After just 50,000 miles, your ride is dead. Hoses leaked, gaskets blew, and it left you on the side of the road more times than you can count. “My car is too young for this, right?” you ponder. Yes, it is, but some vehicles are so unreliable that they disappoint their owners before the clock even rolls over to six digits. Let’s get you out of that beater and into a car that can stand the test of time.

Automotive reliability isn’t simply going down to your local Honda, Toyota, Ford, Chevy, or Hyundai dealer and asking the salesperson to ring up the most reliable car they’ve got. External factors such as weather, climate, and maintenance play their parts, too. As does manufacturing, research, and development the brand puts into each car. 

So how do you avoid buying another lemon? Car Bibles will lead you to find your perfect car, something that won’t leave you by the side of the road muttering obscenities and cursing whichever deity you pray to. 

Which Brand of Vehicle is the Most Reliable? 

We’d love to tell you “X” manufacturer is the most reliable car brand, but the honest truth is that reliability depends a great deal on how the owner treats the car. Directly from the factory floor to your garage, most modern cars will be very reliable. The longer you keep it, though, the more preventative maintenance you’ll need to do to ensure it stays reliable.

Keeping to your car’s maintenance schedule, curbing your Formula 1 driving inputs, and reducing its exposure to your locale’s harshest weather will all maintain its health deep into old age. So if you want to see who’s responsible for your clapped out hooptie, check a mirror.

That said, certain manufacturers have developed reputations for their reliability throughout the years. Honda and Toyota, for example, both prioritize longevity and ease of maintenance through spending millions of dollars on research, development, and manufacturing practices. Consumers took notice, and both have reaped “reliable” tagging in doing so. And brands like Hyundai, Kia, and the aforementioned Toyota and Honda, offer longer-than-average warranties, standing by their products past what their competitors offer.

Honda Ridgeline auto moto show

What Are the Least Reliable Car Brands?

Again, no easy answer here. Reddit-based brand loyalists will tell you Fiat stands for “Fix It Again, Tony,” and Ford stands for Factory Ordered Road Disaster, but those types of biased opinions are the ones you have to sort through to find the truth about brand reliability. The jokes are funny, but they should not inform your car-buying decisions. ” 

Should you base reliability of a brand on its recalls? The issue here is that every single automotive manufacturer recalls millions of cars each year. No brand is without fault or issue. 

Reliability truly depends on the brand’s commitment to research, development, and manufacturing. But once it leaves the designer’s sketch, luck, and how you, yes you, take care of your care will matter more than any silly acronym or the swearing up, down, and sideways that BMW’s are “Big Money Wasted” by your uncle Kevin who no one in your family trusts anymore. 

What Makes a Reliable Car?

Everything we detailed above. But to make sure that your car stays reliable here’s a simple maintenance checklist to help you keep your ride on the road longer. 

5,000-7,500 miles

  • Replace engine oil and oil filter
  • Replace climate control air filter
  • Rotate Tires
  • Inspect air filter
  • Inspect air conditioning refrigerant
  • Inspect battery condition
  • Inspect brake discs, pads, and calipers
  • Inspect suspension 
  • Inspect hoses for cracks and leaks

10,000-15,000 miles

  • Replace cabin air filter
  • Replace engine oil and oil filter
  • Rotate tires
  • Inspect air filter
  • Inspect air conditioning refrigerant
  • Inspect battery condition
  • Inspect brake discs, pads, and calipers
  • Inspect suspension 
  • Inspect hoses for cracks and leaks
  • Inspect brake fluid
  • Inspect brake lines, hoses, and connections
  • Inspect driveshafts and boots
  • Inspect exhaust pipe and muffler
  • Inspect fuel filter
  • Inspect steering gearbox, linkage, and boots on lower arm ball joint, upper arm ball joint
  • Inspect vapor hose, fuel filler cap, and fuel tank

Chevrolet Suburban in the city street.

Which Cars Can Last 300,000 Miles or More? 

Reliability has changed in the last two decades of automotive manufacturing. It used to mean cars could be reliably driven by at least two owners, or around 90,000-100,000 miles. Today’s engineering and standards account for cars routinely doubling or even tripling those previous forecasts. And though your reliability will depend on some factors you control, there are a few models that are more likely to cross 150,000-300,000 miles. Here’s that very short list.

  • Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser is an indomitable machine. Chosen by militaries, aid organizations, and outback outfitters all around the world, an O.G. Land Cruiser is a cockroach; unkillable. From what they tell us, Toyota has put in the work to ensure the new model will carry on the mantle well into the future, as well

  • Toyota Sequoia

Another Toyota? You bet. Like the Land Cruiser, the Sequoia is a machine that just doesn’t seem to know the word “Quit.” Many Sequoia owners have proven the SUV will breach the 300,000-mile wall. 

  • Honda Ridgeline

While Honda’s first-generation Ridgeline was plagued with issues, including some necessitating engine replacements, the second-generation is infallible. With a proven 3.5-liter V6 engine, a chassis borrowed from the Pilot, a great warranty, and affordable parts, the Japanese truck is a  mainstay on everyone’s most-reliable list. 

  • Ford Expedition

Ford’s Expedition is the biggest, baddest vehicle on this list and its old-school construction and engineering are exactly why it takes the fourth spot. With a ladder frame construction, bullet-proof V8 engine, and engineering that wouldn’t look out of place two to three decades ago, there’s little to go wrong.

  • Chevrolet Suburban

Like Ford’s Expedition, the Chevrolet Suburban is a bare-bones, old-school machine. It uses a similar ladder-frame construction, based on the Silverado, and you could probably fix most issues that occur with a hammer and a hammer alone—that’s hyperbole, folks. 

What Is the Longest-Lasting Vehicle On the Road?

If you guessed a Honda, you’d be wrong. The longest-lasting vehicle still on the road is a Volvo P1800 from 1968. It’s seen over 3.2 million miles of this wonderful world and is supposedly still going. What’s wilder is that there are numerous million-mile cars, including a Lexus, a Nissan Frontier, a Civic, and a number of others.

What’s the World’s Most Reliable Car?

The one you keep maintained, clean, and in good condition. Or, you know, Honda Civic. They never die. Trust your crazy uncles at Car Bibles

More Information

Car Bibles has put together a few more resources you can use to educate yourself about the longest-lasting cars. Check them out below

CarComplaints: The Best Vehicles

iSeeCars: Longest-Lasting Cars

USAToday: 2020 JD Power Vehicle Dependability