Have cars become more reliable?

Reliable car
Written by Nigel Simpkins

When you’re buying a car, reliability should be one of your top priorities. If your car frequently breaks down, then it’ll cost you plenty of time and money to repair. But have cars become more reliable over the years? Read on to find out. 

Importance of reliability

For most people, reliability is one of the top concerns when buying a car. Usually, you’ll buy a car with a specific budget in mind, and you’ll be extremely unwilling to pay for a car with a repair bill that will break this budget. This is partly why so many people search for the best car insurance to protect themselves from any nasty surprises. You can also look after your wallet by checking the maintenance and history report before you buy a car, inspecting the car at the dealer and looking into expert reviews. 

Growing reliability 

Tests from J.D Power in 2021 revealed that vehicles have indeed been growing more reliable each year. The tests found that overall complaints from owners declined by 10 per cent from 2020. Dependability tests have been running since 2018 and show that each year, cars seem to be getting more reliable. This was based on a thorough system where 177 problems were tested over eight categories. As a result, consumers can feel more confident that the three-year-old cars of today are more reliable than the three-year-old cars of 2018.


One area of the industry with reliability issues is electric vehicles though. While EVs are much better for the environment, these reliability issues could put off consumers. Indeed, a recent survey from Which found that of cars up to four years old, nearly one in three (31 per cent) EV owners reported one fault or more, compared to less than one in five (19 per cent) petrol cars.

Independent regulators

Fortunately, there are independent regulators in the UK that can help you calculate the reliability of each car brand. The Reliability Index has the Toyota iQ as one of the most reliable cars on the market and you can judge most makes and models there. 

Getting a reliable car is crucial. You don’t want to waste precious time and money on repairs. Although cars are generally becoming more reliable, you should still invest in quality insurance and research to lower the risk of any nasty surprises.