These are the vehicles with the best and worst recall rates


Auto recalls seem like a dime a dozen these days. We live in a world that ceases to be shocked by them after the unprecedented Takata airbag inflator debacle.

So it’s tempting to want to bury your head in the sand when it comes to the umpteenth recall. The recent announcement about nearly 5 million Jeep, Ram, Chrysler and Dodge vehicles being recalled over a cruise control defect grabbed some people’s attention over the long holiday weekend.

But if that didn’t shake you out of your stupor about auto recalls, maybe this will: According to a new study, there’s an inverse relationship between recall rates and vehicle reliability.

In plain English, that means the more frequently a vehicle faces recalls, the lower its reliability is likely to be. And the less frequently a vehicle is recalled, the higher its long-term reliability should be.

While that may not be the biggest revelation ever, it’s an important thing to keep in mind when you’re looking for your next new or used vehicle to buy.

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Is your vehicle among the most recalled of the past 4 years?

Car search engine reviewed recall data on model years 2013-2017 then cross-referenced that data against the average reliability of the same vehicles from Consumer Reports.

Here are the Top 10 vehicles with the greatest average recall rate:

recall rates chart

And here are the Top 10 vehicles with the lowest average recall rate:


recall rates chart 2

Note: Vehicles needed sales of greater than 50,000 units each year in order to be considered for this study. And this tally was done prior to the 5 million-strong Fiat Chrysler recall we mentioned earlier.

You may notice that 60% of the vehicles with the highest recall rates are from U.S. automakers, while 60% of the vehicles with the lowest recall rates are from Japanese automakers.

That confirms the same findings about vehicle reliability that Consumer Reports has trumpeted year (2011) after year (2012) after year (2017) after year (2018) in its annual car issue. While you can see U.S. nameplates making a slow entry on the magazine’s list of the best buys over the last few years, the decade really belonged to foreign automakers like Toyota and others.

But this isn’t a knock on the American autoworker; in fact, most of the vehicles the Japanese and Korean automakers are selling in the United States are made here in America with a majority of U.S. parts!

These include the Honda Accord (81% domestic content), Honda Pilot (78.5%), Honda Odyssey (78.5%), Toyota Sienna (78.5%), Toyota Camry (78.5%), Acura RDX AWD (76%) and many more, according to the Made in America index published by the Kogod School of Business at American University.

You can read more about that study and see the 10 most American-made vehicles here.

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