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Aaron Gold

What's the worst car you've ever owned?

By March 2, 2012

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VW RabbitThe worst car I ever owned was a 1981 Rabbit diesel. I loved the car; it was good fun to drive (although rather slow) and it got an honest 45 MPG. But its engine had been rebuilt by a backyard mechanic, and it blew a head gasket almost as soon as I got it. A few weeks later, it showed signs of the head gasket going south again -- but the car and I had moved 500 miles from the mechanic. Having paid as much in repairs as I paid for the car, I sold it as quickly as I could.

So what was the worst car you ever owned -- and why? Click the "comments" link and tell us your story. -- Aaron Gold

Photo Volkswagen

March 2, 2012 at 3:20 am
(1) Peter Dejong says:

The worst car ever I owed were actually two. a second hand AMC pacer and a Chevette. The quality of both cars was so poor (things fell off, bad ignition, haltering, stopping without a cause in the middle of nowhere, etc etc ) and the cars were so unreliable that they made me make the decision to never buy American Cars again. Since then it has been German Cars alone and yes they have had there bits and pieces too but never as bad as the AMC and GM. I should be grateful to them actually otherwise I would have never experienced how a well built and reliable car would drive.

March 2, 2012 at 7:54 am
(2) Steve C says:

The worst new car I ever owned was a 1972 Fiat 128 sport coupe.
Ugh! It gives me nightmares just remembering all the times it left me stranded, or had issues that could never be resolved. It was one of the first transverse mounted, FWD vehicles. I had the dealer install A/C and every time I turned a corner and accelerated, the engine torque caused the A/C compressor to hit the frame. The geniuses decided that best way to fix it was to wedge a rubber block between the engine and the frame. My father had to intervene and got them to take the car back and we proceeded directly to the Toyota dealership and bought a beautiful new yellow Celica with a white vinyl roof!
Almost as bad, and one of the low points in Detroit engineering history was my shiny new 1979 Pontiac Grand Am Smokey and the Bandit Edition. Even an old man would not need Viagra when you floored the accelerator in this one, but that was about the only good thing you could say. The rest was junk. A complete mechanical failure and the worst build quality I have ever encountered, on a par with the first Yugo!
Aahh, they were the best of times, they were the worst of times.

March 2, 2012 at 8:46 am
(3) ChrisF says:

I’ve had a few cars that were, well, “less than stellar”, but the worst was my 1998 VW Passat GLS V6. Road nicely, handled great, comfy. Check engine light came on with alarming regularity though. I can’t even remember all of the problems I had with it, but I do remember that front suspension was junk, went though a few catalytic converters in the first 40K miles, gas tank problems, and then it left me stranded in the Adirondacks when it wouldn’t start one morning…100 miles away from the nearest dealership. Sold it with 47K on the clock, and will never buy another VW.

March 2, 2012 at 8:48 am
(4) Carmine P. says:

Worst car ever 1984 Audi 5000. Bought new; under warranty repair were so numerous that I drove to the dealership several times just from force of habit. Sunroof that did not retract, transmission fluid that leaked, heat that toasted the occupants, seat memory that could possibly lay the driver flat at highway speed or plaster me into steering wheel….I could go on.

March 2, 2012 at 9:12 am
(5) RJAG says:

For me it was a 74 Grand Marquis 2dr. Beautiful car. A bateau as they say in Quebec. You could sit 4 people facing each other in the trunk. Better than a Lincoln of the same year. More wiring than a 747. Couldn’t pass a gas station and proceeded to drop a cylinder at a time till I had replaced all 8 on that big 460. I don’t know where I’d park it now-a-days. Not one of Ford’s better ideas.

March 2, 2012 at 9:15 am
(6) John Waggener says:

The worst car I have ever had was the best looking, by far. A brand new, triple black, 1971 Dodge Charger SE. 383 Magnum, 4 barrel carb. Gorgeous!
It needed 8 new and rebuilt carbs and rings at 6000 miles. It ran really strong, when it could take the gas, usually it was flooding and backfiring.
Even the Dodge dealer referred to it as the “Hanger Queen”. Besides small things like electronics and seam gapes all wrong, I would love to have it back.

March 2, 2012 at 9:23 am
(7) Mark says:

2002 Ford Explorer nicknamed Exploder for a reason. Nothing but a money pit. Ford should have been ashamed for making it. They really should have just recalled every ’02 and crushed them!

March 2, 2012 at 9:52 am
(8) Steve says:

- 1973 Chevy Vega (had two of them at the same time – groan)
- 1964 Pontiac LeMans (transmission and rear axle)
- 1979 Pontiac Grand Prix (engine, rear axle)
- 1957 Chevy (general lemon)
- 1985 Buick Century (paint – GM repainted it three times)

March 2, 2012 at 10:00 am
(9) Laguna Mike says:

My new ’67 Ford Cortina GT had to be the worst. The transmission linkage would go “kaflooey” every couple of months, the starter caught on fire one night, the parking (emergency) brake never did work.
The biggest problem was the Ford dealer in my small Wisconsin town didn’t know what it was, so every time some thing broke, I had to drive it 60 miles to the selling dealer and walk to classes for a week. Friends would pick me up or take me to the dealer on weekends.
Other than that it was a great car; comfortable, good handling, good gas mileage and not bad looking. Never did paint the Lotus green stripe on it. Traded it for a ’67 Mustang!

March 2, 2012 at 10:01 am
(10) Chuck Manson says:

Not so ironic that the worst car I ever owned was during my longest stretch of poverty 1981-1983. 1974 Ford elite. Sort of a remnant of the Ford Torino. I liked the looks of the car and still do. White with a long, long hood and quite similar to the Grand Marquis mentioned earlier. Had to turn the steering wheel 1/3 turn before it began to change directions. You didn’t steer this car, you aimed it. One radiator and two water pumps, two alternators, tie rods etc later, I finally bought a Honda Prelude and left behind my lean years forever.

One more bad car was a 99 Eclipse for my son. $4000 used, then $2200 for a transmisssion(3 months into ownership) and 2 weeks later the engine blew. I learned my lesson(again) and bought my son a newer Mazda 3 hatchback “with” warranty.

March 2, 2012 at 10:35 am
(11) Bill T says:

The worst car but also one of the most fun cars I had was a ’66MGB, if you didnt perform maintenance over the weekend you better not plan on driving it Monday morning.But when it felt like running and the weather was right it was fun. Next in the worst list would be a ’79 or ’80 Nissan 300 ZX Turbo, it went through 3 turbos in 50,000 miles ,the tires were $300 each and lasted 11-12,000 miles ,it was almost undriveable in inclimate weather and a lot of the other component parts needed replaced over the three years I had it.It was the only car I’ve ever had that I couldnt wait to get rid of.

March 2, 2012 at 10:47 am
(12) JC says:

Definitely a ’77 MG midget. I bought it with 20,000 miles on it. In 2 weeks the tires were bald. Had to have perfect air pressure. Fan fell off into the radiator. Top of the radiator blew up. At least 3 alternators. Stopped idling. Sucked a valve. And much much more. Basically was broke down 2 weeks of every month.
But it was fun to drive and the girls loved it unless it broke down on a date.

March 2, 2012 at 10:48 am
(13) Richard says:

The worst car I ever owned was my first – a 1963 Renault R-8, which I bought with about 30,000 miles on it. The first day I had it, the windshield wipers died, followed by the generator (yes, it had a generator) which started to fall out of the car on a regular basis. The brakes gave out a couple of times, but the best of all was when I was driving and the dashboard caught fire.

March 2, 2012 at 10:51 am
(14) John says:

The worst car I owned was a Ford Bronco 2, I was always repairing everything.

March 2, 2012 at 11:13 am
(15) Tom R says:

1973 Audi 100LS. Great car when it ran. Bought it new, but it literally fell apart within 2 years – blown cylinder ended its existence for me. Never drove it hard, and performed all required maintenance. I never have, and never will buy an Audi again because of that experience.

March 2, 2012 at 11:39 am
(16) BigW says:

The Pontiac J2000, which I inherited from my parents. I later learned that the car wouldn’t pass emissions testing as designed, so they changed out the thermostat for one that allowed the temperature to rise up enough to meet emissions standards. Basically the car was deliberately altered by GM to normally run at a temp that would have pegged the temp needle on any other car of that era. But they didn’t bother to redesign the rest of the engine components to handle that extra heat, they just slapped that new thermostat in and out the door they went. Predictably, the thing was constantly destroying parts of itself. So belts would fail, hoses would fail, the alternator failed several times, the a/c failed, it cooked up multiple batteries. It was such an epic disaster that I didn’t buy another GM car for twenty years. I remember being so happy to trade “up” to a forest green, base model, 1979 Mustang with retreaded tires from that thing.

March 2, 2012 at 11:39 am
(17) Scott says:

1998 Cadillac Catera (Opel Omega with a Cadillac badge). Although the car was notorious for having mechanical problems, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to buy a relatively new used car for less than 10% of the new car price. What a mistake. I found a list of the top 10 problems for this car model, and in less than 18 months, I think I had 7 of the 10 occur.

March 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm
(18) Greg W says:

1983 VW Scirocco. Granted I was 17 and a little hard on the car, but it ate through CV Joints and clutches like they were going out of style. It was a great looking car, I loved driving it, but the relationship was too much love / hate. Replaced it with a 1985 Honda Accord 3 door and never looked back. I am now on my 5th Accord and my 8th Honda overall.

March 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm
(19) Eric says:

I had two, which coincidentally were my first two cars. The first was a 75 Ford Thunderbird (seem to be a lot of 70s era Fords listed). My step-father had it when he met my mother in 1980. By that time (five years old), most of the silver pain on the hood and roof had literally washed off the car, leaving an acre of rust. I got it 4 years later. It constantly surge during braking, and die when you stopped. I’ll bet I spent as much as the car was worth on tuneups before my mechanic discovered that the float in the carb had gone bad. It was the only car I’ve ever met in my life that had two alternators (yes, you read that right), the smaller of which was dedicated solely to running the electric de-icing system. Parts were constantly falling off the body, to the point where it became a running joke at my monthly Reserve drills to ask me what had fallen off my car in previous weeks.

The second was my 78 Chrysler Newport. It had Chrysler’s aweful Electronic Lean Burn system, which was their initial answer to improving fuel economy in the late 70′s. The computer mounted on the air cleaner assembly would short out every time it rained or got really damp outside, and the car would never start. Unfortunately, nobody ever suggested converting the thing back to a standard distributor, and I didn’t know enough about cars back then to realize this. It finally blew a head gasket around 78K miles, and off she went.

March 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm
(20) Gene says:

My worst car was a 1996 Volvo 960. The car was bought new. All was fixed under warranty but a pain in the ### as it takes time.
The passenger door handle hardware kept coming off when you would attempt to open the door.
The driver’s door would not open because the panel on the door (covered by leather) was plastic and split horizontally causing the bottom piece to slide down and “latch” with the lower sill.
The car could not be shifted out of park sometimes. ???
The electronics on the dashboard were intermittent and would go on or off at will.
The hood had a hinge problem that caused the rear edge of the hood to interfere with the windshield wipers so the hood required manual assist on that rear edge to open.
To top it all off-it was horrible in the snow. What else could one expect of a car built in Sweden. It’s not like they get any snow.
As I said this car was bought new and never in an accident, it just stunk.

March 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm
(21) Senior Hache says:

One of the early Mercedes ML 320s. After about a year, the engine started burning oil and the Mercedes mechanic just laughed at me. Twice it would not shift out of park stranding my wife. The switch on the power windows failed twice. The mechanic said that the switch was poorly made but that Mercedes did not want to start using the good ones until the bad ones were gone. Zheesh.

March 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm
(22) Dave Campbell says:

I, too, had a 1973 Audi 100LS. Bought in 1977 from Longo Toyota in El Monte; the salesman even visited my wife at work to get the sale. The high energy ingnition had been bypassed so there were loos wires all over the place. It ate water pumps and a brake job on the inboard disc brakes was $800. in 1982.
I also owned a new 1972 Fiat 128 which I loved except the paint cracked up and the front wheels could not be aligned.
I also bough a 1974 Fiat X1/9 new and still have it. It has actually been quite reliable

March 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm
(23) Russell says:

My worst car was a 1987 Ford Taurus MT5. This was a “sporty” version of the original taurus with a 4 cylinder engine and 5 speed transmission. We bought it because we needed a sedan for our young family, and we were still committed to manual transmissions which we thought gave us better control of the vehicle. Not only was the car an under-powered dog, but the fuel system was a nightmare. I think that they were trying out an early throttle-body injection system that never worked properly. we had it about two years and my wife cheered when it was totaled by a hit and run driver!

March 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm
(24) Agent Mike says:

The worse car I ever ever owned is a 2007 BMW 328i. This car has been in the shop so much, My picture is on the wall in the Service Center. Owning this car is like being married to a Super Model with a Cocaine Problem. When she is clean and running, She is great, but when she relpases, what a real Bit-ch to live with, and this car is never sober. Last BMW I will ever own.

March 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm
(25) borrisbatanov says:

1967 Volvo 144.

My brother owned one too and also had a multitude of problems with it.

March 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm
(26) jacob kopp says:

Kia Sephia-barely missed the lemon law for 3 different things.The interior door panels, A.C.,clutch broke,hydralic lifters,shocks were dead after one week of owning car,main engine fuse kept burning out,dealer charged me more for kia parts even though they the exact same mazda parts.junk,junk,junk!!!!!

March 2, 2012 at 6:26 pm
(27) Alan says:

1) ’59 VW bought new-couldn’t keep rear end pinion bearings,and valves required adjusting about every 200 miles’
2) Traded above at 19000 mi. for a Rambler American, which had flat head six. Couldn’t keep head gaskets in it. At one point, car started running very rough, with flooding carb (actually overruning carb). Repaired carb (twice), added fuel pressure regualtor at carb input, and the problem turned out to be the (guess what) – the head gasket again. Water was getting into combustion chambers causing really rough running, and thereby shaking the carb so bad it flooded.
3) 67 Cadillac-latest all of 40000 miles before it ate a couple of valves
4) traded that for 73 Cadillac which had total auto transmission failure at (yep) 40000 miles. And that was the much ballyhooed 400 TurboHydramatic, and you don’t want to know all about that early smog device adopter-what a pile of junk.

Never bought another American car after that-owned 3 Datsuns, 2 Toyotas, 5 Volvos, and 1 Lexus. All sterling autos.

March 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm
(28) ken says:

1976 chevy vega .never ran when hot or cold. turning on a/c at idle would shut off car! 2 qts of oil a week during summer months.

March 2, 2012 at 6:32 pm
(29) AJ says:

Worst car for me was a Audi 100 LS. Made my ’73 pinto seem like a supercar by comparison. Got a hole in one of the transaxle boots, Florida sand got into it and killed the tranny. Oh, and one day the radiator just fell out.

March 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm
(30) paul armetta says:

I’ve never owned a bad car but my father once bought a 1982 red 4dr. Ford Escort. The car was awful, the engine could barely make it up hills. It was an automatic & the motor would race when you were passing somebody. What a slow car.

March 2, 2012 at 8:40 pm
(31) JB says:

73 Audi 100 LS, just kidding. Seriously there were two cars.

My first and worst car was an 86 VW Jetta GL back in 93. Got it with around 60,000 miles. The car rode decently for its time and handled ok despite the fact it didn’t have power steering. However i couldn’t sit at a stop light for more than 2 minutes without it overheating. After a new radiator, water pump, and other parts it continued to overheat.

My next worst car or should i say i acquired after my wife and i married was her 87 Supra (non-turbo). Not only was it slow, had a horribly long throw shifter, and really didn’t handle well for a sports car; it went through belts, burned oil, and at 117,000 miles blew a head gasket. Pretty much gave the car away for the price of the tires we just put on it.

March 2, 2012 at 8:51 pm
(32) Ed says:

My worst car ever was a 1959 Saab. It had a 3 cylinder, 2 cycle engine and was what they call freewheeling. What that means is that when you take your foot off the gas, the engine would disconnect from the tranny and you would basically coast to save gas. This was a problem because this car had a generator, not an alternator, and so, when it was freewheeling the generator would not be charging the battery. You were guaranteed a dead battery when driving at night with the heater on. I always kept a spare, fully charged battery in the trunk. Also, the 2 cycle engine was a problem because the oil mixed in with the gas would foul the plugs regularly forcing the driver to stop at the side of the road to change the spark plugs. Another problem was that at the time, Saab didn’t maintain a spare parts inventory Stateside. I had to wait 2 months for a replacement transmission to be shipped from Sweden, by boat, and the dealer had the nerve to charge me storage for those 2 months. I had many other issues with this car.

March 2, 2012 at 9:12 pm
(33) Em says:

My worst car was a 1998 VW bug. It was a great car engine wise but everything else fell off of it….. Literally fell off. The windows on both sides fell into the doors, the door lock mechanism on the OUTSIDE of the drivers door fell out, the weather stripping around the passenger door fell off, the cup holders in the front both broke, the gravel shield ripped out from under the car on the freeway TWICE, the stereo was possessed (it would randomly play as loud as it could and wouldn’t turn down or off even after you turned the car off and got out!). The air bag on the side of the driver seat went off after the bottom of the car bumped a raised manhole on a grated street….. It was just very poorly put together. And of course none of these were covered under the warranty!

March 2, 2012 at 9:53 pm
(34) Miles says:

Ours was an early 80′s VW Dasher. It refused to start 50% of the time and seemed to be on the back of a tow truck as often as it was propelled by its own anemic power. No dealer or independent mechanic could find the electrical glitch. It cured me of wanting to buy another VW product ever again.

March 2, 2012 at 11:28 pm
(35) Bill from OR says:

Most fun car I ever owned: 1964 Cherry Red Triumph TR4
Worst reliability car I owned: 1964 Cherry Red Triumph TR4
Most looks from girls’ car: 1964 Cherry Red Triumph TR4
Worst electrical system car: 1964 Cherry Red Triumph TR4
Most/Worst everything…well, you get the idea.

