Are there any resources out there for data on customers' car ratings?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1996

Dear Tom and Ray:

Annually, Consumer Reports, JD Power and others poll owners of new cars to check on customer satisfaction for the first year of ownership. Then they rate the cars accordingly. But what about the second and following years? It seems to me that some cars, once the initial problems have been solved, may be very good cars, and vice versa. What do you say? -- Fred

RAY: Consumer Reports DOES rate the frequency of repair on cars more than 1 year old. In fact, their ratings tend to go back six years or so. While they are very trustworthy in that they don't take advertising from car companies and don't sell their results for advertising uses, we find their data much too general. But at the moment, that's the best place to look.

TOM: JD Power also does a survey that covers the first five years of ownership. But since their data is sold to car makers for use in advertising (and everybody seems to be No.1 in at least some JD Power category), we personally find it somewhat less trustworthy than Consumer Reports data.

RAY: Which leads us to another in our series of shameless plugs. You can now get such data on the internet at, our own site on the world wide web (http: // Since Consumer Reports' data is less specific than we'd like and JD Power's data is less independent than we'd like, we've put together our own owner experience survey which we are sharing for free with our readers and listeners.

TOM: So if you visit, you can take the survey. Add your ownership experience to our database, and see what other people like you think about the cars they own. Eventually, we should have a good, honest database from which we can all draw. Let us know what you think.

* * *
If you want to ruin your car, we have 10 ways for you to do it. If you don't want to ruin your car, we have "Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It!" You can order this booklet by sending $3 and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No.10 envelope to Ruin No.1, PO Box 6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-6420.

c 1996 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One