The next time you purchase a car, you’ll want to compare prices to ensure you're getting the best upfront deal. But the real expense often comes further down the line, as the car ages.
A new survey by CarMD ranks cars based on the type of repairs required and how often they occur. Its Vehicle Health Index is drawn from 136 million model year 2002 to 2012 vehicles. It ranks 100 vehicles that represent the top 5 percent of the most reliable vehicles on the road.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click Here to See the 12 Cheapest Cars for Repairs
For the second year in a row, Toyota topped the list of manufacturers for reliability, with the fewest percentage of "check engine"-related problems and lowest average repairs costs. Number two on the list, also for the second year in a row, was Hyundai, followed by BMW, Honda and Volkswagen.
On the other end of the spectrum, CarMD finds the 2002 Ford Windstar, with $411.99 in repair costs from September 2011 to September 2012, to be the least reliable vehicle on the road today. The 2002 Ford Focus is also among the worst, as is the 2003 Chevrolet Impala, the 2003 Toyota Corolla and the 2007 Dodge Ram pickup.
Here are the top 12 vehicle models with the combined fewest and lowest cost "check engine"-related problems from September 1st, 2011 to September 1st, 2012, and the common repair problems they experience. This includes model years 2002 to 2012. The vehicles are listed by their average repair costs for 2011-2012. Some of the models with pricier average repair costs may still get a higher overall reliability ranking, due to extremely low repair incidents. Repair costs also don’t necessarily come out of consumers’ pockets, as many vehicles are still under manufacturer warranty. To find out how your car ranks, go to the full CarMD list.