Lemon Files: The Top 10 Defects

The sample data for this study was taken from approximately 100 of our most recent Lemon Law case files. Many of these cases had multiple defects. The data is very recent (last few weeks)

Vehicles Sampled by Make

Mercedes 23
GMC 17
Nissan 12
Chrysler 9
Toyota 8
Ford 6
Land Rover 2
Fleetwood 2
Honda 2
Kia 2
Porsche 1
Suzuki 1
Winnebago 1
Aston Martin 1
Saturn 1

Defects by Type


# of Defects

1. Engine/Engine Control Systems


2. Transmission/TX Controls


3. Software – General


4. Safety Systems


5. Suspension & Steering


6. Fuel Systems


7. Electrical/Electronics


8. Brakes


9. Structural


10. Air Conditioning


! Surprises !

Here's the big surprise, and it isn't about the number of defects or a specific make.

It is the number of cases where the first attempt to get the vehicle repaired ended in the dealership denying that anything was wrong.

50%: Read that as Fifty Percent of the cases sampled began their repair history as:

  • No Problem Found
  • Working as Designed
  • Normal operation

In a couple cases they asserted their faultlessness even though the vehicles had to be towed to the dealership for repairs.

What do you suppose is the likelihood, statistically or otherwise, that fifty percent No Problem Found is accidental or random? If you said accidental, I am offering a course in remedial statistics.

In the category of "what do you know about that?" Look at Mercedes. I thought they would be 3rd or 4th. Those folks at manufacturing plants in Stuttgart and Alabama, and a dozen other locations have got some work to do.

If readers have a specific statistic or group of statistics that you'd like to see here, or questions of any kind, your comments would be very welcome.