Consumer Reports (CR) is the go-to source for finding reliable data for many driving consumers. That data is then used to determine which car would be perfect for them and their families. One significant source of information provided by CR is the company’s reliability reports. The data for these reports come from the Auto Reliability Surveys filled out by CR members. Respondents report on problems in each of the 17 trouble spots. So, what are these 17 trouble spots, and what do they mean? 

Engine (or Electric Motor), Major

consumer reports, maintenance, reliability

Looking under the hood of a Chevy Bolt EV | Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

In this category, according to Consumer Reports, you will find engines and electric motors, cylinder heads, timing chains, superchargers, turbochargers, head gaskets, or belts that will need to be rebuilt or replaced. 

Engine (or Electric Motor), Minor 

This trouble spot includes a variety of accessory belts and pulleys, engine computers, engine mounts, oil leaks, fuel leaks, electric motor malfunctions, and engine knocks or pings. 

Engine Cooling 

Here you will find problems with the radiator, water pump, thermostat, antifreeze leaks, cooling fan, and overheating. 

Transmission (Major)

Here, you’ll want to check if there’s been a transmission rebuild or replacement, premature clutch replacement, or torque converter replacement, or if one is needed.

Transmission (Minor)

#RollsRoyce new #Ghost’s Satellite Aided Transmission draws GPS data to pre-select the optimum gear for upcoming corners. The result is unprecedented levels of ride comfort and control for a motor car. Nikko #Japan pic.twitter.com/9TWSsSTaqs

— Rolls-Royce Motor Cars (@rollsroycecars) November 27, 2020

Here, you will find a rough shift, slipping transmission, transmission computer, clutch adjustment, leaks, and transmission sensor or solenoid. 

Drive System

Anything dealing with the driveshaft or axle, transfer case, four-wheel-drive or all-wheel drive components, driveline vibration, electrical failure, traction control, or electronic stability control, is part of the drive system detailed by Consumer Reports.

Fuel System 

Prices at the pump continue to plunge, dropping the US average for gasoline below where it was when Russia invaded Ukraine. https://t.co/USY6WowTGi

— CNN (@CNN) December 1, 2022

Fuel system trouble spot deals with the fuel-injection system, fuel pump, O2 sensors, emissions control devices, and any fuel tank problems. 

Electrical/Charging System 

The electrical (or charging) system involves the alternator, starter, spark plugs, auto start and stop, hybrid or electrical battery replacement and related systems, regular battery, and electric vehicle charging (when applicable). 

Climate System

Next-generation Apple CarPlay will be a whole car OS, taking over every screen and even controlling gauges and climate-control functions. The first cars to use the new CarPlay will be announced in late 2023, with nearly a dozen automakers already on board. https://t.co/xE92MV0Wpw pic.twitter.com/aalXGSNahE

— CNET Cars (@CNETCars) June 6, 2022

Anything that affects how the inside of your vehicle is part of the climate system falls in this Consumer Reports category. This includes the AC compressor, fan motor, condenser, heater system, automatic climate system, evaporator, electrical failure, and refrigerant leakage. 

Suspension/Steering

The suspension and steering system includes shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, alignment, steering linkage, power steering, wheel balance, bushings, electronic or air suspension, and springs or torsion bars. 

Brakes

Is your car prepared for Winter weather?Check tyres regularly for adequate pressure and tread.Brakes and steering will be adversely affected by under-inflated or over-inflated tyres.
Tyres which have lost most of their tread can be extremely dangerous.https://t.co/WHLgypmaT4 pic.twitter.com/5FdAgZZ5fx

— roadtozero (@roadtozero) November 23, 2022

The trouble spots with brakes may seem self-explanatory. Still, to be sure, it includes the anti-lock system, parking brake, calipers, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure, master cylinder, premature wear, and regenerative braking. 

Exhaust

The exhaust system includes the muffler, pipes, exhaust manifold, heat shields, and leaks. 

Paint/Trim

Finding the paint and trim on the outside of the car, Consumer Reports wants drivers to check for fading, peeling, cracking, or chalking paint, along with rust, or loose interior or exterior trim or moldings. 

Body Integrity

Does the ride make any odd noises? The body integrity category looks at squeaks, rattles, wind noises, air or water leaks, and seals and/or weather stripping. 

Body Hardware


Related

The car’s structure on the inside and outside is how you look at the hardware. Look at the windows, locks and latches, tailgate, doors, sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls (manual or power), heated steering wheel, seat belts, heated seats, cooled seats, convertible top, sunroof, or any glass defect. 

