Automotive

Do japanese cars like toyota and honda really hold up to their name in terms of reliability?

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 7th, 2018 2:15 pm
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
10838 posts
10080 upvotes
Oakville
brandonly wrote:
Jan 24th, 2018 8:38 pm
i have a toyota yaris and have owned it for 5 years and have had 0 issues. just general maintenance such oil changes, breaks etc.....the car has treated me very well. i had a oxygen sensor break which had to be replaced and it was like $1100 i think at the dealership to bring the part from japan and install it and thankfully it was covered under warranty, i havent had an issue with that ever since. so id recommend a toyota for sure, they are very reliable as long as you do the maintenance and treat the car well. i plan on buying a corolla next.
wut? "0 issues"... "$1100 for a failed O2 sensor" How do you resolve saying those two statements in the same breath? And it took a week to get a part... for a Yaris?
Any yea, great to see your anecdotal evidence.
Penalty Box
Aug 10, 2010
781 posts
187 upvotes
Mars.
board123 wrote:
Jan 24th, 2018 10:38 pm
The data for luxury models is mostly inconsequential for what we're discussing here for two reasons.

1. If you're not in the market for an A8 or S-class, then that data is irrelevant to you anyway.

2. If you are in the market for such a car, then you can make a reasonable assumption that their reliability would be in line with the overall brand reliability, or of the next level down (e.g. A7 or E-class). The top end models don't contribute enough sample data to make a significant impact on the overall data set. If, for instance, the A4 accounts for 75% of Audi data, while the A8 accounts for 1%, then any variation in the A8 data will have little to no impact on the reliability of Audi as a whole.
1) Yes, I am, and yes the data is relevant to me.
2) Yes, you're right, but that said, the electronics in an A8 are vastly different than an A4, as is the 2018 S vs the 2018 C.
Don't be a cooch.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 27, 2005
11530 posts
1159 upvotes
superangrypenguin wrote:
Jan 25th, 2018 8:14 am
1) Yes, I am, and yes the data is relevant to me.
2) Yes, you're right, but that said, the electronics in an A8 are vastly different than an A4, as is the 2018 S vs the 2018 C.
If you're in the market for such a car, then ask yourself a simple question in the absence of data: how much do you trust Audi and MB engineering given their track record in the lower segment cars?

Every new model year is going to have some new or updated electronics. Even the same electronics may change parts suppliers. You're never going to get reliable fresh data. All you can really go on is historical data.
Last edited by board123 on Jan 25th, 2018 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Penalty Box
Aug 10, 2010
781 posts
187 upvotes
Mars.
board123 wrote:
Jan 25th, 2018 10:02 am
If you're in the market for such a car, then ask yourself a simple question in the absence of data: how much do you trust Audi and MB engineering given their track record in the lower segment cars?
Trust is a silly word. I've worked in marketing. All of these car makers simply source parts from a bunch of vendors like Bosch, Mann, etc. All a car is is a collection of car parts, put under one brand. Brand loyalty/trust is the silliest thing to have ever been invented.

Going by track record alone, that's also a tough one. MB, for years, ranked at the bottom of the bunch, reliability wise (much better now), and yet, through data points with friends and family, they had a great experience. (Versus now - MB's brand for reliability is among the top quartile or something like that - and yet all over MB forums, new models are presenting build quality issues).
Don't be a cooch.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 27, 2005
11530 posts
1159 upvotes
superangrypenguin wrote:
Jan 25th, 2018 10:04 am
Trust is a silly word. I've worked in marketing. All of these car makers simply source parts from a bunch of vendors like Bosch, Mann, etc. All a car is is a collection of car parts, put under one brand. Brand loyalty/trust is the silliest thing to have ever been invented.

Going by track record alone, that's also a tough one. MB, for years, ranked at the bottom of the bunch, reliability wise (much better now), and yet, through data points with friends and family, they had a great experience. (Versus now - MB's brand for reliability is among the top quartile or something like that - and yet all over MB forums, new models are presenting build quality issues).
Brand loyalty and trust are very different things.

I had zero brand loyalty when I bought my first Honda, which I am still driving today. Nobody in my family has ever owned a Honda before me.
I bought my first Honda because I trusted in its reliability based on a proven track record.

