CarMD.com Corporation on Dec. 16 released its 2020 CarMD Vehicle Health Index Make and Model Reliability Rankings, continuing its decade-long tradition of analyzing and reporting on which model year 1996 to 2020 vehicles require the fewest check engine light repairs and which cost least to fix when they do need repairs.
CarMD studies the vehicle population dating back to 1996, when vehicles were first required to have an on-board computer that triggers the check engine light to alert the driver to a problem that impacts emissions output, fuel economy and drivability.
CarMD finds Mitsubishi is the brand least likely to need check engine repairs over the past year, edging out Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, which rank No. 2 and No. 3 respectively.
The 2018 Toyota Tacoma ranked as the vehicle least likely to need a check engine light repair; and the 2018, 2017 and 2016 Tacoma swept the category for trucks least likely to need repairs in 2020.
While CarMD does not currently rank the vehicles most likely to have a check engine light problem, Vehicle Health Index calculations show the 2018 Toyota Tacoma is more than 50% less likely to experience a check engine light issue than the worst ranked vehicle, which is a 2009 domestic SUV.
For the second consecutive year, Kia is the brand with the lowest average repair cost ($322), followed closely by Chrysler ($333) and Mazda ($339.) The 2018 Hyundai Tucson cost the least on average ($34) to repair.
Ford, GMC, Mazda and Volkswagen are the brands to rank in the top 10 on both lists this year, meaning they have both.
...low frequency of check engine light incidents and low average repair costs.
The most common repair on nine out of 10 of the most affordable vehicles to fix is to inspect or replace a loose, damaged or missing gas cap or fuel cap gasket. An often quick, easy and affordable repair, if ignored, fuel cap problems can reduce fuel economy and lead to additional problems down the road.
For instance, the most common repair on the 2018 Hyundai Tucson is to tighten the gas cap, accounting for nearly half of this model year’s recommended repairs, while the national average for gas cap-related repairs is 4.5%.
On an older 2005 Hyundai Tucson, the most common repairs are oxygen sensor and catalytic converter replacements. As vehicles age, the type of repair changes and the average cost to repair them typically increases.