The Cars With The Most And The Least Recalls

It must be love. Driven by passion. Unlike any other. When you get it, you get it.

These familiar car brand slogans all seem interchangeable. But as any driver knows, all cars are not created equal. Some are “built for the road ahead” much more reliable than others. And how reliable your car is can have a significant impact on your budget, particularly when you’re retired or considering retirement.

Recently, iSeeCars.com analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Using these numbers, they’ve produced a list of the cars with the most and the least amount of recalls.

Manufacturers don’t want to clock in at the top of the recall list; it’s bad for business. But this is important news for consumers. It’s a drag for drivers to have to take time out of their day to go to the dealership or dedicated mechanic to get a fix that should have happened on the assembly line. While mistakes do occur, they happen more frequently with some models than others.

Ever wondered where your ride lands on the roster for recalls? Here’s a spoiler – the cars with the lowest recall rates are from brands that the happiest retirees drive, while those with the highest number of recalls come courtesy of brands that the unhappiest retirees drive.

Here is iSeeCars’ data on which cars are recalled the most and which cars have the fewest issues:

Top Five Brands for Most Recalls:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  2. GMC Sierra
  3. BMW 3/4 Series
  4. Dodge Durango
  5. Nissan Pathfinder

Top Five Brands for Fewest Recalls:

  1. Hyundai Accent
  2. Chevrolet Equinox
  3. Toyota Corolla
  4. Honda Civic
  5. Honda CR-V

Also included in the list of least recalls were other Honda and Toyota models. From where I stand, these data support a trend I found when doing my research on what makes retirees happy: The type of car you drive in retirement impacts your happiness. The lower the fuss, muss, and cost of a vehicle, the happier the retiree.

During data collection for my book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think, I found that happy retirees don’t drive clunkers, but they generally don’t drive the newest hotrod either. If you’re a retiree cruising around in a BMW, the chances are that you’re not as happy as you could be; BMWs are the top luxury car in unhappy retirees’ garages across the country.

Why? In purchasing a high-end vehicle, you get additional financial burdens that could dampen your ability to enjoy other aspects of retirement. A high-end luxury car can be costly even after you’ve paid that exorbitant sticker price. In talking with retirees, I discovered that the happiest among the bunch typically own cars with relatively low maintenance costs.

The happiest retirees lean towards Asian and U.S. brands, like Toyota, Chevrolet, and Honda. It comes as no surprise to me that, along with being economical, these cars also rank low on the list of recalls. They just generally aren’t as maintenance-intensive as other brands.

Driving more reliable or practical cars makes financial sense retirement, and it makes for happy retirees. With lower maintenance costs, you’re left with more discretionary money, and that all adds up to more time with grandkids and trips to the beach.

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