You don’t just buy cars…. Always make research in order to give yourself the best experience, here are the 19 used cars to avoid:
1. Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer has been a popular vehicle since it was released in 1991 and is one of the safest SUVs on the road today. While it may have plenty of safety features that gets it placed on many “safest” lists, the Explorer is plagued by other issues that make it a very questionable choice for a used vehicle. Several model years are listed on carcomplaints.com’s worst vehicles lists, with the 2003 Explorer being on the 20 worst vehicles ever list. The transmission is the source of many of the Explorers problems, with failures resulting in costly repairs. Many users also complain about paint issues, which leads to rust on the body of the vehicle. Before buying a used Explorer, it would be wise to do some research first.
2. Audi Q5
The Audi Q5 was a hit when it first hit the market. The compact SUV was loaded with luxury features and had a fantastic interior. The suspension and steering were well built, offering exceptional handling and comfort. The engine was a powerful V-6 that gave owners plenty of pep to zoom down the road. Overall, it didn’t seem like the Q5 was flawed at all. Sadly, the Q5 has a number of reliability issues. Consumer Reports gave the Audi Q5 its worst rating for overall reliability. According to various forums there are numerous complaints about the climate control, navigation system, keyless entry, and the stereo system. This wasn’t just for the first few model years either, these complaints haunt to Q5 throughout all model years. Best to steer clear of this vehicle all together.
3. Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is a great vehicle, the problem when buying a used Wrangler is you don’t know how the previous owner treated it. The Wrangler is a very common off-road vehicle, and enthusiasts love to push these vehicles to their limit. For all you know that clean looking Wrangler for sale has been ridden hard and put away wet its entire life, and now the owner slapped it with a good cleaning and is passing it off as a great vehicle. Another issue regarding the Wrangler is the number of recalls that have plagued it for the past 10 years. Every model of Wrangler since 2005 has had a recall for various parts. Brakes, transmission, fuel system, wiring, engine system, emissions systems, and more have all had recalls. The issues end up fixed, but that’s only if the owner actually took the vehicle in to have the problem rectified. Unless you can be certain of the vehicles past, the Wrangler is a used vehicle you should overlook.
4. BMW X5
The BMW X5 first hit the scene in 2000. The luxury SUV was praised for it’s performance and high end interior. The suspension was given praise for offering a smooth, comfortable ride as well as reducing body roll. As a used vehicle, the X5 can be very pricey, mainly due to the BMW name. Owners on forums have a number of complaints about the X5 though. Reliability issues are a significant problem with many owners. The all-wheel drive system, electrical system, and drive shaft are all areas of concern for the X5, and the problems seem to affect all model years. For such an expensive used car, you are better off looking elsewhere. No reason to spend that much on a vehicle with so many user complaints.
5. Dodge Intrepid
The Intrepid was built by Dodge between 1993 and 2004 and during that time it received a number of awards from critics. The roomy interior, well built suspension, top notch handling, and stylish exterior were all things reviewers loved about the Intrepid. Unfortunately, the vehicle did not stand the test of time. CarComplaints.com lists the Intrepid as one of the least reliable used cars you can buy. The 99-03 model year vehicles has a serious issue with oil sludge problems in the 2.7L V-6 model, making the vehicle worthless due to engine failure at high mileages. Other issues that are noted through most models years are electrical problems, engine problems, and AC/Heater problems. Avoid this one like the plague.
6. Cadillac STS
The Cadillac STS was built for 6 years, between 2005 and 20011. When it was released it garnered praise for its comfortable ride and great handling. It was offered with a choice of V-6 and V-8 engines, both of which are costly to repair when problems occur, and problems were common with this vehicle. The STS was given low marks for overall dependability by J.D. Power. Engine, transmission, electrical, and braking system problems are commonly reported problems for the STS. The fuel system, cooling system, and navigation system are also common problem areas. With so many problems and the cost to fix them being so high, the Cadillac STS is one of the worst used cars you can buy.
