Driver's Guide

Used Cars to Avoid Like Plague

Howdy, Driver? In this article, you will discover what cars to avoid like plague. You really do not want to own any of them.

Some cars are not worth buying used unless you’re willing to spend beyond a bargain. Some of the used cars are not worth a dime; they either have mechanical or electrical faults from manufacturers. Replacements could cost thousands of dollars, and you may have to wait for months before its scarce parts arrive.

cars not to buy used

Don’t hurry to buy a used car because you like it. Check the basic things before buying a car; it saves stress.

You seem extremely curious to know the used cars to avoid like the plague. There are lots of them out there.

Regardless, this article exposes the worst 20 cars you should avoid buying as used.

20 Cars to Avoid Like Plague

Some cars are not worth your money. The problem now is how to identify and avoid buying such cars as used. Needless to worry because I have compiled the cars to avoid like plague:

  1. Volkswagen Tiguan

Faulty Electrical Storehouse

cars to avoid like plague

VW Tiguan debuted at LA Auto Show in November 2006 as a concept car with production in 2007. The CCV (compact crossover vehicle) is one of the used cars not to buy, precisely models between 2007 and 2010.

After 50,000 miles, expect the EPC lights to come on. Familiar with the famous VW electrical issues? Well, it isn’t absent here, and you’d literarily find the Tiguan cease to accelerate in the middle of the road.

You have more engine problems to battle with when the transmission fluid cooler leaks and drains fluids. Worse of all, the dash lights stay off. Keep eyes on the crankcase vent valve because the VW Tiguan will cover the undercarriage with oil. It is indeed one of the cars to avoid like plague.

  1. Audi A4

Motor Oil Gulper

Worst used cars to buy

Audi is a great manufacturer, but something is not right with the Audi A4 2011. The Audi A4 2011 model is a compact executive car for any road occasion.

It is okay buying the A4 as a new car but not as a used car. Designed with a 2.0T engine, the luxury-sense Audi graces this list of cars not to buy used.

The problem? After an average of 1 year and five months, owners complain of abrupt oil consumption. You’d have to top up one quart of oil every 5000 miles.

As it extends to 2 years, the experience worsens to topping up with one quart of oil per 750 miles.

  1. Subaru Forester

The Remorseless Oil Gulper

Ten worst used cars to buy

You’ve read lots of good stuff about the Subaru Forester, a compact crossover SUV. Motor Trend even voted the 2009 and 2014 models as the best SUVs for the respective models.

Well, it’s a great car regardless and with optimal comfortability. However, the Subaru Forester is one of the used cars to avoid like the plague.

The head gadgets aren’t reliable, and a good deal of consumers complain of excess oil consumption. It may interest you to know that Subaru had a class-action lawsuit filed against them regarding engine failure and oil consumption.

Lastly, you may have to replace the engine after 125,000 miles. So, if the used Subaru model between 2009 and 2014 exceeds 125,000 miles, expect a few more expenses.

  1. BMW 535i (Twin Turbo)

Just Don’t Buy a Used

Used cars not to get

The first executive vehicle in the league of used cars not to buy. It appears you’ll have to spend a bit more than the worth of the BMW 5 Series 2012 model. With a 3.7/5 star rating on Edmunds, a used 535i is a problem.

A used 2012 BMW 535i is a no-go area regarding reliability. The EDC crunches and produces some metal-rubbing-metal sounds, which BMW surprisingly claims, is ‘characteristic’.

You’d be combating with the faulty passenger seat memory, which isn’t durable. It turns dead in less than 10,000 miles. The vehicle battery discharges like 6G internet; it’s a boss regarding the cars to avoid like plague. You’d also have to fix the frail injectors, fuel delivery line, and VAC pump.

  1. Cadillac STS

Old and Gone

What are the 10 worst used cars to buy

The Cadillac STS is a mid-size luxury sedan in the collection of used cars you should to buy. The production of this edition ended in 2007 and a famous car during its time.

After 100,000 miles, the STS is likely to develop a honking sound like a bad fan belt. The fuel efficiency quickly drops to 14 MPG, brakes eventually go bad, and the electronic system is not sustainable.

Maintenance is difficult in certain areas. For instance, headlight replacement requires removing the entire front bumper, and you’ll lose some bucks to a mechanic.

Lest we fail to mention, the Cadillac STS 2007 model has been recalled at least four times.

  1. Chevrolet Traverse

Faults with No Warning Light

cars to avoid like the plague

A full-size crossover SUV and a ringleader in the SUV cars not to buy used.

The 2009 and 2016 Chevrolet Traverse models barely survive after just 100,000 miles. First, a problematic engine and valve clogged with carbon causing the car to misfire.

Secondly, traction becomes ridiculous as traction control automatically turns off. You’d have to refill with one-quart oil after 2,000 miles; not so bad, is it?

Moreover, transmission failure occurs after just 45,000 miles from GM 6-spd automatic defective wave plate.

Meanwhile, the average cost of repairs for another 100,000 miles is about $7,000. Unfortunately, there has been no recalls on the vehicle.

When you buy a Chevy above 50,000 miles, you’ll spend some money.

  1. Chrysler PT Cruiser

Shut Off Problems, Transmission headache, etc.

Top cars not to buy used

A cute-looking compact MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle), but stay off the models between 2006 and 2009. Moreover, the Chrysler PT Cruiser barely makes a 3.2/5 star user rating on ConsumerAffairs.

If you’re buying a PT Cruiser that exceeds 60,000 miles, you’ll replace the rear door latch, starter, valve cover gasket, AC pump, and timing belt. At 75,000 miles, the 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser reportedly shuts down with no warning.

Once the PT Cruiser reaches 100,000 miles, try not to accelerate past 65mph or have the transmission collapse. You’ll spend a little over $1,000 to replace the alternator, battery, brake lights, etc. after purchase.

  1. Chrysler Sebring

Old and Bad

Worst used cars to buy

A midsize automobile last produced in 2010 and one of the cars you should never buy as used.

The Chrysler Sebring models between 2005 and 2010 are reportedly problematic in all ramifications. After just 120,000 miles, the Sebring barely goes up a hill, and puddles take over the floor as you go through rainwater.

Issues range from dead dashboard lights, idle mileage, speedometer, faulty cruise control, Oil leaks, failed suspension, and faulty ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) At 150,000 miles, you’d have to replace the brakes and rotors front. On diagnosis, the car returns the U1110 and U1120 error codes, which literarily means ‘end of the road’ because there is no Sebring recall for these errors.

  1. Dodge Grand Caravan

Just Bad…

Worst used cars to buy

A poor fuel economy minivan and a risky bet for a used car to buy. The 2010 and 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan models are a nightmare and the worst models to buy.

At 45,000 miles, the Grand Caravan already packs a series of problems like the front wheel bearings going bad. Suspension becomes noisy at 75,000 miles.

If the seller has used the Grand Caravan past three years, you’ll need to replace the transmission coolant lines, transmission solenoid, door latches, 3 camshafts, lifters, and oil filter housing.

Consumer reports on Edmunds and ConsumerAffairs mention that the vehicle brakes squeal, and the minivan accelerates on its own.

At 75mph, the minivan hardly decelerates even with your foot on the brake pedal.

  1. Dodge Intrepid

The Mechanic Workshop

What are the 10 worst used cars to buy

The Dodge Intrepid is a full-size sedan car last produced in 2003. It is one of the cars to avoid like plague due to its numerous faults and maintenance costs.

At 70,000 miles, problems arise, and you obviously can’t get the Dodge Intrepid as brand new anymore.

Common problems with the Dodge Intrepid range from faulty timing chain, broken water pump, and tensioners. At 120,000 miles, the warning lights come on beginning with the oil light, and engine failure eventually sets in due to oil sludge.

  1. Dodge Journey

Faulty Rotors and Squealing Brakes

Used cars not to buy

The Dodge Journey is a mid-size crossover SUV you should never buy as used.

Studded with multiple issues, overheating, and electrical problems, it loses power on a moderate trip.

A 2009 Dodge Journey is a problem; the transfer case reportedly cracks after 80,000 miles and the drivetrain falls off. You’d literarily be changing brakes after every 10,000 miles.

At 120,000 miles, the transmission, wheel sensor, and motor mount become jerky.

The engine light comes on at least thrice a month and you’d have to replace fuel injectors at least twice every month.

The alarm goes off and is difficult to turn off, and you have to press down the accelerator harder for the car to accelerate.

The Dodge Journey Manages a 3.6/5 star user rating on Edmunds and should cost $5,000 for repairs.

  1. Fiat 500

Sluggish and Rickety

What are the 10 worst used cars to buy

A small city car you should avoid buying as a used car. The Fiat 500 is an excellent car with multiple mistakes. Maybe the error started when, Fiat Automobiles, the manufacturer opted for a 1.2 engine

It’s a small car for the town, no doubt. However, when you match the gas pedal, the Fiat 500 will need time to think of accelerating.

A powerless and sluggish car fitted with discomforting seats and low-quality interior design. Do not go anywhere near bumps unless you wish to pick the Fiat 500 in Pieces.

Moreover, it’s only advisable to buy the Fiat 500 as brand new.

  1. Ford Explorer

Modern and Faulty

cars not to buy used

The 2014 and 2016 Ford Explorer SUVs are vehicles you should avoid like the plague. Problems extend from mechanical faults to electrical and rust due to bad paint.

Ford is practically wayward with the Explorer’s water pump design; the water pump sits behind the timing chain in the engine. To replace the water pump, the mechanic must entirely remove the engine at extra cost.

The fuel pump goes bad after approximately 100,000 miles, and the transmission quits shifting while in motion on the speed lane.

At 140,000 miles, you have to replace the front sensors, shift sensor, and PTU. The PTU costs at least $2,500 to replace.

