When shopping for a vehicle, most consumers seek advice from experts to avoid buying a lemon. If you’ve been scouring the internet for car buying advice, you’ve probably come across the Consumer Reports website and Scotty Kilmer’s YouTube channel.
But one of his videos might have confused you about whether Consumer Reports is reliable after all. Scotty Kilmer explains in one of his YouTube posts that he doesn’t necessarily trust the site. He also shares his thoughts on why that is.
Who is Scotty Kilmer, and what’s his issue with Consumer Reports?
Scotty Kilmer is an auto mechanic who has worked on vehicles for over 50 years. He’s best known for his eponymous YouTube channel with over 4 million subscribers. There, he shows viewers how to fix cars, offers advice, and answers questions.
Years before he began posting videos, he hosted a TV show doing the same thing he’s now doing on YouTube. The TV show began in the mid-’90s and ran for about 10 years, Drive and Review reports. Kilmer is well-known for his bluntness and telling the truth as he sees it.
Some people like and respect him, while others aren’t fond of his personality. Regardless, he’s been around vehicles long enough to know what he’s talking about. And regarding Consumer Reports, he says it’s an OK source for car advice, but “you can never trust print media.” Why?
He explains that journalists don’t get paid much money, which invites bribery and skewed car reviews. So, when it comes down to it, he says, “I personally don’t trust people who are not mechanics.” He says service techs know the most about cars, and they, like him, will tell you the truth about a car’s reliability.
They’ve worked on these vehicles and know which ones have consistent problems and which ones don’t, he explains.
How Consumer Reports tests vehicles
Scotty Kilmer considers Consumer Reports among the print media he mentions in his video. CR is an independent testing center that evaluates consumer products of all kinds, including automobiles. Then CR’s testers share the data from their testing and surveys from car owners.
According to Consumer Reports, it purchases test vehicles anonymously so that automakers can’t try to influence vehicle reviews. CR’s testers can then conduct their evaluations fairly, and the reviewers can share their honest thoughts about each vehicle.
Consumer Reports’ testers thoroughly test each vehicle using their own equipment and track, CR says. They don’t run only a couple of tests and call it done, either. They put approximately 2,000 miles on each vehicle before the real testing begins.
So, is Scotty Kilmer right about CR?
Scotty Kilmer has spent a good portion of his life around cars. And his millions of YouTube subscribers prove viewers trust him.
But Consumer Reports has been around since 1936 and has built a following through its print magazine and digital publication. However, CR isn’t always perfect when it comes to all of its automotive reviews.
Testers sometimes pull data from similar vehicles when they don’t have enough information about a specific car to share. There was also a scandal regarding information CR published about Suzuki and Isuzu SUVs in the ’90s that led to defamation lawsuits against Consumer Reports. However, The New York Times reported a jury ruled Isuzu wasn’t due damages. And The Wall Street Journal reported that Suzuki agreed to drop its $60 million lawsuit when CR published a clarification.
So, Scotty Kilmer is probably right and wrong about whether Consumer Reports is a trustworthy source. In fact, listening to them both and other experts is an even better idea because the more informed you are about a vehicle, the better equipped you are to find a reliable one.