For the same reason people trust Toyota to make reliable cars, they distrust Mitsubishi to make reliable cars. One doesn't need to have brand loyalty to either brand to make this distinction.

A car is more than just a collection of parts because the sum is greater than its parts. It's about how those parts are used and fitted together. Calling all cars just collections of parts is no different from saying you're as good of a chef as Gordon Ramsay because both of you bought the same ingredients to cook with.
Penalty Box
Aug 10, 2010
781 posts
187 upvotes
Mars.
board123 wrote:
Jan 25th, 2018 10:08 am
Brand loyalty and trust are very different things.

I had zero brand loyalty when I bought my first Honda, which I am still driving today. Nobody in my family has ever owned a Honda before me.
I bought my first Honda because I trusted in its reliability based on a proven track record.

For the same reason people trust Toyota to make reliable cars, they distrust Mitsubishi to make reliable cars. One doesn't need to have brand loyalty to either brand to make this distinction.

A car is more than just a collection of parts because the sum is greater than its parts. It's about how those parts are used and fitted together. Calling all cars just collections of parts is no different from saying you're as good of a chef as Gordon Ramsay because both of you bought the same ingredients to cook with.
I wholly disagree. If Gordon Ramsay and I used the same ingredients and techniques to cook the same dish, then the outcome would be the same.

This is the same as Mercedes and Audi both using the Bosch engine management system. The result, reliability wise, for that system, is exactly the same.
Don't be a cooch.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 27, 2005
11530 posts
1159 upvotes
superangrypenguin wrote:
Jan 25th, 2018 10:21 am
I wholly disagree. If Gordon Ramsay and I used the same ingredients and techniques to cook the same dish, then the outcome would be the same.

This is the same as Mercedes and Audi both using the Bosch engine management system. The result, reliability wise, for that system, is exactly the same.
You're assuming you have the same skill level has Gordon Ramsay. I'm not contending that, but that's a lofty assumption if you extend it to engineers. Not every companies have the same engineers. If they did, and if every company uses the same car parts, then why are there such large variations in quality between different models and different brands?

There's a lot more to a car than an engine. If you pop the hood of an Audi and MB and compare them side by side, does the engine bay look identical? If not, why not? Who made the decisions that resulted in different engine bay configurations? Which configuration is more reliable?
Penalty Box
Aug 10, 2010
781 posts
187 upvotes
Mars.
board123 wrote:
Jan 25th, 2018 10:44 am
You're assuming you have the same skill level has Gordon Ramsay. I'm not contending that, but that's a lofty assumption if you extend it to engineers. Not every companies have the same engineers. If they did, and if every company uses the same car parts, then why are there such large variations in quality between different models and different brands?

There's a lot more to a car than an engine. If you pop the hood of an Audi and MB and compare them side by side, does the engine bay look identical? If not, why not? Who made the decisions that resulted in different engine bay configurations? Which configuration is more reliable?
I can't believe I have to spell this out for you. Does Audi have better engineers than Mercedes? Who knows, but at both organizations, they both employ the most talented individuals in their fields. I'm no Gordon Ramsay, and I'm not claiming to be, but if you're comparing the chefs at both of these car makers, they are roughly the same.

Yes, a car is a collection of car parts, made by different vendors. Other than the sheet metal, a car maker doesn't really make most of their own parts. Let's look at oil filter reliability between a BMW, Merc and Audi. They're basically the same, why? Because they're generally made by Mann or one of the three filter makers.

Yes, there is a variance in reliability, but is there a HUGE difference in reliability between the three German makers? Well, not really.

The technology on a 7 series, A8 and S class are roughly the same. The reliability is roughly the same (e.g. average to not good). If you compare like for like, there isn't a HUGE variation in reliability.

Compare a 3 to a C class to an A4. Ho hum reliability - and TrueDelta information does show that.
Don't be a cooch.
Deal Fanatic
Nov 2, 2013
5253 posts
1131 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
To add to the thread... just bought a lower mileage BMW X5 5.0 (4.4l TT V8). Within the same weekend one of the cylinders start misfiring. Dealer replaced the spark plugs and ignition coils free of cost. Common wear items but just a reminder that all vehicles age eventually and go through parts. The 8 plugs and coils would had been about 500-600 in parts online from a German part supplier; add another 3-4 hours of labour if you bring it to a shop. You COULD use cheap Chinese parts or from some budget American manufacturer, but you get what you pay for. Shops often don't go outside the dealer for parts so expect to pay a premium there... would had been easily a $1000-1200 bill.

