Independent, impartial advice for car buyers and car owners

Find an Expert Rating: 

Who makes the most reliable engines?

Warranty data show that some famous-name car brands make some of the least reliable engines on the market

Car warranty advice at The Car Expert, brought to you by

ALA Insurance horizontal white

Brought to you by


“If only everything in life was as reliable as Volkswagen” posited the famous 1987 advert for the Volkswagen Golf.

Similarly, Audi declares: “Vorsprung durch Technik.”  Loosely translated, this means “advancement through technology” and both of these slogans are designed to instil a feeling of confidence in each company’s engineering prowess.

Unfortunately, however, the truth can be very different. Figures recently released by consumer warranty company Warranty Direct, show that Volkswagen, Audi and BMW make some of the least reliable engines on the market.

Audi came second-from-bottom in the engine reliability charts with one failure in every 27, beaten only by the now-defunct MG Rover.

It’s a poor showing for BMW’s Mini brand, too, coming in at third-from-bottom with one failure in every 40, while BMW themselves take up the seventh slot in between Peugeot and Renault with one in 45.

Volkswagen makes its appearance in the ninth-from-bottom position, with one in every 52 owners suffering an engine fault of some kind.

Audi R8 engine fire
An Audi R8 with a minor overheating issue.

So who makes the most reliable engines?

Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s the Japanese, with the top spot taken by Honda. Only one in every 344 Honda owners have had engine trouble, with second-placed rival Toyota notching up just one in 171.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the European marques, though, with Mercedes-Benz taking third, followed closely by Volvo.

The Brits have something to be cheerful about, with Jaguar placed fifth and Land Rover in tenth – although in the interests of yin and yang we should note that JLR’s repair costs were considered very high, with one Range Rover Sport owner quoted nearly £15,000 to repair an engine failure.

The biggest surprise, however, comes in the form of seventh-placed Fiat who recorded a creditable one failure in 85, beating both Ford and Nissan.

Remember that next time an Audi salesman tries to convince you to sign on the dotted line…

Top 10 manufacturers – most reliable engines

 ManufacturerFailure Rate
1Honda1 in 344
2Toyota1 in 171
3Mercedes-Benz1 in 119
4Volvo1 in 111
5Jaguar1 in 103
6Lexus1 in 101
7Fiat1 in 85
8Ford1 in 80
9Nissan1 in 76
10Land Rover1 in 72

Bottom 10 manufacturers – least reliable engines

 ManufacturerFailure Rate
1MG Rover1 in 13
2Audi1 in 27
3MINI1 in 40
4Saab1 in 40
5Vauxhall1 in 41
6Peugeot1 in 44
7BMW1 in 45
8Renault1 in 46
9Volkswagen1 in 52
10Mitsubishi1 in 59

You should also read:

Here at The Car Expert, we have some fantastic warranty offers for our readers provided by our commercial partners. If you’re interested in a used car warranty, you should check these out:

  • ALA Insurance provides used car warranties in conjunction with the RAC
  • MotorEasy offers warranties and many other types of cover for car owners
  • Warrantywise is a long-established and multi-award-winning warranty provider

More car warranty information

The UK’s best used car warranty providers

The UK’s best used car warranty providers

Should my used car warranty be regulated?

Should my used car warranty be regulated?

What’s the difference? Car warranty vs. car insurance

What’s the difference? Car warranty vs. car insurance

Understanding your warranty policy

Understanding your warranty policy

Is a used car warranty required by law?

Is a used car warranty required by law?

Stuart Masson
Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.