Potential Pitfalls When Buying a Car - Consider Manufacturers' Repair Histories

Before you start shopping online for your next vehicle, you may wish to take a look at the manufacturers’ repair histories to ensure that your car will last and not cost you a bundle to keep it running as long as you own it.

JD Power and Consumer Reports conduct annual consumer repair and service surveys by test driving vehicles and also collecting feedback from car owners based on their vehicle maintenance experience. Considering that this data is dependent upon how long you’ve owned the vehicle, the warranty period, etc. there could be a gap of a few years before the latest models appear in these reviews, especially when you consider that most new cars only need oil changes and tire rotations for the first year or two. Major repairs are usually only needed after the car has been driven for a while. If you take a look at the repair history over time, you’ll gain some insights into which car brands are the most reliable. And why does reliability matter?

The purchase of a vehicle is usually a relatively long-term commitment, considering that the average American keeps their car for close to 12 years. And, over the length of this time, annual repair costs may run anywhere from $7,000 to close to $11,000, depending upon whether you bought a small sedan or a pick-up truck. That’s a lot of money to lay out, on top of your car payment, insurance, gasoline, etc.!

To minimize car maintenance expenses, it would be to your advantage to purchase a vehicle that has a reputation for being solidly built, with a strong warranty. The top brands for 2021 included Mazda, BMW, Subaru, Porsche and Honda, many of which have been highly ranked year-after-year. If you purchase a vehicle from one of the highly rated manufacturers, your repair costs should be lower than if you bought a brand that is way lower down on the list (i.e. Mitsubishi, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo).