McLarens & Reliability

Ferrari F40 Road Trip: Italy
February 9, 2019
McLaren 650S Spider Road Trip to Houston
February 17, 2019

Recently I have had quite a few people reach out and ask me about McLaren’s reliability.  I thought this was a bit odd so I checked to see what might be driving this sudden onslaught of queries. Apparently, a few vloggers have recently posted videos on YouTube bashing McLaren and complaining of major reliability issues.  To be honest, I haven’t watched any of the videos as I don’t spend any time on YouTube. Hence I really don’t have any idea what the issues being pontificated upon are.  What I do know is what our experience has been across 7 different McLarens in both the UK & US in the last 7 years ( https://karenable.com/my-mclaren-history/).  Of the 7 McLarens we have owned, 3 are still in our stewardship, and we have put close to 80,000 miles on this collective group.  In terms of issues and servicing, our history is:

McLaren #1 – 2013 RHD 12C Spider: This is the only McLaren we have owned that had steel brakes.  I made the mistake of washing it once and putting it away with the brake discs still wet.  The right rear caliper froze on the disc and we had to flatbed it to the service center to get it released.  Also upgraded the infotainment system from IRIS v1 to v2 as the v1 was pretty useless. Only other time this 12C saw the service center was for its annual service.

McLaren #2 – 2012 LHD 12C Coupe: The only issue I ever had with the 12C Coupe was a faulty left front tire sensor.  I had to take the car in twice before it was finally rectified.  For most of my ownership, this 12C lived in Germany and spent many high-speed hours on the autobahn.

McLaren #3 – 2014 LHD 12C Spider: The only issue we ever had with our final 12C Spider was a temperature sensor that needed replacing.  The car was out of service for a day. Other than that, it only saw the dealership for its annual checkup.  This 12C Spider was my daily driver for a bit over a year.

McLaren #4 – 2015 P1: We had two issues with the P1, a loose rear side turn signal light and the IRIS Infotainment System failed and needed to be replaced.  Other than that, it was just routine annual service.

McLaren #5 – 2015 650S Spider: This car has been my daily driver for the last 3 ½ years.  No issues and only time it has been back to the dealership is for its yearly service.

McLaren #6 – 2016 675LT Spider: This car has done a few 1,500 miles road trips and been driven hard up in the mountains.  Never had a single issue and it only has seen the inside of the workshop for its annual services.

McLaren #7 – 2018 720S: Never had a single problem and it just had its first completely routine annual service.

In summary, we did have a few minor issues with the early McLarens.  None of these I would consider even remotely concerning, serious, or out of the ordinary.  The later McLarens have all been poster children for reliability.  I also have never had to add a single drop of oil or coolant to any of the McLarens that we have owned.  When I compare this list to a similar one for other manufacturers, McLaren’s build quality and reliability has certainly been best in class in my experience.  

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February 2019

6 Comments

  1. @texas_cars_ says:

    I would like to get a 12C but I have heard the same stuff you mentioned in the YouTube videos. This is good information.

  2. I have a 650S and love it. Only been in for annual service.

    Mike

  3. Dominic says:

    Thanks for answering the question

  4. bigdog says:

    Looks like if money is no issue and you have some spare macs in reserve, reliability is not the point to worry about. But if you risc your last shirt in case of any issues, it can be very important. Hence it is not only a matter of reliability, but more a matter of having a extended warranty or not.
    I am still interested in an 12c spider, but have concerns about reselling it. Buing one now means it already is 5-6 years old. Keep it f.e. 5 years and you won´t get a McLaren warranty any longer. Who will buy this car with no more warranty on it? Accepting high depreciation is one thing, but sitting on a supercar which might be totaly unsaleable is the other. How do you think, things will develop?

    • Secret Supercarowner says:

      It’s always hard to predict a market 5 years out but based on past observations, there certainly is a market for 10-15 year old Ferraris, Porsches etc. Nothing is ever un-saleable, it just a question of getting the value equation (i.e. price) right. You mention the extended warranty a few times, long term the value of the car will have some aspect of the maintenance risk built into the price. IMHO, one reason Ferrari F355s will always trade for less than a 360 is the cost of the cost of the major service cam belt change and the more “fragile” reputation on build quality.

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