Gamers know what to expect from industry staples like Thrustmaster and Logitech: reliable products that typically perform as expected, and are covered by reasonable warranties and backed-up by solid customer service experiences. But what about the players like Fanatec?
Today, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at Fanatec’s track record in the sim racing peripheral space to, the end of aiding our readers in making the best purchasing decisions.
Are Fanatec Products Reliable?
While Fanatec products run the full spectrum from bundles to mods, their core peripherals are wheel bases and pedals; as such these flagship products will be the most important items to look at when we ask the question “are Fanatec products reliable?”
Fanatec Wheel Reliability
Fanatec’s racing wheel offerings are amongst the most popular products in the entire sim racing space. After reading hundreds of reviews and forum comments, it appears customers are largely pleased with the reliability of Fanatec steering wheels. Here are some of the company’s recent steering wheels, and brief notes on their reliability:
As one of the Fanatec’s flagship products, one would expect the Podium DD2 to be a reliable product that stands up to many years of regular abuse. Indeed it is: the DD2 has thousands of happy customers. Just a few users have reported power supply issues, which have seemingly been resolved by Fanatec customer service.
It’s worth mentioning that the DD2 has only been on the market for less than two years, so the DD2’s three-year warranty (upgradable to five years for additional cost) is still in effect for each and everyone unit out there.
As one of Fanatec’s most popular products, it’s much easier to find complaints from people who have had problems with the CSL Elite than is the case with most of the company’s products. It’s similarly easy to see most of these complaints have been addressed by customer support.
The CSW series has been a best-seller for Fanatec and the ClubSport V2.5 has been their production model for over three years. As this steering wheel has a two-year warranty, one might expect to see lots of bad experience and other problems surfacing in forum comments, but almost every poster discussing this product seems to be a satisfied customer.
Fanatec wheel rims such as the McLaren GT3, Porsche 911 GT2, and F1 have much fewer moving parts than some of the company’s other products. As a result, it’s hard to track down large-scale problems. It appears Fanatec puts its steering wheels through strict quality control, and resolves issues before customers get a bad taste in their mouthes!
Fanatec Pedal Reliability
If there’s category of products that must stand up to constant punishment as a baseline expectation, it’s racing pedals. Built to withstand untold thousands of kicks, stomps and pumps, Fanatec pedals are supposedly amongst the most reliable on the market. We spent considerable time investigating that claim, and came away with the following:
Another of Fanatec’s flagship products, the ClubSport Pedals V3 pedals (and their inverted counterparts) only come with a one-year warranty, which may be unnerving for some due to the considerable price tag. While the V3 have been on the market for a long time, there are not many posts complaining of issues with the pedals aside from concerns regarding mounting and other out-of-the-box problems such as load cell stiffness.
The CSL Elite (and the optional Load Cell Kit) are another extremely popular product for Fanatec, and they also demonstrate that Fanatec puts a lot of effort into reliability. More so than with the ClubSport Pedals V3, the occasional forum threads show that some people are unhappy with the load cell calibration, but there does not appear to be a widespread problem with the construction of the product.
Fanatec Shifter Reliability
The rugged ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5 is unfortunately prone to a number of mechanical issues that only raise their head after extended use, often after the 12-month warranty has expired. Thankfully, most of the issues seem to be very easy to fix , and tutorials found online in text or video can help customers identify and resolve the problem without reaching out to customer support.
Fanatec vs Thrustmaster for Reliability
Fanatec and Thrustmaster both do a great job of releasing well-engineered products that tend to survive many years of sim racing. While it is much more common to find posts lamenting Thrustmaster purchases or complaining of customer service issues, Fanatec simply sells much lower quantities of its products and therefore the quantity of complaints is smaller.
Aggregate review scores are perhaps the best way to compare Fanatec and Thrustmaster reliability, in which case Fanatec wins the battle quite handily. It is perhaps worth noting that by nature, Fanatec’s expensive products tend to appeal to a more knowledgeable and savvy userbase, but nonetheless does a better job of meeting their users’ standards.
Fanatec Warranty Explained
In the US, Fanatec products can be returned within 14 days, although they are subject to a restocking fee if opened. The Fanatec warranty itself lasts for one to five years depending on the product and covers manufacturer defects and malfunctions under normal use. Unfortunately, modified products (such as wheel bases with PCB mods) are excluded from warranty coverage.
It is worth noting that customers in Europe are sometimes treated to longer base warranty periods and faster shipping of orders and replacements.
Additionally, Fanatec allows for the transfer of warranties to second-hand buyers. In fact, buyers are encouraged to contact Fanatec before making a purchase of a used product to verify that the for-sale product is, in fact, still under warranty.
Perhaps more so that most products, sim racing peripherals need to be engineered to withstand abuse. While Fanatec is far from perfect, they do take their engineering and quality control very seriously. It’s hard to find recent examples of Fanatec product owners being left in the cold with busted gear, and it is refreshing to see Fanatec representatives replying to poster concerns on various forums and other outlets across the web.
While we do not intend to outright endorse Fanatec, we do tend to think that they create products that are generally quite reliable and back them up with a great approach to resolving customer concerns.
Last Updated on April 22, 2021
I’m an avid sim racer and technology blogger from the UK. I launched FPSBible.com at the start of 2020 to share my thoughts on a range of tech accessories, with a focus on racing peripherals like steering wheels, pedals, and gear shifters.