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Who is lying down? – The tops and flops of the ADAC breakdown statistics


Anyone considering buying a car wants to know how reliable the vehicle of choice is. This is especially true for older used cars. Even if the informative value is not immensely high, the breakdown statistics of the ADAC are often used for the assessment. Here are the tops and flops of the current evaluation of 2020.

The “Yellow Angels” were called around 3.4 million times, and only a fraction of the stakes are included in the statistics. Neither punctures nor an empty tank are taken into account, nor are any assignments on behalf of car manufacturers as part of mobility guarantees. In general, such guarantees falsify the statistics because breakdowns covered by them do not appear anywhere. In addition, only vehicles that were sold and registered at least 10,000 times in at least one year between 2011 and 2018 will be evaluated. All of this should be kept in mind.

A total of 109 vehicle series from 25 car brands were evaluated in the breakdown statistics. 40 of the 109 model series were quite reliable in the breakdown year 2020, around half of the vehicles on German roads showed mixed results and 16 vehicle models even performed particularly poorly.

Toyota dominates the smallest
The Toyota Aygo is king among the small cars. It has been driving in the green for all years of construction, but the older it gets, the more it stands out from the competition. Only the 2011/2012 Hyundai i10 and, with some cutbacks, 2013 can keep up, but newer models are falling short.

The smart comes off worst, both as a fortwo and as a forfour. This is especially true for the newer model years 2015 to 2018, older fortwo are more reliable.

Fiat Punto one of the best small cars
The vernacular spells Fiat as “flawed in all parts” – but the Fiat Punto belies it: three years of construction were still included in the statistics, after which it fell out of the valuation. And these three years of construction 2011 to 2013 are impressive in view of the bad image. With eight to nine breakdowns per 1,000 cars, it is better than, say, an Audi A1 or Mini, which, along with other makes (see overview!), Are also among the best.

Young Nissan and Renault taillights of the lower middle class
It is rather rare in this evaluation that cars from the most recently evaluated years of construction have broken down numbers marked in red, but applies to Nissan Qashqai and above all Renault Kangoo. In the year of construction 2018 also on the Opel Astra. Older Kia Ceed and Sportage also need breakdown service more often than others. In addition to Audi, BMW and Mercedes, there are also Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi ASX as well as VW Beetle, Seat Leon and Skoda Rapid in the green area.

Middle class: be careful with the Alhambra and Sharan
The practically identical family vans from Seat and VW, Alhambra and Sharan, logically have similar breakdown rates, and similarly bad ones. No year of construction gets a green marking, however some are marked with red. Opel Insignia and Ford S-Max are also named as taillights, with the 2011 to 2014 Ford doing better. Audi, BMW and Mercedes are particularly far ahead.

Old E-Class taillight of the upper middle class
While the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series dominate the breakdown statistics of the upper middle class in a positive sense, the direct competitor, the Mercedes E-Class, can be found at the end. This is mainly due to the years of construction 2011 and 2012. Younger models, on the other hand, are on par with the Bavarian competition.

Transporter / upper class
The number of participants in the van / luxury class category is particularly manageable: three. The Ford Transit is noticeable negatively, but very differently over the years. For example, 2011 is green, while 2014 is deep red. On the other hand, Mercedes Sprinter and its technology brother VW Crafter (whose successor has nothing to do with the Sprinter) are convincing.

Breakdown cause number 1: dead batteries
Overall, the proportion of battery failures in all breakdowns rose from 41.8 percent in the previous year to 46.3 percent. Reason: During these months in lockdown, many vehicles were hardly or hardly moved. The opposite is evident when it comes to flat tires. These fell significantly in the lockdown months.

A special analysis by ADAC on breakdowns in electric cars shows: Here too, discharged and defective 12-volt on-board batteries are clearly the number one cause of breakdowns. At 54 percent, the proportion of electric cars is around eight percent higher than that of vehicles with conventional drives. The on-board battery supplies the on-board electrics in an electric car, just like in a conventional car: it can be used to open doors and activate lights or infotainment systems. This also activates the high-voltage voltage supply.