7. Chevrolet Aveo
The Aveo was replaced by the Chevrolet Sonic in 2012, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. The Aveo was a subcompact car with few redeeming qualities. Outside of a low price and high gas mileage, the Aveo didn’t bring much to the table. A tiny 103 horsepower engine made driving feel like a chore, especially when climbing steep hills. The interior was covered in cheap plastic, reminding you of how low end the vehicle is every time you got climbed into it. On top of the poor qualities of the vehicle when new, the Aevo is known for having problems with the fuel system, brakes, and audio system. The Aveo wasn’t a car that you should have bought new, and it didn’t get any better with age.
8. Chrysler Sebring
The Chrysler Sebring was manufactured between 1995 and 2010 and is one of the most repair prone vehicles on the market. 2002 and 2003 were particularly bad years for the Sebring according to Chryslerproblems.com. Engine issues were the most prevalent issue with these year Sebrings, with oil sludge causing a majority of the engine failures. Oil leaks, engine knocks, and blown head gaskets are also among the more frequent problems. The AC / heating system was another place where the Sebring often failed. The blower only working on high, water pooling on the floor, and the heater / AC failing to work at all are the most common complaints. This is a Chrysler product you are better off avoiding all together.
9. Pontiac Aztek
This weird looking car was built between 2001 and 2005 by Pontiac. The boxy shape and terrible paint color options caused a lot of criticism, but the vehicle did work well as a crossover. Large cargo area and plenty of features enticed some people to purchase the Aztek, and the success of the TV show Breaking Bad breathed new life into the vehicle as a popular used car purchase. Sadly the vehicle didn’t fare well as time took it’s toll, and the 2002 model year in particular was plagued with problems. Specifically the electrical system of the 2002 Aztek had major issues according to Carcomplaints.com. Problems from the car refusing to start, to motor mounts rubbing through wiring harnesses are reported by owners of the vehicle. If you absolutely need to have an Aztek, stay far away from the 2002 model year.
10. Chevrolet Blazer
The Chevy Blazer was one of the more popular SUVs in its day. The vehicle was discontinued in 2005, but they are still seen on used car lots. The Blazer scored low in crash tests, which throws up a red flag out of the gate, but the vehicle is also haunted by reliability issues. Consumers report a slew of issues with the Blazer on various forums. The top complaint is that the engine frequently stalls or bogs down while driving, sometimes this happens without warning after the car has been running for hours. No start issues, acceleration problems, fuel problems, transmission problems, and electrical problems are also commonly reported. These issues are found throughout the multiple model years, making the Blazer a risky choice for a used car.
11. Chrysler PT Cruiser
The PT Cruiser didn’t earn the nickname “PT Loser” for no reason. While the vehicle may have sold well and received praise when it first arrived on the scene in 2001 for it’s looks and features, the vehicle had mediocre performance scores. The years didn’t do this vehicle any favors, as it has a number of issues reported by owners. The complaint that is most prevalent with the PT Cruiser is oil consumption. The engines burn through oil like gas, and end up needing a quart of oil every 500 miles driven. Even after engine replacements, the vehicle still ends up consuming oil. Other areas of concern include the electrical system, transmission, fuel system. and airbag system.
12. Land Rover
The Land Rover was reported to be the UK’s most unreliable car by the dailymail.com. A whopping 71 percent of Land Rovers over three years old break down at least once a year. Since new Land Rovers carry such a high price tag, many opt to purchase them used, not the best idea considering their reliability issues. On top of breaking down often, the Land Rover requires a great deal of repairs as well. Frequent smaller repairs are reported by consumers, such as brakes, electrical problems, starting problems, heat / AC issues, and suspension component failures. With older Land Rovers having frequent issues, you might be better off buying a new one or steering clear of this vehicle all together.
13. Chrysler Town & Country
The Town & Country is one of the most popular minivans on the market today. It also has reliability issues according to owners on various forums. Almost anything that can go wrong with the vehicle has been reported by owners. Electrical issues are common for the Town & Country. Issues with the radio, gauges, ignition switch, light flicker issues, and starting issues being the top electrical complaints. The sliding doors are also ranked high among issues with the Town & Country. The doors come off the track, the tracks bend or get damaged, and in some cases the doors rub against the outside of the vehicle. Engine problems and transmission problems are also reported, but are less frequent compared to the other issues.
