PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- We can tell you how much a car costs, how many miles it gets to the gallon, how much horsepower it cranks out, how much cargo it will hold and how all of that information stacks up to its closest competitor, but none of that does you any good if your car spends more time in the shop than on the road.
"Reliability" isn't some intangible feature car dealers throw out there to make a vehicle sound nicer. It's an actual measurement of how often an automobile model breaks down, its frequent problems and how much all of that is going to cost you in time and repairs. For commuters, shuttlers and those who rely on their cars not only to get from Point A to Point B but to do so multiple times each day, reliability is no small consideration.
Car repair data site CarMD released its Vehicle Health Index reliability ratings recently, ranking the vehicles with the least combined "check engine" repairs and costs. It culled repair data from 151,000 specific repairs performed on model year 2003 to 2013 vehicles from Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30 of this year.
CarMD ranked the Top 100 vehicles overall, top vehicles by category and the most common repairs by make. While we realize the inherent value of the vehicle list, it seemed somewhat less valuable to feature a Top 10 that included five Nissans, three Toyotas, a Mazda and a Hyundai when that doesn't tell a whole lot of the story.
Instead, we got a good look at the manufacturer rankings and saw just how much repairs for each cost, how often they're in the shop, what kind of problems are knocking them out of commission and which represents your best bet when it comes time to buy -- regardless of model year. The following 10 automakers represent the best the industry has to offer, but there's still a whole lot separating the steady performers at the top from the scrap iron at the bottom: