Car manufacturers issue recalls on their vehicles for a variety of reasons, ranging from serious to minor.
“Recalls can be in the severe case, such as airbags not inflating,” says Julie Blackley, director of communications for ISeeCars.com, a search engine for cars that analyzes data on new and used vehicles. “We’ve seen that automakers can also issue recalls because there was a typo in their manual.” Some car manufacturers are proactive about recalls, while others don’t inform customers until problems arise, she adds.
ISeeCars.com gave Reader’s Digest exclusive data on the car manufacturers in the United States with the most and fewest recalls from 2014 through 2018. Of the leading automakers on the list, General Motors ranked the highest with 213 recalls during that time frame. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that General Motors also makes far more vehicles than other car makers on the list. These are the 10 car brands that cost the least to repair.
Another caveat? Some brands issued fewer recalls than other leading manufacturers, but those recalls stood out in terms of seriousness and scope, Blackley notes. Mercedes-Benz, for example, has recalled millions of models around the world in the past two years over risk of fire, faulty airbag indicator lights, and potential faulty parts with the rear brakes. Regulators are now investigating whether the company informed customers about the risks soon enough.
And in 2018, Tesla voluntarily recalled nearly half of the cars the company had produced because of a problem with the power steering. That recall affected 123,000 Model S sedans made before April 2016. Look out for these 13 signs your car is about to die.
That said, here are the manufacturers that had the highest number of recalls over the past five years, according to ISeeCars.com:
Vehicles affected: 54,942,962
Vehicles affected: 24,892,471
Vehicles affected: 40,726,068
Vehicles affected: 3,150,014
Vehicles affected: 6,510,514
And these manufacturers had the lowest number of recalls among top U.S. carmakers from 2014 through 2018:
Vehicles affected: 210,727
Vehicles affected: 190,444
Suzuki Motor of America
Vehicles affected: 482,866
Porsche Cars North America
Vehicles affected: 257,732
Tie: Subaru of America Inc.
Vehicles affected: 3,465,501
Tie: Land Rover
Vehicles potentially affected: 477,080
Interested in learning more? You can find additional data on which car manufacturers had the highest and lowest recalls rates from 1985 to 2016.