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 72,859 problems reported, while cars produced in 2016 (the current year is excluded) have the least problems, with 7,195 problems reported.

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

Model Year Number of Problems
  1996 vehicles
38469
  1997 vehicles
39725
  1998 vehicles
44435
  1999 vehicles
53054
  2000 vehicles
58194
  2001 vehicles
52472
  2002 vehicles
58688
  2003 vehicles
58588
  2004 vehicles
63982
  2005 vehicles
72859
  2006 vehicles
72361
  2007 vehicles
68079
  2008 vehicles
60210
  2009 vehicles
38448
  2010 vehicles
42828
  2011 vehicles
39890
  2012 vehicles
32409
  2013 vehicles
29787
  2014 vehicles
20674
  2015 vehicles
13651
  2016 vehicles
7195
  2017 vehicles
2201

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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
1798
  2016 vehicles
4155
  2015 vehicles
5613
  2014 vehicles
6423
  2013 vehicles
6159
  2012 vehicles
4003
  2011 vehicles
4222
  2010 vehicles
5383
  2009 vehicles
3096
  2008 vehicles
3663
  2007 vehicles
5086
  2006 vehicles
4629
  2005 vehicles
5084
  2004 vehicles
6451
  2003 vehicles
5683
  2002 vehicles
5150
  2001 vehicles
5050
  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 113,422 problems reported. The second most common car problem is the electrical system problem, with 112,344 problems reported.

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

Problem Category Number of Problems
  Engine And Engine Cooling
113422
  Electrical System
112344
  Power Train
98665
  Air Bag
89054
  Service Brakes
83666
  Steering
66041
  Structure
46011
  Equipment
45872
  Suspension
44846
  Vehicle Speed Control
44258
  Visibility
34199
  Exterior Lighting
30197
  Other Fuel System
28608
  Gasoline Fuel System
28107
  Tire
22863
  Seat Belt
14851
  Seats
13623
  Electronic Stability Control
10937
  Latches/locks/linkage
10927
  Unknown Or Other
10920
  Wheel
10899
  Parking Brake
2546
  Air Brake
2223
  Diesel Fuel System
1401
  Traction Control System
1305
  Interior Lighting
1180
  Child Seat
811
  Hybrid Propulsion System
129
  Forward Collision Avoidance
60
  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