Regardless of make, model and year, buying a car remains a major investment decision for most people. Drivers must consider a wide variety of factors, including the cost of the vehicle, the safety rating and reputation and the likelihood that the car will break down or require repairs or replacement over the years to come, among many others. These last issues, relating to the potential for a newly purchased car to need expensive repair work or replacement parts, can be especially difficult to gauge.
One way to do so is to look at the history of a particular make or model when it comes to factory recalls. Recalls take place when a car manufacturer determines that one or more elements of the car is contributing to a decline in the car's safety.
Typically, owners will have to then take their vehicles to a dealership to have any questionable parts replaced, usually free of charge. The research firm iSeeCars.com released a list of the cars with the highest and lowest rates of recall from 2013 to 2017. The lists were created based on recall data from the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and by comparing the average recall rate for each vehicle model during the years in question against the average Consumer Reports reliability rating.
The most-recalled vehicles from 2013 to 2017 tend to have lower reliability ratings, although this is not necessarily the case. The study found that the vehicle most often recalled during the period in question was the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. This was followed by the GMC Sierra, the BMW 3/4 Series, the Dodge Durango and the Nissan Pathfinder. Other vehicles rounding out the top 10 most-recalled cars were the Ram Pickup, the Toyota 4Runner, the Dodge Charger, the Chrysler 300 and the Chevrolet Tahoe. Interestingly, the 4Runner maintains a high reliability rating of 5.0, even as it is one of the most often recalled cars.
On the other hand, the vehicles that experienced recalls with the lowest frequency were often those with the highest reliability ratings, according to the study. The least-recalled vehicle from 2013 to 2017 was the Hyundai Accent. This was followed by the Chevrolet Equinox, the Toyota Corolla, the Honda Civic and the Honda CR-V. Other vehicles in the top 10 list of those least often recalled include the Honda Accord, the Subaru Crosstrek, the Toyota Camry, the Hyundai Elantra and the GMC Terrain.
The frequency with which a vehicle is recalled is only one of a multitude of factors to keep in mind when purchasing a car. Nonetheless, it may suggest something about the manufacturer's approach to constructing the vehicle.