(Updated 11 October 2018 with Nissan section.)
After binge-watching auto mechanic Scotty Kilmer’s YouTube videos, I needed to record some of what I’ve learned about the various car brands. Scotty has over 50 years of experience as an independent mechanic, and he freely shares his experience and advice through his YouTube channel and the Scotty Kilmer website.
Toyota makes the best cars and trucks overall
Honda make better engines, but as an entire product, Toyota generally makes the best cars and trucks. So seek out Toyota vehicles if you want something that will last for a long time (hundreds of thousands of miles) before the engine or transmission wears out. Of course, you have to take care of them along the way, and there are some exceptions, but generally, Toyota is where you go for a reliable, long-lasting car or truck.
Chryslers suck and GM isn’t much better
According to Scotty, Chryslers have always sucked, even in his Grandfather’s day. But Chrysler’s quality control was not helped when Italian automaker Fiat bought a majority share of Chrysler. So avoid all Chrysler/Fiat built products. However, Chrysler has incorporated Cummins engines into some of its cars/trucks, and those engines are great—but everything around those engines (like the transmission) is garbage. Scotty has spoken.
While growing up, my family bought a number of Plymouth, Dodge, and Chrysler products, and they generally started falling apart after 40,000 miles. My father’s reaction to the poor quality of these and other American-made cars has scarred me deeply 🙂
As for GM, according to Scotty, GM quality gets worse every year. Avoid GM products.
Honda makes good engines but mediocre transmissions
If you must have a Honda, Scotty recommends you get one with a standard transmission. Honda transmissions will wear out fairly quickly.
This rings true from my anecdotal experience. We had a Honda Accord that ran great until it didn’t because of a degrading transmission at around 100,000 miles.
Nissans were good before the 1999 Renault merger
Nissan (formerly Datsun) made great cars before 1999 when Renault merged or bought out Nissan. Nissan built the first reliable, mass-produced sports car with its Datsun 240 Z. But when French car maker Renault got involved with Nissan’s business, quality went down hill, particularly with their transmissions. Scotty advises his customers to avoid Nissan vehicles.
Ford makes the best trucks
I was surprised that Scotty said Ford makes the best trucks, even better than Toyota. He makes the case that Ford has consistently improved their design and their quality control remains fairly good, certainly better than GM (Chevy). Plus, Toyota trucks can be expensive to work on. For example, changing the starter motor requires taking off the top of the engine. Poor design on Toyota there. Hence Scotty’s shift to favoring Ford trucks.
Get a Ford diesel truck if you need to tow heavy loads
If you plan on towing heavy loads regularly, get a Ford diesel. You’ll get much better MPG on the highway when towing, especially on the highway.
Luxury brands like Mercedes & BMW are repair-cost money pits
Scotty advises his customers to avoid luxury brands like Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, etc. Some brands make beautiful cars, but they are very expensive to repair and, because they are generally not well made, they will need repairs early and often. Scotty particularly harps on Mercedes in this regard.
Hybrids are expensive to repair
If you must have a hybrid, go with the Toyota Prius because it’s got a good track record. But in general, avoid electric and hybrid cars. Hybrids are expensive and difficult to repair and, for many brands, the hybrid design is still an untested technology–other than Toyota, they don’t really know how to build them yet.
Electric cars aren’t the future
Scotty also believes that the infrastructure for electric cars is many years away. He speculates that the more likely alternative energy for cars is hydrogen via fuel cell or hydrogen cell technology. That’s because existing car engines can be converted to burn hydrogen, and the infrastructure that delivers gasoline could also be converted to deliver hydrogen. Plus, some of the battery components are just not available in sufficient quantities for high volume production.
BTW, hydrogen fuel cell technology has two applications: one that delivers hydrogen to be run in a combustion engine, and another that delivers hydrogen that is converted to electrical energy. The byproducts (exhaust) of both approaches is water. And producing hydrogen can be done fairly easily by the electrolysis of water.
Don’t buy new models or designs
What’s new isn’t tested. Wait until the kinks have been worked out, the recalls have been made, and the designs updated and tested before you buy a car model or design.
(To be continued as I binge more Scotty Kilmer videos.)
Source: Scotty Kilmer – YouTube