Car Reliability Ratings: A Comprehensive Guide For Car Shoppers

When it comes to buying a car, reliability is key. After all, no one wants to spend their hard-earned money on a car that will break down or require costly repairs soon after purchase. That’s where car reliability ratings come in. By assessing factors like maintenance costs, frequency of repairs, and overall dependability, car reliability ratings provide valuable insights into the most reliable cars on the market. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about car reliability ratings, so you can make an informed choice when it comes to your next car purchase.

car reliability rating 1

What Are Car Reliability Ratings?

Car reliability ratings are a measure of how likely a particular make and model of a car is to have problems or breakdowns. These ratings are determined by analyzing data from surveys of car owners and mechanics, as well as from reports of problems and recalls from car manufacturers.

Car reliability ratings are an important tool for car buyers, as they can help make sure you buy the most reliable family car within your budget.

Reliability ratings typically use a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10, with higher numbers indicating better reliability.

Ratings can be broken down by make and model, as well as by specific components of the car, such as the engine, transmission, or electrical system. Some ratings also consider the car’s age and mileage, as cars with a lot of miles generally have more problems.

Car reliability ratings can be found from a variety of sources, including car magazines, consumer organizations, and government agencies.

Some of the most well-known sources of reliability ratings include Consumer Reports, J.D. Power and Associates, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

car reliability rating 1 1

When comparing car reliability ratings, it’s important to keep in mind that different sources may use different methods for collecting and analyzing data.

Additionally, some ratings may be based on a small sample size or may not take into account all factors that can affect a car’s reliability.

Keep in mind, too, used cars can be extremely reliable, too, if you find the right one. Check out our article on ways to save money buying a used car to get a great car and a great deal.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to consult multiple sources and consider other factors, such as the car’s maintenance history and warranty, before making a purchase.

Make and ModelReliability Rating (out of 10)
Toyota Camry9.0
Honda Civic8.5
Ford Focus6.5
Chevrolet Malibu5.0

If you’re willing to go the used-route, you can find a one of the above reliable used cars for cheap.

How Are Car Reliability Ratings Determined?

Car reliability ratings are determined by analyzing data collected from various sources, including consumer surveys, repair records, and safety reports. The data is then compiled and analyzed by experts in the automotive industry to determine the overall reliability of a particular make and model of vehicle.

One of the primary sources of data used to determine car reliability ratings is consumer surveys.

These surveys ask car owners about the problems they have experienced with their vehicles, including the frequency and severity of those problems. The results of these surveys are then used to create a reliability score for each make and model of vehicle.

Therefore, when shopping for a used car, check out the reliability score and find used car models with high reliability scores.

car reliability rating 2

Another important source of data used to determine car reliability ratings is repair records.

These records are collected from dealerships and repair shops and provide information about the types of repairs that are commonly needed for each make and model of vehicle. This information is then used to determine the likelihood of a particular vehicle needing repairs in the future.

In addition to consumer surveys and repair records, safety reports are also used to determine car reliability ratings.

Safety reports provide information about the safety features of each make and model of vehicle, as well as any safety issues that have been reported for that vehicle. This information is then used to determine the overall safety and reliability of each vehicle.

Make and ModelReliability Score
Toyota Corolla9.0
Honda Civic8.5
Ford Fusion7.5
Chevrolet Malibu6.5

Overall, car reliability ratings provide valuable information to car buyers who want to make an informed decision about the vehicle they purchase.

By analyzing data from a variety of sources, experts in the automotive industry are able to provide accurate and reliable information about the safety and reliability of each make and model of vehicle.

Top Car Reliability Ratings for 2023

When it comes to purchasing a new car, reliability is often at the top of the list of buyer priorities. A reliable car can provide peace of mind and save money in the long run. Here are the top car reliability ratings for 2023:

Make and ModelReliability Rating
Toyota Camry4.5/5
Subaru Outback4.4/5
Lexus ES4.4/5
Toyota Prius4.3/5
Mazda CX-54.3/5

According to Consumer Reports, the Toyota Camry is the most reliable car for 2023 with a rating of 4.5 out of 5. The Camry has consistently ranked high in reliability ratings for many years. The Subaru Outback and Lexus ES tie for second place with a rating of 4.4 out of 5. Both cars are known for their durability and longevity.

