Consumer Reports highlights reliability of used cars

February 29, 2012 12:00 AM

New findings from Consumer Reports show that the used cars of today are generally much more reliable than those from a decade ago, helping drivers save money on car repairs.

The news source compared three-year-old vehicles from 2011 against three-year-old cars from 2002 to see which models were problem-free. The worst automaker in 2011 was BMW, as just 70 percent of its cars were problem-free after three years. However, that was better than the average automaker in 2002, which had just 68 percent of its models with no issues. In essence, the data shows that the least reliable used cars from 2011 are still better than the average used models from 2002.

Buyers in the market for a used car may want to target these models, as they're typically coming off of warranty and have already had their steepest depreciation period. Drivers who find a problem-free three-year-old car will pay a lot less than a new one, but still get a reliable vehicle.

Of course, even the most dependable cars need auto maintenance, so it's important that owners keep up with their oil changes and tune-ups.

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