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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In late 2005 I started conducting my own reliability research. 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>There's plenty of discussion about how the reliability of a Volvo compares to that of competitors. But there aren't any good numbers out there to enable a precise comparison. I'd like to fix this.<p>I'm collecting data on the 2004.5-2006, but the sample sizes are marginal. A few more participants would be very helpful.<p>To read the details and sign up to help out:<p><A HREF="http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php" TARGET="_blank">Vehicle reliability research</A><BR><BR>
<i>Modified by mkaresh at 8:25 AM 1-5-2010</i>
 

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although this a good idea, i don't feel that you are totally randomizing your subjects, so your response is going to be skewed.<p>think who goes to these boards.<p>a) enthusiasts<br>b) people who have problems with their cars<br>
 

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Hey, I'm getting my car next week, so it shouldn't have any problems....do you think that'll be randomized enough? <p>I am an enthusiast, but that shouldn't affect the review in any way....maybe i'll be more picky and detailed about things that happen to the car.<p>I agree with the second point....if people are already having problems with their cars they are going to skew the report to the negative side.<p>Good luck with it and let me know if you want me in....I'd be willing to participate.<p>I may be able to get my brother to participate too. He has an S40 2.4i. He's not an enthusiast though...he's had his car since January and I don't think anything went wrong with his....I think so far he loves it.<p>Let me know!
 

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Re: (Imtheweezel)

What Richard meant was that it's a small percentage of people who read and participate on this board/will be participating in this research. Secondly, us who are here - we mostly are more touchy to our cars, and what for the most of owners is not going to be noticed at all - we'll be taking as a breakdown or other sort of malfunctioning which needs to be fixed. Therefore this data will be somewhat biased. more reliable way of gathering this info would be collecting all the stats from Volvo dealerships and other garages
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: (d_man)

I'm dealing with these potential issues in multiple ways.<p>First, I ask whether people visit a forum for the vehicle once a week or more. If it does appear that forum members report more issues, I'll analyze the results separately for them. I ask this question again every three months.<p>To my knowledge, no other reliability research asks whether people are forum members, so their results could be skewed if they happen to get more forum members for one model than another. They just have no way of knowing. Some types of cars have much larger forums associated with them, for obvious reasons.<p>Second, I minimize the impact of a non-random sample by being very specific about what counts as a problem. If the car goes to the shop for something other than maintenance or a wear item (listed on the form), that trip gets reported. CR largely relies on respondents to determine whether an issue is serious enough to report, which permits much more subjectivity into the data. The more subjectivity you have, the more you're really studying perceptions rather than the cars themselves. My way focuses on the cars, and while I'm not getting a random sample of owners I am getting a fairly random sample of cars.<p>Third, I deal with the issue of people being more likely to join if they have problems by collecting data only on problems that occur after they sign up--with the exception of the very first month. I'm not collecting repair histories. It's possible that vehicles that have had problems in the past will be more likely to have them in the future, but at this point I have no evidence of this.<p>Other aspects of the research design correct for these and other issues, but these are the major ones.<p>Over time the results will become increasingly clean. Once I have results, the percentage of the panel composed of forum members will drop. And already a number of people are reporting that they've sold one car and bought another, so I'm already getting many cars that are brand new with no histories. In five years or so most of the panel will be composed of such cars.<p>The hard part is getting the ball rolling. But it's happening. I already have a few journalists interested in using my data once it's available. Their stories will bring more people to the site, and you can guess the progression from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: (d_man)

A number of people have suggested gathering data from repair shops. The problem with this method is you do not know what the denominator is.<p>Every three months I have panel members report an approximate odometer reading even if their car has not been in the shop, so I know the denominator. Trips reported / number of cars participating = trips per car.<p>If people don't report an odometer reading at the end of a quarter, they and any data they reported that quarter will not be used. This further protects against people who join just to report a current problem, then disappear. <p>A certain type of person will be automatically selected for across all cars. After all, not everyone has the interest or the discipline to take a minute and report an odometer reading to the nearest 1000 every three months. I've made this as easy as possible--just click an encoded link in an emai, no need to even sign in--but no doubt many people won't be able to do it. Probably the same sort of people who never get around to changing the oil.<p>My research design is not perfect. But it's much better than anything else out there right now.
 

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Please definitely count me in....I want to be part of this. <br>I think it will be great to have a good reliability report. When I was doing research to buy a car it was very hard to find info about volvos (good or bad), while it was easier to find it about other cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: (Imtheweezel)

Thanks. I've now just barely reached the minimum to start collecting data. So I'll start in May. I will need data on at least 25 cars to report results, though.<p>Those of you who signed up, thanks.
 

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Since this data is all provided by the community I hope that you keep it free to the community.
 

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Re: (quick)

Anyone who participates gets free access. I do state that I'll charge people who do not participate, but don't want to take in a significant amount of money this way. Rather, I want people to participate, because the more that do the more precise the results will be. <p>This policy has had the intended effect; after I instituted it the rate at which people join jumped tenfold.
 

