All Cars - Problems, Statistics, and Analysis

Each year, American car owners file thousands of complaints about their car problems to the U.S. Department of Transportation [1]. Table 1 shows the number of problems reported for vehicles manufactured from 1996 to 2017. Cars made in the year 2005 have the most problems, with 72,439 problems reported, while cars produced in 2016 (the current year is excluded) have the least problems, with 6,503 problems reported.

Table 1. Number of problems reported for all vehicles made from 1996 to 2017

Model Year Number of Problems
  1996 vehicles
38448
  1997 vehicles
39710
  1998 vehicles
44395
  1999 vehicles
52968
  2000 vehicles
58097
  2001 vehicles
52351
  2002 vehicles
58503
  2003 vehicles
58320
  2004 vehicles
63639
  2005 vehicles
72439
  2006 vehicles
71798
  2007 vehicles
67174
  2008 vehicles
59312
  2009 vehicles
37661
  2010 vehicles
41867
  2011 vehicles
38628
  2012 vehicles
31139
  2013 vehicles
28574
  2014 vehicles
19749
  2015 vehicles
12783
  2016 vehicles
6503
  2017 vehicles
1624

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From the above chart, one might conclude that the quality of cars in general has improved greatly since 1996. This is actually misleading. The fact is that the 2005 model cars have been on the road for 11 years while the 2016 model cars are still fresh from the factory. Table 2 gives a better picture of car quality. It shows the problems reported in a car�s first year of service. One can see that the quality of cars has been fairly constant over the years. The exceptions are years 2008 and 2009, when the global economy slowed down, causing new car sales to plummet, so few problems were reported.

Table 2. Number of problems reported during the vehicle's first year in service

Model Year Number of Problems
  2017 vehicles
1233
  2016 vehicles
4078
  2015 vehicles
5557
  2014 vehicles
6402
  2013 vehicles
6145
  2012 vehicles
3995
  2011 vehicles
4207
  2010 vehicles
5376
  2009 vehicles
3091
  2008 vehicles
3655
  2007 vehicles
5083
  2006 vehicles
4626
  2005 vehicles
5083
  2004 vehicles
6447
  2003 vehicles
5683
  2002 vehicles
5149
  2001 vehicles
5048
  2000 vehicles
6196
  1999 vehicles
5633
  1998 vehicles
5268
  1997 vehicles
3003
  1996 vehicles
4684

The following chart illustrates the most common problems reported for all car makes and models in our database since 1996. The most common car problem involves the vehicle's engine and engine cooling with 111,966 problems reported. The second most common car problem is the electrical system problem, with 110,944 problems reported.

Table 3. Common car problems (all car make & models)

Problem Category Number of Problems
  Engine And Engine Cooling
111966
  Electrical System
110944
  Power Train
97669
  Air Bag
86743
  Service Brakes
82943
  Steering
65117
  Structure
45383
  Equipment
44599
  Suspension
44541
  Vehicle Speed Control
43896
  Visibility
33979
  Exterior Lighting
29870
  Gasoline Fuel System
28099
  Other Fuel System
27938
  Tire
22823
  Seat Belt
14653
  Seats
13517
  Unknown Or Other
10920
  Latches/locks/linkage
10896
  Wheel
10722
  Electronic Stability Control
10551
  Parking Brake
2534
  Air Brake
2223
  Diesel Fuel System
1401
  Traction Control System
1299
  Interior Lighting
1180
  Child Seat
811
  Hybrid Propulsion System
128
  Forward Collision Avoidance
59
  Back Over Prevention
28
  Lane Departure
12
  Air Bag
1

Table 4. Browse car problems by brand:

Acura       Audi       BMW       Buick       Cadillac       Chevrolet       Chrysler       Dodge       Ferrari       Ford       GEO       GMC       Honda       Hyundai       Infiniti       International       Jaguar       Jeep       Kia Motor       Land Rover       Lexus       Lincoln       Lotus       Mazda       Mercedes Benz       Mercury       Mini       Mitsubishi       Nissan       Oldsmobile       Plymouth       Porsche       SAAB       Saturn       Smart       Subaru       Suzuki       Toyota       Volkswagen       Volvo