The List of Vehicles with the Highest and Lowest Recall Rates Brings Some Surprises

July 2, 2018 | Crandall & Pera Law
The List of Vehicles with the Highest and Lowest Recall Rates Brings Some Surprises

Anyone who owns a car, SUV, or truck is certainly acquainted with recalls. Whether government-mandated or voluntary, most of us have had to take our car back to the dealer at some point to get a faulty part fixed—courtesy of the manufacturer.

In some cases, these defects are minor and unrelated to safety issues. In other cases, however, the defect is serious and has potential to cause a car accident, and significant injury, if not repaired.

Recently, the website compiled a list of the most recalled cars and the least recalled cars in the United States. They also cross-referenced the list with reliability ratings on the vehicles. Some of the results might surprise you, as a few models on the most-recalled list have a reputation for superior quality.


iseeCars collected recall data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) database as of May 1, 2018. They calculated recall rates as the number of recall campaigns for each model for model years 2013 to 2017 divided by the age of the model and the model's new unit sales. They ended up with a set of 69 models, and an overall average recall rate of 0.79 recalls per year per 100,000 new unit sales. Then, each model's recall rate was compared and ranked with the national average.


The most-recalled vehicle in America was unexpected. The Mercedes C-Class came out number one, with a 5.77 recall rate, 7.3 times the national average. The study stated that the luxury vehicle “has been recalled for a host of safety issues, from several different recall campaigns involving airbags to multiple campaigns involving failure in the steering column.”

An additional recall involved the sunroof, which had been improperly bonded to the frame, meaning it could potentially fall onto passengers. The study also noted that luxury cars like the Mercedes or the BMW 3-Series and 4-Series (third on the recall list) have many extraneous features, and every additional feature is an additional point of potential failure.

The second-most recalled vehicle in the study was the GMC Sierra, with a recall rate of 3.25, 4.1 times the national average. Some of its past safety issues include loss of power steering, faulty seat belts, fuel tanks overfilling, and faulty brake pedals. Other cars and trucks on the most-recalled list include the Dodge Durango, Nissan Pathfinder, Ram Pickup, Toyota 4Runner, Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, and the Chevrolet Tahoe.

The car with the lowest recall rate in America is the Hyundai Accent with a recall rate of 0.10, 0.1 times the national average. The rest of the list includes Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Honda CR-V, Honda Accord, Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Elantra, and the GMC Terrain.

One insight from the iSeeCars report is that models with high recall rates typically have low reliability ratings, and vice versa. However, they found one interesting exception here—the Toyota 4Runner. Even though it found itself on the most-recalled list, the 4Runner received a high reliability rating. This is likely because the majority of its recalls were for relatively minor issues like loose accessories, improperly tightened roof racks, or spare tire pressure.

The Ohio and Kentucky car accident lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law want you to be safe out on the roads and highways. If you're injured in an accident that was someone else's fault, contact our legal team today for help. Please call us at 877-686-8879. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation.