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 73,424 problems reported, while cars produced in 2016 (the current year is excluded) have the least problems, with 7,779 problems reported.

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

Model Year Number of Problems
  1996 vehicles
38478
  1997 vehicles
39743
  1998 vehicles
44472
  1999 vehicles
53120
  2000 vehicles
58266
  2001 vehicles
52618
  2002 vehicles
58877
  2003 vehicles
58885
  2004 vehicles
64316
  2005 vehicles
73424
  2006 vehicles
73163
  2007 vehicles
69740
  2008 vehicles
62120
  2009 vehicles
39541
  2010 vehicles
44122
  2011 vehicles
41275
  2012 vehicles
33815
  2013 vehicles
30937
  2014 vehicles
21624
  2015 vehicles
14423
  2016 vehicles
7779
  2017 vehicles
2874

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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
2447
  2016 vehicles
4239
  2015 vehicles
5656
  2014 vehicles
6438
  2013 vehicles
6171
  2012 vehicles
4018
  2011 vehicles
4236
  2010 vehicles
5404
  2009 vehicles
3106
  2008 vehicles
3679
  2007 vehicles
5110
  2006 vehicles
4642
  2005 vehicles
5087
  2004 vehicles
6453
  2003 vehicles
5687
  2002 vehicles
5153
  2001 vehicles
5051
  2000 vehicles
6200
  1999 vehicles
5634
  1998 vehicles
5268
  1997 vehicles
3003
  1996 vehicles
4687

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 114,685 problems reported. The second most common car problem is the electrical system problem, with 113,613 problems reported.

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

Problem Category Number of Problems
  Engine And Engine Cooling
114685
  Electrical System
113613
  Power Train
99506
  Air Bag
95056
  Service Brakes
84355
  Steering
66936
  Equipment
47146
  Structure
46579
  Suspension
45111
  Vehicle Speed Control
44571
  Visibility
34445
  Exterior Lighting
30588
  Other Fuel System
29216
  Gasoline Fuel System
28115
  Tire
22895
  Seat Belt
15062
  Seats
13751
  Electronic Stability Control
11279
  Wheel
11029
  Latches/locks/linkage
10952
  Unknown Or Other
10920
  Parking Brake
2550
  Air Brake
2223
  Diesel Fuel System
1401
  Traction Control System
1308
  Interior Lighting
1180
  Child Seat
811
  Hybrid Propulsion System
129
  Forward Collision Avoidance
60
  Back Over Prevention
29
  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