Power Equipment and Accessories

More modern vehicles are going to include power equipment and accessories. These features include cruise control, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor, tire pressure monitor, 12V power plug, USB port, alarm or security system, remote engine, automatic headlights, and wireless charging pad. 

In-Car Electronics 

Finally, the 17th potential trouble spot for your next car could be the in-car electronics. Features included here are the CD player, rear entertainment system, speakers, radio, in-dash GPS, voice control, Bluetooth, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface, smartphone compatibility, and head-up display. 

TECH NEWS RELATED

3 Most Reliable Lexus Models

While there are a few automotive brands out there known for being reliable, one of the top companies with several durable models in its lineup is Lexus. Which vehicles are the top three for being reliable rides? Why does reliability matter? Lexus logo | Getty Images When you buy a ...

View more: 3 Most Reliable Lexus Models

The Cheapest New Dodge Charger Is a Versatile Sedan Option With One Big Issue

The Dodge Charger offers everything from a sensible V6 and all-wheel drive to supercharged tail-happy sports sedans. Better yet, the cheapest offering in the model’s lineup, the SXT, is versatile and well-suited for daily driving. However, the 2023 Dodge Charger SXT has one glaring issue: it’ll be the last car ...

View more: The Cheapest New Dodge Charger Is a Versatile Sedan Option With One Big Issue

Cheapest New Audi Is 1 of the Best Small Luxury Cars, Says Car and Driver

Audi has a solid lineup of luxury vehicles — with their good driving dynamics, premium features, and attractive designs. Also, compared to some other luxury brands, Audi models are relatively affordable. This includes the 2023 Audi A3 subcompact sports sedan, which is the cheapest new Audi car. Also, according to ...

View more: Cheapest New Audi Is 1 of the Best Small Luxury Cars, Says Car and Driver

GM Just Announced An All-New Small-Block V8 Is Coming

The electrification zeitgeist is in full swing, but gasoline-powered engines won’t disappear overnight. Nor will V8 power, as GM just confirmed a new small-block V8 engine is coming soon. This will be the sixth generation of the legendary small-block V8 that has powered so many Chevy and GM products since ...

View more: GM Just Announced An All-New Small-Block V8 Is Coming

Best car tool kits 2023

Whether you're looking for an emergency set of basic tools or something more comprehensive, a good tool kit can save you lots of stress – but who makes the best?...

View more: Best car tool kits 2023

The Lectron Adapter Will Let You Charge a Ford Lighting at a Tesla Station

Electric vehicle charging ports are mess. Some use one type developed in Europe, others use a Japanese system, and then Teslas use their own. But, what about those who have access to a Tesla charger, but want to charge something else, like a Ford F-150 Lightning? The Ford F-150 Lightning ...

View more: The Lectron Adapter Will Let You Charge a Ford Lighting at a Tesla Station

How Much Does a Nissan Tune-up Cost, and What Do They Do?

Keeping up with your Nissan‘s regular maintenance means you get optimal performance and fewer chances of major breakdowns. With that, you save on fuel costs and significant repairs and avoid the inconvenience of your car breaking down or stalling in the middle of the road. Naturally, tune-ups are a considerable ...

View more: How Much Does a Nissan Tune-up Cost, and What Do They Do?

How Does the New Corvette E-Ray Stack Up Against Hybrid Hypercars?

The new 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray isn’t just the latest stage in the Corvette’s evolution into a world-class supercar. Instead, it’s a reminder that the latest generation of plastic fantastic can punch well above its weight class. For instance, the new hybrid Corvette is quick enough to compete with several ...

View more: How Does the New Corvette E-Ray Stack Up Against Hybrid Hypercars?

4 Snow Plow Safety Tips When Encountering These Vehicles on the Road

Alpine is Coming to the U.S, but it’s Not Bringing the Goods

What’s the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Towing Capacity?

1990s GMC Typhoon: There’s Never Been an SUV That Can Beat It

Your 2022 Ford Maverick Might Have Faulty Airbags

This Older Porsche Infotainment Upgrade Helps Modernize Your 911 and Cayenne

Only 1 Type of Buyer Should Even Consider the 2022 Jeep Compass

3 Most Common GMC Sierra 1500 Problems Reported by Hundreds of Real Owners

5 Used Cars with the Biggest Price Drops

Incredibly Rare and Awesome Pontiac GTO Judge Sold for $1.5 Million

Is the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Too Old to Keep Up?

Carroll Shelby’s 100th Birthday Honored by Centennial Edition Mustang

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News