Some American cars have become more sought after and treasured as the years pass. Others, well …not-so-much! Let’s face it, some of these cars weren’t well received when they were first made, so the fact that people continue to drive them boggles our minds. Some of these cars are notorious for their problematic ways, while others are just such a sad representation of their time, that we don’t want the constant reminder.
Whatever the case may be, some of these simply should not still be around! Let’s take a look at 20 Used American Cars No One Should Ever Buy...Because They're Awful:
19 Chevrolet Bolt
This car has a reputation for losing power. Need we say more? The Chevy Bolt blog depicts endless stories of power loss, computer reboots, and concerns with not being able to properly operate the vehicle. Sudden loss of power is dangerous not only to the occupants of this vehicle, but to all other cars around it, as they have no warning signs of trouble often can’t react in time. This car is not worth picking up second-hand.
18 Chrysler Sebring
The Chrysler Sebring was reported by Top Speed as being one of the worst cars of the decade. This car was known to fall short both aesthetically, and performance – wise. The soft-top version was a sight for sore eyes, with an awkward overall look that lacked sophistication. The hard-top had weak reinforcement which made it a safety hazard. That’s enough reason to put this away and never put it back on the road!
17 Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is an undeniable beauty. It looks as rugged as it does fun, but it will cost you a fortune to keep. Review boards are riddled with complaints about transmission issues on the older models. Check engine lights flash continuously and there have been more people unhappy with the steering of these vehicles than we can count. Even the more recent 2018 and 2019 models are riddled with problems related to the ABS and sudden shutdowns.
16 Dodge Durango
If you don’t mind your engine stalling due to a failed crankshaft and you’re fine with the fact that your engine may stall when it’s warmed up, then you should definitely pursue your purchase of a pre-owned Dodge Durango. It’s been an ongoing problem and Dodge didn’t exactly rush to resolve it. Consumer Affairs notes numerous engine issues and poor consumer reviews. The issues seem centralized on the engine and transmission, for the most part. These are among the most expensive repairs that you’ll need under the hood, so we’ll pass on this one!
15 Chrysler 300
The Chrysler 300 is riddled with problems. The 2006 model is especially problematic. Car Complaints reports that this is largely due to the repair costs involved in maintaining older models. The average mileage when problems begin tends to be premature. The most widely reported problems are the engine making a loud noise, and overall engine failure. It doesn’t make sense to invest in an older car that is notorious for engine problems. The cost of repair may end up being more than the black book value of the vehicle.
14 Lincoln MKT
The Lincoln MKT has more engine problems than we can list. The reputation this vehicle has is centered on spontaneous engine shut-downs and expensive engine repairs. Edmunds Forums list a report of a 2008 Lincoln MKT losing power while the owner was operating it at the speed of 60mph on the highway. These reports are too plentiful to ignore, and this seems to be a widespread issue. This American-made car missed the mark on performance and reliability, and we don’t think it’s a good investment for anyone!
13 Ford Escort
The Ford Escort has always been an unimpressive vehicle both in styling and performance. The horsepower on these cars is minimal and depending on which year your Escort is, it may be faster to take the bus. The 2002 Ford Escort is a meek 110 horsepower, so unless you’re just taking it down the street for groceries, this car won’t impress. You may want to consider selling it to a scrap yard before it starts to cost you more than it’s worth.
12 Pontiac Grand Am
When Pontiac first released the Grand Am it was a hot –seller. Consumers flocked to pick up the relatively affordable vehicle and for the most part, it held up for a few years and educated owners then let it go. This car is not exactly known for its durability and after being exposed to the harsh winters of a North American climate, or the extreme heat south of the Canadian border, the body gives out. Engine problems are a huge concern with most models and the repair costs can climb very quickly.
11 Ford Flex
Not only is the Ford Flex an eye-sore, it also has numerous issues under the hood that will cost you way more money than you should ever spend on this vehicle. Autotrader reports show there are issues with this car shifting smoothly and many drivers have reported combinations of surging and hesitating. Transmission problems have also been widely reported, and it’s just not worth it to hang on to this American-made metal. The costs of repair will run too high to justify ownership of this model.
