Tundra Tops 2008 J.D. Power Long Term Dependability Results
J.D. Power and Associates recently published their 2008 long term vehicle dependability study, and the Toyota Tundra was rated as the most dependable truck in it’s segment.
Long-term dependability is based on the “reported problems” per vehicle over the course of 3 years. So, the 2008 study is based on 2005 models, the 2009 study will be based on 2006 models, etc. It’s information about a vehicle that was made three years ago. While it’s nice to talk (cough-brag) about the award, we’re not sure that this study by itself is particularly meaningful.
First of all, while approximately 16 million new cars were sold in 2005, JD Power only surveyed 52,000 vehicle owners. That’s only 3.25% of all new vehicle owners. With such a small sample, it’s easy to make a mistake.
Secondly, as we’ve said above, this information is 3 years old. If you bought a 2005 Tundra, congratulations, you got the most dependable truck according to this somewhat flawed study. If you bought an 06′ or newer, you’ll just have to wait to find out how dependable your truck is.
Third, and most important, this study is based on reported problems per 100 vehicles. The metric is solid, but the definition of the world “problem” is suspect. According to JD Power, these are the top “problems” as reported by consumers:
- Excessive wind noise
- Noisy brakes
- Vehicle pulling left or right
- Issues with instrument panel/dashboard
- Excessive window fogging [editor – seriously!]
Of the five most commonly reported problems, only two could qualify exclusively as a manufacturing defect. Noisy brakes, for example, may be a vehicle problem. However they’re more likely to be worn brake pads. A vehicle pulling left or right is most likely a maintenance issue (and is likely a symptom of striking a curb, failing to check tire pressure, and/or failing to rotate tires as directed). Excessive window fogging is an interesting problem to report, but it hardly seems like a “dependability issue.” i.e.
Can you imagine someone saying “the windows fogged up a little too easily in my _blank_ so I had to trade it in.”?!
At best, the J.D. Power long-term dependability study is a good trending tool. For instance, Toyota and Lexus owners experienced the fewest reported problems in nearly half of all vehicle segments. Therefore, the trend is that Toyota and Lexus are more dependable than other manufacturers.
By themselves, the J.D. Power test results aren’t that exciting. However, if you combine the results of the J.D. Power dependability tests with other resources (like Consumer Reports, Consumer Guide, Edmunds.com, etc.), you can build a picture of the reliability and dependability of a particular vehicle.
That picture shows that the Toyota Tundra is a reliable and dependable vehicle, regardless of the results of any individual study. Thanks to J.D. Power for reinforcing something we already knew.
Filed Under: Auto News