CarMD Determines Most Reliable, Affordable Vehicles to Repair
Dec. 6, 2017—CarMD.com released its 2017 CarMD Vehicle Health Index Make and Model Reliability Rankings.
Published annually since 2011, this Index analyzes check engine repairs and costs to rank the 10 brands and 100 vehicles least likely to have a check engine light on, 10 makes and 100 vehicles with the lowest average repair costs and top three vehicles by category.
CarMD analyzed over 4.2 million real, in-use vehicles—model year 1996 to 2017—reporting check engine health from Oct. 1, 2016–Sept. 30, 2017.
Acura was the brand least likely to need check engine repairs over the past year, edging out Honda and Toyota, which rank no. 2 and no. 3 respectively.
For the second consecutive year, Hyundai is the brand with the lowest average repair cost ($306), followed by Mazda ($310) and Kia ($317).
Volkswagen is the only brand to rank in the top 10 on both lists. The 2013 Honda Civic is least likely to need check engine-related repairs.
"Consumers, used car buyers, extended warranty providers and manufacturers share a goal to minimize vehicle upkeep and costs, so knowing which vehicles have the least time-consuming and most affordable repairs is invaluable," said David Rich, CarMD's Technical Director. "The CarMD Vehicle Health Index delivers an unmatched level of insight as the only report to compare the check engine light failures and repair costs of in-use vehicles."
10 Most Reliable Brands
At least 10 percent of the cars and trucks on the road in the U.S. have a check engine light on at any given time, but which brands are least likely to need check engine repairs? To rank these makes, CarMD developed a formula that accounts for those with the lowest percentage of repair incidents per percentage of vehicle population. Based on this data, an Index frequency score is assigned. The lower the score the higher the vehicle make ranking. CarMD found the following brands were least likely to need a check engine repair over the past year:
10 Brands with the Lowest Average Repair Costs
CarMD found that the 10 brands with the lowest average check engine light-related repair costs in 2017 were as follows:
- Hyundai ($306)
- Mazda ($310)
- Kia ($317)
- Chrysler ($336)
- Dodge ($341)
- Infiniti ($352)
- Jeep ($352)
- Chevrolet ($353)
- Volkswagen ($361)
- GMC ($363)
Any given brand can have a mix of very reliable vehicles along with some that are inherently known to have more frequent issues. For this reason, our Index drills down to rank vehicles by year, make and model.
10 Most Reliable Vehicles
While a check engine light problem can occur at any age, it is more frequent on older vehicles, with the average age of cars and trucks needing check engine repairs being 11 years old, so it is not surprising that the average age of vehicles in the top 10 is under four years old. CarMD found these 10 vehicles were least likely to need check engine repairs over the past year:
- 2013 Honda Civic
- 2015 Toyota Camry
- 2015 Toyota Corolla
- 2014 Toyota Camry
- 2013 Honda Accord
- 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- 2015 Ford Escape
- 2015 Ford F150
- 2016 RAM 1500
- 2015 Nissan Altima
10 Vehicles with the Lowest Average Repair Costs
When the check engine light comes on, here is the list of the 10 vehicles with the lowest average repair costs among the 8,900 different year, make and model vehicles analyzed by CarMD over the past year:
- 2012 Mazda 5 ($109)
- 2014 Kia Forte ($150)
- 2015 Chevrolet Traverse ($152)
- 2011 Kia Optima ($155)
- 2015 GMC Acadia ($156)
- 2014 Hyundai Elantra ($164)
- 2015 Chevrolet Impala ($166)
- 2014 Hyundai Sonata ($167)
- 2011 Kia Sportage ($171)
- 2015 Chevrolet Camaro ($172)
Many drivers are surprised to learn that a loose, damage or missing gas cap is one of the most common check engine light triggers, which is the case with the 2012 Mazda 5 and the 2014 Kia Forte. Vehicle owners whose vehicles have a high percentage of finicky gas caps often have lower average repair costs, but spend time getting it diagnosed nonetheless. Details on the most common repair for each of these vehicles is available in the full 2017 report.