Predicting long-term vehicle reliability can be a challenge, but we can look at how many times vehicles have been recalled by their manufacturers.
This idea comes from a question posed by reader Vince Butler, who is looking to buy a half-ton from the Big Three Detroit brands. The question is as follows:
“I’m no longer that brand loyal guy. Fully loaded 1/2 tons are pushing $70k. I want a truck that is going to last for quite sometime. I would also prefer as American made as possible. The big thing is reliability and as few recalls as possible. I just don’t want to be at the shop all the time.”
Thanks for sending it in Vince. We went straight over the to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website to compile the data.
We will look at both 2018 and 2019 model year trucks to see which has the most recalls, and we will also list the number of “manufacturer communications” for each vehicle as well as complaints.
Manufacturer communications include any issue that appears to be widespread but does not warrant a recall for safety reasons. For example, one communication on the 2018 Chevy Silverado suspension reads, “This Preliminary Information communication provides information to the technician on the steps to help diagnose and repair vehicles with a rattle, squeak, clunk, thump, or bump.”
As for complaints, these can be logged by any owner of the vehicle, and NHTSA publishes them on its website.
Below, find a chart of recalls and communications for each half-ton pickup, and although Vince is looking for a US truck, we included Toyota and Nissan to compare the entire segment.
|2018 Chevy Silverado||0||174||46|
|2018 Ford F-150||9||164||261|
|2018 Ram 1500||8||99||49|
|2018 Toyota Tundra||4||85||37|
|2018 Nissan Titan||1||60||8|
The Chevy Silverado comes away with the cleanest recall record, though it also has the most manufacturer communications, suggesting that problems exist on the truck, just none big enough to warrant a recall. The Ford F-150 leads the pack in recalls and complaints, while the Ram 1500 is close to the Ford in recalls, but has significantly fewer manufacturer communications.
The Tundra and Titan have even fewer communications, and the complaints on these models are nice and low.
Now lets look at 2019 trucks and see if anything changes:
|2019 Chevy Silverado||1||209||19|
|2019 Ford F-150||2||64||10|
|2019 Ram 1500||10||96||113|
|2019 Toyota Tundra||4||27||6|
|2019 Nissan Titan||0||17||1|
In 2019, the all-new Ram 1500 has not been having a good time and has already been the subject of 10 recalls. Complaints about the new Ram are also significantly higher than the other trucks. The new Silverado has only gone through one single recall, but already has 209 manufacturer communications on it.
While this is no way signifies reliability, it is an interesting set of data and one that is worth looking at to help your decision.
To look up all the recall information for yourselves, you can head over to the NHTSA website where you can search by year, make and model.