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How reliable is your car?

by Hugh Wilson | 18 Sep 2016

Every year the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey names the most reliable car brands in the UK, based on issues reported by original owners of three-year-old vehicles.

This year’s survey throws up a few surprises, with mainstream brands leading their more luxurious counterparts in terms of reliability. Here are the top ten brands according to JD Power, followed by Approved Garages’ top tips for making your own car as resilient and robust as it can be, regardless of its position in the list.

  • 10. Nissan
  • 9. Toyota
  • 8. Seat
  • 7. Ford
  • 6. Volkswagen
  • 5. Peugeot
  • 4. Vauxhall
  • 3. Kia
  • 2. Suzuki
  • 1. Skoda

So according to JD Power at least, the likes of Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar are less reliable (as new cars) than cheaper alternatives like Skoda, Kia and Toyota.

But as any garage technician will tell you, a car’s reliability is as much about what happens after it rolls off the production line as it is the design and manufacture. Even if your brand didn’t make the top ten, there are ways to ensure it keeps on motoring while others are stuck on the hard shoulder.

Here are three ways to make your model as reliable as it can be.

  1. Read the manual

The people who know your car best are the people who made it. Your manual will give you tips on basic maintenance tasks – like topping up the oil and coolant and checking tyre pressure – and a timetable for more complex issues, like replacing the timing belt. Read it, act on it, and keep your car in tip top shape.

2. Keep to the service schedule

Sticking to your service schedule is essential for keeping your car on the road. Regularly replacing the consumables that are most susceptible to the wear and tear of driving will nip more serious problems in the bud. The good news is that you don’t have to have your car serviced at a franchised main dealer to maintain its warranty. A good independent garage, like those in the Approved Garages’ and AutoCare networks, can do the job just as well, and often at a cheaper price. Your warranty can’t be invalidated if the garage uses original or equivalent quality parts.

3. Act on warnings

Never ignore dashboard warning lights or any other tell-tale signs of mechanical distress, whether that’s a strange noise from the engine or a ‘sticky’ gear change. Just because your car still goes, it doesn’t mean it should. Again, sorting out minor problems quickly can stop major ones from developing later, and ensure your car is as reliable as it can be.

Want to know what that strange engine warning light might mean? Here’s our handy guide…

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