The five vehicles with the highest average repair costs were Toyota Prius hybrids, which contributed to Toyota’s rise in average repair cost. Bright spots for Toyota were the 2012 Toyota Camry and 2010 Toyota 4 Runner, each with average repair costs under $100.
Top Ranked Vehicles
For the third consecutive year, the top-ranked vehicle is a Toyota, with the 2012 Camry ranked as the most reliable vehicle for 2013. Previously, the Corolla ranked no. 1 with the 2009 Corolla and 2010 Corolla earning top spots in the past two CarMD rankings. Four sedans, four compacts and two SUVs make up 2013’s top 10 list, with Nissan leading the pack with five vehicles, including the 2012 Altima (ranked no. 2), 2011 Rogue (no. 5), 2012 Rogue (no. 6), 2012 Sentra (no. 7) and 2011 Sentra (no. 9). Toyota has three cars in the top 10, including the 2012 Toyota Camry (no. 1), 2011 Toyota Corolla (no. 3) and 2011 Toyota Camry (no. 4). Hyundai has one vehicle on the list – the 2010 Elantra (no. 8). Rounding out the list is the 2012 Mazda 3 (no. 10), marking the first time Mazda has had a vehicle in the top 10. This top 100 list represents the top 10 percent of more than 1,000 different 2003 to 2013 model vehicles on the road.
The Index also ranks the top three vehicles by category: Compact, Minivan, Sedan, Full-Sized SUV, Wagon/Crossover, Truck and Luxury. The 2012 GMC Sierra, ranked no. 1 in the truck category, unseated Ford from its sweep of the category last year. In the Luxury category, Buick and Lincoln unseat Lexus and Infiniti with the 2011 Buick Lacrosse, and 2010 and 2007 Lincoln MKZ vehicles.
Common Repairs by Brand/Make
Different vehicle makes tend to have a unique set of problems and common failures. The CarMD Vehicle Health Index reveals common problems and repairs by brand, providing a resource for vehicle owners as they maintain and repair their vehicles. “Replace Oxygen Sensor” accounted for 21.6 percent of Suzuki repairs and 13.75 percent of Hyundai repairs over the past year. In April, CarMD revealed that the no. 1 most common repair is “replace O2 sensor,” accounting for 8.31 percent of all check engine-related repairs last year. O2 sensors measure the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust and tell a car’s computer when there is either too much or not enough fuel mixed with oxygen for ideal operation. If a faulty O2 sensor is not repaired, the car’s gas mileage can drop by as much as 40 percent. “Replace Ignition Control Module” accounted for 29 percent of Saab repairs last year; “Inspect/Replace Battery and Charging System” accounted for 17.2 percent of Acura repairs; and 17.8 percent of check engine-related trips to the shop for Volvo owners were due to loose or damaged gas caps.
Drivers can see a list of common problems and repair costs by year, make and model with the free online CarMD® Vehicle Health ScoreCard™ tool, available at www.carmd.com/ScoreCard.