Think Pieces

Michael's thoughts on the auto industry, its products, and/or this website.

Two surveys: Reliability and Repair History

TrueDelta's main survey, the Vehicle Reliability Survey, is designed to maximize the quality of the resulting statistics, including "Times in the Shop." For this reason, TrueDelta only starts collecting data when a minimum number of vehicles are signed up and, with the exception of the first month, only asks about repairs that happen after someone signs up. Also, members cannot personally alter or delete responses.

But many people have emailed me asking to provide repair histories. Others wanted detailed information about the things that can break in a model, even if the sample is very small. To meet this need, TrueDelta recently launched the Vehicle Repair History Survey.

The two surveys are entirely separate and even use separate databases. Data entered into one does not get automatically transferred to the other. This permits the new survey to do things the other could not.

First, no minimum sample is required. Second, members can alter and delete responses themselves. Third, all responses will be posted as-is to the site. I have no plans to statistically analyze responses to the Vehicle Repair History Survey. Instead, these responses are intended to provide car buyers with verbal information they can browse through to get a sense of what things might go wrong with a car. For repair rates, the Vehicle Reliability Survey will be a much better source.

Most importantly, the Vehicle Repair History Survey will permit TrueDelta to cover a broad array of models much sooner. While I'd rather have solid reliability data on every model right now, this isn't possible. It's not possible to get the required tens of thousands of people into the panel overnight, and even if this was possible the research design, which excludes past repairs, requires that cars be in the panel for months before there are data to analyze. The new survey will permit TrueDelta to provide a little bit of reliability information on many models in coming weeks.

Thanks for reading.

Michael Karesh, TrueDelta

First posted: December 19, 2006
Last updated: December 19, 2006

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