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Used Cars to Avoid

the pitchfork list

The Pitchfork List Represents the Worst Used Cars

Knowing which cars to buy is the first step in my Car Buying Support Guide.
This list shows which used cars to avoid. It is compiled from overall reliability data covering models with below-average reliability. Problems with the expensive to repair components such as engine, engine cooling, transmission, and drive system were weighted more heavily than other problems.

If you are looking for the best used cars to buy, see the Halo List

THE PITCHFORK LIST -  Read it and weep:

BMW 535i twin turbocharged model - (lemon law sites abound on this otherwise beautiful car)

Cadillac STS - (google "cadillac STS problems" and pick your year)

Chevy Suburban - (oil cooler line inside radiator makes a bad combo and expensive brakes)

Dodge Grand Caravan - (2005-2011, the days of Chrysler putting out good minivans are over)
Dodge Durango - all years (you know there's a problem when lawyers advertise for Durango owners)
Dodge Intrepid 1999-2001 - Built in obsolescence is evident everywhere on this car
Chrysler Sebring 2001-2002 - Same as Intrepid - a money pit of a used car

Ford Explorer 2002-2005 Lots of consumer complaints on this SUV
Ford Thunderbird - (retro in every way including the quality)
Ford Windstar - Ford makes a "mini" van with "maximum" problems. Anyone have a spare head gasket? Dashboard lights are not only for Christmas anymore.

GMC Canyon (4WD) - (in the canyon is where they generally end up)
GMC Jimmy - (another GM product that was behind the times. Much better suv's out there)
GMC S-15 Sonoma (4WD) -  (2wd not bad but not the 4wd. Look out)
GMC Safari. -  (can GM make a product that doors and handles work?)

Honda Odyssey - (huge transmission problems in 1999-2003)
Honda Civic 2006-2009 - (cracked aluminum engine block results in loss of coolant)

Hyundai Sonata 2010-2014 - engine failures (a black eye on an otherwise stellar car company)

Jeep Cherokee 2014-2015-  (A 4 cylinder that gets 22mpg? C'mon Chrysler. It's cheaply built, unrefined and jittery)
Jeep Compass 2007-2016- (If claustrophobia is a positive word in your vocabulary than this car is for you. It's a sad car all around. Watch for transmission problems and anything electric)
Jeep Patriot 2009-2016- (Slow as a slug and noisy with pathetic built quality)
Jeep Renegade 2015-2017- (Italian built american car? About as unremarkable and unreliable as a wanna be 4 wheel drive car can be)
Jeep Wrangler 2007-2012- (cute, off road capable pile of crap. Nice to have as a 3rd car but not as your primary driver)

Kia Sedona (pre 2006) -  (cheap, cheap, cheap, and fall apart quality)
Kia Sorento 2011-2014- (Kia was still figuring out how to build a quality SUV. This is not one of them. Go for the vastly improved 2015 model)

Land Rover Discovery, LR3 -  (I love England but not these overrated machines)

Lincoln Aviator - (environmental and financial nightmare)

Mazda RX-8 - (recall king and for very good reason)

Mercedes-Benz SL- (very, very expensive to maintain but could be worth it if money means nothing)

Mini Cooper 2001-2006. Major mechanical engine and transmission problems (including manual)

Nissan Titan (4WD) - (self destructive cheap bumpers - oversize wimp of a car)
Nissan Pathfinder 2005-2006 - (oil cooler line inside the radiator results in transmission failure)

Nissan Frontier 2005-2006 - (oil cooler line inside the radiator results in transmission failure )

Nissan Xterra 2005-2006 - (oil cooler line inside the radiator results in transmission failure)

Oldsmobile Bravada - (a pitiful SUV overflowing with built-in obsolescence)
Oldsmobile Silhouette - (get another minivan, please get another minivan)
Oldsmobile Alero - (constant wheel bearing problems - things just fall apart on a daily basis)

Pontiac Aztek - (unreliable and most likely the ugliest car ever, and I mean ever, built)
Pontiac G6 - (poorly constructed image vehicle sold to poor image conscious people)
Pontiac Montana, Trans Sport, Montana SV6 -  (much better choices out there, just about anything)

Saturn Relay - (Saturn had some good days but they were clearly over by this time)
Saturn Vue - (can you say "another transmission please?")

Subaru Forester - (pre 2003 internal head gasket failure on an otherwise stellar car)
Subaru Impreza - (ditto)
Subaru Legacy - (ditto)
Subaru Outback - (ditto)

Toyota 4runner 1990-1994 (Expensive head gasket failure)
Toyota Prius 2010 (the only bad year in the Prius line-up)

Any Toyota with the 2AZ FE 2.4L engine which was known for oil consumption problems (defective piston ring design)
This includes:
2002–2011 Toyota Camry
2009  Toyota Matrix S (USA)/XR -  (Canada)/XRS
2009–2010 Pontiac Vibe
2009–2010 Toyota Corolla  XRS (2011-2013 built in Mexico)
2007–2008 Toyota Camry Solara
2006-2009 Toyota RAV4
2001–2007 Toyota Highlander
2007–2010 Scion tC
2008–2009 Scion xB

Volkswagen Cabriolet
Volkswagen Tuareg Gas
Volkswagen Tuareg Diesel

Volkswagen Jetta Sedan (turbo)
Volkswagen Jetta Sedan (V6)