Lesson learned #1: Lucas should not have been licensed to manufacture electrical parts without a warranty that included replacement using other manufacturers’ parts.

Lesson learned #2: Something must be more important to you than your life if you drive a TR4 on a highway with Tractor/Trailer rigs.

March 2, 2012 at 11:52 pm
(36) Hawaiian Don says:

1985 Pontiac Trans Am & 1984 Pontiac Fiero.
Fiero: I had the worst time getting that Getrag 4 into 1st gear. Had to take off in second gear. Got rid of it quick before the clutch/tranny crapped out.
Trans Am: Horrible car with hot start issues. If you drove it for a while in Florida heat, you could not restart it till the engine totally cooled off. Also if you pulled off the freeway and came to a stop on a hot day, it would stall 100% of the time…you already know the rest!

March 3, 2012 at 12:37 am
(37) Jayden says:

Weirdly, it was a 2006 Honda Accord. I’ve never had a car with so many annoying problems. There was the strang grating sound when I turned corners that never happened when the mechanic drove it, the lighting problems on the gear shift, the malfunction in the car alarm so it went off repeatedly in the middle of the night, the comparatively new tire that blew out for no apparent reason, the broken clock. It was like the thing was possessed. There was never anything huge wrong with it but always something minor that generally couldn’t be fixed without a huge expense.

March 3, 2012 at 12:47 am
(38) Paul says:

The worst car ever made in my opinon was the 1979 Plymouth Horizon TC3. I loved it’s style but couldn’t keep it running for more than 2 weeks at a time. The carburetor had a thick rubber spacer between it and the engine that would literally melt every 7000 miles and the carburetor would fall off. I ended up carrying a spare because it happened like clockwork.

The car was so slow that they should have replaced the gas pedal with an on and off switch! The engine wouldn’t idle in drive wihout stalling unless the idle adjustment was set as high as 1500 rpm.

The door handle assembly failed repeatedy. The alternator bracket broke at regular intervals.

The front crossmember that holds the engine and transmisson in place cracked and the engine and trans actually fell to the street while driving. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

One day a few years after ridding myself of this beast, I saw another identical car like it parked with a bumper sticker that said, “Sh*t box from Hell!”

March 3, 2012 at 6:13 am
(39) Grasshopper says:

My worst was a 1987 Buick Electra. It constantly had transmission problems, and after the third warranty repair by GM I traded for a Mercury Grand Marquis and was very happy. The second was my favorite, a 1974 Pontiac Grand Prix, I loved the style. It constantly needed a tune up, about every 10,000 miles, would constantly stall at traffic light, but I did enjoy it when it was running, especially after a new tune up. i am surprised nobody has mentioned the General Motors diesels of the 1980′s. When I met my wife she had been sold a 1984 Olds 88 diesel, probably the worst ever. It was so bad that when she finally decided to get rid of it, the dealer where she purchased it would not take it in trade, told her she would have to sell it herself.

March 3, 2012 at 9:20 am
(40) Chuck says:

My ex-wife had a ’78 Merc Zephyr that was a complete bomb. The engine was horrible and the ride wasn’t much better. We used to laugh at the badge saying “Ride Engineered”! It made my ’73 AMC Hornet hatchback look good. This was my first car, and although it had plenty of problems- the straight 6 cyl engine would not die. I bought it with 90K, and retired it at 180K. I took some crap about that car, but it got me all over the eastern seaboard.

March 3, 2012 at 9:56 am
(41) KPB says:

1992 Subaru SVX: I bought it used with 39K miles and had trouble right from the start. It used to stall when turning the steering wheel at very low speeds, every 10K miles a different wheel bearing went, both front boots torn and I had to replace the CV joints. When I traded it in at 84K miles, there were very ominous noises coming from the front suspension. On the positive side, it was a great looking car and the rare occasions nothing was wrong, I loved driving it.

March 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm
(42) Ken says:

Here’s one that I bet hardly anyone else owned or even heard of. It was an Austin America (1972). A true piece of garbage. It was $50 cheaper than a Corolla and $100 cheaper than a Beetle. For me it all came down to price. What a mistake! I owned it for 25K. During this time I went through two exhaust systems, had to replace the head gaskets, two batteries, two fuel pumps, etc. It had 12 inch wheels with very skinny bias ply tires and I went though two sets of them as well. It had front seats with carboard backs so when someone was sitting in the back and their knees touched the back seats the cardboard would fold in and crease. The steering wheel was off center about 5 degrees to the right. I could go on and on but for anyone who owned a ’60′s or ’70′s British car all I have to say it that it had Lucas electrics. You all know what I am talking about.

March 3, 2012 at 11:25 pm
(43) Little Louie says:

1979 Fiat Strada – Motor Trends import car of the year. I learned 2 important lessons from owning this car. First, Motor Trend does not base their awards on quality or reliability (I learned to rely on Consumer Reports for that). Second, FIAT is an acronym for “Fix It Again Tommorrow”. Sometimes I wonder if my car was personally responsible for driving Fiat out of the US with all the warranty repairs it needed. The things needing replacement multiple times included: alternator, catalytic converter, clutch cable, window handles, heat control nobs and the stitching in the seats (this was very weird, it was like the stitching just disappeared). And though it only happened once, the transmission died in less than 50,000 miles (luckily it was barely under warranty). I hope things have improved for Fiat, at least for Chrysler’s sake.

March 4, 2012 at 3:30 am
(44) Shaun says:

Many people I have talked to before buying a car all told me never buy an american car. It’s crap and only lasts if you don’t drive! I own a Mazda 3 no problems at all until recently I hear a little rattle coming from the passenger side. It is more like a grinding noise if anything. minor problem but lots of noise! So I don’t know what car would be a car that would not present any problems within the first 5 years at least. My new insight is to look into toyota more than any other brand.

