Published by CarMD, December 2020
The 2020 CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ Make and Model Reliability Rankings studies and ranks in-use vehicles and brands based on frequency of check engine light 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
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 15.5 million in-use vehicles manufactured from 1996 to 2020 reporting check engine health between Oct. 1, 2019 and Sept. 30, 2020.
CarMD® 2020 Vehicle Health Index™ Make & Model Rankings Highlights
CarMD found that over the past year, Mitsubishi ranked no. 1 as the brand least likely to have a check engine light on. Mitsubishi is followed by Mercedes (no. 2) and Volkswagen (no. 3).
The 2018 Toyota Tacoma is the vehicle least likely to have a check engine light on among the 10,145 different model year 1996 to 2020 vehicles analyzed by CarMD in 2020.
The vehicle brand with the lowest average repair cost for CHECK ENGINE problems in 2020? Kia, which had an average parts & labor estimate of $322.
The 2018 Hyundai Tucson had the lowest average car repair cost.
10 Makes Least Likely to Have a Check Engine Light On
CarMD studied data from more than15.5 million vehicles from many sources to help identify the makes/brands least likely to need check engine repairs. To rank these brands, CarMD developed an Index frequency score formulated by the lowest percentage of repair incidents per percentage of vehicle population. The lower the score the higher the vehicle make ranking. From this data, CarMD found the following brands were least likely to need a check engine repair over the past year:
10 Vehicles Least Likely to Have a Check Engine Light On
Any given brand can have a mix of very reliable vehicles as well as some that are inherently known to have more frequent issues. And vehicle reliability can vary from year to year, particularly when a substantial model change occurs. For this reason, our Index drills down to rank vehicles by year, make and model. Four Toyotas, three Hondas, one Hyundai, one Ford and one Nissan comprise this list of 10 vehicles with the lowest check engine light-related repair frequency among the 10,145 different model year 1996 to 2020 vehicles on the road over the past year.
10 Brands with Lowest Average Repair Cost
Of the 19.5 million unique vehicles analyzed by CarMD as needing repairs this past year, which brands cost their owners the least? CarMD found that the brand with the lowest average check engine-related repair cost again this year was Kia ($322). Ranking second is Chrysler ($332), moving up from fourth. Mazda ($339) dropped a spot from second to third. Hyundai dropped from third to fourth with an average cost of $352. Rounding out the top five Dodge, which remains in fifth. Joining this year’s list of the 10 vehicle makes with the lowest average repair costs is Jeep, which was not listed in the top 10 last year.
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 10,145 different year, make and model vehicles on the road today.
Top Three Vehicles by Category – 2020 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, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2020, according to CarMD, which based its ranking on the used 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!