You’re about to have a breakdown – with your automobile

USA Today‘s long-time auto reporter calls it “stunning news,” and that’s not much of an exaggeration. For the first time in 16 years, vehicles are becoming less reliable. The biggest problems seem to stem from small 4-cylinder engines (which help with fuel economy) and transmissions (a big-ticket repair item), the story reads.

Here’s the story from reporter James Healey:

J.D. Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study showing the most reliable 3-year-old vehicles — a key study for finding a good used car — was released today, and the most stunning news is that the reliability of late-model used cars is down for the first time since 1998.

The widely watched report card says owners of 3-year-old vehicles (2011 models) reported 6% more troubles than owners of 3-year-old vehicles (2010 models) did last year — 133 problems per 100 2011 vehicles ,vs. 126 for 2010s in last year’s survey. Power says that reverses steadily improving industry scores since the 1998 study.

Vehicle owners having problems with a possible “lemon” can get dispute resolution help from BBB AUTO LINE. For a list of manufacturers that participate in BBB AUTO LINE or to file a claim, go to

– Kathrine Hutt

1 Comment

Filed under News You Can Trust

One response to “You’re about to have a breakdown – with your automobile

  1. Mark Burrows

    This is a quagmire. We earnestly try to be a more responsible society, but manufactures care not. They are creating a disposable evolution. The question is why? Does it not make more sense to provide a product that is at least reliable as well as serviceable? This would only give them a reason to keep manufacturing parts, thus plants for parts manufacture, providing more jobs. Of course setting up authorized service centers with genuine parts creates more jobs.
    Wait! This has already happened, it deja vu. So what went wrong? Well, I will tell you. Manufactures were sold on the idea that they could make products faster with one piece moldings, plastics and fiberglass instead of metal, electronic instead of mechanical, as if that improved on the wristwatch, ask the Swiss about that when you purchase your next genuine Rolex. They didn’t cheap out and their watches are still mechanical movement, quality made to last, and heirloom ability.
    Yet, the rest of the world has reduced quality and increased prices. Again to compare, You do not find genuine Rolex watches piled up in junk yards or being shipped off to third world countries to be taken apart where the parts are recycled. The good ones put back into production, the bad ones ground down to dust to become part of a casing or other composite product.
    But more like, Vehicles end up in junkyards causing frustration to the junkyard owner because very few parts have any resale value.
    As far as electronic equipment goes, it never provides any value even though some of it costs a lot less than it use to, because the products are outdated almost the day you purchase them. Manufactures are reluctant to provide even as much as a 90 day warranty.
    Then on top of that, we are taxed for having such devices, they charged a recycle fee to hand them off. Where is the logic in that? They should be paying us for being consciously responsible, but no, they ding us, and then everything is contracted out right down to the underpaid people in the third world country taking such devices apart.
    Car manufactures should be ashamed. Transportation is a dependency to the North American working class. We want to depend on our vehicle to not only last, but to provide a certain amount of safety and security.
    An unreliable vehicle impedes upon that dependency and presents a risk factor to the safety and security of the driver, the passengers, the traffic outside the vehicle and the pedestrians in the area.
    If manufactures escape responsibility of a faulty part that caused an accident and a mortality, and they can protect themselves by saying that the vehicle was too old and beyond their liability and it turns out the vehicle is only five years old, it will be one sorry day. Yet, I see it coming.

    Mark Burrows

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