Best older cars for reliability – and the ones to avoid
If you're buying a secondhand car it may not come with the back-up of the manufacturer's warranty, so you'll want to buy a model that's going to be dependable. Our round-up of the most - and leas...
Whatever type of car you're buying, if you're buying secondhand reliability will be an important consideration. So we've rounded up the most and least durable models in 10 different categories to help you buy a car that won't let you down or leave you with sky-high repair bills.
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.