Preventive maintenance is the secret to automotive happiness. Failing that, it helps to own a car with low maintenance costs. A new list provided by CarMD provides some excellent guidance into the 10 best cars for repair costs.
It’s part of CarMD’s annual manufacturer and vehicle reliability rankings. It measures the top 10 manufacturers, top 100 vehicles, top 3 vehicles by vehicle category, and common repairs by vehicle make. This year’s Vehicle Health Index™ is based on more than 251,000 repairs recommended for model year 1996 to 2015 vehicles in the United States from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015.
“Unlike other industry reports and rankings that rely on subjective survey data, CarMD’s Index is the only annual ranking that bases its findings on actual in-use vehicle failures and associated car repair costs,” said Ieon C. Chen, CEO, CarMD, in a news release. “Car maintenance and repairs are a fact of life, but this data can be used in tandem with other tools and information to help car shoppers make informed decisions about the vehicles they are considering.”
CarMD has compiled and maintains the industry’s most comprehensive database of check-engine-light-related problems and repairs. The database is procured from the company’s nationwide network of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-certified technicians, who recommend, validate, and upload repairs and costs to the database on a daily basis for 1996 vehicles to present.
Here are the top 10 vehicles when it comes to repair costs and maintenance, followed by their score. The score, according to CarMD, is determined based on the manufacturers whose vehicles had the fewest number of CarMD repair incidents combined with the lowest cost per repair, per number of registered vehicles on the road.
- 2015 Toyota Corolla: 0.013
- 2013 Lexus ES: 0.013
- 2014 Toyota Prius: 0.016
- 2013 Toyota Avalon: 0.016
- 2013 Honda Fit: 0.016
- 2014 Volkswagen Passat: 0.017
- 2014 Hyundai Sonata: 0.017
- 2014 Ford Edge: 0.018
- 2015 Chrysler Town & Country: 0.018
- 2014 Kia Optima: 0.018
There are some things to keep in mind. The list doesn’t break car models down by trim level. If you drill down and do some further research, you might find different reliability ratings for trims of the same model with different engines, for example.
Not all electric-only vehicles have on-board diagnostic connectors, but CarMD reports on those that do.
Finally, here are a couple important pieces of information. Scores are not necessarily indicative of future vehicle reliability, as maintenance, upkeep, and new recalls can affect a vehicle’s health and reliability. This year, CarMD expanded its coverage to include 1996-2015 vehicles, both to ensure all vehicles with on-board diagnostics were included and because average vehicle age is now more than 11 years old.
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Used Toyota Corolla
Used Lexus ES 350
Used Toyota Prius
Used Toyota Avalon
Used Honda Fit
Used Volkswagen Passat
Used Hyundai Sonata
Used Ford Edge
Used Chrysler Town & Country
Used Kia Optima
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Used Nissan Leaf