Are American cars actually becoming more reliable?

armouror is my non deplume 09/08/2018. 33 answers
Cars & Transportation Maintenance & Repairs

33 Answers


armouror is my non deplume 09/13/2018.

because they are made overseas

JEEP RENEGADE - MADE IN ITALY

BUICK REGAL - BUILT IN GERMANY/CANADA

CHEVROLET EQUINOX - BUILT IN CANADA

DODGE CHALLENGER/CHARGER - BUILT IN CANADA and surprise Surprise

CADILLAC XTS - BUILT IN CANADA

CHEVROLET SILVERADO - BUILT IN USA/MEXICO

FORD EDGE - BUILT IN CANADA

CHEVROLET TRAX - BUILT IN MEXICO

FORD TRANSIT CONNECT - BUILT IN EUROPE

Now you can see why they are better than all Built in the USA


Robert M 09/13/2018.

YES YES YES and the reason is they have improved on QUALITY and most Domestic cars NOW use GERM N TRANNIES< steering and cooling systems and many use European SEATS as well! The ZF company NOW supplies CADILLAC, LINCOLN, Kia, Hyundai many FORD products Chrysler and JEEP cars! Most cars with PADD:E SHIFTERS are either ZF< German items or AISIN from Japan.Also they NOW feature OIL SPRAY JETS on the engine blocks that focus CLEAN OIL at the wrist pins and skirts of pistons to help improve economy and fuel mileage something the Germans have used for decades The CHEVY CRUZE diesel is really a BMW engine, and the ECOTEC for GM is from SAAB of Sweden. Well, mostly!


Linda 09/06/2018.

Yes, more reliable than foreign made.


curtisports2 09/06/2018.

Yes. And the bodies hold up better. In the '60s, it was common for a new car in the northeast where road salt is used to have body rot in 5 years.


chorle 09/06/2018.

My best luck recently has been with American made cars from Japanese companies.

The NUMMI (no a Tesla plant) Corollas and Ohio made Civics are pretty good cars.

Define what you mean by American Car, My wife's current car is a Ford Fusion assembled in Mexico.


JetDoc 09/06/2018.

American cars have ALWAYS been reliable IF they are properly maintained and not abused. It's the ones that are NOT maintained properly that have the most problems.


Dan B 09/06/2018.

Seems like it. When I first started driving, a car with 50k miles on it is an old, worn out car. I've driven all my cars over 200k miles, one over 250k miles with nothing more than routine maintenance and replacement of wear parts (tires, brake pads/ shoes, lights, wipers, etc). Sure, I've replaced two transmissions in 53 years of driving, no no engines.


Rolomatic 09/06/2018.

As automakers upgrade to new robotic CNC machines, the quality gets better.

As the US automakers sold all the old manufacturing equipment to Indochina, they've upgraded.

American manufacturing can make the very best, but consumers want Bic quality disposable junk cars.

For instance, F1 rocket engines. They were made so good that they never failed except for 2 cross wired.

The engineers can't duplicate the hydro pumps because the engineering notes and savvy have been lost.

[ Youtube.com Link ]


Mr. Smartypants 09/06/2018.

Actually there is no such thing as an American car anymore. Every car made in the US is made by a joint venture between an American company and a Japanese company. Ford and Mazda, GM and Toyota,Chrysler and Mitsubishi. The ironic thing is that we developed the science of reliability but WE never did it. We taught it to them after WWII and they took it to heart, and within 20 years or so they were eating our lunch. We had to partner with them to teach us what we taught them!

American companies have improved, certainly, but they still haven't caught up with the Japanese.


Anonymous 09/06/2018.

Thanks obama.


Obi Wan Knievel 09/19/2018.

Yes they are. For the last 30 years, they couldn't have really become any less reliable.


Anonymous 09/18/2018.

Actually all makes are going downhill with all the new electronics on board. As for American cars, it depends on the model. Some have improved while others are still garbage.


safari7 09/17/2018.

it’s a tough one


Jackolantern 09/14/2018.

Actually, yes! Foreign competition over the last 30 years and price increase has made the American car very dependable and reliable. I started out working on my own cars in 1956 when I was old enough to get a driver's license and retired in 2006 as a S.A.E. licensed mechanic. And during those years, I have seen some very badly designed cars from the big 3 car companies here in the States. But before I retired, I saw a big change and come around in the American cars. They are now highly competitive to foreign made cars and pickup. But you need to know that American autos are the end results of a lot of parts made in other countries as well. I know of no American made car or pickup where ALL of it's parts are made in America.


Anonymous 09/13/2018.

Yes in order to survive.