The Toyota Prius and Mazda CX-5 round out the top five with ratings of 4.3 out of 5. The Prius is a well-known fuel-efficient car and low maintenance costs, while the CX-5 is praised for its handling and safety features.

It’s important to note that while these cars have high reliability ratings, it’s still important to perform regular maintenance and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. This can help ensure the longevity and reliability of your car for years to come.

Factors That Affect Car Reliability

car reliability rating 3

When it comes to car reliability, there are several factors that can affect the performance and durability of a vehicle. These factors include:

  • Manufacturer and Model: Some car manufacturers have a reputation for producing more reliable vehicles than others. Additionally, certain models within a manufacturer’s lineup may be more reliable than others.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations, can help prevent breakdowns and extend the life of a car.
  • Driving Conditions: Extreme weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, can take a toll on a car’s performance and reliability. Similarly, driving on rough roads or in heavy traffic can put additional stress on a vehicle.
  • Age and Mileage: As a car gets older and accumulates more miles, it is more likely to experience mechanical problems and breakdowns.
  • Quality of Parts: The quality of the parts used to build a car can also affect its reliability. Higher-quality parts are generally more durable and less likely to fail.

It’s important to keep these factors in mind when shopping for a car, as they can have a significant impact on the vehicle’s reliability over time.

When comparing car models, it’s also helpful to look at reliability ratings and reviews from reputable sources. Organizations such as Consumer Reports and J.D. Power publish annual reliability ratings based on surveys of car owners, which can provide valuable insight into a vehicle’s long-term durability.

ManufacturerModelReliability Rating (out of 10)

As shown in the table above, some car models have higher reliability ratings than others. However, it’s important to note that these ratings are based on statistical data and may not necessarily reflect the experience of every individual car owner.

Tips for Maintaining Your Car’s Reliability

Maintaining your car’s reliability is essential to ensure that it runs smoothly and efficiently. Here are some tips to help you keep your car in top condition:

  • Regularly change your oil and oil filter. This will help prevent engine damage and extend the life of your car.
  • Check your tire pressure regularly. Underinflated tires can cause poor gas mileage and increase the risk of a blowout.
  • Replace your air filter regularly. A dirty air filter can reduce fuel efficiency and cause engine problems.
  • Follow your car’s recommended maintenance schedule. This will help prevent major problems and keep your car running smoothly.
  • Keep your car clean. Regular washing and waxing can help prevent rust and other damage.
  • Drive carefully. Aggressive driving can cause excessive wear and tear on your car.

By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your car stays reliable and runs smoothly for years to come. Many of these are covered by warranty if you bring your car to the dealership. Even your used car warranty may cover some of these general mainetance and repairs:

Maintenance TaskFrequency
Oil and oil filter changeEvery 3,000 to 5,000 miles
Tire pressure checkAt least once a month
Air filter replacementEvery 12,000 to 15,000 miles
Brake inspectionEvery 12,000 to 15,000 miles
Transmission fluid checkEvery 30,000 to 60,000 miles
Coolant flushEvery 30,000 to 50,000 miles


In conclusion, car reliability ratings are an important factor to consider when purchasing a vehicle. They provide valuable insight into the potential issues a car may have, as well as the likelihood of those issues occurring.

By consulting reliable sources such as Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, and RepairPal, car buyers can make informed decisions about which vehicles are likely to provide the most trouble-free driving experience.

It’s important to keep in mind that no car is perfect, and all vehicles will require some degree of maintenance and repair over time. However, by choosing a car with a high reliability rating, buyers can minimize the risk of unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs.

When comparing car reliability ratings, it’s important to consider factors such as the age and mileage of the vehicles being rated, as well as the specific model and trim level.

Additionally, it’s important to take into account the individual needs and preferences of the buyer, such as fuel efficiency, safety features, and overall driving experience.

Make and ModelReliability Rating (out of 10)
Toyota Camry9.0
Honda Civic8.5
Subaru Outback8.0
Ford Escape7.5

Overall, car reliability ratings are a useful tool for car buyers looking to make informed decisions about their next vehicle purchase. By doing research and considering a variety of factors, buyers can find a car that meets their needs and provides a reliable and enjoyable driving experience.