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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Volvo XC90 reliability

With existing sources of reliability information, it's not possible to precisely compare the reliability of two cars. So I started collecting my own data. I'm reporting absolute stats like "times in the shop" that will make the differences between cars much clearer. I’ll also be updating results four times a year, so there will be information on new models sooner.<p>Participants simply report repairs the month after they occur on a one-page survey. When there are no repairs, they simply report an approximate odometer reading four times a year, at the end of each quarter.<p>To encourage participation, panel members will receive full access to the results free of charge.<p>Details: <A HREF="http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php" TARGET="_blank">Vehicle reliability research</A><p>Update: The 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 are now all included in the survey, but the number of owners signed up is uncomfortably close to the minimum for the last three years. About five owners short of also including the 2008. A few more participants for each year really would make a big difference.<BR><BR>
<i>Modified by mkaresh at 10:05 AM 6-17-2008</i>
 

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Re: New research--how does the reliability of the XC90 truly compare? (mkaresh)

<p>The web isnt a "true" survey. You have to remember that most that look at the web are the ones with issues. The ones with no problems dont look here.<p>Can only tell the truth from sales and checking that aginst shop visits, you dont have that data.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: New research--how does the reliability of the XC90 truly compare? (dmd)

Usually this would be true. <p>However, my method is to enroll people in a panel, then only collect data on visits that happen AFTER they enroll (with the exception of the month of their enrollment). Since owners have no way of knowing how often their cars will be in the shop in the future, the impact of using a non-random sample of owners is minimized.<p>If a car has no problems, I only collect an approximate odometer reading every three months. This is how I know how many cars are still in the sample but are not having problems. <p>If someone only reports a problem the month they sign up, then they disappear, that data gets tossed.<p>Another way I minimize bias is that what counts as a shop visit is precisely defined. If it's not maintenance or on a list of wear items, it counts. In addition to asking only about repairs that have already happened, CR leaves it largely up to the owner to determine whether a problem is serious enough to warrant reporting.<p>So, while my system isn't perfect, it's far better than anything out there today. <p>I go into more detail on the site. If you still have any comments or questions, I'm more than happy to address them. Sometimes someone does identify a real issue, and then I fix it.,
 

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Re: New research--how does the reliability of the XC90 truly compare? (mkaresh)

I like the idea, not sure how accurate it will be, but why not, it has to be better the CR's method. The true value is if you get enough numbers of enrollee's. Also depends on whether you reach non-forum owners through other means.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: New research--how does the reliability of the XC90 truly compare? (myxc90)

Once I have some data to report I'll reach plenty of non-forum members. Editors for two of the major car magazines are members of the panel, and a writer for Automotive News (a trade publication) wants to be able to cite results once they are available. Full detailed results will only be available to members, but it should be possible to supply them with one or two stats to support an article. The hard part is getting that first set of results.<p>Accuracy won't be an issue with a large enough sample. Unlike CR's latest methods (my critique: <A HREF="http://www.truedelta.com/pieces/newdots.php" TARGET="_blank">http://www.truedelta.com/pieces/newdots.php</A>), I'm not trying to measure problem rates to the nearest percent.
 

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Re: New research--how does the reliability of the XC90 truly compare? (mkaresh)

I wonder who gets to vote in the Consumer Reports survey?<p>Might have to subscribe to be able to vote ......... <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/wink.gif" BORDER="0">
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: New research--how does the reliability of the XC90 truly compare? (Broad Shoulders)

You do have to subscribe to CR to submit a survey. But still only about 10% of their members submit a survey. <p>They compound the problem of lacking a random sample by apparently doing little to boost the reponse rate and leaving it up to respondents to determine whether or not a problem was sufficiently "serious" to report.<p>Participation in my research is free. But, because I'm not relying on participants for income, I can require that they actually participate in order to remain members. Higher response rate = less room for bias.
 

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I am one of the CR survey takers, and I have had nothing but good to say about the XC90. However some of the questions asked on the survey were towards issues that the XC90 has; tire wear and brakes life were a couple of the areas that seem to solicit negative responses. Since I knew the life expectency of the tires and brakes and replace them accordingly, the safety aspect is worth the cost of these items IMHO. So I gave nothing but positives. The XC90 will probably still get pooped on, but I also will not renew my subscription <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/eek.gif" BORDER="0">
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: (VegasXC)

If they ask about tire and brake life, I hope they also ask about driving style and driving conditions: casual vs. aggressive for the former, hills, stop-and-go, highway, etc for the latter.<p>I didn't want to get into this, because it's so subjective, so I exclude tires and brake pads as wear items from my survey.
 

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Re: (mkaresh)

<br>If we assume that respondents to your survey are more likely to<br>be "car heads" or at least interested in cars, and have more than<br>average technological savvy, does that introduce a possible bias<br>into the results? Are car people more likely to focus on minor flaws<br>or overreact to problems with their cars, that more average people<br>might ignore?<p>Just a thought. If true, not sure what you could do about getting<br>a broader sample of the population.
 

