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(Some Guy in "H")   What's the most unreliable car you've ever owned?   ( divider line
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282 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 10 May 2021 at 1:35 PM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook

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2021-05-10 11:20:59 AM  
Any Chrysler with an automatic transmission.
2021-05-10 11:25:49 AM  
Mazda CX-9.  The brakes simply gave out (known issue).  Then the transmission died (known issue, covered even out of warranty).  Hated that car.
2021-05-10 11:26:19 AM  
A 1975 Audi Fox.  Cool car, but terrible at starting and running.
2021-05-10 11:28:19 AM  
Chevy S-10 2.8L
2021-05-10 11:31:16 AM  
Ford Ranger 84 i think...
2021-05-10 11:35:18 AM  
Plymouth Fury ll 440

Very much did not want to start.
2021-05-10 11:36:12 AM  
I had a 1978 Toyota Corolla that was basically like playing Russian roulette when you drove. To be fair, I bought it for $100, so it already had one foot in the grave...
2021-05-10 11:39:43 AM  
We had a Sterling in the late 80's.

Weird car. Was supposed to be a mix of European luxury and Japanese reliability.

That thing was in the shop with electronics problems constantly.

That and the mesh wheels were huge pain to keep clean.
2021-05-10 11:43:28 AM  

Officer Barrelroll: We had a Sterling in the late 80's.

Wasn't that the "British Honda?" I vaguely remember those.
2021-05-10 11:45:46 AM  
Opel Manta.  Loved it anyway.
2021-05-10 11:46:24 AM  
Wife's 2011 328i convertible.

Less than 75k miles on it, and it's already had a broken fuel pump (out of warranty now because the car isn't registered in California) and a broken computer module that controls the pump, a broken PCV valve, which in normal cars is a $15 part, but BMW for some reason decided that the part HAD to be fused into the entire valve cover, so that required a major effort to swap out.  BMW wants $600 just for the valve cover, plus 6 hours to install.  I sourced on for $96 on Amazon and did it myself, but it was still a nightmare due to all the wiring in the way.

Battery died twice, even after running the routine to "register" the battery with the car's computer.

All new coil packs, the last of which requires disassembly of almost the entire front of the car to reach.
2021-05-10 11:46:29 AM  
PT Cruiser It was a fine car to drive but was always a breath away from catastrophic priced basic maintenance.
2021-05-10 11:47:18 AM  
2011 Jeep Wrangler. First motor blew one month after the warranty ended. Spent $8000 on a new motor. That one lasted 2 years.
2021-05-10 11:48:27 AM  

FlashHarry: the "British Honda?" I vaguely remember those.

Basically an Acura Integra with everything that was reliable removed, and replaced with British electrics.

It took them five years to develop a turn signal control module that leaked oil, just for that car.

But hey, plush Connolly leather interior, so who cares, right?
2021-05-10 11:50:34 AM  
Any car I owned that was made in the 60s or 70s was unreliable, that's just how those cars were. I drove some 80's cars that were more day-to-day reliable but would still throw timing chains and blow transmissions and water pumps with zero warning.

That started to get way better though and my cars bought in the last 20 years have only become unreliable after around 10 years running, which I can't complain about.

Last two cars were Chevy Impala base models with front bench seat and gear selector on the steering column, "dad cars". Treat them right and they just go forever.

If they had taken my last Impala and made it station wagon shaped I'd consider that perfection.
2021-05-10 11:50:57 AM  
'95 Chevy Lumina.

Worst car ever and lost value like crazy. Terrible car from a terrible company
2021-05-10 11:51:47 AM  

FlashHarry: Officer Barrelroll: We had a Sterling in the late 80's.

Wasn't that the "British Honda?" I vaguely remember those.


I had to google it to even remember what it looked like. Not a design that has really aged well. At the time it was a good enough looking car. Our was red with a tan interior. Definitely not a car that you would see very often. Probably because they were all in the shop.
2021-05-10 11:54:34 AM  
1993 Plymouth Duster. It was a fun car, but the manual transmission had multiple factory defects. The shift cable would pop off of the transmission because of a stupid metal clip design. The clip would pop off while driving, and the shift lever would suddenly just flop around in all directions like a limp dick. So, I had to carry a compliment of long-reach pliers and flathead screwdrivers, in case I needed to remove, bend, and reapply the shift cable retainer on the side of the highway.

