7th Feb 2009, 09:52

"my rough-riding but very fun Mustang"

Those ARE a blast :) You should try a Wrangler sometime for some rough-riding but awesome off-road fun. If you like to travel, take the Mustang on a trip to Ouray, Co. and take a Jeep tour. I'd love to own a Mustang too, but the kids need back doors because they're still in safety seats.

I'm not much for the debate over reliability between American and Japanese vehicles. I've owned 6 American made vehicles: an 07 Wrangler (thus my comments), a 95 Chevy van, a 95 Buick Regal, a 96 Chevy Corsica, a 95 Pontiac Grand Am, and a 99 Saturn SL2. The van was getting expensive to maintain, but other than that, all were reliable.

I've also owned 6 Japanese vehicles: an 81 Honda Accord, an 85 Honda Civic, a 94 Honda Civic, an 04 Honda Civic, a 2000 Toyota Tundra, and an 08 Nissan Altima. The 85 Civic was a problem because I bought it used without first taking it to a mechanic. Its exterior and interior were perfect. The engine was worn out. It was using a quart of oil every 500 miles and had no compression. It looks like the girl who owned it before had changed the oil every 25000 miles, whether it needed it or not. Otherwise my Japanese vehicles have been very reliable too.

The difference between American and Japanese cars has been getting narrower in virtually all recent surveys. Plus any remaining difference is mitigated by the superior warranties being offered by the domestics. So buy what you like. Likely-as-not, whatever you buy will serve you well.

Yes its true that past Japanese vehicles have fared better in reliability surveys, but right now in several categories American vehicles edge out their Japanese counterparts. Large pickups (check Truedelta). Mid sizers are another area where the American vehicles are at least as reliable. The Japanese seem to have the edge in compacts and subcompact cars (although I'd love to own a Chevy Cobalt SS). In large cars, the Japanese do well. Especially if they are luxury cars like Lexus, Infinity, or Acuras. Cadillac seems to be making inroads with the CTS. At least past models have had average ratings.

So I'm not going to tell anyone what they should buy. This is especially true if it runs afoul of their beliefs. If buying American is a patriotic issue for you, then by all means do it. If you have had bad experiences with products from a region, don't buy them.

Still, you really ought to be circumspect enough to admit that your experiences may be a fluke, even if they comprise 100+ vehicles. It's pure myopia to assume that because you have had good or bad experiences with a type of vehicle, that the 100s of millions of other people will have the same. We are specks, and our experiences, no matter how momentous they are to us, are paltry drips in the ocean thereof. It's only when our experiences are compiled that patterns start to emerge. THAT'S why surveys ARE important. THAT'S why I bring them up. THAT'S why I'll defend CR, Truedelta.com, J.d.Powers, etc. And THAT'S why their results are more valuable than individual experiences.

This site (Car Survey) is valuable in that it provides owners and prospective owners with some idea of what problems one might have with a particular vehicle. It isn't designed to tell you how reliable a vehicle might be, however. For example, if you read the Yugo reviews on here, you might get the impression that they're a rather decent little car. The reality is, of course, that the Yugo was the single worst vehicle in terms of reliability, design, and function of any released in the past 30 years or so. That is the weakness of this format. Some begin to believe that reliability data is what this site is all about. This site is designed to be a window on individual experiences -- not a controlled compilation of data. A vehicle that isn't particularly troublesome may have quite a number of entries detailing problems simply because the vehicle is a strong seller -- or whatever... it can be a total anomaly. Likewise a troublesome car (like the Yugo) can seem pretty darn decent when the truth is rather the opposite. This site is extremely valuable as a pathway for conversation between owners and others, to expand their knowledge base of the individual strengths and weaknesses of various models and vehicle types.

But I digress...#$%^ :)

7th Feb 2009, 09:59

"They can replace the pipe, but they won't guarantee that it won't just rotate out of position again."

Seems like a spot weld would take care of it doesn't it? I also grew up on a farm so my immediate response to this situation is... I think I could make it work. It really doesn't seem like they (the muffler shop) was trying very hard.

7th Feb 2009, 10:07

Yeah, and we all know where real estate has gone, too. Probably those two new cars, which are rapidly depreciating, are all that's left...

7th Feb 2009, 16:20

This is very typical of Toyota and Honda. In spite of the myth of "better quality", these vehicles cut every corner they can to save money. As a mechanic I've seen many, many examples of this cheap construction and materials on Japanese cars.

Our Honda had numerous problems due to cheap plastic clips breaking.

Our Mazda actually had the FRAME BEND just from the weight of the car, because such flimsy metal was used.

Toyota has never used the expensive vibration isolation exhaust mountings domestics use.

My Ford Ranger had a thick piece of multi-layered rubber with thick steel mounting brackets at each end to hold up the tailpipe and allow it to move freely to avoid stress cracking. The Toyota Tacoma just sticks a tiny metal stem into a little round bracket. It allows only rotational movement, and costs about 1/10th of what the Ranger system costs to build.

USA Today just reviewed the new 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid, and this is what they had to say:


I've driven all sorts of cars and owned imports and domestics. In 2009 Ford and GM are literally unmatched in reliability, build quality and value. That's why my wife and I each own 1 Ford and 1 GM vehicle. Unless import quality improves dramatically, there will never be another non-domestic in our stable of vehicles.

8th Feb 2009, 14:57

I believe the nationwide chain muffler shops have policies against improvised "make it work" kind of repairs for product liability reasons. An independent muffler shop is more likely to be willing to try the spot weld to fix the bad Camry exhaust pipe.

9th Feb 2009, 17:39

The easiest fix for the defective Camry exhaust (and its many other problems) is a new Ford Fusion.

9th Feb 2009, 19:35

14:57 Good point. Hadn't thought of that.

10th Feb 2009, 09:35

"The easiest fix for the defective Camry exhaust (and its many other problems) is a new Ford Fusion."

Gotta wonder if it's the cheapest fix, though. :)

10th Feb 2009, 12:28

This is very true. When the exhaust pipe broke loose from the exhaust manifold on our Honda I had a terrible time getting ANYONE to touch it. The dealership wanted several hundred dollars to replace the entire system, which I refused to pay. I finally located a guy who restored cars and he gladly welded it back for me for $25.