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15 Used Cars You Should Avoid and Why

Manufacturers  ·  March 15, 2021

15 Used Cars You Should Avoid and Why

So you want to buy a used car? Well, first, you need to meet Oliver. 

Last year, Oliver walked into a used car lot and bought what he thought was the car of his dreams— a used 2012 Fiat 500. Oliver didn't know that this particular make, model, and model year is statistically one of the worst used cars to buy. 

You wouldn't want to buy a car only to realise too late that it's a money trap. You would have wasted your time, energy, and money and possibly even contributed negatively to global warming. Now, you don’t have to be an Oliver. But you could be one if you don't read this article to the end. Here's a list of used cars to avoid at all costs!

What Are the 15 Worst Cars to Buy and Why?

1. Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

From the outside, the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD gives off a powerful aura. Unfortunately, the exterior elegance isn’t matched with powerful engineering in the 2015 and 2016 models of the vehicle. Consumer Report received complaints such as suspension problems, issues with body integrity, and power equipment. They also cited that the earlier models from 2011 and 2012 were unreliable and had problems with the fuel and brake systems.

2. Tesla X 2016

You probably didn’t expect a Tesla to be on a “used cars to avoid” list, did you? Consumer Report checked out this car and found several weaknesses. The rear doors on the car pause and stop on their own. The cargo-carrying ability is limited because the second-row seats don't fold. It only has one year of reliability, which is low for any car at all. The windshield isn't tinted enough to protect you from the bright sun, and the wind noise is unbearable.

3. Fiat 500

Of all the 19 Fiat-Chrysler models with low reliability listed by Consumer Reports, the Fiat 500 takes the champion's cup. Specifically, cars from 2012, 2013, and 2015 are used cars to avoid. The 2012 model was an absolute disaster due to issues with the brakes, power equipment, suspension, and body finishing.

4. Mini Countryman

Listed as the least reliable brand in the US car market by Consumer Reports, the Mini Countryman takes a huge slice of the used-cars-to-avoid cake. The models from 2007 to 2011 and 2015 were reported to gather some of the worst reliability ratings. Problems with the transmissions made up a huge reason for the results.

5. Nissan Pathfinder

Although very useful for families with kids, Nissan Pathfinders from 2013 and 2014 are near death traps. They both rank among used cars with the worst reliability ratings. Pathfinders from 2013 were recalled a total of nine separate times with problems ranging from airbag failure to issues with the brakes. Also, the 2014 Pathfinder made Consumer Reports list of the top ten least reliable cars.

6. Mini Cooper

Stay away from 2007 to 2011 and 2015 models of the Mini Cooper. Consumer Reports named and shamed every model produced in those years as scoring below average in-car reliability. There were numerous recalls, owing to a long list of problems from those years. 

7. Ford Focus

For the Ford Focus, avoid cars produced from 2012 to 2016. This is largely due to the transmission issues that were heavily reported between those years.

8. Dodge Journey

The Journey has the lowest of the seven Dodge models with below-average reliability ratings. It's great when bought new but after some kilometres, problems with the audio components, suspension and engine arise. 

9. GMC Acadia

For your safety, avoid GMC cars from the last decade. Why? Every GMC car manufactured within that period is on the list of the decade’s least reliable used cars. Of these cars, the GMC Acadia is the worst of them. Consumer Reports list serious problems with the transmission, climate system, and drivetrain.

10. Pontiac Torrent

Reported problems on the 2006 to 2009 models of the Pontiac Torrent are too serious to ignore. They include issues and malfunctions from the drive train, power equipment, and fuel system. This car received terrible reliability ratings from users.

11. Jeep Wrangler

Consumer Reports lists 2012 to 2015 and 2018 to 2019 Jeep Wranglers as cars to avoid. On Car Complaints, over 1600 complaints have been raised by users about this car, with the 2008 model getting the highest complaints. Problems with this car include the death wobble and TIPM failure.

12. Dodge Challenger

Dodge Challengers made in 2015 are one of the least reliable used cars. This stems from problems with the car’s power equipment and body finish. Another study also suggests Pathfinders from 2013 and 2014 are on the list of cars to be avoided. However, if you’re after style and not safety, the Dodge Challenger would suit you nicely.

13. Ford Explorer

The 2014 model has the most complaints of the 12,000 complaints about the Ford Explorer on Car Complaints and should therefore be avoided. The interior decor is reportedly below standards and depreciates quickly. There are also complaints about its transmission and engine.

14. Chevrolet Camaro

According to a Car Complaints report, the 2010 model of the Camaro has the highest number of complaints from users. Most of the problems have to do with the engine, car keys getting stuck in the ignition, and premature timing chain water. These problems cost a few thousand dollars to fix.

15. Chevrolet Aveo

According to reports from Consumer Affairs, the 2007 Chevrolet Aveo cannot be driven over a two-hour trip without developing a fault. You've read that right! It doesn't matter if the mileage is low or high. It just can't run a two-hour trip without any issues. Common problems with this car are overheating radiator, thermostat needing replacement, and gradual loss of power. 

How Many Kilometres Is Acceptable on a Used Car?

Mileage is an important marker when shopping for a used car. It helps you get some insight into how much life is left in a car. But just how many kilometres is too much?

Ultimately, the mileage you accept depends on how much reliability and good maintenance history you’re willing to give up. But experts recommend that cars with mileage of 130,000 miles (208,000 km) and above be avoided, except when you're looking for just any ludicrously cheap car.


Unlike Oliver, you now know what used cars to avoid. And if you still buy any of these used cars, may the force be with you. 

For more information on cars and car parts, visit our blog today and get access to our wealth of knowledge for free! It’s true what they say, “the best things in life are free!”

If you already own one of these cars and need parts for it, the most practical way would be to use second-hand parts. In which case, our request-a-part tool will be very helpful to you. Locate a part now!  

By Damilare Olasinde

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