The rear wheel brake cylinders failed in such a spectacular way that I could hit the brakes and see a brake fluid spraying from both rear wheels. Luckily, this happened within a block of my house, so I was able to limp home on the emergency brake.

The car had a pretty weak plastic radiator. One day, a dime-sized piece of the radiator just fell off, dumping most of the contents on the interstate. I managed to cram a sock into the hole, refill it with water, and drive home without overheating the engine, although I had the heater turned to high. This was on a hot NC summer day, with broken window regulators...

The shift linkage inside the transmission was held in by a pin that was notorious for falling into the transmission and getting crunched by gears. So, a 50 cent pin would do $400 of damage to the transmission. This happened twice.

I had a new clutch installed, and the clutch disc failed in 50 miles, because binding caused the clutch disc itself to disintegrate. While it was parked on the side of an offramp due to that issue, a drunk driver ran off the road and rear-ended it. That still didn't kill it, but it bent an a-arm on the rear enough that the right rear tire had about an inch of tow in. It drove fine and seemed to track okay, until one day when I had to slam on my brakes to avoid an accident and the bent a-arm caused the back end to sling around.
2021-05-10 11:56:49 AM  

markie_farkie: Wife's 2011 328i convertible.

Weird. I had a 2011 328i that I owned from zero miles to 100k. I don't think I had a single serious issue. My wife has an '08 328xi Touring that's been rock solid - apart from having to replace the usual suspects after 100k miles (starter motor, alternator, battery). Hers does do this weird thing where the TPMS malfunctions if it's below freezing. BUT - if you get out and lock it and wait 30 secs... it's fine. No idea what that's about...
2021-05-10 12:01:42 PM  

FlashHarry: I don't think I had a single serious issue.

You got lucky then!  This one was originally sold in CA so it has all the SULEV add-ons to meet CA smog requirements, and due to chronic component failures in the N51 engine family, was forced by the EPA to be covered up to 150k miles and 15 years for major fuel and emissions components.


That warranty only applies if the car is STILL registered in about 7 states that force the issue.  The rest of the country, you're screwed.

Like somehow the emissions generated in one state just hover ONLY over that state...
2021-05-10 12:02:22 PM  
My car history. Surprisingly, most have been relatively reliable.

• '80 VW Rabbit
• '78 Buick Regal
• '79 Mazda 323
• '74 Honda Civic
• '78 Toyota Corolla
• '69 Lincoln Continental
• '84 Mazda 323
• '88 Nissan Sentra
• '01 Nissan Sentra
• '01 BMW 325i
• '08 BMW 328xi
• '11 BMW 328i
• '14 Mercedes E350
2021-05-10 12:04:40 PM  
2006 Dodge Charger SVT.

Drank oil almost as fast as it did gas, and if you waited past the 3k oil change mark, it would destroy the engine's rocker assembly.  Mine needed to be replaced after only hitting the 3,500 mile mark after my last oil change.  Oil light wouldn't come on, but your engine would just start with a knocking sound. By the time you heard it, you were already too late, and you had to replace the entire assembly, not just the parts that were damaged.

No matter what you did with the brake rotors, they would be warped within a month of installing them brand new.  I owned the car for ~6-7 years, and ended up having to live with warped rotors for most of them.

The bushings and tie rods also needed to be replaced every 40k miles.  At 80k miles, after the second set died, I just traded the car in for another brand.

I loved the car, it was big, but comfortable, lotsa trunk space, rode well, but the reliability sucked.
2021-05-10 12:05:10 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size

This 2004 Audi A4 Quattro. In the 22 months I owned it, I spent $14k on payments and $12k on repairs - mostly labour of course. Broken serpentine belt. Water pump replacement. Cracked intake manifold. #2 cylinder misfire from when the mechanic misaligned the serpentine belt by one tooth. Check engine light came on so consistently that I got my own OBD II to USB plug and a copy of VCDS software. I carried a netbook in the car so I could keep resetting the check engine light and monitoring the car's data. Always misfires in #2 cylinder, until finally it burnt the piston ring and the engine wouldn't run for more than a couple minutes at a  time. After a suitable amount of research on automotive reliability, I bought my first Lexus IS 250 and haven't looked back.
2021-05-10 12:12:09 PM  
Citroën Visa II Super E. Gear stick came off in my dad's hand once, and the engine rusted so badly with normal British weather that it sheared off the mounts and fell out of the car one afternoon.
2021-05-10 12:20:24 PM  
98 Plymouth Breeze.  Tie rod ends broke more times than I can recall.  Rack and pinion leaked for months before finally letting go. Eventually the transmission basically gave up.  This was around 180k mile.  My mechanic put some magic transmission treatment in it that extended the life by about 50 miles, enough to get it to a scrap yard and get some cash for it.
2021-05-10 12:27:57 PM  
My first car - 1981 Audi 5000s diesel.  It had 385K miles on the *broke* odometer - probably because the used car lot tried to run it back.  There was a weird aviation club sticker on the back that I eventually found out belonged to a hot air balloon business - it was a chaser vehicle and some dude who knew about the business told me they didn't retire those vehicles until sometime after 500K miles.

Suspension - looked like it had a broke axle
Throttle cable connection - held on with c-clamp
All gauges (gas was checked by popping up the back seat, opening the floater, and looking in the gas tank)
Break lines - constantly leaked *in* vehicle...ruined shoes.
Head Gasket - blew two weeks after purchase (repaired)
Heads - Three cracked, had to pull block
Driver's side window - motor literally broke off window - could "roll" down with hand pressure
A/C - died a week after purchase - never worked again
A/C Blower - managed to fix - the brushes were so wore down, they weren't making contact.
Shift linkage - I would have to periodically wedge some folded paper around the linkage so the clamp would hold so I could get in 1st and 2nd gear - otherwise, I had 5th and reverse.
Power steering pump - leaked.
Glow plugs - never worked in cold weather - carried can of ether - air manifold clamp was permanently off because of this.
Back power windows - were dead.
Fuel system - had to drain fuel line filter weekly.  Had to pull - in-tank particulate filter and hose out every 2-3 weeks.

It died for good not long after I joined the military.  My dad was using it as a work commute car and the cam shaft exploded one day (the damn thing was never ever in time).
2021-05-10 12:33:06 PM  
Break lines - constantly leaked *in* vehicle...ruined shoes.

I was going to correct your spelling, but I think leaving it as is may be better, for accuracy.
2021-05-10 1:10:28 PM  
'77 Triumph Spitfire. Loved the car, a lot of fun to drive, but damn. Just... damn.
2021-05-10 1:18:17 PM  
1986(?!) escort GT.  Engine shiat the bed at 19k miles.

1994 Windstar - two engine fails - covered by recalls.  Had the gas tank split and leak ten gallons of gas in the driveway, another recall repair.  Hood skin separated at speed, another recall repair.  See a pattern here?

Ford built some really shiatty cars/minivans.  However, I now drive an 04 Ranger 4x4 with 231k trouble free mules and a 1973 F100 that is near bulletproof once I redid all the seals, gaskets, etc.

They build some really good trucks, and Mustangs, from my experience.
2021-05-10 1:22:33 PM  
Many many years ago a 1973 Chevy Caprice (Crap-piece) two door.
My father took it in trade $200 owed to him by some folks renting his house.
The gas tank had a pin hole leak. I used bar of soap to seal it every other day.
The carb gunked up and I had to walk about three miles home to get my tool box, walk back and disassemble and clean out the carb in the laundry mat parking lot.
It smoked like a freight train and shortly thereafter reverse went out in the transmission.
I had to be careful where I parked.
Then it got stuck in 2nd, even when when in park.
There was one spark plug in the back of the engine that simply could be not accessed with regular tools.
Never had got the title from the seller.
The pity was the car actually looked pretty good, solid body, good paint and vinyl top, nice interior.
I finally drove it out to the wrecking yard and sold it for $75 and ride back to town.
I considered that a deal!
2021-05-10 1:26:43 PM  
1998 Chrysler Concord. Pretty vehicle, but I couldn't get rid of it fast enough. The only thing I didn't replace was the A|C compressor.  Traded for a dodge minivan - maybe the next owner drove it forever?
2021-05-10 1:30:03 PM  
A Jetta, what a piece of shiat.
2021-05-10 1:33:19 PM  

delsydsoftware: the manual transmission had multiple factory defects.

You just reminded me of my older cousin's cheap POS early 80s Ford that had something like a spinning manual transmission or driveshaft where you had to time it just right or wait until it came around again, especially in neutral. Shifting was .... interesting.
2021-05-10 1:35:19 PM  
Brand new Chevy piece of shiat s-10 lemon pile of crap
2021-05-10 1:40:33 PM  
'87 Renault Alliance. 

