21st Feb 2009, 08:36

"The basic reliability data CR gives is pretty good and scientific. But I find the "conclusions" seem to be more geared toward entertainment and providing people with good tidbits for "water cooler conversation.""

Thank you for clearing that up. The conclusions I was referring to were the ones reached regarding reliability. Those are the only ones that fit the mentioned parameters of being controlled, scientific, repeatable, and reasonably transparent. And those are the ones that irk some folks here on the forum.

I only would endorse the data section of CR. I think that in other areas, a consumer is perfectly able to determine if the vehicle fits their needs or not. They don't need a publication to do that for them. CR has a decidedly car-based focus. And that is certainly NOT to their credit. They need to start rating vehicles based upon INTENDED PURPOSE not upon some nebulous Perfect car that exists only in their collective imagination.

So as you can see, though I continually refer to CR, I am only a fan of their data section. Everything else is subjective, capricious, and even prejudiced. The reliability section, though, is very valuable especially if you couple it with the numbers given by Truedelta.

21st Feb 2009, 16:57

18:50. Is your story possible? Sure. Likely? Not a chance. I've never broken down in a Toyota, yet have broken down in all but ONE domestic vehicle I've owned.

21st Feb 2009, 18:05

I suggest everyone in this forum read "The United States of Toyota" by Peter DeLorenzo before flippantly commenting that destroying the U.S. auto industry is "their business if they choose to buy from a foreign company". His figures indicate that ONE IN FOURTEEN jobs in the U.S. is either directly or indirectly related to the U.S. auto industry. You may not even KNOW if your job is related to domestic car makers or not... until you get your pink slip.

22nd Feb 2009, 10:41

My last domestic breakdown involved a flat tire... My last Honda issues were failed transmissions.

23rd Feb 2009, 11:18

To comment 10:41: Yes, you really have to watch those "crappy American tires". They are so flimsy even a large nail can puncture them.

I never had one problem with my Honda's transmission. NOT ONE!! Of course I was too busy with the failed CV joints, massive oil consumption, electrical problems and massive engine failure (at 99,000 miles) to worry about the transmission. Yep, it sure was a fine, reliable car!!

24th Feb 2009, 12:11

"My last domestic breakdown involved a flat tire"

And what about the breakdowns before that? Oh yeah... they NEVER do.

I also like the "massive engine failure" comment. I've heard of massive heart failure. "Massive engine failure" is a new one. Gotta wonder if Honda will replace the "massive" part of your engine. Maybe Hondas just have particularly massive engines? Or perhaps "massive engine failure" is brought on by having to much "cholesterol" in your oil. Remember to change it every 20,000 miles whether it needs it or not. Or congestive engine failure? How about that? Or my personal favorite... perhaps it died from a case of bad gas.

FYI: The CV joints typically fail because the boot that protects them from road grime cracks at some point +/- 60,000 miles and is something that an owner should keep an eye on or just replace when they notice cracking. They are basically a maintenance item. Oh, I'm sure you'll say they failed at 36,001 miles right on the button so Honda wouldn't cover them. The stories that get passed around here... I bet there are even a few that are true!

26th Feb 2009, 11:10

No, the CV joints failed (well, started clattering loudly) at 40,000 miles. The "massive engine failure" was a broken CRANKSHAFT. That's about as massive as it gets. It was attributed to poor-quality metal casting. Since so many other things on the car were falling apart and the paint had faded to a chalky consistency, the car was sold to a salvage dealer. It had just under 100,000 miles. Good, I suppose, for the average Japanese car.

Not one of our front-drive domestics has ever required CV joints. The CV's on our Dodge were clattering when I sold it, but that was at better than 240,000 miles. It never even had the boots replaced or ANY servicing of the CV joints. Cars built by ANY Japanese company have components that are much flimsier and short-lived than those of domestic vehicles.

27th Feb 2009, 23:25


Do you suppose that they're simply stripping higher quality rubber trees for those more powerful 200,000 mile boots? :)

The worst paint problems I've ever seen were on Chrysler products (especially the minivans) from the late 80s-90s. Chalky consistency? Yeah right. How about just plain peeling off -- usually from their hoods.

Your claims are both unlikely and an over-small sample. Every organization that rates vehicles based on large samples and numerical data suggest that your experience is an anomaly (and this includes all the vehicles that you haven't mentioned... but no doubt will).

I still like and own domestics, but I don't do so thinking that they are perfect... because they aren't. I've spent thousands keeping some of them on the road. I STILL like them, though, because they serve my needs. That's it.

28th Feb 2009, 13:03

I'm a mechanic, and I can assure you that anyone who spends "thousands" keeping a solidly built domestic vehicle on the road has not kept up with routine maintenance and headed off potential problems as they should. I've never spent over $800 on ANY domestic vehicle I've bought new. That includes many that made over 150,000 miles and one that made 240,000 miles. Any one of our three imports alone cost us more than that in less than 100,000 miles due to higher repair costs and the need for more frequent repairs.

1st Mar 2009, 11:47

"Your claims are both unlikely and an over-small sample"

And I suppose ONE used Ford with 200,000 miles on it and a 17 year old Tacoma is a LARGE sample??

1st Mar 2009, 15:54

Thanks for the assurance. But your experience isn't universal and I can assure you that you are wrong. Now it could be that a guy who's handy with vehicles and doesn't need them for work like I have, wouldn't spend anything on labor. My costs included labor and they included items that aren't usually considered wear items that a person can "head off" Like my starter, for example. The total cost to replace it was over $900.

You got a bone in your crop about "the import crowd" and can't allow an actual domestic owner's experience, if it doesn't line up with yours, to get through without a challenge.

The fact is, I think I've traded comments with you before. I've owned this -- a 95 Chevy Sportvan 350 for about 10 years. It now has over 130,000 miles on it. It's been a fine vehicle -- but not perfect. I also owned a 2000 Toyota Tundra SR5 at the same time. The Tundra had approx 109,000 (or maybe 107,000...I can't remember for sure) miles on it when I sold it. It had a water pump go out that cost me +/-$500. There was also a dome light that I replaced that cost me $15. But the Toyota wasn't used for work regularly.

My Chevy van has had over $2500 of repairs including that $900 starter. It leaks oil out of the main seal and around the oil pan (but not too much). It uses approx a quart every +/-2000 miles. It had a power steering pump go out as well -- but it's all included in the $2500. It was maintained the same as my Tundra. I generally used Valvoline IOC because they also lubed the chassis at every oil change (15 lube points....they complained a lot). The steering is pretty "wandery" from wear in the steering knuckles. How should I have headed that off? All the lube points were lubed regularly.

Nevertheless I really like that van. It took me to the jobsite and back every day. It made me hundreds of thousands of dollars. And there were only a few times that it needed to spend a day getting professional TLC. Even today there are no foreign manufacturers making a full-sized van worth a crap. I'd buy that Chevy all over again. Prior to that, I owned a Ford extended van with a 460 and a leaky oil cooler. I fixed that and it served me well.

I have nothing against domestics. But any claim of perfection is based on politics, not reality. If guys would just spend their time talking about individual experiences rather than needing to make universal commentary about the automotive state of the world, this site would be far more useful. Unfortunately the politicians take over. It's too bad.