Now they HAVE TO COMPETE by building a better car because the consumer don't take that "Junk it in 5yrs mentality" no more & just because it is made in the U.S. The U.S. automaker was getting away with patriotic people buying their cars regardless of whether there was a better made car from another country; and they bleed the pockets of the people dry. People wanted to spend their money on other things than their "wheels". Like say "Food" & a house and clothes, medicine, education, travel. Luxury activities of the rich and famous. But the cost of labor is high and the Automobile Union is also strong getting in the way of the manufacturers modernizing their plants to be more automated, requiring less workers. Machines never get bored. People on the line do get bored or joke around or just make errors...car quality suffers.

It is a "Catch 22" situation. The people needs jobs to earn the money to buy the cars and automation eliminates the need for many high paying jobs...so how are these workers going to be able to afford to buy a car?

This is the excuse the Union uses to keep the old ways going. The many workers pay the Union cost to exist. Too few members make for a weaker Union. The business Owners and the Unions are always fighting each other. That will never change. Other country manufacturers have worked it out.


Chuckles 09/13/2018.

On initial quality US cars run about 3 to 5 years behind the rate of improvement of Japanese cars but are better than most European cars.

When it comes to long term durability, US cars tend to last longer and tolerate more abuse than most other brands. When it comes to 10+ year old cars, then only some Honda and Toyota models stand up as well as American cars.


Billy 09/13/2018.

American cars have Always been reliable.


stever_sl 09/06/2018.

Don't believe what you read about "quality" of American cars compared to imports, Japanese or otherwise. I learned many years ago that people's perceptions are weirdly faulty when it comes to that. My own mother had a Japanese car that she dearly loved, and she heaped praise on its quality even though its transmission literally fell out in the street one day. A coworker, one of the smartest people I've ever known, was giving me the usual enthusiastic description of how he couldn't wait to get the new version of the car because his had been so reliable - but 3 of his 4 windows had been duct-taped to the door frames because he got tired of them falling out of their channels and down into the insides of the doors. The final straw for me was when I read the Consumer Reports scores for the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Eagle Talon (as I said, years ago.) Those scores rate many factors for each car based on owner surveys, and the Eclipse had a hugely higher score than the Talon for engine, body, drivetrain, and all kinds of other things. Yet they were the same car with different trim and badging, built in the same factory in Illinois, so clearly the perception that one had vastly higher quality than the other was just not based on any reality at all. "Car and Driver" magazine got it right - the Talon was on their Best Cars list for many years, so experts understand this kind of thing. But ordinary drivers don't, so be careful whose advice you take about quality and reliability.


DR + Mrs Bears face 09/06/2018.

Hi they will need too be in order to get back lost sales to japanese make of car.


Anonymous 09/17/2018.

don r: You only See More US made cars in US junkyards Because you ARE in the US. And. back to the early '70's, even, when most US cars were actually Better.

Or . does this Surprise you? Do you expect more Japanese cars because you think you are in Japan? Even Jap cars get in accidents. Or do you think they Cant? Like a Volvo?

American cars did a Roller Coaster. Best for the money in the [30's, then, decline in late '60's, decline..decline...then, loss of sales, badging imports, putting in Isuzu engines, or, building Isuzu engines in US plants, loss of sales; then, back Up. And, they will never go down after this wake-up call. It is a coin toss now whether that new Fiesta is as good as that new Sentra. Basically, your choice of options for the $.


Anonymous 09/17/2018.

Funny you should ask, all cars are relatively the same since they were invented in the 1920s so...its more of a manufacturing error that states american cars are unreliable, that and their size.


JohnO 09/17/2018.

I've tried really hard in my lifetime to buy some American cars. I'd say about half have been Fords, the other half Japanese (Toyota and Honda). Every Ford has been a turd compared to the Japanese cars. After eight years, the Fords are junk while the Japanese cars seem to run forever with little or no upkeep besides routine maintenance. At the eight year mark something expensive is always going out on the Fords. I won't buy another Ford if I can help it. Long term its cheaper to buy the Japanese cars. Better engineering. Longer term thinking.


Tiburon 09/13/2018.

I wouldn't know - I haven't bought one of those clunkers since back in '92 I had a Jimmy - brand new but back in the shop on a regular basis. Unbelievable.


not 09/13/2018.

I logged 270k on a 1988 buick regal, some regular problems, blew head gasket twice but no engine or transmission replacement. My sister logged 280k on her 1998 ford expedition no engine or trans work at all. Both still ran when sold. I've seen crappy S-10 with over 400k on them.