From the 16 awg wire fed through the driver side window to put the car into reverse, to the transmission missing 1st-3rd gears, that had to have been the worst $500 I had ever spent on a car.
2021-05-10 1:43:12 PM  
1975 Chevy Monte Carlo that I bought in 1988. There wasn't much on the car that actually worked correctly. It was truly a piece of shiat car in every sense of the Adam Sandler song. To be fair, I did buy it with the intention of entering it in a demo derby, which I did. It was all over for me after the first hit. There is such a thing as a car that it too far gone for a demo derby.
2021-05-10 1:43:29 PM  
1981 Camaro. It died and came back so many times, I named it Lazarus. Full disclosure: I bought it from a guy who bought damaged cars at auctions and fixed them up, so it was highly likely to have problems. Gimme a break, I was young and poor, and I needed a car.
2021-05-10 1:50:30 PM  
For reasons nobody could understand at the time and that make even less sense now in retrospect, when I was in college I inexplicably chose to acquire a 1973 Jensen-Healey roadster like this one (pic is not my actual car, but looked like this):

Fark user imageView Full Size

My first experience with owning an English car, and also my last.  Every stereotype about British car reliability, or lack thereof, was thoroughly reinforced by this piece of shiat.  It was a blast to drive when it was running right, but unfortunately it was running right maybe 10% of the time, and running at all maybe 30% of the time.  As soon as I would fix something, another thing would break.  And we're not talking simple things like tail lights not working--we're talking things like slooowly driving over a little speed bump in the parking lot and having the driveshaft fall off the car onto the ground.

To make matters worse, the manufacturer had gone out of business several years before I bought the car, and thus there was no dealer network and replacement parts were very difficult to come by.  The engine was made by Lotus (the same twin-cam engine as the one in the Lotus Europa of that era), so fortunately engine parts could be obtained at the Lotus dealer, albeit at Lotus prices, which were not affordable for a broke college student.  Other parts?  Good luck.  Fortunately, I happened to be driving down a random street one day and saw a wrecked Jensen-Healey in some guy's yard under a tarp and went to talk to him about, and learned that he had wrecked his and was willing to part it out, so he became my own personal junkyard that I could call up and come over to pull parts from as needed.  Unfortunately that only worked once per part, and when that replacement part invariably would break again I would be SOL.

It was so bad that after I got out of college the car I replaced it with was a Porsche 924.  (I had tried to make a deal to trade the Jensen in on the Porsche, but they didn't give me enough of a trade-in value so I walked, and then on the way home a rod started knocking on the Jensen to I called the dealer up and told them OK, they had a deal after all, and fortunately they didn't check the car out again before we did the deal.)  The 924 was probably the second-worst car I ever owned in terms of reliability but still miles ahead of the Jensen.  At least the 924 wasn't wired by Lucas!
2021-05-10 1:51:54 PM  
Chrysler 300M.  In the short time I owned it, it needed a new heater core, a new steering box, a new transmission, new windows motors, and countless sensors.  One of the engine cooling fans died and it overheated in traffic.  Then the windows fell out, in the rain, on the PA Turnpike, and enough was enough.  No more Chrysler.  Nope.  Hard no.  You could not give me one.
2021-05-10 1:52:36 PM  

Madison_Smiled: 1981 Camaro. It died and came back so many times, I named it Lazarus. Full disclosure: I bought it from a guy who bought damaged cars at auctions and fixed them up, so it was highly likely to have problems. Gimme a break, I was young and poor, and I needed a car.

Yeah, I used to have one of those.  Some jerks from Lincoln trashed it.
Fark user imageView Full Size
2021-05-10 1:52:38 PM  
1984(?) Chevy Cavalier. My parents bought it as a second car for the teens to drive. If you stopped for longer than 20 second or so, it would die. Got in the habit of shifting into neutral at stoplights and revving the engine. We went through a couple of Cavaliers, so I don't remember if that's the one my sister rolled over or not. Eventually they got a 1979 Caprice Classic, which I drove for two years in high school. Loved that car.
2021-05-10 1:53:49 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Chrysler 300M.  In the short time I owned it, it needed a new heater core, a new steering box, a new transmission, new windows motors, and countless sensors.  One of the engine cooling fans died and it overheated in traffic.  Then the windows fell out, in the rain, on the PA Turnpike, and enough was enough.  No more Chrysler.  Nope.  Hard no.  You could not give me one.

