A Fresh Look at Reliability
In the past, if you were car shopping with reliability in mind, it meant opting for a vehicle that was new or perhaps two or three years old at most. These days, shoppers placing a premium on dependability can confidently cast a much wider net.
"With the average age of vehicles now at nearly 11 years old, it's clear that vehicles are being made to last well past their 5-year/50,000-mile warranties these days," says Kristin Brocoff, director of corporate communications for CarMD.com Corporation. "You can find a 10-year-old vehicle that is just as reliable as one that's a year old, provided you do your homework, and provided the vehicle has been well maintained by its past owners."
And Brocoff should know. Since 1996, her company, CarMD, has tracked vehicle reliability, compiling and maintaining the industry's largest and most comprehensive database of both repairs and issues that trigger the illumination of a "check engine" warning light. This data is sourced from the company's nationwide network of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-certified technicians. CarMD uses this data to produce its annual Vehicle Health Index, which lists the U.S. models with the best reliability.