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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:

Alfa Romeo Giulia - This car couldn't even escape auto reviewers test drives without breaking down. Dismal reliability makes this a top notch failure.

BMW 535i twin turbocharged model - Lemon law sites abound on this otherwise beautiful car.
BMW 7 series - It hurts to lose over 50% of your hard earned money in just 3 years. Unless money is no object, stay away.

Buick Encore 2012 to 2022 (with the 1.4 eco-tech turbo engine)

Cadillac CTS and CT6 (all with the 3.6 L engine. Total crap)
Cadillac STS - Google "Cadillac STS problems" and pick your year
Cadillac ATS (with the 3.6 L engine) Overall poor build quality. Overpriced and under powered brat of a car.
Cadillac XTS - Overpriced and under performing. Another walk away from GM. They just loaded the bases on shitty cars with this one.

Chevy Trax, Chevy Sonic and Chevy Cruz (all with the 1.4 eco-tech turbo engine ) Complete junk.
Chevy Equinox 2005 to 2009 (with the 3.6 L engine) Complete junk. Timing chain stretches with an interference engine (bad combo).
Chevy Trailblazer 2001 to 2008- Terrible, cheap fall apart interiors.
Chevy Traverse, GMC Arcadia and Buick Enclave (all with the dreadful 3.6 L engine) All years, all trash.
Chevy Suburban (oil cooler line inside radiator on older models makes a bad combo, expensive brakes) Bad build quality plagued newer models.

Chrysler Pacifica 2004 to 2008- Brake problems and computer module (TIPM) problems.
Chrysler Sebring 2001 to 2002 - Same as Dodge Intrepid. A money pit of a used car.
Chrysler 200 - Funny how they stopped building them so quickly. Unrefined in every way. Depreciating dog of a car.

Dodge Journey 2009 to 2019- Junkyard material, perhaps the worst Chrysler product, and that is saying something.
Dodge Caravan and the Chrysler Town & Country (Both with the 3.6 L Fiat engine. Cracked head highly likely).
Dodge Grand Caravan 2005 to 2011- The days of Chrysler putting out good minivans are over.
Dodge Dart - There are so many cars better than this. Too bad Chrysler could not match the reliability of the original Dart with the 225 slant six.
Dodge Durango - all years. You know there's a problem when lawyers advertise for Durango owners.
Dodge Intrepid 1999 to 2001 - Built in obsolescence is evident everywhere on this car.

Fiat 500L - Just about anything from Fiat is garbage but this is at the top of the trash heap.
Fiat 500X - The Honda HRV or the Hyundai Kona are so much better than this car.

Ford Expedition and Excursion (Both with the 5.4 with 3 valve Triton motor).
Ford Explorer 2002 to 2005- Lots of consumer complaints on this SUV.
Ford Fiesta - Lack of reliability was nothing to celebrate in the Fiesta. Dismal reliability ratings make this a bad purchase.
Ford Focus - Transmission problems abound on this hapless economy car.
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 SUVs out there.
GMC S-15 Sonoma (4WD) - 2wd not bad but not the 4wd. Look out.
GMC Safari. -  Can GM make a product that has doors and handles that work?

Honda Odyssey and the Acura TL - Bad transmission problems in the early years 1998 to 2004.
Honda Civic 2006 to 2009 - Cracked aluminum engine block results in loss of coolant.

Hyundai Sonata 2010 to 2014 - Engine failures - a black eye on an otherwise stellar car company.

Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass 2006 to 2017 - Just complete junk. Watch for transmission problems and anything electric.
Jeep Cherokee 2014 to 2015 - A 4 cylinder that gets 22mpg? C'mon Chrysler. It's cheaply built, unrefined and jittery).
Jeep Commander 2006 to 2010 trash build, quality control issues and transmission failures.
Jeep Renegade 2015 to 2017 - Italian built American car? About as unremarkable and unreliable as a wanna-be 4 wheel drive car can be.
Jeep Wrangler 2007 to 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 with fall apart quality.
Kia Sorento 2011 to 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 and LR3 -  I love England but not these overrated machines.
Land Rover Discovery Sport - Build quality is not up to snuff.

Lexus I S250 and GS 250
Lexus HS 250.- Rare hybrid mistake from Lexus carbon buildup with the 4-GR-FSE D4 engine was bad news
Lexus LS460 2008 to 2011 great car with three big problems: Air suspension, expensive brakes and front end failure.

Lincoln Aviator - Environmental and financial nightmare.
Lincoln MKS - Luxury car built on a Taurus platform? Say no more.
Lincoln MKT - A re-badged Ford Flex and just about as exciting as a day at the morgue. Oops, it also looks like a hearse

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 to 2006. Major mechanical engine and transmission problems (including manual).

Mitsubishi iMiEV - 66 horsepower and 62 miles on a full charge doesn't quite cut it these days.
Mitsubishi Mirage - Ranks at the bottom of Consumer Reports surveys. That hurts.

Nissan Maxima and Infiniti I30 2002 and 2003- Timing chain and CVT transmission failures are very difficult to work on.
Nissan Rogue 2008 to 2015- CVT problems lead to disaster.
Any Nissan with the CVT transmission including the Nissan Cube, Maxima, Rogue, Altima, Sentra, 2006 to 2011 specifically
Nissan Titan and Armada along with the Infiniti Qx 56 and QX 80. CVT problems
Nissan Armada - Transmission problems on this overstuffed 13 mpg gas hog.
Nissan Titan (4WD) - Self destructive cheap bumpers - oversize wimp of a car. Also poor quality.
Nissan Pathfinder, Frontier and Xterra, all 2005 to 2006 - All have oil cooler line problem inside the radiator resulting in transmission failure.

Oldsmobile Bravada - A pitiful SUV overflowing with built-in obsolescence.
Oldsmobile Silhouette - Get some other minivan, please get some other 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?"

Scion iQ - Rear seat? Yes. Rear passengers? God no. Slow as molasses and loud. Not a good combination.

Smart for Two - Just stay away from this poor performing three cylinder Mercedes Benz matchbox.

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 to 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)