General rule of thumb I learned from experience is for older vehicles, put aside a good $2000 - 3000/year for repairs. Learn how to do the simple ones yourself and to source inexpensive quality parts. The dealers capitalize on laziness and convenience and make $$$ from it. Only makes sense to go to them for warranty work or for an odd speciality vehicle like a 911 GT3 you wouldn't trust any indy shop otherwise.

If your time is valuable or you like to be lazy, and as a result don't go anywhere but the dealer, after a while you're better off just financing/leasing new vehicles. Then invest your cash for a good return (which is realistic if you have the correct attitude). For myself I don't mind older vehicles and really do prefer some of the older ones, especially being one of us older school "driver" guys who prefer the manual transmission, more rugged road feeling of some of them. But I have a business while also working for another employer, and spend a lot of money and time on hobbies and sports. People like us then always want at least 1 warranty-covered, newer vehicle without worrying about downtime. Then you have the guys who have 1, 2+ old cars of a similar model sitting on their acreage or yard as parts cars and will happily spend half a week diagnosing an odd electrical issue, or even months trying to squeeze every last HP out of their high-boost turbo motor (while it doesn't run half of the time) until it blows.

I used to see a woman in Calgary who took her Rav4 to the dealer for $400 oil and cabin air filter changes... a Toyota dealer in BC quoted our family about $5,000 for a motor swap on a 2002 Toyota Sienna. Now why, that beats me...
Consultant
- Oilfield Services Operations & Safety - Digital Marketing - Finance - Accounting -
Serving Western Canada since 2013

To network, or for my website and personal blog, shoot me a message.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 27, 2005
11530 posts
1159 upvotes
superangrypenguin wrote:
Jan 25th, 2018 11:06 am
I can't believe I have to spell this out for you. Does Audi have better engineers than Mercedes? Who knows, but at both organizations, they both employ the most talented individuals in their fields. I'm no Gordon Ramsay, and I'm not claiming to be, but if you're comparing the chefs at both of these car makers, they are roughly the same.

Yes, a car is a collection of car parts, made by different vendors. Other than the sheet metal, a car maker doesn't really make most of their own parts. Let's look at oil filter reliability between a BMW, Merc and Audi. They're basically the same, why? Because they're generally made by Mann or one of the three filter makers.

Yes, there is a variance in reliability, but is there a HUGE difference in reliability between the three German makers? Well, not really.

The technology on a 7 series, A8 and S class are roughly the same. The reliability is roughly the same (e.g. average to not good). If you compare like for like, there isn't a HUGE variation in reliability.

Compare a 3 to a C class to an A4. Ho hum reliability - and TrueDelta information does show that.
TrueDelta also shows a huge difference between German and Japanese brands, so let me try to understand what you just said.

The three German automakers all employ the best engineers in the field -- okay, let's assume this is true
There is no major variation between the three German automakers based on TrueDelta data -- yes, this is true
There is a major difference between Toyota/Honda and the three German automakers -- this is straight from TrueDelta data
All cars use mostly the same parts from the same global parts suppliers -- this is your claim, and I'll assume it's true

Therefore...Toyota and Honda have better engineers than the German automakers? Is that the logical conclusion to draw from all this?
Penalty Box
Aug 10, 2010
781 posts
187 upvotes
Mars.
board123 wrote:
Jan 25th, 2018 12:13 pm
TrueDelta also shows a huge difference between German and Japanese brands, so let me try to understand what you just said.

The three German automakers all employ the best engineers in the field -- okay, let's assume this is true
There is no major variation between the three German automakers based on TrueDelta data -- yes, this is true
There is a major difference between Toyota/Honda and the three German automakers -- this is straight from TrueDelta data
All cars use mostly the same parts from the same global parts suppliers -- this is your claim, and I'll assume it's true

Therefore...Toyota and Honda have better engineers than the German automakers? Is that the logical conclusion to draw from all this?
Yes and no.

If we compare an entry level Toyota/Subaru/Honda, I would expect the reliability is all roughly the same.

