Automotive E-ssentials

Automotive E-ssentials

Your regular update for technical and industry information

Your regular update for technical and industry information

TÜV-Report 2023: the average age of vehicles on the road is now over 10 years – fault rates are rising

The vehicles on our roads are getting older. At present, cars in Germany have an average age of 10.1 years, thus topping the 10-year mark for the first time ever. Three years ago, the average car in service in Germany was 9.5. Of course, older vehicles also leave their marks on fault statistics. According to the latest report analysing the results of periodic technical inspections (PTI) presented by TÜV-Verband (TÜV Association) end of last year in Berlin, the rate of significant faults (SF) has risen from 17.9 per cent in last year’s 2022 TÜV-Report to the present rate of 20.2 per cent. TÜV SÜD experts attribute the higher fault rates to the greater average age of vehicles and the fact that many people are on increasingly tight budgets and forced to scrimp on servicing and maintenance costs. The overall winner in the 2023 TÜV-Report is the Mercedes B-Class, while the title of worst performer once again goes to the Dacia Logan.

TUV Report 2023It may be a well-worn explanation, but of course the Covid-19 pandemic has also impacted the vehicle market. For example, between 2020 and 2022 – the exact period covered by the TÜV-report – sales of second-hand and older cars went up because of the shortage of new vehicles. Nevertheless, there are models such as the Mercedes B-Class that offer a high level of reliability and safety over the long term. In addition to being the overall winner in the 2023 TÜV-Report, the compact car manufactured in the German region of Swabia still comes in fourth even when nine years old, with a fault rate of eleven per cent. At that age, the car has clocked up an average mileage of 90,000 kilometres. By comparison, the Ford Galaxy has a similar fault rate after only three years. Another example for tighter budgets is the Honda Jazz. Starting out with a rank of eighth for its fault rate of 2.7 per cent at its initial PTI, the vehicle still manages to reach one of the upper ranks at eleven years old. The average age of the vehicle fleet may have gone up by almost one year, but vehicles in Germany are still in good shape even at an advanced age. Some used cars still achieve excellent results at six to seven years old – or even older.

Here is a look at more figures from the 2023 TÜV-Report: The rate of minor faults has also risen slightly (1.6 per cent) to 10.7 per cent, reflecting the fact that motorists may not look too closely, especially when it comes to minor repairs. Down by 1.8 per cent, by contrast, is the rate of vehicles that make it home without a single fault.

For the first time, the average age of vehicles has exceeded ten years. It is evident that older vehicles are becoming an increasingly relevant factor in road safety, and this is also reflected by the higher fault rate. Given this, TÜV SÜD experts have taken a look at vehicles aged up to ten years. Even at this advanced age, vehicles are generally in compliance with the Euro V emission rating or higher, and thus still allowed to drive anywhere – for the moment.

Growing old gracefully

Car inspection with personA look at the different categories: As already mentioned, the statistical analysis of all PTIs (TÜV-Verband) carried out between July 2021 and June 2022 shows that motorists looking for a new family car will find even an 11-year-old Mercedes B-Class to be a reliable companion. The same applies to the Golf Plus, which earns kudos even at the advanced age of eleven based on its low rate of significant faults (17.4 per cent) and, with an average of 105,000 kilometres, comparatively few mileage on the clock. Even more of a bargain is the Mazda 3, which comes out in 17th position at the age of eleven with a significant fault rate of 18.7 per cent and 112,000 kilometres. Last but not least, let’s take a look at business class vehicles. At the age of 11, none of the business-class vehicles produced by Benz, BMW and Audi land in the top positions, which is certainly down to the fact that these vehicles are used as company cars with accordingly high mileages. At that age, the average mileage of a Mercedes E-Class is 176,000 kilometres.

More oil leakage

Car inspection with person sitting in carLights, oil leaks and axles are the unholy trinity of faults that confront experts most often. 1.6 per cent of vehicles, for example, present with faulty headlights at their first PTI. Another 0.5 per cent – representing as many as 45,000 vehicles – start to leak oil after only three years. Where the chassis is concerned, the advanced shock absorber designs that are standard requirements today are leaving their mark. The axle-related SF rate amounts to 0.2 per cent. In the PTIs performed on seven- and 11-year-old vehicles, the rate of SF concerning axle suspension rises to 1.5 and 5.2 per cent respectively. A noticeable feature is also the cause underlying the overall increase in fault rates – the fact that older vehicles in particular are not as well serviced and maintained as they used to be. In the age group of 11-year-old cars, for example, the fault rates for oil leaks have risen by 1.2 per cent, for lights by 0.3 per cent and for chassis by 0.5 per cent.

Stars swap places

Car inspection with person in front of carBut back to the overall statistics of the 2023 TÜV-Report. In terms of quality, the Mercedes B-Class has taken over in pole position with an average significant fault rate of just 2.0 per cent, relegating the GLC – its bigger brother, and last year’s winner – to second place (2.3 per cent). Sharing the same rank is the VW Golf Sportsvan/Plus, also with a fault rate of 2.3 per cent. Ranked fourth is the Audi Q3, with an SF rate of 2.4 per cent. Last year, this rank was held by the VW T-Roc, which has now slipped to fifth place.

A look at the tail end of the table: Once again, the worst performer, turning in a stable SF rate of 11.6 per cent, is the Dacia Logan. Second to last is the Dacia Dokker (10.8 per cent), while third to last is the VW Sharan, with a significant fault rate of 9.4 per cent. And a look at family vans shows the Ford Galaxy also languishing in the lowest ranks, with a fault rate of 8.1 per cent.

Picanto takes over from Karl

Best in class: In the mini-vehicle class, the Opel Karl passed the winner’s medal to the Kia Picanto (3.6 per cent). In the category of small cars, the Honda Jazz (2.7 per cent) drove last year’s winner, the Audi A1, into second place, while in the compact car class, the Mercedes A-Class (2.8 per cent) successfully defended its top position. In the category of medium-sized cars, first place goes once again to the Mercedes C-Class (3.3 per cent). As overall winner in the van class, the Mercedes B-Class has further strengthened its position (2.0 per cent), while the Mercedes GLC (2.3 per cent) is the fourth-time winner in the SUV category.

Saxony again with lowest fault rate of all TÜV SÜD regions

Car inspection with person in front of carTÜV SÜD also analyses its data from the German states of Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Saxony and Hamburg on a state-by-state basis. Results across all age categories show that fault rates are lowest in Saxony at 15.6 per cent, followed by Bavaria at 17.5 per cent and Baden-Wuerttemberg at 19.4 per cent. Hamburg had the highest fault rates of all the states analysed; in the home region of TÜV Hanse, 25.6 per cent of all vehicles were sent to repair shops with significant faults.

The TÜV-Report is published every year by the Association of German TÜV Organisations (TÜV-Verband) and is one of the most important independent guides for drivers and buyers of used cars. The TÜV-Report incorporates the results of the PTIs performed by all TÜV organisations in Germany – currently amounting to over 9.5 million PTIs performed between July 2021 and June 2022. As the leading provider of PTIs, TÜV SÜD has contributed over four million results.

Information: The 2023 TÜV-Report is available in TÜV SÜD service centres and retailers for EUR 5.90.

All information about the 2023 TÜV-Report can be found at https://www.tuvsud.com/tuev-report and https://www.tuev-verband.de/.

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