There was a great article published by Motoramic about the most reliable car brands which you can read here. The author determined the most reliable automotive brands by looking at almost 350,000 appraisals performed by “professional car buyers who are trained to detect mechanical and structural issues” with no biases. The study is beneficial because most reliability studies are on new cars within the first 90 days. Longer term reliability studies don’t usually go beyond three to five years.
We wanted to come up with our own algorithm to determine reliability and see if our findings matched Motoramic. We analyzed over 500,000 cars, model years 1995 to 2014, listed for sale on MojoMotors.com to determine the average selling price depending on a vehicle’s mileage. Using a linear regression model, we were able to calculate the dollars of value lost as mileage increased and ultimately, the number of miles until a car lost all value.
In other words, we found out how much mileage could be racked up before a car became valueless. Less reliable brands will lose value quicker since they have a greater chance of breaking down with fewer miles on the odometer. Make sense? One thing to remember – just because a car is considered valueless beyond a certain number of miles in this study doesn’t mean it won’t drive for another 100,000 miles.
10. Mazda – 177,729 miles until worthless
Mazda has been known for building economical cars. Their lineup has expanded in the last few years as they now offer compact, midsize and full size crossovers that have fared well in reviews. Go here to learn more about the different used Mazda models and reviews.
9. Acura – 178,947 miles until worthless
It doesn’t hurt that Acura is the luxury brand powered by Honda engineering. It should also be noted that Acura is the only luxury brand to squeak into the top ten most reliable car brands. For further reading, read reviews of used Acuras here.
8. GMC – 188,584 miles until worthless
GMC has been building quality pickups, SUVs and crossovers a very long time. Since GMC splits many parts with Chevrolet, repairs aren’t usually too expensive. This is why you’ll see Sierra pickups with miles well into the hundreds of thousands. Read more here for used GMC reviews and research.
7. Subaru – 189,370 miles until worthless
It isn’t too surprising Subaru is on this list. According to Polk’s auto data, 95% of Subarus sold in the last ten years are still on the road. Pretty impressive. So are their all wheel drive systems and boxer four cylinder engines. For additional Subaru reading material including Subbie reviews and different models, go here.
6. Nissan – 195,593 miles until worthless
Nissan is consistently one of the most Followed brands on Mojo Motors, but they usually aren’t perceived as being one of the most reliable brands on the road. They should be. Nisan vehicles, especially their cars, are among the most reliable shoppers can buy. Learn more about the best Nissan rides and read reviews here.
5. Chevrolet – 195,754 miles until worthless
If you’re a prisoner of the present, you might think Chevrolet is anything but reliable. Ahem. Recalls aside, the last few generations of automobiles built by Chevrolet are their best ever. Especially Chevy pickups, SUVs and crossovers. For reviews and research on a variety of Chevrolet vehicles, keep reading here.
4. Dodge – 198,266 miles until worthless
Dodge, like Chevrolet, is known more for their pickup trucks than cars. Thanks to the resale value of a Ram pickup, the brand makes it into the top five of this list. Our advice? Stick to a high mileage Ram pickup or Grand Caravan minivan, the same can’t be said about Dodge cars. Go here for reviews of popular used Dodge cars and trucks.
3. Ford – 198,409 miles until worthless
Unlike other American automakers, say Dodge or Chevrolet, Ford has both reliable trucks AND cars. The Ford Focus compact and Fusion midsize, along with Ford’s lineup of crossovers make them the most reliable American automaker on this list. Having the best-selling vehicle in the country, the F150 pickup truck, doesn’t hurt either. Learn more about used Ford vehicles here.
2. Honda – 209,001 miles until worthless
While Dodge and Chevrolet excel at the big trucks, Honda excels at pretty much everything. Look at the ‘miles until worthless’ stat because Honda and Toyota boast a 10,000 mile lead over Ford. If the average driver puts 12,000 miles a year on their car, that 10,000 mile difference is almost an entire year! For reviews and research on used Honda vehicles, keep reading here.
1. Toyota – 210,705 miles until worthless
The public perceives Toyota as one of the most reliable automakers and our study concurs with this perception. While Toyota might not build the most eye-catching cars, they are certainly reliable and efficient. A Lamborghini it is not, but a cost-effective car it most definitely is. Keep reading for reviews, research and pictures of the best used Toyotas.
Please note that while this data is a great way to understand how vehicle prices correlate to reliability, no study of used car reliability and its value is perfect. This is a make-specific study, not a breakdown of models, trims or years. There can be a large variation between each model’s trims and there are many factors that go into the price of a car. Things like color, options, warranties and whether a car is a certified pre owned or not all greatly affect a cars valuation. Our study did not account for these variances. For the ten least reliable brands, see this.