Car repair costs can add up over time, so it's a good idea for drivers to look at the reliability data for any used vehicles they plan on buying. One of the best sources for this information is J.D. Power's annual Vehicle Dependability Study, which was recently released for 2012.
Each year, the marketing firm looks at models from three years ago, so this year's report focused on 2009 vehicles. Owners of these cars were asked to list any issues they've had with the car thus far, with the problems then added up and tracked. Each brand and model is then assigned an average value based on their "problems per 100 vehicles" or PP100, with a lower score being better.
This year, Toyota brands dominated the top of the list, winning eight of the individual segment awards and taking three out of the top 5 spots. Lexus was the best overall brand with an average score of 89 PP100. Toyota and Scion took the fourth and fifth spots on the list, respectively.
Overall, however, it was a good year for the industry, as the average was just 132 PP100, a 13 percent improvement compared to the previous year. That's the best score since the study was first done in 1990, meaning drivers have to worry slightly less about the auto maintenance in their vehicles.