10 Ford Explorer
Ford Explorers will show rust spots early on, and picking up a used version of this American gas-guzzler means you’ll need a lot of money for bodywork. These are known to rust-out early in their life span. They also perform poorly when it comes to handling. Ford just can’t seem to get it right with these cars. CNBC reports a suspension recall in June of this year will affect 1.2 million vehicles. This dangerous defect on a current model gives us enough reason to not venture into the used Explorer category.
9 Pontiac Aztek
It’s hard to imagine that anyone can see past the look of this SUV enough to buy it. This vehicle fails based on aesthetics alone, but for those who insist on more factual information on the failure of this car, you need not look far. The most common engine problem reported by Car Complaints lies in the engine, and it seems to occur as early on as 80,000 kms into your driving experience. You’ll need at least $1600 to patch that up, and that’s just the beginning of this car’s engine problems. If this vehicle can’t surpass 81,000 km without engine failure, picking up a used model doesn’t seem like a good investment.
8 Chevy Malibu
The Chevrolet Malibu won’t keep going for very long, as it seems to have a very short life span. Given this fact, you may want to reconsider investing your dollars in a pre-owned version. Car Complaints cites the 6th generation (years 2004-2007) as being the most problematic. We wish we could isolate one problem-area to look out for, but unfortunately, this car is riddled with issues, with everything from engine failure to power steering issues, Coolant leaks, and more.
7 Saturn Ion
Let’s face it, nobody will open their garage in 15 years and proudly boast about their Saturn Ion. This is meant to get you from point A to point B, and it doesn’t even carry you around in style. There’s no sense in buying a used version of this car when the brand new version had already left so much to be desired. The 2006 models seem to have the most issues, with everything from brakes to engine lights being cited.
6 Oldsmobile Cutlass
This car’s time has come and gone. While it was once sought-after and it truly captured consumerism in the mid 90’s, that ship has since sailed, and we’re on to bigger and better things. This American car has to be retired now –we don’t invest picking up a used one. RepairPal cites engine surges and brake issues as being prominent, and nobody wants to deal with that!
5 Buick Lacrosse
This car didn’t stand a chance. The 2011 models were part of a widespread recall that GM issued, citing serious safety concerns for those who own this vehicle. Consumer Reports notes that this auto maker failed to comply with the requirements of the federal safety standards. Urgent warnings about drivers not being able to control the heating, cooling or ventilation of this vehicle were widespread. No thanks, we’ll pass on this as an investment.
This is a great truck – at first. Sadly, time doesn’t bode well for this all-American truck. Models from 1999-2017 are known to have major issues with oil consumption. The V6 and V8 versions have been noted as requiring up to 3 or 4 quarts of oil be topped up between oil changes. That’s a lot of responsibility and expense for an owner to take on- and it’s quite an extended 18 year time frame that Chevy just hasn’t been able to make this right!
3 Chrysler PT Cruiser
We don’t recommend picking up a PT Cruiser unless it is covered by a current warranty. Unless you have extended powertrain warranty coverage, the engine repairs that you’ll undoubtedly require will be very costly. This car is reported to have many issues with stalling and a lot of difficulty starting. It’s not worth the trouble it will cause, or the money it will cost you to fix it up.
2 Pontiac Vibe
Consumer Reports show that this vehicle doesn’t stand the test of time. The body is weak and many aesthetic features quickly crumble as the car begins to age. Complaints about paint fading, chipping, peeling and moldings falling apart are common. Loose interior and exterior trim is also a widespread issue. Let’s not forget that the Pontiac Vibe has had 5- yes 5 recent recalls.
1 Chevrolet Lumina
The first thing to bear in mind here is that the Chevy Lumina is an eye-sore with a strange, boring design. The design team must have been tired when this went into production, because this vehicle seriously lacks in aesthetic creativity. Aside from the fact that nobody would drive it without damaging their ego, there are a multitude of issues with the engine overheating due to a water pump leak. This is an expensive repair that will end up costing you nearly as much as the purchase of the vehicle itself. It would be better for your wallet to just pass on this vehicle and opt for one that would spend less time in the shop, and more time on the road.
Sources: Car And Driver, Consumer Reports, Repair Pal, Car Complaints