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Which car is most reliable? Reliability Resources

How to find the most reliable, best-quality vehicles

By Bill Roebuck

Car and Truck Reliability Ratings: One of the most often asked questions we get at CarTest.ca is about vehicle reliability. It's a fact that many automotive reviewers are criticized for not including reliability information in their reports. However, with new vehicles, that's impossible, as the models haven't been tested over thousands of miles on the road. There are some key resources we at CarTest.ca use for reliability ratings of older vehicles, though.

The most commonly known is Consumer Reports. The annual car edition, issued every April (look for it on the newsstands in early March as it sells out quickly), is the industry standard. A subscription is required to view the full reports online. Find how to order it at www.consumerreports.org.

Another useful and reliable resource is J.D. Power & Associates, which surveys the impressions of vehicle owners at various time periods after a vehicle acquisition. Link here for details and to see the reports.

Also read the latest J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) of the most reliable vehicles over the past three years (June 29, 2005).

Another useful resource is Strategic Vision's studies, including its Total Value Awards and Total Quality Awards. The results can be found at www.strategicvision.com. Its Total Value Index measures new owner's sense of value in their vehicles by factoring all economic issues (including purchase/lease incentives) against the quality of the ownership experience.

We also can recommend Auto On Info, an oddly named and graphically challenged site that has a wealth of excellent data compiled by the webmaster, as well as many links to reliability data for automobiles. The author, who is not named on the site, deserves much credit for the effort put into compiling dozens of charts and tables that visually display comparative reliability data. If you only want to visit one site for reliability data, try this one first. The Reliability Menu page on Auto On Info provides annotated links to several measures of reliability, including the Reliability Index Values and Averages, the Reliability Percent ranks, the Reliability Grades - High Standards, the Reliability Grades - Exacting Standards, and Reliability Scores. There's much more other information on the site that is of interest as well.

Phil Edmonston's Lemon-Aid Car Guides website is updated monthly and provides data on the best and worst buys in vehicles available in Canada.

For comprehensive Canadian data, the Canadian Automobile Association's used to offer AutoPinion and CAA Annual Vehicle Ownership Survey Results at www.caa.ca. Unfortunately, CAA recently eliminated its surveys and has removed the archived information from its website, making the Lemon-Aid guide the only popular resource with Canadian vehicle reliability results.

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