How are cars holding up? The reliability history charts, included in each model's profile, give you the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. (To find our Ratings & reliability information go to our main Autos page and select a vehicle by make and model). These charts are based on 1.1 million responses to our 2013 Annual Auto Survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious 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 are standardized to minimize differences due to mileage. The 2013 models were generally less than six months old at the time of the survey, with an average of about 3,000 miles.
To check on the reliability history of a particular year's model, start with the Used Car Verdict. This score 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 subscribers in all trouble spots. Because problems with the engine major, cooling system, transmission major, and drive system can be serious and expensive to repair, our calculations give extra weight to problems in those areas.
To see how the model that's currently on sale is likely to hold up, look at the New Car Prediction at the bottom of each chart. For this rating, we averaged a model's Used Car Verdict for the newest three years, provided the vehicle did not change significantly in that time and hasn't been redesigned for 2014. We have found that several model years' data are a better predictor than the single most recent model year. One or two years' data may be used if the model was redesigned in 2013 or 2012, or if there were insufficient data for more years. Sometimes we include a prediction for a model that is new or has been redesigned, provided its reliability history or the manufacturer's track record has been consistently above average.
To see a model's individual strengths and weaknesses, look at the individual scores for each of the 17 Trouble Spots. The "Average Problem Rates" chart below shows the average problem rates for all models in the survey in each trouble spot. Scores are based on the percentage of survey respondents who reported problems for that trouble spot, compared with the average model of that year.
Models that score a are not necessarily unreliable, but have a higher rate of problems than the average model. Similarly, models that score are not necessarily problem-free, but had relatively few problems compared with other models.
Because problem rates in some trouble spots are very low, we do not assign a or a unless the model's problem rate exceeds 3 percent. If a problem rate is below 2 or 1 percent it will be assigned a or a respectively. In the charts, a model year in red identifies the year of a major redesign or introduction.
Engine, major: Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine, minor: Oil leaks, accessory belts and pulleys, engine mounts, engine knock or ping.
Engine, cooling: Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission (and clutch), major: Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Transmission (and clutch), minor: Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
Drive system: Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
Fuel system: Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.
Electrical: Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.
Climate system: Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.
Suspension: 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 (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.
Exhaust: Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.
Paint/trim: Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.
Body integrity: Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.
Body hardware: Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.
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, remote engine start, alarm or security system
Audio system (excluding aftermarket systems): Radio, speakers, antenna, CD or DVD player; GPS, iPod & MP3 interface; communication system (e.g. ONSTAR, Bluetooth), backup camera/sensors.