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Which cars are the best?

It never fails when you’re in the automotive repair business or much more likely when you’re the car guy on the radio. Everyone’s first question at the backyard BBQ once they find out what I do is “what kind of car is the best?” I have never come up with a good answer for this question as it’s not a quick and easy answer. What do I mean?

There are so many different variables that effect our industry perception of which cars we see the most for repair. While I do have some broad stroke numbers of which cars make up what percentage of my business at the auto shop, it does not tell the true story — and there are several reasons why, so I’ll name a just a few.

Remember, it’s not an easy answer!

• All the automotive manufacturers, with very few exceptions, make good cars and with very few exceptions they all make bad ones. As an example, Acme Automobile makes a four-cylinder sedan that is great, while the same exact vehicle from Acme with the V6 is a pile of junk. They are both made by Acme but with dramatically different results. Also, regardless option packages, from year to year we see all the manufacturers cycle between good quality and bad quality.

• Different personality types flock to different brands of automobile. I know this sounds strange, but it’s very true because we see it at the service counter every day. So on average, sometimes the more neglectful abusive types might tend to drive Acme automobile while the more diligent careful types might drive XYZ brand. As a result, XYZ tends to get better ratings with us. For instance, the cars that teenagers typically drive generally see the auto shop more frequent than most. You can imagine, these cars are driven hard, rarely taken care of, and often times are high milers.

• The last consideration is where in the lifecycle you plan to own a vehicle. I am a big fan of German cars for the first 75,000 miles. Boy do they drive great and you look really good driving them. After that, they feel like an inkjet printer to me always asking for more ink. This gets worse if the maintenance was light in those first 75,000 miles. However, if you’re one who gets a new car every five years, what do you care after 75,000 miles. You might as well look good and enjoy the ride — and after that, it somebody else’s problem.

There are still many more reasons to cloud what seems like a simple question of asking “which cars are the best”. In order to get a good answer, the question should become, “which car would be the best for me?” My needs are this …… Ask this question to someone experienced in the repair business and you should get a good answer.

For more in-depth look at topics like this, join Matt Allen and Dave Riccio on Bumper to Bumper Radio, Arizona’s top automotive show heard every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. right here on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR. Call in your questions at (602) 277-5827 or find them at for the best partners, products and advice! Dave Riccio is also the owner of Tri-City Transmission in Tempe at .