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 72,175 problems reported, while cars produced in 2016 (the current year is excluded) have the least problems, with 6,060 problems reported.

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

Model Year Number of Problems
  1996 vehicles
38441
  1997 vehicles
39696
  1998 vehicles
44369
  1999 vehicles
52940
  2000 vehicles
58043
  2001 vehicles
52281
  2002 vehicles
58384
  2003 vehicles
58162
  2004 vehicles
63432
  2005 vehicles
72175
  2006 vehicles
71463
  2007 vehicles
66746
  2008 vehicles
58740
  2009 vehicles
37214
  2010 vehicles
41298
  2011 vehicles
37944
  2012 vehicles
30396
  2013 vehicles
27847
  2014 vehicles
19097
  2015 vehicles
12265
  2016 vehicles
6060
  2017 vehicles
1297

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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
920
  2016 vehicles
4005
  2015 vehicles
5498
  2014 vehicles
6363
  2013 vehicles
6133
  2012 vehicles
3991
  2011 vehicles
4202
  2010 vehicles
5372
  2009 vehicles
3088
  2008 vehicles
3651
  2007 vehicles
5078
  2006 vehicles
4625
  2005 vehicles
5077
  2004 vehicles
6446
  2003 vehicles
5681
  2002 vehicles
5149
  2001 vehicles
5047
  2000 vehicles
6192
  1999 vehicles
5633
  1998 vehicles
5267
  1997 vehicles
3002
  1996 vehicles
4683

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 111,135 problems reported. The second most common car problem is the electrical system problem, with 110,132 problems reported.

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

Problem Category Number of Problems
  Engine And Engine Cooling
111135
  Electrical System
110132
  Power Train
97082
  Air Bag
85410
  Service Brakes
82531
  Steering
64625
  Structure
45057
  Suspension
44350
  Vehicle Speed Control
43696
  Equipment
43685
  Visibility
33855
  Exterior Lighting
29693
  Gasoline Fuel System
28095
  Other Fuel System
27555
  Tire
22796
  Seat Belt
14507
  Seats
13433
  Unknown Or Other
10920
  Latches/locks/linkage
10868
  Wheel
10622
  Electronic Stability Control
10345
  Parking Brake
2529
  Air Brake
2222
  Diesel Fuel System
1401
  Traction Control System
1289
  Interior Lighting
1180
  Child Seat
811
  Hybrid Propulsion System
128
  Forward Collision Avoidance
58
  Back Over Prevention
25
  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