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Problem frequency by make of car

I’m sort of baffled by the recurring incidence of problems of certain makes as posted on this website.

It appears that such low volume cars as Subarus, Volkswagens, Volvos, Audis and BMWs (icluding Minis) are over-represented, while other high volume cars such as Toyota, Hondas, and Mazdas are under-represented.

Also, Jaguars, known for their many problems, are also under-reprsented.

Yet the Subaru, for instance, is one of the highest rated cars in terms of reliability. Subar problems seem to center on head gaskets, and problems with the AWD system.

This is not s post to redefine reliability, but is it the tpye of owner who posts on this website?


How many online forums are there, for say VW Golfs VS. Toyota Camrys?

Most people who post a lot are car enthusiasts. They drive their cars hard and have fun doing it. They like to modify their cars themselves for more power, better tires, etc. So they tend to know a lot about their cars and want to help others and share information.

On the other hand, most people who buy cars just for transportation have no idea how they work and when something does happen just take it to the dealer to have it fixed. When they need tires they just buy whatever the tire shop says is good. No need to post about that.


I think a lot of it is demographics. This board is after all affiliated with an NPR show and, not to be stereotyping anyone, the makes that seem to come up a lot are pretty popular amongst the same sorts of people who typically are NPR listeners.

As for Subarus, I think they are very good cars in terms of practicality, fuel economy and winter handling, but I’ve never really heard them being especially highly rated in terms of reliability. I’d put them on par with most American cars in terms of reliability.

Yup, it is, combined with the fact that west coasters and southerners probably have their own favorite forums. My guess is folks from “down south” probably frequent rock-bashing 4x4 sites. And AARP sites.

The most frequent web users a few years back were Subaru & VW according to some marketing data. I also think being a New England based show brings out the Subaru where they have a large presence.

IMHO Subaru (owned a few) is average to above average in reliability. Consumer Reports is crazy to recommend the older Outback/Legacy with the non-turbo 2.5L 4 cylinder. It loves blowing up head gaskets.

The vast majority of drivetrain issues on Subaru are due to misinformed owners who don’t know about keeping 4 tires the same size/depth/wear and the automatics. The manual tranny’s are more forgiving.

In general I find the differences to be overstated.  Not improperly stated as the numbers are what they say they are, but unless you are reading things carefully you could think that half of all cars sold by ABC have problems while only a quarter of those sold by DEF had problems.  When in fact only 1 in 10,000 of ABC had problems and only 2 in 10,000 of DEF had problems.  Yea DEF does have twice as many problems, but I will not worry too much about 2 in 10,000 vs 1 in 10,000.

Stop that! How can CR sell magazines if you say that (reasonable) stuff?

Sometimes the differences are bigger. I think the last CR compared the Touareg to the Highlander, something like 20% of Touareg owners having problems to a small number (5%?) of Highlanders. That’s a significant difference.

You can get a second opinion from that magazine that consumers buy. It lists the average reliability once a year and in the buying guide that comes free with a superstition.

ive owned a subaru for 6 years. the best one of the best cars ive ever owned. very dependable and great on gas.

No , we dont all drive 4x4s in the south just as I might guess that all northerners might not drive cars that is rusted from the salt that is on the roads.You dont start a sentence with (and) either.They might need to invest more money into the northern schools.You stated your thoughts so I had to reply with mine.Sorry to the rest of you guys.This site should be used to talk about cars, not bash people because of where they live.There must be a site where the northerners can go to do that.

Sometimes the differences are bigger

Very true, which is why I started off with “In general” I would also suggest that differences with owners is far more important than differences with cars. Some owners read the manual and do the maintenance and are aware of low oil or tyre pressure etc. They also may drive easier on their cars. They have less problems with their cars.

NPR - Not in my case.

Car Talk is about it on NPR. It’s a fun hour without being too serious or stuffy like most of the NPR dribble. Like they say, how did they get on NPR?

Truedelta provides this data, but it’s spotty at this time. There aren’t enough members yet. Many care makes, models, and years are represented, but it could use more data. Get on over to and look around. If you like it, join up and take advantage of a few other features.

Lighten up. Nobody’s getting “bashed”. It’s just light humor. If you’re offended, you shouldn’t be.

Correcting my English…well, have a ball! English was not my major. And I’ll not be offended.

I subscribe to Truedelta, and my car, a 2007 Corolla so far has not appeared as having ANY problems. We need a bigger base, so that all cars report some problems in order to get a perspective.

I subscribe, too. I’d like to take this opportunity to suggest that everyone here subscribe.

First off not everyone who buys a Golf buy it for the thrill of driving. And MOST people I know who them couldn’t tell you where the oil drain plugs is let alone what type of oil it should take. There are MANY of us car enthusiasts who learned how to rebuild engines and tranny’s and build up a track car and after we grew up and had other responsibilities (like kids) have other priorities in their life.

I have 5 SW engineers that work for me that drive either a Audi or BMW…All consider themselves car enthusiasts…and NOT ONE of them could tell you the difference between a gas engine or a Diesel…None have ever turned a wrench in their life. The young kids these days who are buying the VW Golfs and the BMW 3 series don’t want to know anything about cars…they just want to drive it hard and are totally oblivious to how it works…nor do they want to know.

I do think some makes and models are far superior to others…My wife bought her 96 Accord a year before her sister bought her 98 Taurus. Her sister owned her Taurus 6 years and put several thousand dollars in repairs into that vehicle. After 6 years she junked it with 60k miles. My wife kept her Accord another 3 years and finally sold it still running PERFECTLY with 220k miles…having put only $4 in one repair beyond normal maintenance.

Some owners read the manual and do the maintenance and are aware of low oil or tyre pressure etc.

But if it’s a true distribution then the same percentage of people who own Touareg and Highlander read the owners manual.