At least according to the latest dependability study by J. D.Powers and
Associates. Porsche, Ford's Lincoln and GM's Buick earned the top 3
spots, respectively. Toyota and its Lexus is 4th. Honda follows Toyota
in the list.
I have a hard time believing that Honda is less dependable than Toyota,
even before all this Toyota fiasco happened.
Get back to me when those cars are at least 5 years old, and have higher
miles on them. That's how I measure how reliable they are.
I will never buy GM, Ford or Crapsler. The only makes I would consider are
Honda, Toyota and, believe it or not, Hyundai.
I'm not sure I would include Ford in that list since Alan Mulally took
over there as CEO. He was a big believer of Toyota production methods
and quality control when he was the head of Boeing's commercial airlines
division. He implemented those methods there before leaving for Ford and
that made a lot of difference at Boeing. I expect the same thing at
Ford. Of course it takes some time before the old Ford culture changes
I know some Fords are supposedly scoring high in reliability, almost on par
with Toyota and Honda. But these models (e.g. Fusion) haven't been around
long enough to judge true long-term reliability. Wait a few more years and
let's see how they hold up then.
I've found a more detailed report on that survey and that indicates long
term reliability, after 3 years of ownership. Here is the link:
We are in 100% agreement. They can release these reports forever, but
when it comes time for a new car, anyone in my family will be buying
another Japanese vehicle.
This is based on bad personal experiences with Fords and GM's in the
past, and no desire to be a test rat for another expensive domestic car
Most modern cars are very reliable. The differences among most major
brands is in the noise range. The cars are so close that the top dozen
or so are probably in a statistical dead heat. I believe that how you
take care of one of the cars in the upper two thirds of the range has
more to do with depndability than the actual choice of a car.
If you don't count the cars my younger son has abused into failure, I
can only remember a few failures of any note of any car I've owned or
people close to me have owned in the last seven years - my Sister's
Honda needed a muffler, the coil pack failed on s Saturn and the power
window failed (under warranty) on my Expedition. Again, leaving out my
son who can destroy anything out of the discussion and not including
the German cars owned by the SO's children, we've not spent $200 on
car repairs among all of us (5 adults) in the last seven years. My
younger son, the destroyer, has taken out one clutch and one engine
(an beater up Firebird), one horn/air bag and one CVT transission
(warranty - Saturn Vue), one automatic transission (14 year old F150 -
$600 repair). Amazingly he has not been able to destroy a Mustang -
well except for the parts he has replaced with "performance" junk
destined to destroy the car eventually (horrid exhaut, K&N dirt
charger, huge tires and wheels, illegal tint, "performance" chip,
etc.). It must be the most indestructible car made. I keep expecting
him to come home with it in pieces on a rollback.
I also used to be a car destroyer, (those Mustang "upgrades" sound very
familiar, just on a Datsun 280Z instead), but I wouldn't necessarily
hold the 14 year old Ford transmission failure against your son, as that
is not that unusual a lifespan for a Ford tranny, imho, especially if it
was used a lot.
My previous 1990 Thunderbird SC was on the third transmission at just
over 100K miles when I dumped the car, but one replacement transmission
gave out almost immediately after it was installed.
It was in a 14 year old farm truck that had led a relatively stressful
life. However, I do blame my Son becasue he was playing truck pull
with it. I had given him the truck, so I guess I can't be too mad. It
turned out the failure was minor. The person who bought the truck paid
$600 to have it fixed and is very happy. He is a meter reader and uses
the truck daly. I sort of wish I had kept it now, but it was old and I
didn't feel like rolling the dice on the transmission. However, I
don't think Ford transmission are particularly failure prone. My
parents, grandparents and various family memebers have owned many
Fords and that was only the third transmission failure ever in the
family (out of something like 34 Ford among various family memebers).
And one of those other failures was a 1967 Fairlane I drove into a
pond (not that submerging the transmission casued it to fail....but it
did stop shigfting out of second the next day).
Your mentioning the Datsun 280Z brought back my memories of the
nightmare problems I had with the clutch/transmission on the one of
those I owned. It never exactly failed, but it never exactly worked
right either. I loved the car, but the clutch/transmission problems
were a constant source of irritation. I replaced the clutch, clutch
master cylinder, pilot bushing, clutch slave cylinder, etc. bt never
solved all the problems. I sold the 280Z to a friend and he eventually
got the problem mostly sorted out (by replacing all the clutch
componets fromt the clutch master cylinder to the transmission input
Had a 75 280Z, the 1st yr with fuel injection. Never had a lick of
problems, except for a thermotime switch at about 15k miles which made it
run rich like a stuck choke. A friend with a 76 model had the same
My 280Z was a 1975 also, a very early 1975. It was recalled once for a
fuel injection problem. I had to modify the car to kill off the
"feature" that prevented the engine from dropping back towards idle
properly while shifting. I had continual problems with the clutch /
transmission (as previously noted). About once a month a wheel cover
would go flying off into the weeds when I was going around a corner (I
usually could find them). When the wheel covers weren't flying off,
they "ticked." After the car was out of warranty it developed a
stalling problem. The dealer tried to charge me for a fuel pump until
I expalined to them I had already verified it wasn't the fuel
pump...then they mysteriously figured out it was a loose connection
under the dash. After three months in Michigan the car started rusting
around the rear fenders. If you let the fuel level drop below about
1/4 tank the car would miss going around curves (apparently it would
pick up air). The seat material was not durable. The power antenna had
to be replaced. After I sold the car to a friend, he had the exhaust
system collaspe internally (killed the power / mileage). I never had a
problem with my actual fuel tank, although I heard later models with
plastic fuel tanks did have problems.
Compared to most cars I owned around the same era, it was not a model
of reliability. It was also a horrible autocross car. It was
significantly slower than the Ford Fairmont I replaced it with (which
BTW, I ended up hating). Despite all this, I loved the 280Z. It was
one of the best looking cars of the last 50 years and was a terrific
bargin. It was the most comfortable Japanese car I ever owned. Within
months of selling it and buying a "sensible" sedan to replace it, I
wished I had kept the Z. Oh well..it was not the last time I made a
bad car buying decision.
One reason they don't use standard gas tanks in race cars. The other of
course is to stop from the fuel pooling and catching fire and burning
the driver to death, like what almost happened to Niki Lauda at the
Nothing would be - in a straight line, but on a track (road *not* oval)
the Fairmont wouldn't stand a chance.
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