I recently had a transmission go out on a 2001 Accord at 74,000 miles. The dealer offered to put a new one in for $3,152.97 (out of warranty). The dealership person mentioned that this a common problem and not associated with the way I drive. When I bought the car 10 years ago I expected the transmission to last a lot more than than 75K. Was I mistaken? Aren’t Honda’s supposed to be reliable?. Time to dig for facts.
Well the dealership person is correct. My ’01 Accord does have a high rate of transmission failure according to fellow Accord owners. Los Angeles Times did a story on crappy Honda transmission back in 2002.
Consumer Reports confirms that my perception about the reliability of Honda cars is correct. This survey in 2009 lists Honda as the 2nd most reliable car company. Since the survey was conducted before the “Toyota unintended acceleration” issue, my guess is that Honda would now be at the top.
However reality is the exact opposite. Here is a list of 20 worst problem vehicles taken from CarComplaints (as of 28-Sep-2010)
CarComplaints.com uses inputs from the users and the following factors to come up with the ranking
- average mileage at failure
- cost to fix & repair
- total number of complaints
- owners’ ranking of how bad the problem was
Let us consolidate the list by brands
|Brand Name||Number of Cars|
Notice that Honda has the highest number of models on the list. In other words, Honda makes 35% of the worst cars in the list. Now that is something I would never have expected based the perception of reliability of Honda’s.
What makes this number even more shocking is that Honda has only a 10% share of the US car market (as of 1-Oct-2010). So a company that only sells 10% of the cars contributes 35% of the worst cars on the market. Does that mean by selecting Honda you are 3.5 times as likely to end up with a worst car as opposed to selecting a car at random??
Another way to look at the same information is to see the average age of the worst cars by Brand.
|Brand||Average Year||Average Age|
Again Honda has the youngest cars on the list. i.e. A Honda ends up on the worst car list after only 6 years. Yikes!!
So the next time you see the Honda commercial guy knocking on your TV screen,remember he wants to sign you up for high repair bills.