Faulty batteries among common flaws in popular cars

Widespread reliability issues with some of the UK’s most popular cars have been uncovered by new research.

Faulty batteries, malfunctioning exterior features and dodgy suspension systems are among the problems encountered by motorists, according to a survey by consumer group Which? of nearly 44,000 people covering more than 52,000 cars.

The Nissan Qashqai, one of the best-selling cars in the UK, had the highest breakdown rate of all vehicles polled.

One in five (20%) owners questioned needed to replace their battery in the last year, which is up to five times the average rate for other cars of the same age.

Which? calculated that if a similar level of battery problem was affecting all 300,000 of the UK’s Qashqai owners, an estimated 60,000 might need to replace their battery.

In its response to the findings, Nissan said it was aware of some instances of battery failure and has taken steps to address the issue, including changing its battery supplier and updating software.

The research found that three- to eight-year-old versions of the Tesla Model S had a high fault rate, with 22% of owners reporting an issue with exterior features such as door handles, locks, fuel caps and boots.

This is 10 times higher than for a typical car in the same age range.

Tesla said its four-year warranty covers repairs and replacements, but Which? noted that owners of older vehicles “cannot rely on this safety net”.

The Seat Alhambra, Ford B-Max (2012-2017) and BMW 5 Series Touring (2010-2017) were also highlighted as having high fault rates.

Which? is calling on manufacturers to “go public with these inherent flaws” and issue a recall to alert drivers that their car could have a fault and ensure a pre-emptive fix is available free of charge even if a car is not under warranty.

The organisation’s head of home products and services, Natalie Hitchins, said: “It is concerning that it has taken Which?’s survey of thousands of motorists to uncover what are in some cases inherent flaws with some of the UK’s best-selling cars.

“Owners should be able to trust that manufacturers will make them aware of these issues and offer a fix when they see a recurring problem.

“It is vital these manufacturers make the public aware of these serious faults and ensure vehicle owners are not left out of pocket should the issues occur outside their warranty.”

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