People may have many reasons for replacing their car, from changing jobs to starting a family. But when it comes to why people stick with the same brand year after year, there’s one factor that 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 14,208 cars to tell us if their vehicles had suffered from any faults in the past 12 months.
We classified the faults into 14 groups: battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, exterior lights, fuel system, gearbox/clutch, interior trim, non-engine electrics, steering, suspension and other.
For each fault, we asked the owner to identify time spent off the road, using categories ranging from less than one day to more than a week. We also asked how much the repairs cost, from being fixed under warranty for free to more than £1500. This information was weighted according to the severity of the fault; those that cost the most and kept the car off the road the longest were penalised the heaviest.
The data has been used to create our What Car? reliability rating table, which ranks 32 brands and 169 models aged up to three years according to how dependable they are.