(KDKA) (Pittsburgh) May 14, 2002 4:50 pm US/Eastern
If you're spending thousands of dollars on a new car, the last thing you want is a lemon – a car that's more trouble than it's worth. But you can find out what other drivers are complaining about before you buy.
Each year thousands of people call the government to complain about their cars and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration keeps a running list of those complaints.
Which of the cars on the road log the most complaints? What are the problems the dealers just can't seem to fix? You can find the answers to those questions by checking this year's Car Complaint Index.
"It can give an indication of which cars are trouble and also an indication of people who have those cars who aren't getting their cars repaired properly... that these issues are common," says Craig Kimmel, Lemon Law Attorney.
Topping this year's list with more than 11,000 complaints is the Mazda MVP, but Lemon Law attorney Craig Kimmel says the car has been redesigned to solve some of its problems.
His pick to top the lemon list is number two on the list - the Kia Sportage. "First of all," Kimmel explains, "there is a parts problem. These cars are made with parts that tend to break much quicker than other vehicle parts. There's a durability concern - so when you go to the dealer and you have a problem, you may not have access to parts that fix the problem the first time out."
The Ford Excursion and the Ford Windstar had more than 11,000 complaints between them last year. Kimmel blames two problems plaguing those models: "brake problems are common, shift issues are common."
While the lemon list helps consumers steer clear of trouble vehicles, another list, LemonLaw.com's Best Buy List, helps point them in the direction of cars with the highest customer satisfaction.
"This year the list is dominated by Toyota products and Nissan products," explains Kimmel. "Toyota owns Lexus, Nissan owns Infinity – and those two vehicle manufacturers are really dominating this year's best car list."
For more information read the current Car Complain Index.
Consumers complain the least about the following vehicles:
Even if you do end up with a lemon, you still have rights under the Law. If you've had the same problem three times in the first year or 12,000 miles and the dealer can't fix it, you may be entitled to a new car or your money back. For more information, read about your rights.