Best & worst car brands for reliability

Some cars rarely end up in a garage between services and others can't stay away. The What Car? Reliability Survey reveals the best and worst brands for reliability...

People can have many reasons for replacing their car, from changing jobs to starting a family.Image 1 of 21

But when it comes to why people stick with the same brand year after year, one factor has the biggest influence: reliability.

You're unlikely to remain loyal to a brand that regularly leaves you stranded by the roadside. To save you from finding out the hard way, we asked the owners of more than 18,000 cars to tell us if their vehicles had suffered from any faults in the previous 12 months.

We classified the faults into 15 groups: air-con, battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, fuel system, gearbox/clutch, interior trim, non-engine electrics, steering, suspension, wheels/tyres and other.

For each fault, we asked the owner to tell us how much the car cost to repair and how much time it spent lingering at the garage. We used this information to work out a unique reliability rating for each model, with those that cost the most and were off the road longest penalised more severely than those that had few or no faults and cost little or nothing to fix.

The result is real-life reliability data on 159 models from 31 different car brands. If you're not sure which model to buy, then it's worth checking out the reliability rating for the brands you're interested to help pick the most dependable car. Join us as we list the top 10 brands for reliability and the 10 that performed the worst.