America’s automotive industry is on a roll. Better cars, stronger sales, and consistent dealership service marked its recovery from the economic disaster.
However, one aspect of the industry didn’t fare so well: vehicle dependability(VD). According to The Car Connection’s Richard Read, market research firm J.D. Power’s most recent Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) shows that VD, as a whole, dropped for the first time in 15 years. The number of problems per 100 cars (PP100) reached an all-time high for 2011 models.
“In 2012, dependability hit a record high, as the auto industry averaged 126 PP100. For this year’s study, however, Power found that vehicles in their third year of service averaged 133 PP100, a six percent uptick. The last time dependability took a hit was 1998.”
As noted in the study when Car Lacks Power, performance problems were attributed to the four-cylinder engines inherent in the various models in question. Manufacturers have begun the exodus from six and eight-cylinder engines to four-cylinder ones, even for high-performance vehicles. It’s one of many ways by which the industry seeks to follow the government’s mandate for decreased fuel consumption.
Only a few four-cylinder engines are capable of matching six-cylinder ones in terms of power without sacrificing fuel efficiency. Lexus maintained its six-cylinder system for its line of cars and ranked as the most dependable car this year, with only 68 PP100. Four-cylinder engines, on the other hand, can be tuned for either efficiency or performance yet rarely for both.
As a result, some owners reportedly had to put up with underpowered engines and gas guzzlers among vehicles with four-cylinder engines. Such a scenario defeats the purpose of making the switch from six-cylinder ones.
Tune-Ups May Help
It remains unclear whether or not manufacturers that have made the shift will ever return to six- and eight-cylinder systems. However, this doesn’t mean motorists will be stuck with underpowered vehicles.
Tune-ups at Tampa Mercedes repair centers can help improve vehicle performance. Among other things, tune-ups can address problems attributed to worn-out spark plugs or engine fluids that have exceeded their effective lifespan. A tune-up is a more affordable option than modifying the engine to go from 0 to 60 in three seconds.
Even though Mercedes-Benz vehicles ranked second on the VDS (104 PP100), they need proper maintenance much like the rest of the cars cited in the study. After all, engine parts can only last for so long before they succumb to wear and tear. Know when to replace the components and when to refer vehicle performance issues to a Mercedes repair center like Auto Works of Brandon.
(Source: J.D. Power: Vehicle Dependability Drops For The First Time In Over 15 Years, The Car Connection, February 13, 2014)