Letโ€™s talk reliability of new cars

Letโ€™s talk reliability of new cars

Author
Discussion

Cliffe60

671 posts

2 months

Tuesday 8th June
quotequote all
The last unreliable car I had was a 1982 Fiesta Mk 1 1.1L I bought new and started to play up after about 9 months.
Coincidentally ( or probably not), it was the last car I had without electronic ignition.

ARHarh

1,265 posts

73 months

Tuesday 8th June
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TameRacingDriver said:
Cliffe60 said:
TameRacingDriver said:
The average mileage of an MX5 will probably be about a third of that of an average 320d or Passat TDi, so any problems , all things equal , will take 3x as long to show up.
To be fair I've had 2 ancient MX5s and nothing went wrong with those either, quite a few miles on both. Seriously robust little machines. I'd wager they are definitely more reliable than the average BMW (had several) or VW. Quite simply bog all to go wrong on them, and most Japanese cars tend to be more reliable on average, in my experience.
My Mk3 has had been the least reliable car I have owned for a long time. New cats in manifold and exhaust, complete brake rebuild, rear wheel bearings and a new thermostat on top of normal servicing in the 5 years I have had it. thats still pretty good, but its not faultless. Still only got 80k miles on it. Jag x type I had for the previous 5 years had a wheel bearing and a window switch, that hit 195k miles before I sold it.

Pit Pony

4,515 posts

87 months

Tuesday 8th June
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tonyg58 said:
Too big and complex = breakdown problems.

Had Aygos as town cars for 10 years now.
Total number of electrical/mechanical faults = Zero.
And had you broken down, the op would not have seen you on the motorway. He'd see you parked in a side street waiting for recovery.

There are 2 reliability facts. The more functions and features and components, the more there is to go wrong. Reliability fault trees are often smattered with OR gates.
And
The bath Tub curve is of particular relevance to electronics. It's no accident that engine control units built for her engines have a burn in process in the factory. Effectively they are run and vibrated and heat cycled to shake out the dry joints and component problems that you get in the first few 100 operating hours. This costs money to do. I don't think car makers are prepared to ask thier suppliers to do that.


Fossilthe4x4

22 posts

1 month

Tuesday 8th June
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In the last 20 years Mrs Fossil and I have owned 3 Hondas, 2 Suzukis and 1 Ford. The Honda and Suzuki fleet have collectively covered 400,000 miles with the only failure being one faulty abs sensor on one of the Hondas. The Ford had a leaking thermostat, traction control failure, trip computer failure and partial failure of the stereo.

Reliability is luck of the draw but it certainly depends on what you buy!

Mr Peel

317 posts

88 months

Tuesday 8th June
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Anyone know what percentage of breakdowns are due to running out of fuel or inability to deal with a puncture? Always imagined these explain a lot.

Baldchap

4,300 posts

58 months

Tuesday 8th June
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Our old PubKa (rusty 2008 Ka) was very reliable up to retirement due to corrosion. Our new PubKa (remarkably clean 2005 C4) needs something at least once a month.

The newer cars have all been just servicing.

Age and usage patterns are a big factor on stuff breaking, even if mileage isn't particularly high.

GroundZero

901 posts

20 months

Tuesday 8th June
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OP- I suspect there are a few factors adding to the issue.
(1) Many people these days just rent cars on finance packages, they don't own them, so its reasonable to say that more people therefore have little care about keeping the car in good condition if they plan to only keep the car until the end of a finance period, typically 3 years or so. With little attention to maintenance, even tyre condition, hoping that this can be passed on to the next 'owner', then even 'new' cars can end up on the road side.

(2) "Planned obsolescence" - an 'engineered' aspect of manufacturing products that are designed to fail once the manufacturer's warranty period expires. Low build quality to expect customers to keep buying new cars when they perceive their existing 'new' car to becoming old.
Build things out of cheap plastic instead of durable metal and hey presto, you have a product that is guaranteed to fail. the 'engineering' aspect comes down to trying to get that part to fail so that the customer picks up the bill.

(3) Over-complexity - the 'fashion' or 'life-style' aspect that manufacturers keep putting in to cars. With a 'fashion' trend to move everything to digital, often just for the sake of digitalizing something, it creates a more complex environment to maintain. Simple things that could be done by the casual untrained home mechanic now become something that requires a computer with expensive software to sort out. Often with digital systems, once one issue starts it can cascade in to numerous others in a very random way which can catch out motorists leaving them stranded with no easy fix without being in a garage.

e-honda

6,972 posts

112 months

Tuesday 8th June
quotequote all
I don't have any figures but I would expect there to be a disproportionate number of brake downs in the first year of a cars life.

I also think breakdown is a bit subjective these days.
If you've got a brand new £30-40-50k 2 ton car with all the latest safety features and a red engine warning light comes on you might be more inclined to pull over on the hard shoulder and seek help rather than risk engine damage than you would be in a £15k hatchback that's already several years old.

MuscleSedan

1,172 posts

141 months

Tuesday 8th June
quotequote all
Mr Peel said:
Anyone know what percentage of breakdowns are due to running out of fuel or inability to deal with a puncture? Always imagined these explain a lot.
I've thought this for a long time. I reckon half of the 'breakdowns' that occur are down to stuff like this. I was chatting to a rep who worked for the same company that my wife used to, the job involves travel all over the country. She asked me 'how far can I drive once the car tells me 0 miles'. She regularly just carried on on the motorway for another however many miles once the car showed empty !

A.J.M

7,053 posts

152 months

Tuesday 8th June
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My new job sees me doing a lot more driving in company vans.
100 mile round trip to work and back is average.