March 4, 2012 at 8:27 am
(45) Wilson says:

Austin America ? Ha ! I had one too…a 1967 model that I bought so I wouldn’t have to drive my ’66 427 Vette Roadster to work. It had a button/handle mounted in the center of the dash attached to a cable that ran thru the firewall to the carb that you pulled to set the choke in cold weather. Yep, an old style manual choke. Third time I pulled it in -5 degree weather the entire handle/cable came detatched at the carb and pulled out of the dash. Made it a two person job to start the little sh#tbox until the engine warmed. Sold the thing about four/five months later. Another reason the Brit car Companies folded.

March 4, 2012 at 9:53 am
(46) Cap'n Jon says:

We still have a 1999 Dodge Durango that is waiting for more repairs. We bought it used from a dealer nearby who had sold cars to other family members for years. He said the car was on loan to the RCMP for a few years, and provided a Carfax to prove it. 6 months later, the ABS computer died, and then things went to pieces after that. Alas, I had just retired, and living on a pension meant no car payments for us. So over the years, we had things fixed with the money from our income tax refunds. Wheel bearings, ball joints, transmission pan, a A/C condenser were some of the many things that we had repaired. It’s sitting in the yard now with a bad rear end, intermittent overdrive, and is currently running on 7 cylinders! Thanks Chrysler!

March 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm
(47) George in Ohio says:

I bought a 1981 Buick Skylark new with a manual transmission to save gas. Big mistake. This car had undoubtedly the worst designed manual transmission ever. I had to replace the clutch twice in 70,000 miles before it became the property of my brother-in-law. He had even more patience (stupidity?) than I did, as he ran it for 100,000 miles, but replaced the clutch 4 times. Yeah, together we put 170,000 miles on it, but the car saw SEVEN clutches in the process. Otherwise, it was not a bad driving car, but when I got rid of it for my first Accord, I realized what a comparative piece of crap the Skylark was. Drove two Accords with stick thereafter for 290,000 miles combined, and never spent a penny on the clutch or transmission.

March 4, 2012 at 11:10 pm
(48) mike mickey says:

95 Ford contour was the worst pos I ever owned. The trans blew 3 times, I couldn’t keep spark plug wires in it and the insulation fell off all the wires under the hood. The one good thing it did was make be buy a nissan and have been happily driving them ever since.

March 5, 2012 at 4:52 am
(49) Bill says:

My worst car ever was my first car, a ’50 Chevy sedan, but it was worth the $4 I paid for it. The steering had about a half turn of slop, the trunk latch was missing, the floor was rotted out, all the windows on the left side had cracked. I could go on, but most of the serious problems were resolved as cheaply as possible. DIY of course. Ran it for a year and traded to a cousin for ’55 Olds 98 4-door hardtop, that also had its share of problems. That one was a beast to work on as the a/c covered half the engine.

In recent years, the biggest disappointment was a ’95 Chevy Lumina. It was a company car, but I picked it up new and had it until we were finally able to get out of the lease and we literally abandoned it at a dealership. It had a fuel system problem that 6-dealers couldn’t find. We called it the Lemona. My boss told me to carry a gallon of gas to pour over it and ignite the next time it failed to start. It was replaced by a ’96 Lumina that was trouble free.

March 5, 2012 at 10:45 am
(50) hunter1968 says:

1991 Geo Storm – Teal Green, automatic No sound insulation… ran at 3500 rpm with 3 speed automatic at 60mph… just an all around crummy car.

1987 Pontiac Fiero — had to replace the engine at 60k miles. bad electrical system – placement of overheating catalytic converter right underneath it was also issue.

BOTH cars sucked.

March 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm
(51) Carl LV says:

My current ride, an ’07 Civic EX A/T. This all happened in the first 15K miles and 2 years. Replaced the original tranny at 4550 miles, a few hundred miles later the replacement tranny needed a new 3rd gear pressure switch. The right inside CV boot & joint, the steering gear, battery, sun visors & 3 recalls. Oh, and the AC is very weak. On the plus side, the local dealer, Honda West, & Honda never gave me any grief about honoring the warranty. This is my FIRST & LAST Honda!

March 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm
(52) Zac says:

1973 Buick Opel Manta. Lucas electrics, Solex carb. Leaked & burned so much oil that I rarely had to change it. The front brake calipers had a cast iron sleeve that will crack then leak leaving you w/o brakes which were not that great to begin with. The battery box would rust out from the acid & rain water which, after it rust through, would drain out the water onto the fuse block located underneath the battery box. Got me back & forth to college though.

March 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm
(53) Will says:

The worst vehicle I ever owned was a Jeep Cherokee with the 4.0 I6 engine. The first 36 months it was great. After the warranty ran out in the 39th month. I replaced the automatic transmission, the oil pressure sensor malfunctioned, almost running the engine, the drivers door hinge broke, the seats started cracking, the rear wiper stopped working, the power steering pump started leaking. It got to the point I was working on maintained this vehicle ever weekend. The day we traded this vehicle off, at the dealership, the rear hatch lock broke.

These where the problems I remembered, and would never own a Chrysler product again.

March 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm
(54) Leigh says:

Worst I ever had was a 73 Volvo 142GL that I bought new. Owned it for 4 yrears and 75,000 miles but in that time fixed over and over again just about the whole car. Best view I had of it was when the guy I sold it to was driving away. I’d had 65 and 70 Mustangs before that and had great service from both so licked my wounds and went back to Ford and got a new 77 LTD. Was one of most reliable cars I’ve ever had, put 500,000 miles on it and it still ran great. We live in a fancy district so my wife got embarassed about driving such an old car so gave it away to my receptionist whose Honda had blown it’s engine. Years later. long after selling the company, I saw the car still on the road with her driving it. Stuck with Ford after that and including many trucks, vans and cars provided to staff, put about a total of 20,000,000 kms on them, averaging about 250,000 each vehicle, and never had to do any major repairs and frankly very few minor ones.

I’m tall so Asian cars were not even considered as I found all of them very uncomfortable, kind of like flying Japan Airlines in anything other than first class.

March 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm
(55) John from Mount Hamilton says:

I see a couple/few Fiats on this list. Not surprising. My worst car: 1981 Fiat Brava. To iterate everything that went wrong with this car would take pages… So I’ll just say EVERYTHING went wrong with this car. Weirdest problem: when I’d step on the brakes, the windshield wipers would turn on until I let my foot off the brakes.

