No one wants a car that is always breaking down. Unfortunately, no one can guarantee a way to prevent breakdowns. In this web page, we provide a few general rules that will help you make your own decisions about reliability.

The Expensive Way

One approach to reliability is to always buy a new car. If you are a cynic, you expect it to fall apart when the warranty ends, for most cars in three years. You then sell the car and buy another new car. You pay an enormous price in doing this, and the car will still have problems.


To choose a reliable car inexpensively, you must do your homework. Find out what technologies are reliable. In general, newer is better. For example, disk brakes are newer and better than drum brakes. Do not go too far with this philosophy. In Power versus Efficiency , you learn that turbochargers have problems. At the other extreme, old technology that has withstood the test of time and is still being used is a worthy choice. For example, the old Ford Mustang engine in Power versus Efficiency is highly regarded. Learning about these technologies takes work, but it is worth it. Remember when you bought this computer? The more consumer research you did, the more money you saved. It is the same way with cars.

Other People's Opinions

If only we can just ask someone who knows all the answers. The problem is everyone THINKS they know all the answers. Whom can you trust? How about a mechanic? He has seen plenty of cars up close. He knows all of the technology issues. He is too knowledgeable to not be objective.

Another good source of information is the owner of two cars, both of interest to you. He can contrast the cars and tell you if he regrets the purchase of one car but not the other.

A lousy source is the general public. Everyone says his own car is great. Patriots say "Buy American." Cynics say "Buy Foreign." Beware these people. They mean well, but they will only confuse you.


Copyright 1996 Alacrity Research