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Want to know what brand of car is best?

Over 460,000 1998-2003 Windstars were recalled

Want to know what brand of car is best – ask someone that sees them everyday

I went to my Honda dealer today for some routine maintenance on my 2002 Odyssey mini-van.  It has over 120,000 miles on it.  Turns out it needed a timing belt, front brakes, an engine mount and a number of other things that are going to take longer than a day to complete.   As part of the “deal” my service rep rented me a car.  The Enterprise outlet was attached to the back of his shop.

I walked over and talked to Chris, who had been around for a number of years.  He selected a Hyundai Santa Fe and took me out to inspect the car.  We got to talking about SUVs and which ones he liked.  Turns out the current Santa Fe is very reliable.  Enterprise rented the Kia Sorrento until this year.  Turns out there was something wrong with a number of the transmissions.  They were fixed under warrantee but it cost Enterprise a lot of money because they were not making any money when they were being fixed.   According to Chris they currently are having problems with Chrysler mini-van transmissions.   Many years ago they saw a lot of Ford Windstar transmissions fail.  Enterprise did not handle the Windstar but their customers were bringing them in and it was taking an inordinate amount of time for the Ford dealership to fix them.

Got me to thinking.  If you want to do research on a car ask someone that sees a lot of them.  Ask a car rental agent, a tow truck driver, an auto mechanic for a local garage.  You’ll get the “real” story before it is ever reported in Consumer Reports or before a large number of failures cause the manufacturer to recall the product.

Chris mentioned Ford eventually bought the Windstar back from a large number of customers due to a failure in the rear axle.  Not pretty.

Until next time – all the best!


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