March 6, 2012 at 9:46 am
(56) TEXIZZ says:

The worst car I ever owned was a 1969 Chevy Corvette. It was a four speed, single quad, positraction, 427/390 hp with dual exhaust. I saved up for it while I was in the Army in 1969. The first month I had it: the linkage dropped out, the driver side window shattered, the windshield leaked during rain, a heat shield under the car fell off and the engine blew up at 157mph (that was my fault), it redlined at 5600rpm and I was pushing 6400rpm. I only kept the car six months then traded it for a Mercedes Benz which was the BEST car I ever owned.

March 6, 2012 at 11:05 am
(57) Looie says:

For budget reasons I sold my mint 68 Corvette and bought a ’72 Vega GT.Most cars require an oil change around 6,000 miles. The Vega required an engine change.

March 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm
(58) William B says:

I bought a 1972 Dodge Power Wagon with 6000 miles on it in 1972. I had driven it only a few miles past the warranty when it spun 2 rod bearings 100 miles from town. I managed to drive it home by not exceeding 20 miles per hour, when I approached the dealer about the problem, I was told to take a hike, I repaired the truck but it was never the same. I had other troubles with it, I have never bought another Chrysler product since then and I don’t know if I ever will.

March 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm
(59) DaveN. says:

i’m with steve. same exact car! 1972 fiat 128 sport coupe. the trans finally fell out on the freeway going to work. always a problem, sat most of time. when i did drive it, it broke down. i finally set fire to it and buried it with a back hoe.
fiat~~Fix It Again Tony~never again!

March 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm
(60) rgb23@sbcglobal.net says:

The worst car I ever drove was a post WW II chevrolet that shifted hard and I never knew when it might suddenly stop.

I came to the conclusion that the makers of the Chevrolet could find a cheaper way to produce them, they would jump at it.

Incidentally the Oldsmobile and two Cads were fine cars.

March 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm
(61) rgb23@sbcglobal.net says:

The worst car I ever drove was a post WW II chevrolet that shifted hard and I never knew when it might suddenly stop.

I came to the conclusion that the makers of the Chevrolet could find a cheaper way to produce them, they would jump at it.

Incidentally the Oldsmobile and two Cads were fine cars.

March 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm
(62) rgb23@sbcglobal.net says:

The worst car I ever drove was a post WW II chevrolet that shifted hard and I never knew when it might suddenly stop.

I came to the conclusion that the makers of the Chevrolet could find a cheaper way to produce them, they would jump at it.

Incidentally the Oldsmobile and two Cads were fine cars.

March 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm
(63) Mary says:

A 1986 Chevy Cavalier Z-24 that I bought new when I graduatedd from college. 4 digital dash boards in 4 years, pulled to the right and chronic overheating due to no air space around the engine (probably other reasons too.) Also c Chevy dealership that wouldn’t honor the expensive warantee that I purchased because “We don’t make any money off of warantee work.” I have never bought another Chevy again.

March 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm
(64) old Bill says:

I have had at least 26 cars and 5 trucks so far and never had one i would want to stick with the ‘worst car’ label! That includes an AMC Pacer. Some people are just too hard to please. Good car mentions go to 64 Pontiac Catalina, 90 Ford Tarus, 2 Pontiac Grand Ams, 1999 Camero, and 73 Mercury Capri.

March 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm
(65) Luis Rentas says:

The worst car I ever hat was a Ford Tempo 19 something. I can’t remember the year.

This car represented for my family a nightmare. A minimal of one
repair every week

March 6, 2012 at 11:02 pm
(66) sam says:

The worst car I ever owned was a 1980 oldsmobile omega…while driving down the road the car just died on you for no appearance reason and it happens multiple times. the memory still haunt’s me.

March 6, 2012 at 11:35 pm
(67) ane says:

Worst car was either an 1986 or87 Hyundi. Still can’t spell the damned thing, but I bought it new the first year they came out in the US. Had an automatic transmission that went after about 20,000 miles. Other things kept breaking, but the final indignity was the window handle came off in my hand as I was trying to open or close the window,[remember manuel windows?] I sold the car to a dealer after and bought a 1989 Saab. Had that for 10 yrs and loved it.

March 7, 2012 at 8:50 am
(68) Jim H says:

The worst car that was ever owned by me was a 1969 Dodge Dart Gt. It was in the shop more than it was on the road. I bought it brand new and regretted it very soon. The transmission which was automatic shook the shift lever all the time, the carb came loose, the wiring fell apart. I took it in for an alignment and was told that the steering system was bending out of shape, I was told that it was a Chrysler flaw…so was the whole car.

March 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm
(69) Giganni says:

I owned an ’87 Kia Sephia. I could expect much since it was a Kia but there wasn’t a day that I didn’t have to push my car to get it started! Luckily, I was able to find a good mechanic (www.serrotmotorsports.com) to deal with it and now it runs like a champ. Can’t really say anything bad about it now except that it’s just so old! lol

March 9, 2012 at 1:24 am
(70) Lorraine says:


I don’t care what the “experts” say about volvos – the one I had was the worst of my life — so bad that for years after I ditched that heap I still muttered “There’s another POS Volvo” every time I saw one.

Fortunately my memory is a little faded about the specifics. I think it was a ’94 or so; model 240DL. You still see them used as the primary character’s vehicle in most family-oriented movies…

What I do remember: After realizing what a horrible car it was, I typed something like “Volvo complaints” into my browser… and got over 50 pages of website links.

March 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm
(71) Bob says:

Worst car ever owned was 1979 2000 Fiat Spider Convertible. If it were as reliable as it was beautiful, it would have been one of the best cars on the road.
Bought it new. It broke down regularly. It came to me with mud in the fuel tank, which in turn all but destroyed the carb. Another time the undercoating caught on fire when the catalytic converter heated up. Loads of problems rendering it worthless a few years later.

March 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm
(72) Carol says:

Don’t remember the year but it was an ugly green Vega wagon. No AC (in south Mississippi) and I had to get out and pound on the carb. every now and then. No lights worked on it- a real death trap. I had some real crap in my younger days but this was the worst! My 03 Buick gives me no trouble and it’s my reward for all the junk I drove in the past.