  1. Ford F-350

Multiple Faults

Ten worst used cars to buy

A super duty truck capable of tremendous tasks. However, the flaws of the F-350 make it a hapless car you should never buy as used. The 2008 F-350 6.4L engine is the precise model to avoid as plague.

After 91,000 miles, ERG coolers, backup sensors, steering box, fan clutch, and the control steering stop working. Annoyingly, the 4×4 stops engaging, and you lose the four-wheel functionality.

At about 120,000 miles, you would be adding one gallon of coolant after every 200 miles. The Ford F-350 fuel economy is poor, and the overall repair cost is expensive. Lastly, there are 10 recalls on this vehicle, perhaps counting.

  1. Honda Odyssey

Dead Transmission and Peeling Paint

cars to avoid like the plague

The Honda Odyssey is a minivan you should never buy as a used car. Models between 2002 and 2005 precisely are studded with mechanical and electrical faults.

The transmission system in a 2002 Odyssey becomes faulty after short-term use and requires expensive replacement at least twice monthly.

After 74,000 miles A 2003 Odyssey feels slippery at 40mph, and the transmission takes longer to switch from reverse to drive.

The 2004 Odyssey paint peels from the roof causing rust, and you’d find yourself smirk in your car.

Every long trip ends at the mechanic workshop.

  1. Pontiac Aztek

A Mistake in the Market

Used cars not to get

The production of Pontiac Aztek ended in 2005. Aztek is a mid-size crossover and a Breaking Bad. Models from 2001 to 2005 suffer a bullying critique with no sign of stopping just soon.

The Pontiac Aztek is a famous car. However, it is famous for the wrong reason—being the worst car of all time.

It leads the world’s top 100 worst cars, and it’s a definition of ugly. It is poorly designed in all angles coupled with mechanical setbacks such as a blown head gasket, blown intake manifold, and can cease while driving.

Expect the service engine light to comes on after a few more miles if it’s not already on.

  1. Nissan Xterra

Clutch, Transmission, Timing Chain, etc.

car not to buy as used

The Nissan Xterra is a unique compact SUV best when purchased as brand new. From 100,000 miles, Xterra models between 2005 and 2013 become shadows of themselves.

The production of the Xterra ended in 2015, and it has since been a problematic vehicle. Xterra owners barely enjoy the SUV as they auction out to unsuspecting buyers.

The faults are just too numerous! Meanwhile, the timing chain of a 2005 Xterra reportedly fails after 15,000 miles. It isn’t durable due to the plastic tensioners Nissan uses to keep the chain in place.

At 40,000 miles, a 2010 Xterra clutch starts slipping, and it cost $2,000 to replace. The SUV has been recalled a couple of times by Nissan, so stay away from it like a plague.

  1. Jeep Grand Cherokee

Rapidly Loses Value

Used cars you should like plague

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a body-on-frame mid-size SUV. A great vehicle regardless, but the 2015 model is a used car to avoid like the plague.

Expect the forward-collision warning system to engage at least 10 times after purchase exceeding 150,000 miles. Hard sustained braking while on 55mph on the highway. The engine revs when you match the gas pedal and acceleration becomes difficult.

Despite its laudable engine, the Grand Cherokee is not quick while making turns. It has thick steering and controls feel like you’re driving a Mack Truck, zero flexibility, and jerky transmission. You’ll also have electrical problems and low gas mileage to combat.

  1. Kia Sedona

MPG Declines

Ten worst used cars to buy

Kia’s Sedona minivan 2006 and 2012 models are weird vehicles you shouldn’t buy used. Otherwise, the Sedona edition is excellent.

The 2006 Sedona makes transmission shifting flares, and the average gas mileage drops to 12 MPG and 17 MPG on the next tank. Brakes wear fast because the large vehicle sports the brakes of a small car.

The 2012 Sedona sports a 21.1-sized tank that you’d have to refill after every 300 miles. After 1,200 miles, it barely makes 16.5 MPG.

Moreover, the Sedona minivan manages an overall 3.6/5 ratings on ConsumerAffairs.

  1. Mini Cooper

Constant Repairs

What car you should not buy as a used

Everything about the Cooper is small; thus, the title ‘Mini’. Millions admire the small car, millions own small cars, and millions are not pleased.

A 4 year used Mini Cooper reportedly has a faulty engine pulley requiring replacement. A typical Mini Cooper seats hurt your neck and back and are very discomforting. The small car is terrible in snow and has intense vibration problems.

After 85,000 miles, you have to replace the engine and transmission.

Meanwhile, the Mini Cooper battery is designed with a vent hose. For this reason, you have to spend at least $300 for a new battery instead of $100.

It manages 2.5/5 ratings on ConsumerAffairs.

Final Thoughts

Do not let the physique or hear-say of a vehicle to deceive you. A car could be gorgeous-looking and luxurious but dead in performance. If you can’t get a brand new, settle for at least a 50,000-mile vehicle to avoid hefty expenses.

If the seller reports battery charging issues, the battery not charging is easy to fix.

Know the measures to get better petrol mileage after buying a used car.

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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