2021-05-10 1:55:56 PM  
1995 Ford Escort. The speedometer didn't showed slower speeds after around 60 MPH. So, 65 on the gauge was really around 70.

Also the engine knocked like mad when going up hills. I had read in the car's manual that this was expected behavior.
2021-05-10 1:56:29 PM  
A 1979 Mercury Capri:
img.hmn.comView Full Size

Is that a Mustang???? No, it's a Mercury. Then they'll go "Ohhh. I see."
2021-05-10 1:59:15 PM  
Chevy HHR.

I had to have it in the shop more times than oil changes.

Before I even hit 10k miles, I had to have both U joints replaced, the radio unit replaced (twice), the auto start module replaced and the rear tail light assembly replaced.

from 10-30k, had to have the ignition tumbler replaced (car literally wouldnt turn off, had to pull a fuse at a Walmart parking lot), fog lights stopped working, and the side window leaked.

30-50k, both power window motors had to be replaced.

the headgasket blew around 3000 miles under warranty, but 1 month PASSED it, time wise. GM offered me $500 off if I bought an Escalade.

I bought a Ford instead, sent them a picture, and vowed to never ever buy GM again.
2021-05-10 1:59:27 PM  
I used to buy (or get for free) crappy cars that needed work but then I realized I was paying more than I would for a new (ish) car. Now I just buy them a year or two old and haven't looked back.
2021-05-10 1:59:28 PM  
A tired old 1986 Nissan Maxima.

I paid cash for this abused example off a buy-here-pay-here lot. During my brief ownership, a cold rain froze the lock cylinders, keeping me from the interior because my impoverished post-college self couldn't afford new glass if I smashed in the driver's window.

The ZF autobox started slipping, requiring a $3000 rebuild-- twice what I paid for the car.

Then, after having to drive home using the handbrake to stop at traffic lights, brake pads that were past it even before I bought the car meant new pads and rotors on all four corners.

The final insult? One morning, I got in the car to go to work. Then engine sputtered a few seconds before I felt a heavy thud under the hood. Looking underneath, my rebuilt transmission had decided to swallow its dipstick, shattering, and leaving Dexron-basted chunks of metal on the ground. Its next stop was a photoshoot with Murilee Martin.

There were two more beaters after this (one dead from a slung pushrod, one traded with a slipping trans), then I was finally making enough to buy a decent pre-owned car. After trading that car in, it's been new or off-lease cars that get combed over at every oil change. (Damn you, BMW, and your fragile timing chain guides.)

Consider running one or more of your early beaters into the ground a rite of passage, because unless you're a early-onset grease junkie, the only thing you care about is a full fuel tank. After you have a car clank to a stop with no hope of it moving again without the help of a flatbed, you either find an honest mechanic or you learn how to wrench it yourself.
2021-05-10 2:00:34 PM  
An '04 Chrysler Concorde that had an unstoppable oil dribble directly onto an exhaust header.  And the usual Chrysler headaches.
2021-05-10 2:00:38 PM  

Headso: A Jetta, what a piece of shiat.

When I was dating Mrs. FlashHarry, she drove a bright turquoise early 90s Jetta. Can confirm its piece-of-shiatness.
2021-05-10 2:11:17 PM  
A 1990 Ford Escort I had for roughly 3 months.  It looked to be in near perfect condition when I bought it, probably the cleanest interior I've ever owned.  In the time I owned it I had to replace the alternator as well as some other relatively minor part.  The real excitement came towards the end when my brakes locked up while I was going to help a friend move.  It caught my car on fire and luckily I was helping to move my friend who was a mechanic and replaced my brakes for me for the cost of parts.  A week or two later another friend was looking to go by that mechanic's shop to try and get a job and the transmission died.  I never bothered finding out what caused the problem and sold it as a parts car.  I lost probably 2 grand owning that awful car.

Ever since I've followed the policy to only buy ugly cars.  When a car is ugly that's usually why it's cheap.  E.G. I bought a 2005 Neon last winter that's got a bunch of bangs and scrapes and the interior is sun faded as shiat.  $1500 at 200k miles and I've only had to switch out a sensor and get tires.
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