March 13, 2012 at 1:19 am
(73) sunil says:

my worst car is 1996 Maruthi suzuki , gear box got jammed engine lost its capacity, every time i drive that engine used get off even n now

March 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm
(74) Christine says:

There is a reason the Mercury Mystique is also called the Mercury Mistake.

March 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm
(75) Kelly says:

The worst car I have ever owned was a 1984 Grand Prix. Black with Black Landau top and wire wheels. I use to wax it until it would blind people. Without a doubt the most beautiful car behind a tow truck you will ever see. First of all Pontiac would not stand behind it until I called Paontiac Mich. It had rear end trouble ,transmission trouble and engine trouble. I real lemon. The dealer ship went out of business about 1 1/2 years after I bought it because they didnt want to fix anything,conversleyI now have a 2009 Ford Fusion that I bought new in Jan 09. I have 100,000+ miles and havent had any trouble. I d buy anther. A Ford engineer said it was the best car Ford has made in years.

March 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm
(76) Johnny says:

Worst car was a 1987 Mazda 626 Turbo. The Turbo was not designed properly, required replacing 2 times in two years (before I sold it) (and there were not rebuilds then) at $1600 a pop in 1990 dollars. OUCH!

It was awesome on the highway. The engine revved in reverie and pulled nicely into triple digits ;-) . It was really a zoom zoom car before their zoom zoom marketing but the repairs were ridiculous–similar to the $4000 electronic tach/speedometer dash in the mid 1980′s Nissan 300zx.

Second worst car 1986 VW jetta GLI made in Germany. TOTAL LEMON in the engine compartment. Could not be made to run without billowing blakc smoke out the tailpipe at high load and RPM. Handled nice for the time though.

Needless to say I do not own any Japanese or German cars for that matter.

Best vehicles I have ever had are Ford Vans. Great durability.

March 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm
(77) Dan says:

One of the worst vehicles I ever owned was a 1986 GMC pickup with a 6.2 diesel engine. The engine ran good till I had air leaking in around where the fuel line went into the fuel tank. But that was a easy fix. What really made the vehicle bad was the 700 R4 automatic Transmission it had in it. The transmission was fine just as long as I didn’t load anything heavy in the bed of the pickup of tow a trailer behind it. Everytime I did that the clutches in the transmission would start slipping within a week. I replaced the first transmission with one I got out of a salvage yard and it was fine till I towed a small car three miles then the clutches were slipping again. I pulled the transmission out and had a transmission shop rebuild it. That one lasted till the next time I towed a trailer behind it then the same problem came up. I took it back to the transmission shop and they rebuilt it again. That one lasted 6 months. I loaded the pickup with firewood and the clutches were slipping a week later. I sold the pickup cheap and will never own another GMC pickup unless someone gave me one that I could sell right away.

March 18, 2012 at 8:59 am
(78) george says:

reliant robin

March 20, 2012 at 4:48 am
(79) Andreas Wolkerstorfer says:

Lada 1200 VAZ – bought in Austria in the 90ies, repaired in Czech Republic. Never knew what will happen the next kilometers driving. Worst headlamps ever (as for driving at times of “Verdunkelung” in World War II), drinking as much as two cars, no catalysator and many looks from passengers when the machine didnt start …

March 21, 2012 at 8:45 am
(80) Wali2353 says:

Chevroleah Van 1988 wow I still remember memory from high school and college with this car

March 21, 2012 at 10:57 am
(81) Vince says:

My 911 convertible was surprisingly my worst car. Of course, not because of the car itself, which was a lot of fun to drive, but because I have four kids and it was my primary car.

My youngest would get mad that she couldn’t ever drive in the car with me because none of our car seats or booster seats would fit well in the back seat. My twins didn’t like it, because although they were only 8 years old, they said they didn’t have enough room, and it was tough to get all of their baseball gear into the car when we went to tournaments.

My parents hated it when I had to pick them up at the airport too. My mother felt too claustrophobic in the back seat.

And of course, my wife hated that I bought it.

I finally got rid of it and got a pickup truck, which I am surprisingly likely a lot.

March 21, 2012 at 11:01 am
(82) londonferne says:

My worst car was a 1976 Saab 99 – bought brand new and the most expensive car I’d ever owned. The first day I drove it, it slipped into neutral on a major motorway in fast moving traffic. It took three trips to the dealer, and a tantrum on the shop floor to determine the U-joint was missing it’s main bolt. Within three months, it threw a rod. The dealer would not replace the car but, under the warranty, replaced the engine. Two months later, the block cracked. Once again the engine was replaced. Then, just beyond the one year mark, it threw a rod again, actually denting the hood – late at night on the George Washington Bridge. I rolled off into Fort Apache the Bronx, called for a relative to collect me and left it there. Within about 8 hours the vultures had stripped it down to nothing so that I could claim for it on my insurance.

March 22, 2012 at 9:06 am
(83) brian says:

its funny you started this thread because i was just thinking about it. To be honest I am torn because the worst car i ever owned was also my first car and the first time i ever made love so there is the true yin and yang of hate and love for my AMC Pacer lol.

While I was looking for an old picture of it i found a recent top 10 list of the worst cars of all time…..readers might find it funny


March 22, 2012 at 9:06 am
(84) brian says:

its funny you started this thread because i was just thinking about it. To be honest I am torn because the worst car i ever owned was also my first car and the first time i ever made love so there is the true yin and yang of hate and love for my AMC Pacer lol.

While I was looking for an old picture of it i found a recent top 10 list of the worst cars of all time…..readers might find it funny


May 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm
(85) Liz rose nielsen says:

i need a question answered,,, cv boot is ripped, makes loud clicking noise going down the road, ,,, on drivers side front wheel. jeep grand cheorkee, 4×4,,, 1994,,, limited addition.,,,, is it the boot or something else.

July 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm
(86) JoBlow says:

Worst car a Toyota Corolla 75 what a rust bucket and at 70K miles was burning more oil than gas. Since then I never bought a Toyota product and will never.

