What is Reliability?

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What is Reliability?

Reliability is the ability of a system or component to perform its intended function under specified conditions for an extended period without failure. A reliable product has a high probability of performing as expected over time. The reliability of a product can be measured by how long it will last before failing and how often it fails.

In other words, a reliable product does not fail. It performs consistently and predictably.

The following are some examples of products that have been designed with reliability in mind:

  • A car engine that starts every time you turn the key.
  • An airplane that flies safely through turbulence.
  • A medical device that works properly when used on patients.
  • A refrigerator that keeps food fresh.
  • A telephone switchboard that connects calls correctly.
  • A nuclear power plant that operates safely.


Reliability is one of the eight dimensions of product quality defined by Garvin.


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