U.S. Car Comeback

If you've ever had a car that's in and out of the shop, you know how important a reliable vehicle can be. For decades, the reliability of American cars has not been very impressive. But Consumer Reports auto reliability survey — the largest of its kind — shows American cars are getting better.

Anyone who works on cars knows how quickly repairs can add up.

"Three, four, that's three four things that have to be done, that's $1,200, $1,500. Then it's a question of do I keep the car or just trade it in?"

Ideally you want to buy a car that's reliable so you don't have that headache.

Consumer Reports' just-released survey results on 675,000 vehicles has big news.

The reliability of cars from Detroit's Big Three — Chrysler, Ford and GM —has improved significantly.

"For the first time in decades American cars as a group have done better than European cars in reliability."

Asian automakers, like Honda and Toyota, continue to set the standard with the most reliable cars on the road.

"The average American car still has about 50 percent more problems than the average Japanese car."

But US-made cars are closing the gap.

"Compared with years past, I think a consumer can buy an American car with much more confidence than before."

Which means a lot of mechanics will probably be seeing a little less of their regulars.

Consumer Report has information on how vehicles from the last seven years are holding up, available in the annual Auto Issue, on sale now. The detailed reliability ratings include more than 200 models, and how they performed in 14 specific trouble spots.

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