When you take that scary leap of faith by financing thousands of dollars to purchase a brand-new car, the last thing you expect is for it to have problems. Car manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to improve their vehicles, and while advancements are likely to increase your enjoyment of owning a new car, technology is often glitchy.

J.D. Power Conducted a Dependability Survey

J.D. Power conducted a dependability study in 2019. During the survey, the firm discovered that new vehicle owners had failings with the audio, communication, entertainment, and navigation, or ACEN, systems more frequently. In fact, these systems were around half of the 10 most common problems owners reported. The issue is that carmakers are anxious to bring out new technology, and when there are more features on a vehicle, more things can go wrong.

For the study, J.D. Power reviewed over 11,500 vehicle owners who had owned their vehicles from one to three years. The survey considered how many problems people had. When a vehicle model received a lower score in the survey, that vehicle exemplified a top performer. The assessment involved an estimated 180 different factors, including engine issues, heating and cooling system problems, and ACEN system failures. The firm also asked responders if they would purchase the same brand in the future.

The agency confirmed that the ACEN systems in new vehicles experienced an average of 16.6 problems. This was better than the year before, but these systems still cause the most problems for new car buyers and vehicle manufacturers. To compare, consider that other systems like cruise control or car alarms only account for 1.5 problems in every 100 vehicles.

When there are a lot of reports about system problems with new technology, it can be tough for drivers to trust these advanced systems. The leader of the European operation division for J.D. Power said, “When we look at the scores of relatively new safety technologies, it’s clear that manufacturers still have work to do to perfect those systems – particularly premium brands that use them as a major selling point.”

Car manufacturers are going to need to work on the reliability of these systems to gain consumer trust in new technology. This is vital as carmakers work toward building cars that are completely automated. For people to invest in them, they must be able to trust that they’ll be safe when traveling in them.

Why you can run into immediate problems with new cars
What Are the Most Common Issues in New Cars?

When the check engine light or a warning notification pops up on your instrument panel, it’s bound to cause you concern. These lights and warning notifications alert you of problems when sensors spot something that’s not operating as it should. In today’s cars, there are more than 200 different warning codes, which means that you’ll want to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic to determine what’s going on with it.

In new cars, one of the most common problems is the emission managing system, or the exhaust. Your new car comes with an exhaust to manage the level of toxic gas it’s discharging. Since the VW emissions scandal, this has been an even bigger focus of car manufacturers and new car buyers. If there’s a problem with the exhaust in your car, it should trigger a warning light on the vehicle’s instrument panel. Exhaust problems usually manifest themselves with a loss of vehicle power or puffs of smoke.

In some new cars, the navigation system fails. While this isn’t a risk to your safety, it is annoying. Most new car buyers pay more to have a handy navigation system included in their vehicles, making the failure even more aggravating. Signs that you’re having problems with it are obvious since you’ll be ending up at the wrong address.

There are new car buyers who have reported that their vehicles have had problems with the mechanical brake system. This can be a major safety concern, so be aware of the warning signs. For instance, if you hear a grinding noise or your car starts to sway to one side, then have the brakes checked. Also, if you feel the pedal vibrate when you apply the brakes, then you might be having trouble with them.

Battery problems usually happen in older vehicles, but it can be an issue with newer cars as well. Often, battery problems are caused by how people drive their cars. For instance, if you tend to take a lot of short trips, then the battery may fail prematurely. Forgetting to turn the lights off or leaving devices plugged in can also wear down the battery. Signs that you’re having battery issues include trouble starting your car or a light indicator on the dash.

New cars may also have trouble with their suspension components. A car’s suspension is made up of struts, springs, and shock absorbers. If there is a problem with any of the components, then it can impact the steering, possibly making the car unsafe to drive. You wouldn’t want to take your car out on the freeway if you were worried about the steering.

Signs of suspension problems include the vehicle pulling harder to one side than the other or feeling not as responsive. The biggest sign of a suspension problem is that you’ll hear loud noises coming from below the vehicle. Your car will ride stiffer, and you’ll feel the bumps in the road more intensely.

Why you can run into immediate problems with new cars
New Car Models With the Fewest Problems

During the past 10 years, studies focusing on reliability have centered on features like voice recognition systems, Bluetooth connectivity, dashboard displays, and physical controls. However, in a different J.D Power assessment, problems with new cars are revisiting the past. The 2019 study surveyed the owners of 76,000 new cars after they’d owned their vehicles for 90 days. The problems reported ranged from brake and suspension noise to engines not starting.

In the J.D. Power study, Genesis had the fewest problems during the first three months that people owned them with Kia coming in second. Land Rover, Mitsubishi, and Jaguar had the most problems according to vehicle owners. The vice president of global automotive for J.D. Power, Dave Sargent, said, “Automakers continue to make progress in areas like infotainment that attract a lot of consumer attention, but some traditional problems crept up this year.”

What Are Your Rights When Your New Car Breaks Down?

If your car exhibits a problem after you buy it and you haven’t caused the issue, then you have options. If you purchased the vehicle from a dealer, then the dealer will be required to abide by the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA), which is a guarantee that buyers receive for new and used cars. Dealers must also observe the Fair Trading Act. This means that it’s illegal for them to mislead you about the vehicle. When dealers sell cars online, they must notify you that they are a dealer.

Car dealers must register and abide by the Motor Vehicle Sales Act, too. When selling used cars, dealers must include a Consumer Information Notice. You are protected whether you finance a vehicle, pay cash for it, or lease it. You also have these rights regardless of if you purchase the car at an auction, from an online car dealer, or through a car yard.

Because of the CGA, car dealerships must sell vehicles that meet acceptable quality standards. They should have a reasonable appearance, exhibit durability, and be safe. Cars for sale must be as they are described. A car must look the same in person as it does online or in any photos sent to you.

If something is wrong with your new car, you can file a claim through the manufacturer’s warranty or under the guarantees provided by the CGA. There is no set time limit for returning a faulty car. You can also request a repair at any time. According to the CGA, the responsibility of the dealer is based on the condition of the vehicle at the time that you purchase it. Dealers are not responsible for damage that happens to your car due to wear and tear.

Under the CGA, if there is a serious issue with your new car that can’t be repaired for a reasonable price, then you can refuse the vehicle. In this case, you would be eligible for a refund or a vehicle replacement. To qualify for this, you must notify the dealer that you are rejecting your car, and you must do so within a reasonable time frame.

Research Dependability

When it comes to car buying, research is the key to finding and choosing a dependable car. Keep in mind that in many cases, used cars have already had the kinks worked out. While many new car buyers choose new cars because they believe that they’ll have fewer problems, this isn’t always true. You can run into immediate problems in new cars. Along with this, you’ll save money with a used car by avoiding the major depreciation that happens when you buy a new car.