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You might consider going with advertising as the means of monetizing your work -- then access is free, membership would be encouraged, and you could probably make more $. <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/smile.gif" BORDER="0"><p>Btw, I hope you have a means of detecting automated gaming of the system. This is an interesting project you have going. <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/smile.gif" BORDER="0">
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: (quick)

I'm not planning to rely on advertising. As long as I keep costs low I won't need much revenue.<p>There will be ways to detect automated gaming. But for various reasons I think it would be more trouble than it's worth. You can't just sign up and instantly submit a survey. Someone would have to be very persisent. And for anyone with a real interest in the outcome, such as a manufacturer, the downside of getting caught would far outweigh the potential benefits.<p>I've seen people post that a manufacturer should buy all of its employees CR subscriptions and have them all turn in perfect reports. Yeah, that would go over well.
 

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

I've been collecting data on the 2006 S40 and V50 for a few months, but do not have enough responses to post results for these models. More participants are necessary. The 2005 is halfway to the minimum.<p>I did post the first results for a few other models earlier this month. They can be viewed here: <p><A HREF="http://www.truedelta.com/results0906.php" TARGET="_blank">TrueDelta Vehicle Reliability Survey results</A><p>I'm personally pleased that the results are coming in more or less as I'd expect despite the currently small sample sizes. Next set of results around the end of February.
 

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Re: New research--how does Volvo reliability truly compare? (mkaresh)

How do you account for customer-caused "problems" with the vehicle?<p>For example, I did a survey here at the dealership for the 2004 calender year. Of all vehicles that came in with a CEL, 94.7% of them were actually caused by the customer (i.e. leaving the ignition on while filling up, failing to properly tighten the gas cap, etc.). <p>Surely such a trip to the dealer is not an indication of the vehicle's reliability, no? I don't see anything in your survey that takes into account user error.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re: New research--how does Volvo reliability truly compare? (R Salesman)

Good question. I've actually written an editorial about this one: <p><A HREF="http://www.truedelta.com/pieces/quicktrip.php" TARGET="_blank">http://www.truedelta.com/pieces/quicktrip.php</A><p>Some cars use a separate warning light for the gas cap issue. I'm a big fan of this, because this problem does generate unnecessary service calls.<p>I'd also like to think that service departments could suggest tightening the gas cap before bringing the car in for a CEL, or would check this before writing a car up if the car is brought in without a call first.<p>If both of these solutions fail, the survey does include among the outcomes "Told not an issue or 'they all do that.'" I'm currently focusing on trips that include a repair, and tightening a gas cap does not qualify as a repair.<p>If the respondent marks this as a repair anyway, I have the brief description of the issue to tell me it was just a gas cap, and I'll correct the response. I read through all of these descriptions checking for errors, and follow up when additional clarification is necessary.
 

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Re: New research--how does Volvo reliability truly compare? (mkaresh)

Ok.<p>On the retailer side of things, anything we do to a vehicle must be documented, so we can't just not write up a repair order.<p>The other issue is just simply human error. Here at our store, we always tell our customers from day one, "Turn your car completely off, and completely tighten your gas cap." Even so, we still have a very high incidence of customer-caused CEL. <p>Personally, I think there should be very specific questions in the survey, such as:<br>Did you bring your vehicle in to service for a CEL? If so, was the CEL caused by a part failure, or user error? <p>I'm not a statistician, but something along those lines would (I think) be helpful in delineating between bona fide mechanical/software failures, versus user error.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Re: New research--how does Volvo reliability truly compare? (R Salesman)

I do ask about the CEL. I don't include user error among the reasons for the issue, though I'll consider adding it. It's a tough one, because perspectives will differ.<p>In general, the longer the survey gets, the harder it will be to get people to properly fill it out. There are a few things I'd like to add to it, but don't for this reason. <p>Based on the data I've collected so far, user error is not a significant factor with the possible exception of cases that are already specifically excluded (collisions, mods).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: New research--how does Volvo reliability truly compare? (mkaresh)

I'm still hoping to have results for the 2006 in May, and the 2005 in August, but need more participants for this to happen.
 

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Re: New research--how does Volvo reliability truly compare? (mkaresh)

Mkaresh,<p>I recognize your handle from Epinions, and I know you are a serious person who writes professional level reviews with no BS or axe grinding.<p>While taking a sample like you are attempting is very difficult, and anyone who knows statistics or probabilities can attest to that fact, I'll dive in because I think you're a good person who is trying to offer a true measure. <p>So count me in, I'll go click on the survey.<p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: New research--how does Volvo reliability truly compare? (Weedly)

Thanks, Weedly.<p>If you have the current design, please remember to register it as a 2004.5 and not a 2004. Why couldn't they have just started the new year early like just about everyone else...<BR><BR>
<i>Modified by mkaresh at 8:26 AM 5-6-2007</i>
 
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