5. 4-Cylinder Engines Lead to Dependability Drop in 3-Year-Old Vehicles

J.D. Power Press Release

Spead Read:

A ris­ing num­ber of small­er, more pow­er­ful but trou­ble­some four-cylin­der engines led to the first decline in vehi­cle depend­abil­i­ty in 15 years, accord­ing to J.D. Pow­er & Asso­ciates’ U.S. Vehi­cle Depend­abil­i­ty Study.

J.D. Pow­er mea­sures over­all vehi­cle depend­abil­i­ty by deter­min­ing the num­ber of prob­lems cus­tomers expe­ri­ence per 100 vehi­cles dur­ing the first three years of own­er­ship.

Drill-Down Details:

  • Prob­lems  jumped to 133  this year from 126 in last year’s study.
  •  This year’s study queried about 41,000 cus­tomers in late 2013 who have vehi­cles from the 2011 mod­el year.
  • Depend­abil­i­ty is a major deter­min­ing fac­tor for con­sumers when con­sid­er­ing their next vehi­cle pur­chase.
  • About 56 per­cent of own­ers who report no prob­lems with a vehi­cle with­in the first three years will stick with that brand
  • Near­ly one in four con­sumers will avoid brands that rank in the bot­tom fourth of the J.D. Pow­er study.
  • The rise in com­plaints was led most­ly by engine and trans­mis­sion prob­lems.
  • The rate of prob­lems declined in areas like brakes, tire pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing, paint qual­i­ty and water leaks.
  • Automak­ers are quick­ly swap­ping out many V-6 engines for four-cylin­ders in a race to meet fed­er­al fuel effi­cien­cy stan­dards.
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