TÜV Süd’s rankings have revealed used cars that you should be careful about buying. According to data from the German equivalent of our STK, which works with the number of cars that fail the technical inspection due to serious or dangerous defects, the Dacia Logan is the least reliable car for 2023. But the cheap Romanian model is not the only sinner across the age categories.
One of the main pieces of information in this year’s TÜV Süd report on German MOTs? The number of cars that do not pass due to serious or dangerous defects is growing. If last year the share of serious problems was 17.9 percent, in the ranking for 2023 it is already 20.2 percent from more than 9.5 million visits. In addition, the average age of the cars that appear at inspections has also increased – for the first time it has crossed the ten-year mark. Even at this age, however, cars mostly comply with the Euro 5 emission standard, so they can still drive practically everywhere in Germany, the report states.
“Although you don’t want to say it too much, the pandemic is also having an impact on the car market. Between 2020 and 2022, which is the period in which we collected data, more used cars were sold. There was also less use of public transport, on the contrary, the popularity of delivery services increased ,” Jürgen Wolz from TÜV Süd explains the reasons for the greater age and higher number of defects.
But they are not the only ones, the technicians of the German organization also point out that the average age is increasing also because the supply of new cars is stalling due to a lack of chips and other parts. The number of defects then increases, among other things, because drivers have less money to service and maintain their tin pets.
Incidentally, this actually demonstrates the biggest “problem” of this particular reliability statistic. As a rule, there are cars in the front places whose owners treat them to a regular service (which is more financially demanding), thereby removing the biggest flaws before the technical inspection, or they are models that are expected to have less mileage. Typically, it is a Porsche 911, which dominates all age categories except the youngest: cars under three years old.
Of course, regular service and maintenance are the basis of the fact that there will be no need to change the car in a few years, and on the contrary, it will be possible to use it for a much longer time. After all, the winner of this year’s reliability ranking is the Mercedes-Benz B-class, a compact MPV, which even at the age of eight and nine years has a share of serious defects of eleven percent. Incidentally, this is the same number as for a maximum three-year-old – and therefore still new – Dacia Logan. For a change, it is the least reliable car in this year’s rankings.
At the same time, the average mileage is usually significantly different for cars of such a different age, and the B-class is not a car that the owner, with a bit of exaggeration, takes to the road a few times a year like a Porsche 911. On the contrary, there is an assumption that he will drive it regularly to work, shopping or delivering children to schools and clubs. However, the most reliable new cars in each age group will be discussed in the following gallery, in which you can view the least reliable cars in each age category.
TÜV Süd also adds that, in addition to the proportion of serious failures, the proportion of minor “defects” also increased by 1.6 percentage points to a total of 10.7 percent. “This shows that motorists do not pay enough attention to small repairs in particular,” states the press release. The share of cars returning home from inspections without a single fault then fell by 1.8 percent.
The most common defects are problems with lights, axles and oil leaks. Just 1.6 percent of the inspected cars, which represents over 150,000 cars, had a problem with the headlights on their very first inspection. Half a percent of cars began to struggle with oil leaks within three years. And this is only the tip of the iceberg, the older the car, the higher the risk of a serious breakdown. This is also helped by the fact that the maintenance of these older vehicles is not as good as it used to be, according to the TÜV.
The least reliable cars in all age groups can be found in the gallery at the beginning of the article.