J.D. Power recently announced its 2017 Vehicle Reliability Study for three-year-old vehicles.
While most of us perceive cars continuing to be ever more reliable, the study says otherwise, and that the industry average of 156 problems per 100 vehicles is an increase of 4 problems per 100 vehicles over last year.
The problem, as we see it, is how you define a problem as opposed to an annoyance.
It’s time to use a little of that skepticism again.
It’s a real problem if a car won’t start, doesn’t run smoothly, shift properly, or the brakes squeal or pulsate.
Other real problems are if systems—wipers, cruise control, climate control—don’t function properly.
Minor squeaks, voice control that doesn’t work, tire issues, and an owner who can’t or won’t take the time to learn the infotainment/navigation system rank as annoyances.
Porsche and Lexus tied atop the ratings with 110 problems per 100 vehicles. It was the sixth straight year Lexus was atop the list. Toyota (third), and Buick, Mercedes-Benz rounded out the top 5, followed by Hyundai.
Even J.D. Power says to take the ratings with a bit of analysis, saying: “Drill deeper into the study to determine where problems [in a particular vehicle] are more likely to be reported.”
It also advised to “look for vehicles that have long, consistent records of few problems, but also consider badges that show dramatic improvement from prior studies.”
Bill Griffith can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrAutoWriter.