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 72,619 problems reported, while cars produced in 2016 (the current year is excluded) have the least problems, with 6,823 problems reported.

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

Model Year Number of Problems
  1996 vehicles
38457
  1997 vehicles
39716
  1998 vehicles
44408
  1999 vehicles
53005
  2000 vehicles
58143
  2001 vehicles
52406
  2002 vehicles
58583
  2003 vehicles
58441
  2004 vehicles
63789
  2005 vehicles
72619
  2006 vehicles
72079
  2007 vehicles
67609
  2008 vehicles
59726
  2009 vehicles
38023
  2010 vehicles
42300
  2011 vehicles
39231
  2012 vehicles
31753
  2013 vehicles
29151
  2014 vehicles
20200
  2015 vehicles
13178
  2016 vehicles
6823
  2017 vehicles
1899

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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
1499
  2016 vehicles
4122
  2015 vehicles
5590
  2014 vehicles
6414
  2013 vehicles
6153
  2012 vehicles
4001
  2011 vehicles
4213
  2010 vehicles
5379
  2009 vehicles
3093
  2008 vehicles
3657
  2007 vehicles
5085
  2006 vehicles
4626
  2005 vehicles
5083
  2004 vehicles
6450
  2003 vehicles
5683
  2002 vehicles
5150
  2001 vehicles
5048
  2000 vehicles
6200
  1999 vehicles
5633
  1998 vehicles
5268
  1997 vehicles
3003
  1996 vehicles
4685

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 112,654 problems reported. The second most common car problem is the electrical system problem, with 111,591 problems reported.

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

Problem Category Number of Problems
  Engine And Engine Cooling
112654
  Electrical System
111591
  Power Train
98140
  Air Bag
87813
  Service Brakes
83278
  Steering
65515
  Structure
45688
  Equipment
45176
  Suspension
44695
  Vehicle Speed Control
44077
  Visibility
34081
  Exterior Lighting
30022
  Other Fuel System
28250
  Gasoline Fuel System
28101
  Tire
22840
  Seat Belt
14751
  Seats
13579
  Unknown Or Other
10920
  Latches/locks/linkage
10911
  Wheel
10804
  Electronic Stability Control
10741
  Parking Brake
2539
  Air Brake
2223
  Diesel Fuel System
1401
  Traction Control System
1302
  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