Since 1996, CarMD has compiled and maintained the industry’s largest and most comprehensive database of “check engine “light-related problems and repairs. The database is procured from CarMD’s nationwide network of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-certified technicians, who recommend, validate and upload repairs and costs to the database on a daily basis for 1996 vehicles to present. CarMD has millions of verified repairs in its proprietary database that apply to more than 200 million on-board diagnostic, second generation (OBD2) vehicles on the road in the U.S. Beginning in 1996, the U.S. government mandated that OBD2 be included on all foreign and domestic cars, light trucks, vans, SUVs and now hybrids driven in the U.S. This universal technology is designed to detect malfunctions, set a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) and turn on the “check engine” light if there is a problem. This system provides vital health and safety information for roughly 80 percent of a vehicle’s systems, and is installed on roughly 85 percent of the vehicles in the U.S. today.
- As a result of compiling the industry’s most comprehensive database of repairs for “check engine”-related problems, CarMD is uniquely able to provide statistics on a wide range of vehicles and manufacturers. By offering this unbiased and unprecedented repair and reliability information over time, CarMD is able to present an unparalleled view of reliability over the lifecycle of vehicles, enabling consumers and the industry to compare and contrast makes based on facts and not just opinion surveys.
- Each spring, the company releases its CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ of unbiased statistical information covering the most common “check engine” light-related car repairs and associated costs, on a national basis. Each summer, CarMD shares state-by-state rankings of car repairs and costs to help motorists better understand how geography and climate play a role in car maintenance and repairs. Each fall CarMD reports on the most reliable manufacturers, vehicles and used cars.
Additional information, including Index news releases and full reports can be accessed via the CarMD Press Center.
CarMD has compiled the industry’s most comprehensive database of expert repairs for “check engine”-related problems provided by automotive technicians and vehicle owners since 1996. Each CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ draws from this database and CarMD’s network of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-certified technicians who have input and validated failures and fixes into this database. Outputs are based on the input received from CarMD’s customers and network, and do not necessarily cover all makes and models.
The number of vehicles included in each Index report varies by quantity of vehicle check engine-related incidents and repairs reported for each given Index report period. The Index is based on downloaded information from each vehicle’s government-mandated onboard diagnostic computer, combined with uploaded repair information from CarMD’s network of automotive technicians. Repair costs are based on original equipment retail MSRP. Labor rates are procured from several sources as well as the average amount of time required for each repair. Both are updated annually.
For the Manufacturer & Vehicle Rankings Index report, CarMD has contracted with a third-party web-based project management company to program a formula that factored in the number of registered vehicles on the road for each manufacturer, make, model and year. A CarMD Vehicle Health Index rating was then assigned using the total number of red reports (or failures) per vehicle (or manufacturer) divided by the total number of vehicles in the population. Percentage of problems and average repair costs have been equally weighted in the CarMD Overall Index rating. The overall Index ranking for the Top Ranked Manufacturers and Vehicles were derived by the average of the Index and cost ranking and reliability scores.
On a daily basis, CarMD’s nationwide network of thousands of factory-trained OE (original equipment) and independent automotive repair technicians recommend, confirm and upload repairs and costs by region to the CarMD database. As a result, subsequent CarMD Vehicle Health Index reports will draw from a larger sampling of expert fixes and repair costs.