14. Jaguar S-Type / XF
The Jaguar S-Type was produced between 2000 and 2009 when it was replaced by the Jaguar XF. Both vehicles have reliability issues, the XF more so than the S-Type. The vehicles require frequent repairs, some of them major. Autoblog reports that the XF requires and average 141 visits to the dealership per 100 cars each year, which is terrible compared to other models in its class that ranged from 33 to 97 trips on average. Small problems such as cheap interior plastics breaking to larger issues such as window regulators and rear axles failing are reported. Electrical problems are common, and the power steering system is another area of concern for these vehicles, with numerous failures reported by owners.
15. Saturn Relay
Some people might not even know this vehicle exists. The Saturn Relay was produced between 2005 and 2007 before being shelved. The style design was criticised by reviewers and the sales were dismal. As a used car, the Relay is terribly unreliable. Forums show owners have issues with almost every area when it comes to the Relay. The check engine light illuminates often, power steering hoses leak, corrosion on the fuel tank causes fuel leaks, starting problems, electrical problems, ABS system malfunctions, and more. The front brake pads commonly wear unevenly, causing rotor issues and in some cases calipers need to be replaced. The Relay was a flop when it was new, and it’s a bad choice for a used car. There are plenty of better quality minivans out there to choose from.
16. Chevrolet Colorado
The Chevy Colorado is a small, light duty pickup truck that sold relatively well a few years back. As the full duty and heavy duty trucks came down in price, consumers have largely ignored the light duty vehicles, since it isn’t that much of a price jump to purchase a better model. The newer model Colorado lacks the performance and features of full size trucks, and scores lower in crash and safety tests. The issue found with many used Colorados (as well as other used light duty trucks) is that previous owners may have exceeded the vehicle’s maximum towing capacity or payload capacity. This leads to transmission damage and suspension damage. In some cases the engine may be damaged due to overworking the vehicle.
17. Dodge Nitro
The Dodge Nitro is a subpar entry into the already crowded SUV market. It doesn’t offer anything new or better than the competition, so it has no reason to stand out among its peers. The interior is smaller than others in its class, and the plastics used are cheap and tacky. The handling is rigid and the performance and fuel economy are lackluster. The Nitro was offered with a 4×4 package, and it did perform well off road, but when buying one used be aware that the vehicle may have been abused while off-roading. The 2008-2009 models had a high center of gravity, which earned them a 3 out of 5 star rating in rollover protection. Many owners complain in forums about transmission problems, as well as fuel system and climate control issues.
18. Kia Sedona
Another minivan on the list, the Kia Sedona was Kia’s attempt at getting a taste of the minivan market. The Sedona received decent marks from critics who praised the large interior and performance, although fuel economy was a bit on the low side. The Sedona doesn’t have much in the way of reliability unfortunately, as the Consumer Reports lists the vehicle as below average or well below average for all of the model years. The worst model years for the Sedona are 2002 and 2006, with 2012 close behind. Electrical problems top the list of issues, with airbags system failures, and body/paint problems ranking high as well. The suspension is also reported to have components prematurely fail and fuel system issues are common as well.
19. 1996-2003 Honda Accord
The Honda Accord is a great car and has been one of the top selling sedans each year since it’s release. When it comes to newer Accords, used models are a safe bet. The models built between 1996 and 2003 however should be avoided like the plague. These model Accords suffer from widespread transmission failures. The problem usually shows up around 90,000 miles and ends up completely failing soon after. The replacement can cost upwards of $2000.00 and even after replacement the problem may return. The 2000-2001 Accords were given extended warranties as the result of a class action lawsuit, but by now that warranty has expired. Unless the seller can provide proof that the transmission has recently been replaced, don’t even think about buying one of these vehicles.