The CarMD Vehicle Health Index
CarMD is a California tech firm that specializes in telematics and automotive onboard diagnostics (OBD-II) data. In essence, OBD-II systems provide important data about the satus of the engine and other automotive components; this is the system that manages the “check engine” light in your car. In many cases, this diagnostic light indicates the need for maintenance or repairs.
Since 2011, CarMD has been tracking and compiling OBD-II data from more than four million cars driven on American roads, and its latest report focuses on the cars that are least likely to require repairs after the check engine light turns on, a welcome sign of reliability:
1 – Acura (a Honda brand)
2 – Honda
3 – Toyota
4 – Mercedes-Benz
5 – Mitsubishi
Once we get into specific models, the most reliable for 2017 included the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry. If you are shopping for used cars, you should know that the 2013 to 2015 Accord, Camry, Civic, and Corolla models are the most reliable. As for American cars, the Ford Fusion is among the least likely to require a trip to the shop for engine repairs.
The Cars Mechanics Should Hate
In 2010, the long-running Car Talk program broadcast by National Public Radio stations listed the cars that auto repair shops should theoretically dislike from a financial point of view, meaning that they rarely need major repairs. The models mentioned include the Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Honda Accord, and Ford Fusion.
As for the cars that should make mechanics happy when they arrive at the shop we find:
* Luxury models with advanced features such as adaptive cruise control.
* GMC trucks.
* Older European sports cars.
It should be noted that Car Talk is a humorous radio show that provide a lighthearted look into the world of auto maintenance and repair; the aforementioned report is based on the premise of shop managers ostensibly being upset at the fact the Honda Civic is a car that never seems to break down. On the other hand, a new customer who arrives with a 1984 Porsche 911 Turbo on a flatbed tow truck will probably be forced to spend a lot to get her car back on the road.
Most Affordable to Repair
The CarMD report also lists the cars that required the least expensive repairs after the check engine light came on:
It is not surprising to learn that South Korean models are cheaper to repair; after all, Kia and Hyundai are known for their affordable parts and their extensive network of OEM and aftermarket vendors. Chrysler models used to be considered expensive in terms of maintenance, but this particularly manufacturer has been adjusting its business strategy in recent years.
The Bottom Line of Honda and Toyota
If you are still wondering why auto shops market their Honda and Toyota repair services despite not getting too many of them, the answer is simple: these models are only as reliable as the level of maintenance they receive. Since engine repairs tend to be the most elaborate and expensive, the CarMD reliability report is in line with what auto technicians recommend.
Choosing a Toyota or Honda model will always be a smart choice, but your car will still need to be maintained by auto service technicians trained to work on those Japanese brands. There is no risk of shops going out of business because these are very popular models, but the fact remains that reliability is determined by proper maintenance.