December 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm
(87) Hawk says:

By far the worst car I have ever owned was a 1979 VW Rabbit. I was in high school (1994) and low on funds, paid $600 for the car what did i expect? The car was actually great in snow but that is the only positive thing i can think of…

Head lights were about as bright as burning candles on the bumper, what little heat there was would quit working intermittently when you ran over bumps, couldn’t keep CV joints in the car, overheated often (would think the heat would work?), alternator crapped out, drivers door handle pulled off in the cold so I tried to open the back door and that handle pulled off too I climbed in through the hatch…. Probably forgetting things… But what an absolute SLUG too, rolling road block…

Blew a radiator hose one night and didn’t know it, seized the motor and left me stranded. I abandoned the car that night on the side of the road and got a friend to take me to it the next day. I took the plate off it, got my things out of it and left it, never looked back. ;)

March 12, 2013 at 5:18 am
(88) Wronghouse says:

After gorgeous 15 years and 450.000 km in Mercedes W108 280 SE, every car is more or less disappointing except BMW E24 635 CSi.
The worst by far of many in my 30 year experience is MB W124 260E.
It looks like people in MB have problem to build proper car for a long time.

March 22, 2013 at 11:18 am
(89) JAC says:

1980 chevette, 2003 Dakota slt, 92 Corsica , 95 Jeep, 2003 explorer, had to do my own repairs because the dealers charged way too much to fix the problems. By eliminating grease fittings and creating special tools to repair my autos the manufacturers have finally put me out of business. I give up…..lol

May 17, 2013 at 10:02 pm
(90) Craig says:

The biggest disappointment we ever owned was a 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. We were newly-weds and it was our dream car. Unforuntately the carbueretor could never be properly set. The car accelerated or lagged while you were trying to maintain a constant speed. The warranty ran out while things were still unresolved and it was like the dealer turned off a switch in the middle of repairing it. They would run up a bill for us and the next day the car was surging again. One of the dealer mechanics said it was all linked to the computer. He advised us privately to buy a used computer from a junkyard. That seemed to improve the carbueretor but made the tranny shift strange. Or maybe it was just coincidence. At about 50K miles the transmission started leaking and overheating, making smoke and puddles of fluid out from under the car. The car was stolen from a restaurant parking lot one night. I thought that was the end of it, but it was found and returned to us.

Running a close second was a 1980 Pontiac Phoenix (one of GM’s X cars). The manual transmission had constant problems. If I remember, we always had to skip second gear. The brakes were screwy in hard stops. The air-conditioner pulled the engine RPM’s down to the point that the car would shudder and die at red lights unless you kept one foot on the gas (hard to do since both feet were required for the clutch and brake).

It’s been 30 years and we have not owned another GM car since those two.

June 15, 2013 at 11:40 am
(91) Anne says:

Ford Taurus SHO 2010 was the worst new car I have owned. Got rid of it. Had to take car into dealer for brakes, front end, recall work and trim falling off around tail light in 1st year. Then it just stopped running in the middle of the road! Dealership couldn’t figure out why and Ford left me out in the cold!

August 25, 2013 at 5:12 am
(92) Gary Walker says:

The worst car i ever owned was a 2004 Chrysler Crossfire. It was fun to dive and fast but at around 60000 mileI it would just stop running for no apparent reason. No warning, no nothing .It would just shut down in the middle of driving it. I had everything replaced from the battery to the computer module and it was never fixed. After sinking about $ 6000 into it , traded it in for a Nissan Altima.

October 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm
(93) Eva says:

2000 Hyundai sonata. It’s in the shop every other week. Spent $100 just to have my wipers work. Wiring is so messed up in it. My alarm system wires snapped, heating wires snapped, windshield wiper wires snapped. Thing sucks. Overheats due to a super rusted out radiator which literally evaporates the coolant somehow. Have to fill it every 2k miles. Wheel bearings, cylinder misfire, a whole ton of sensor issues all the time, car stalls, window regulators break on me, literally everything possible. Fuel line rotted out due to previous owners lack of taking care of the thing. Drives super smooth, awesome pickup, lot of power but so many problems that keep me off the road and out of work. Not sure if its worth it anymore.

December 11, 2013 at 5:07 pm
(94) Joe Crennan says:

All my cars (30 or so) have been old and 100,000 miles ish. None gave me much trouble. However I have had many motorcycles and they only do a fraction of the mileage w/o problems. Worst being a Yamaha TDM 850 and a similarly engined Tenere 750. Carbs wear.

January 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm
(95) Steve says:

The worst car I ever owned was in 1983 that was a triumph Toledo sold to me by a little old woman that said it was in perfect working order it broke down 6 times on the way home the accelerator cable snapped the wings were full of concrete no not filler concrete it cost me more to repair than what I’d paid for it only to end up swapping it for a motor bike

February 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm
(96) Joe says:

The worst I’ve ever owned was a 2004 Cadillac SRX. Everything you’d want in a Cadillac except quality. Came standard with a water leak in the cargo area; the wrong (you read that right) passenger seat; an audio system programmed for a CTS; poorly installed window trim, power window motors that failed after 6 months; and (my personal favorite) front turn signal bulbs that burned out every few months – I replaced 8 in less than 3 years. There was more, but you get the idea. The 2nd worse car was a 1991 Cadillac STS. I think they started assembly on Friday afternoon of a 3-day weekend and finished it on Tuesday while extremely hungover, as the assembly fit and finish was terrible. It took several trips to the dealer to get the panels aligned correctly and bent trim replaced. No more Cadillacs for me.

May 11, 2014 at 7:52 pm
(97) Mr. Therapy says:

Three way tie:
87 Ford Taurus-so many problems that the dealer sold me another car:)
89 Dodge Caravan- the engine blew up around 80,000 miles-embarrassing.
97 Pontiac Bonneville – the intake manifold plenum blew out dumping antifreeze into the engine on vacation in west Yellowstone. Expensive to get it home:) At least I know what a plenum is now! I have had good success with Hondas and Toyotas. My friends told me that Consumer Reports lied. Well, they don’t:)

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