I will pass at least one car with a puncture on the trip.

The road conditions can be awful but so is the general standard of driving.
People just clatter over the potholes and not try to avoid them.

Mostly German made cars at the side of the road.
Occasionally a Fiat and a French maker car.

Not sure if it’s due to higher temperatures, cars been sitting about for a while with lack of use for some of the breakdowns.


I’ve only seen one person attempting to change the tyre themselves. The rest are up on the embankment staring at their phones.

J4CKO

33,870 posts

166 months

Tuesday 8th June
quotequote all
tonyg58 said:
Too big and complex = breakdown problems.

Had Aygos as town cars for 10 years now.
Total number of electrical/mechanical faults = Zero.
They are motorised cockroaches, we had a C1 which is the same thing for seven years and all that went wrong was the indicator stalk, which cost me £50 and an hour or so to change.

spreadsheet monkey

3,997 posts

193 months

Tuesday 8th June
quotequote all
A.J.M said:
I’ve only seen one person attempting to change the tyre themselves. The rest are up on the embankment staring at their phones.
In fairness, a lot of modern cars don't have a spare. BMW was putting run-flat tyres on the E90 3-series 15 years ago, now many other manufacturers do the same.

Regardless of whether or not you have a spare, the advice from the AA and police is not to attempt to change a tyre on a motorway hard shoulder - you should get the car recovered to a safer place.

e-honda

6,972 posts

112 months

Tuesday 8th June
quotequote all
I suspect age is a factor in flat tyres too, if you've got an expensive car your tyre light comes on you might be more inclined to stop rather than limp on to the nearest services or exit.

ScoobyChris

959 posts

168 months

Tuesday 8th June
quotequote all
One of the reasons, I'd imagine is more new cars not having a spare wheel so a puncture is bad news and may require a recovery truck.

(EDIT: note to self, don't spend 20 minutes typing up a post biggrin)

Chris

JmatthewB

228 posts

88 months

Tuesday 8th June
quotequote all
spreadsheet monkey said:
In fairness, a lot of modern cars don't have a spare. BMW was putting run-flat tyres on the E90 3-series 15 years ago, now many other manufacturers do the same.

Regardless of whether or not you have a spare, the advice from the AA and police is not to attempt to change a tyre on a motorway hard shoulder - you should get the car recovered to a safer place.
I was just going to say that. I've changed a few tyres but it's always been on a quiet residential road or car park, thankfully I've never had one on the side of the motorway. I'm not sure I'd fancy changing a tyre with lorries hurtling past.

thecremeegg

1,603 posts

169 months

Tuesday 8th June
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I have had a 2019 C300 Coupe from new, it's not broken down once! Therefore, new cars are reliable, thanks

Smint

38 posts

1 month

Tuesday 8th June
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I think reliability of all cars rests to a large extent on the good common sense and mechanical sympathy of the owner, caring owners go for years with supposedly troublesome cars without any trouble at all, and others for whom preventative maintenance doesn't compute get regular problems, might help if the latter crew learned how to raise the bonnet and what to look for and check.

If you thrash the living daylights out of it from cold, are rough with the gears (yes this can apply top autos as well) hard on the brakes drop low profile tyres into every pot hole they can find plus scrape the tyres and wheels along and up kerbs, plus the other assorted abuse we see every day and can't hear any odd noises because the bleedin sound system is on full permablast then it stands to reason that cars treated badly will suffer more problems, typically wheel/tyre issues and so many newer cars come with a tub of goo and a toy pump instead of the most basic requirement, a real spare wheel even if its only wheelbarrow sized.

Then you have the clueless who haven't the foggiest how to change a wheel even if they have a spare and arn't terrified, plus if the wheels haven't been off for some time because almost no one these days (especially main dealers) has the foggiest idea why or how to service brakes correctly, then the chances are the alloy has corroded itself to the hub spigot anyway and needed a clout with a lump hammer to shift it.

Edited by Smint on Tuesday 8th June 11:06

nickfrog

14,406 posts

183 months

Tuesday 8th June
quotequote all
LamedonM said:
_Hoppers said:
Driver101 said:
It's extremely rare to see a modern car breaking down on the motorway. To manage to establish which brands breakdown more is an amazing feat.
Confirmation bias by the OP?
Definitely Yes
+1

spreadsheet monkey

3,997 posts

193 months

Tuesday 8th June
quotequote all
vikingaero said:
I remember returning from a holiday in Cornwall and counting 8 VW T2's at the side of the road being repaired, in Little Chef car parks awaiting recovery or on the back of trucks.Unreliable and old certainly, but maybe a propensity for them to head to the South West.
There were two separate VW T2 van fires in the westcountry last bank holiday weekend. Both caused significant traffic delays.

https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/...

https://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2021-06-01/ho...

dan98

386 posts

79 months

Tuesday 8th June
quotequote all
nickfrog said:
LamedonM said:
_Hoppers said:
Driver101 said:
It's extremely rare to see a modern car breaking down on the motorway. To manage to establish which brands breakdown more is an amazing feat.
Confirmation bias by the OP?
Definitely Yes
+1
Cue BMW owners lining up in a row to claim confirmation bias rolleyes

It is surprising to see how many of these you see stranded.. 3 on a recent 2 hour journey, and all practically brand new.
After that I'd say it was Renault as the most-spotted.

Whereas back in the day you'd expect clusters of breakdowns around the usual hotspots (steep inclines or lanes merging after a long stretch), these days it seems much more random.

Edited by dan98 on Tuesday 8th June 11:45