Make & Model Rankings
Published by CarMD, December 2018
The 2018 CarMD® Vehicle Health IndexTM Make and Model Reliability Rankings studies and ranks in-use vehicles and brands based on frequency of check engine light (CEL) problems and then separately on average cost of repairs. In this report you will find the following:
- 10 brands with the lowest repair incidents/lowest average car repair costs
- 10 vehicles by year, make and model with the fewest repair incidents/lowest average repair costs
- Top three vehicles by category
This Index report summary also provides insight on the most common repairs for the top 10 vehicles in each category. This can be useful to vehicle owners, used car buyers and repair professionals.
Published annually since 2011, the CarMD Vehicle Health Index Make and Model Reliability Rankings is the only ranking that statistically measures check engine failures and repair costs. While other industry reports often rely on subjective survey data, we base our figures on statistical analyses reported directly from model year 1996 to current vehicles on the road in the U.S. over the past year, which is more comprehensive than many first-year owner surveys and studies. To achieve this unmatched level of accuracy, we have analyzed the vehicle data and health of more than 5.6 million in-use vehicles manufactured from 1996 to 2018 reporting check engine health between Oct. 1, 2017 and Sept. 30, 2018.
The vehicle brand with the lowest average repair cost for CHECK ENGINE problems in 2018? Mazda, which had an average recommended parts & labor estimate of $286.
The 2017 Hyundai Tucson has the lowest average car repair cost.
CarMD found that over the past year, Toyota ranked no. 1 as the brand least likely to have a check engine light on. Toyota is followed by Acura (no. 2) and Hyundai (no. 3).
The 2016 Audi Q5 is the vehicle least likely to have a check engine light on among the 9,130 different model year 1996 to 2018 vehicles analyzed by CarMD in 2018.
The CarMD Vehicle Health Index also lists the top vehicle by category:
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, and a pilot test of the new CarMD® PRO SCANTM repair shop solution found that as many as 25 percent of vehicles brought to the repair shop have a check engine light on. Because it is likely that every vehicle owner will eventually have to address a check engine light, CarMD studied data from more than 5.6 million vehicles from many sources to help identify the makes 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 that over the past year when it comes to repair frequency Toyota ranks no. 1, with a 0.58 CarMD Index frequency score. Toyota is followed by Acura, which ranks no. 2 on the list – down from its top ranking last year. Hyundai ranks no. 3 this year. Rounding out the top five brands least likely to need check engine light repairs are Honda and Mitsubishi.
Top 10 Vehicles Least Likely to Have a Check Engine Light On
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. Four Hondas, two Subarus, one Audi, one GMC, one Toyota and one Volvo comprise this list of 10 vehicles with the lowest check engine light-related repair frequency among the 9,130 different model year 1996 to 2018 vehicles on the road over the past year.
Top 10 Brands with Lowest Average Repair Cost
Of the 5.6 million vehicles analyzed by CarMD as needing repairs this past year, which makes cost their owners the least? CarMD found that the brand with the lowest average check engine-related repair cost this year was Mazda ($286). Last year, Mazda ranked second with an average repair cost of just under $311. Kia ($320) moved up from third to second this year. Dodge ($326) moved up from fifth to third. Hyundai dropped from first to fourth with an average cost of $328 – up 6.8 percent from $307 last year. Rounding out the top five is Chrysler, which dropped one spot. Joining this year’s list of the 10 vehicle makes with the lowest average repair costs are Honda and Toyota, debuting at no. 9 and no. 10 respectively.
Top 10 Vehicles with Lowest Average Repair Cost
When the check engine light comes on, here are the 10 vehicles with the lowest average repair cost among the 9,130 different year, make and model vehicles on the road today.
Top Three Vehicles by Category – 2018 CarMD® Vehicle Health Index Make & Vehicle Rankings & Lists
The following is a list of the top three vehicles by category using data reported from Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018, according to CarMD, which based its ranking on the vehicles with the fewest and those with the lowest cost check engine-related problems reported by or to our network:
If you’re interested in more info on the current state of vehicle health, download the PDF below. What you see on this page is only about 10% of all the info we have to offer – don’t miss the rest!