Just compare apples to apples here. Yes, there is variation in every automakers use of parts and design for which the parts are to be leveraged, but the variation between like cars shouldn't be very different. Comparing a 3 series to a Camry isn't fair, as an example.
Don't be a cooch.
Member
Jan 17, 2009
418 posts
28 upvotes
Toronto
I haven't read much on the thread, but I just sold my 2002 Acura RSX Type_S 2 weekends ago.
You can see my for sale thread here: For Sale thread RSX

Mechanically it was a tank. Original clutch, transmission and engine. Started every single time never stranded me ever.
If I put 1-2k into it, it would've driven another 5 years at least....it had 260k on it.

I was sad to see it go. If I had a house, I would've kept it.

Based on friends and my own experience, I believe that the Japanese do make a superior reliable car...
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 27, 2005
11530 posts
1159 upvotes
superangrypenguin wrote:
Jan 25th, 2018 12:22 pm
Yes and no.

If we compare an entry level Toyota/Subaru/Honda, I would expect the reliability is all roughly the same.

Just compare apples to apples here. Yes, there is variation in every automakers use of parts and design for which the parts are to be leveraged, but the variation between like cars shouldn't be very different. Comparing a 3 series to a Camry isn't fair, as an example.
Why isn't it fair to compare a 3 series to a Camry? I'm having trouble understanding exactly what metric is not standard between two vehicles such that you can't compare the two.
Sr. Member
Feb 19, 2012
903 posts
597 upvotes
Woodbridge
board123 wrote:
Jan 25th, 2018 1:15 pm
Why isn't it fair to compare a 3 series to a Camry? I'm having trouble understanding exactly what metric is not standard between two vehicles such that you can't compare the two.
There's definitely some apples to oranges going on here. The Camry was designed with longevity in mind. It was first and foremost developed as a middle class family sedan. The 3 series targets a different demographic with well-equipped examples approaching six figures. The BMW driver isn't necessarily looking to hold onto his car for 12+ years whereas that's precisely why many people shop a Toyota or Honda in the first place. With the BMW, you can load it up pretty much how you want it but the trade off is that it probably is going to be less reliable over the later part of its life. Traditionally Toyota and Honda have kept their vehicles pretty simple. This makes perfect sense when you're pushing longevity and reliability rather than performance or driving dynamics. The interesting thing is that newer Toyotas and Hondas are increasingly focusing on performance. It makes you wonder if they will continue to maintain a significant longevity advantage over their German and American counterparts.

People who are looking to buy a Corolla or Camry aren't typically cross-shopping a 3 series unless they don't have a real understanding of what they want to purchase. The cars are being developed for two completely different segments.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 27, 2005
11530 posts
1159 upvotes
greybrick wrote:
Jan 25th, 2018 1:33 pm
There's definitely some apples to oranges going on here. The Camry was designed with longevity in mind. It was first and foremost developed as a middle class family sedan. The 3 series targets a different demographic with well-equipped examples approaching six figures. The BMW driver isn't necessarily looking to hold onto his car for 12+ years whereas that's precisely why many people shop a Toyota or Honda in the first place. With the BMW, you can load it up pretty much how you want it but the trade off is that it probably is going to be less reliable over the later part of its life. Traditionally Toyota and Honda have kept their vehicles pretty simple. This makes perfect sense when you're pushing longevity and reliability rather than performance or driving dynamics. The interesting thing is that newer Toyotas and Hondas are increasingly focusing on performance. It makes you wonder if they will continue to maintain a significant longevity advantage over their German and American counterparts.

People who are looking to buy a Corolla or Camry aren't typically cross-shopping a 3 series unless they don't have a real understanding of what they want to purchase. The cars are being developed for two completely different segments.
This goes back to the discussion way earlier in this thread, though. What extra stuff does a 3 series have that a Camry doesn't have? What are these extra things that contribute to its lower reliability?

Forget about demographics and all the other reasons for why the two cars are different. I think the less understood issue is what are the differences, exactly?

Let's step away from German cars for a moment. Let's compare Japanese and American cars. More specifically, Honda Civic versus Ford Focus. Can we all agree that a Civic and Focus are pretty similar in terms of technology and complexity? If so, then how do you explain this reliability rating?

Image

Top