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Re: (VegasXC)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>VegasXC</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">I am one of the CR survey takers, and I have had nothing but good to say about the XC90. However some of the questions asked on the survey were towards issues that the XC90 has; tire wear and brakes life were a couple of the areas that seem to solicit negative responses. Since I knew the life expectency of the tires and brakes and replace them accordingly, the safety aspect is worth the cost of these items IMHO. So I gave nothing but positives. The XC90 will probably still get pooped on, but I also will not renew my subscription <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/eek.gif" BORDER="0"> </TD></TR></TABLE><br>I've done the survey a couple of times. They ask about mileage and "Have you replaced the original set of tires?"--a rather pointless question for those of us who use snow tires half the time. Brake wear is one of 6 items lumped together under brake problems. <p>To me the biggest weaknesses of the CR survey are the vastly different sample sizes among models and the difficulty of comparing cars designed for different purposes and markets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: (XC-Ski)

Most of the members of my panel come to my site after reading my reviews at epinions.com. Few of these people are car people per se. <p>I just took the CR survey. I should have done this earlier, to see what it's actually like, since I'm conducting my own reliability research.<p>What I learned:<p>1. It doesn't take too much time; took me about 14 minutes for two cars, even copying each page.<p>2. They ask about tire wear, but not about driving conditions or driving style.<p>3. They rely on the respondent to decide whether a problem is serious enough to report. BIG PROBLEM, because very subjective.<p>The actual wording:<p>"If you had any problems with your car in the last year (April 1, 2005 through March 31, 2006) that you considered SERIOUS because of cost, failure, safety or downtime, click the appropriate box(es) for each car.<br>INCLUDE problems covered by warranty. DO NOT INCLUDE 1) problems resulting from accident damage; or 2) replacement of normal maintenance items (brake pads, batteries, mufflers) unless they were replaced much sooner or more often than expected."<p>Could it be any more subjective? TrueDelta's survey is much clearer. If it's not among a list of wear items or routine maintenance, it gets reported.<p>4. They ask about any repairs that occurred from end of March last year to end of March this year. I'm still under 40, but my memory just isn't that good about what happened over a year ago. This is why I have people report a repair the month after it occurs.<p>5. They ask about the "service and/or repairs to this vehicle (excluding accident repairs)". See #4, only worse. Also, they don't ask separately about the cost of repairs and service. Since costs for service vary widely (an oil change can cost anywhere from $12 to $80+), they're getting pure junk with this question. They don't even ask if the person might be using synthetic oil, which can make a simple oil change very pricey.<p>6. I just realized that I made a mistake. I tried to put 0 for this cost, but it wouldn't let me, so I put 1. But this was only the cost of the single warranty repair I had performed. I forgot to include the cost of oil changes or the brake job and cooling system flush. Should I have also included the cost of the new tires? Does this count as "service?" Not clear. I sent them an email with the correct info.<p>7. You can record only one problem per system. What if a single system had multiple problems during the year?<p>Looks like I have a new editorial to write for my site...<p><br> <BR><BR>
<i>Modified by mkaresh at 7:58 AM 6-13-2006</i>
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re: New research--how does the reliability of the XC90 truly compare? (mkaresh)

Here's why I'd like to be able to provide better data, a discussion on an MDX forum that cites CR's results:<p><A HREF="http://www.acuramdx.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=349872#post349872" TARGET="_blank">http://www.acuramdx.org/forums...49872</A>
 

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Re: New research--how does the reliability of the XC90 truly compare? (mkaresh)

Thank you, mkaresh,<br>It proofs my "guts feeling" that ALL modern cars are reasonably reliable, and selling cars based on their reliability is nothing but the marketing tool, although, very successful one. <br>I, personally, stopped considering reliability as a decisive factor many years ago (1999), and very happily drive Volvo ever since.<br>I stopped my CR subscription around that time too.
 

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Re: New research--how does the reliability of the XC90 truly compare? (gascos80)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>gascos80</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">I stopped my CR subscription around that time too.</TD></TR></TABLE><p>Well, you have to admit that CR is at least entertaining. Witness the bruhaha with their baby seat test. I just received a letter from them stating that their test was basically invalid and trying to place the blame on the lab where they ran the tests.<br>Regarding their reports, it is an ok guide when shopping for a washing machine or a new TV, but not a new car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Re: (az.girl)

Thanks, I appreciate it.<p>My results have been tracking with those of CR and JD Power, so if the XC90 gets a below average score there it's very likely to end up with one here.<p>The difference is that with my results you'll be able to tell how much worse this actually is. Often we're talking about a few tenths of a repair trip per year. The differences tend to be much smaller than many people think they are.<p>Of course, I need to start collecting data on the XC90 first. All model years are now about 2/3 of the way to the minimum sample size. More participants are very much needed. <p>I'm already collecting data on the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, and Mercedes GL. I have more 2007 Acura MDXs signed up than all years of the XC90 put together.<p>For the details, and to sign up to help out:<p><A HREF="http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php" TARGET="_blank">Vehicle reliability research</A><p>
 

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Re: (mkaresh)

Michael - <br>I joined the panel & can hopefully contribute to the XC90 & S80 results
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Re: (bschurr)

Thanks, I appreciate it.<p>It'll be a while before I start collecting data on the S80. Though it might help if I posted in that forum, Volvo doesn't sell many of them.<p>The 2004 S60 I'm already collecting data on, but the sample size is marginal and one more would certainly help.
 

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Re: Volvo XC90 reliability (mkaresh)

Just wondering... does your data include cars with after market parts installed?
 
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