Meanwhile as a mechanic I've replaced more engines than I could count. I've slammed so so many low mileage engines from Japan in Hondas. The 5th owner has no clue if a used engine was installed. I've never even seen a Honda odometer past 300k. There are some wives tales out there. Comparing 80's and prior American carburerator cars to 90's and after asian fuel injected is an interesting angle. My 89 honda accord carb car went almost 300k; it took lots of repairs to get there. It was garbage compared to the 88 buick. They all build good and bad, always have and today is no different.


james 09/06/2018.

Yes. In a way. 50,000 miles was old in the 50s for a car. Today 200,000 is old. But the electronics today fail. Repairs must be done in a qualified shop. So it cost much more to maintain them. So there is no saving on them. If any thing they cost more than the old cars. A car use to cost $2,000 new. You could repair most yourself. Today what $15,000 & you need to take them to a shop.


Anonymous 09/06/2018.

Yes, and pretty much all cars around the world are getting more reliable too. The problem is, the lazy know-nothing millennials are worse at taking care of cars than any previous generation, so there's effectively no gain in vehicle longevity. I expect a lot of thumbs down for saying so, but it's a fact that the deniers won't come to terms with. The "dumbing down" of America is a very real and measurable phenomenon.


Daddio 09/06/2018.

Yes, much more than in the past


One Who Sits on Pizza 09/06/2018.

They have been for some time now. The most reliable car I ever owned was a 1994 Saturn S series. It had nearly 300,000 miles on it when some ditsy woman (texting) smashed into it. It ran like a champ right up to the end.


Who 09/19/2018.

"The ironic thing is that we developed the science of reliability"

sorry "mr smartypants" you didnt

the US like all western countries specify things and give the specification a tolerance (cos they assume it cannot be made "perfectly" in the 1st place)

so they are made and then (sample) checked to be within that tolerance

result is- you can have 1 component as 1 extreme of tolerance, fitting to another at the other extreme

result is - a sloppy fit

sloppy fit = more friction = more wear = less reliable

the japanese came up with the idea of setting up the manufacture and checking to remove the possibility of the product NOT to be to the specification with no tolerance

result -is - perfect fit

perfect fit = less friction = less wear = more reliable


Anonymous 09/16/2018.

Hahahah, here is the ugly truth.

I put 60k miles on my car each year and I've been doing this since 2003. The only thing the company does for me is pays for my gas. If I went out an bought a car that's brand new I would take it in the shorts. Yes, I tell people my situation and they tell me to buy a Dodge buttDart........derp.

I know some people owned 1 Honda but I've owned 3. Japanese companies are living off a reputation they built 20-30 years ago. The Honda engines are pretty good for the most part but they aren't great with transmission and their TRIM suck. Nissan is hit or miss. Toyota is the best, bar none. The only thing I can say about a Honda is they have a better feel for the road.

So every 3 years I find a 10-13 year old Japanese car like a Corolla, Camry, Accord, etc that has right around 100k miles with 1 owner. Then I'll buy it if they're selling the car for $3000 to $5500. Basically i keep an extra car as a spare. Once the mileage hits 260k to 280k I sell the car for right around $1000.

The Trim and electronics in these cars is not as reliable as it was 20 years ago. I have had to replace the climate controller in my Honda.

What's cutting into the reliability of these cars is they're trying tricks with parts like the camshaft or transmission to make the car more fuel efficient or give it more Horsepower. The big problem here is these companies have done a poor job of allowing lubrication to move from or make it to these parts. I've also had to spend money on replacing stock struts which used to be reliable.

I don't know if modern American cars are reliable. They used to be extremely unreliable because electronics and sensors in American cars would only last half as long as they would in a Japanese car. American full sized Trucks are usually as reliable as Japanese cars.


rob m 09/13/2018.

Ok I think they are especially my new all aluminum FORD F150 go look at one .I always liked Chevrolet. my brother always bought AUDI. and vws. I like them but way to pricey for me,and I like a crew cab truck I do a lot of projects and haul a lot,. pull an rv so I need one the crew cab is great, and I get 21 mpg with the turbo v 6 motor, the fit and finish is very good , paint is good, for my needs its the perfect truck. I never want a car again, and my ride is very good TRY one.!!


STEPHEN 09/06/2018.

Only because up was the only way to go. American cars have a truly terrible record for reliability. The only change that could happen was for them to get better.


M. 09/06/2018.

Yes. Foreign carmakers actually embarrassed American carmakers decades ago, into making better vehicles.

American cars in general are much better than they used to be.

p.s. Around 1980 American cars started becoming more reliable and have slowly gotten better, but there began another process, called "planned obsolescence" that has worked against what might have been a really reliable car.

I worked in "new product development" for a while, years ago, and the one thing that I saw that continuously got better was SAFETY. I was involved regularly with crash testing.


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