When we shop for cars, we look at the color, make, model, interior, and what's under the hood. We scrutinize with a fine comb the cleanliness of the dashboard and the configuration of the parts. One of the things that most of us tend to forget is the maintenance cost. Sure, a new car comes standard with a warranty plan, but even that has an expiration date.
When the warranty plan expires, we bear the cost. What happens if the cost is exorbitant, and we cannot afford it? Although the condition of a car is an essential factor to consider when purchasing a vehicle, what's more vital is the maintenance cost of the car. You may have been fortunate with all your purchases not to experience a breakdown, but it can happen to anyone.
The next time you're at the dealership, don't forget to ask the salesman for a maintenance-cost breakdown before you make a purchase decision. If your choice of vehicles is a Honda or a Toyota, your risk of breaking down is minimal, but driving the vehicles on our list makes you prone to being stranded on the side of the road. While some of the cars on the list may lure you into a purchase because of their shiny exteriors, what's under the bonnet should propel you to run for the hills.
20 RAM 3500
The RAM is a heavy-duty towing pickup truck. While the massive towing capacity of 31,210 pounds makes it one of the strongest pickups in the world, the engine makes it one of the least reliable vehicles to drive. Consumer Reports voted the vehicle as one of the least reliable vehicles on the road. The average driver spent around $300 on repairs annually, while some reported spending almost $2,000. Besides complaining about the DEF pump and the injector, drivers stated that the biggest problem with the car was the engine. The engine problems weren't applicable just to old models. Even drivers who bought a new vehicle said that the engine ceased. Apart from the car breaking down, drivers stated that they experienced problems at the repair shops. The drivers said that they had recall notices, service warranty issues, as well as not gotten any support from RAM trucks. Because the RAM 3500 has an engine that pumps out 385 horsepower, one would expect more from such a monstrous vehicle.
19 Volvo XC90
Even when you're one of the most trusted manufacturers in the world, you slip up every now and again. In this case, the Swedish manufacturer is known for making some of the safest and most reliable vehicles on the road but didn't get it right with the XC90, and this is the reason it ended up on the Consumer Reports list as one of the least reliable vehicles on the road. Although the most common problem with the car wasn't the engine, unlike the other vehicles on the list, drivers reported being stuck on the side of the road due to the transmission failure. Other common problems that drivers reported were an auto-braking system malfunction on the 2016 model and premature tire wear on the 2003 model. Some of the other electrical problems drivers experienced were intermittent faults with the reverse camera, the touchscreen switching off, and the infotainment system malfunctioning. Although you may not have to worry about this car's engine, you can accumulate repair costs of thousands of dollars for the defective transmission.
18 GMC Acadia
The Acadia came onto the dealership floor in 2006 as a 2007 model and was offered in America, Canada, and Mexico. It was a mid-size crossover SUV until 2016. Then, GM made it a full-size crossover SUV. The car's problems began in the early stages. In 2006, the production and the sales of the Acadia temporarily stopped because the engine's mounts didn't have drilled holes to release the accumulated water. Also, the car had issues with faulty rivets on the load floor. Although the manufacturer corrected the problem and production commenced once again, drivers were unsatisfied with the vehicle's reliability.
Consumer Reports voted Acadia the least reliable GMC model—not surprising, considering the number of complaints the drivers voiced.
Drivers of the vehicle reported having problems with the engine ceasing, with the transmission not shifting correctly, with a malfunctioning water pump, and with several other mechanical issues. The new Acadia Denali has a staggering price tag of more than $50,000. Considering the mechanical problems and the hefty price tag, drivers should easily avoid this vehicle.
17 Chevrolet Camaro
This is another General Motors vehicle that makes the list. The Camaro is classified as a pony car and went on sale in 1966. The production of the fourth generation ended in 2oo2, and the fifth was revived in 2009. Although the car has been around for decades, Consumer Reports ranked it as the 10th most unreliable vehicle on the road. A survey conducted based on repairs showed that the biggest problem with the car was the engine. The other problems that drivers suffered were with the transmission, the electricals, the body, and the trim. Although the 2013 model proved to have the most electrical problems, the 2010 model was the custodian of the mechanical problems. Drivers reported spending an average of $2,500 for repairs annually. Although the older models have given drivers a hard time, Chevrolet enthusiasts have praised the 2018 model. With a base price of $28,000, the 2018 model may be the option for the Chevrolet drivers wanting to avoid being stuck on the side of the road.
16 Mitsubishi Shogun
If you don't take our word for it, then you should listen to Motoreasy, a car maintenance firm that surveyed 30,000 vehicles over 12 months. The firm ranked the Shogun the 3rd most unreliable diesel on the road. The study concluded that diesel vehicles were more prone to breakdowns than the petrol counterparts. Furthermore, the repairs on the diesel version were more expensive than the petrol version's repairs. The most common problem that drivers reported was the fuel pump. They said that the car would erratically idle, causing the needle to fall or rise instead of remaining constant. The drivers reported that the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve gets blocked by carbon buildup. The car's acceleration was weak, and it would lose power. The '90s models have proven to be problematic, so you may want to inspect them well before buying.
15 Lincoln MKX
Being known as a luxury-car brand has its drawbacks. What happens when you release a model that leaves most drivers on the side of the road? Well, you call it the "Lincoln MKX." Lincoln was founded in 1917 and bought by Ford in 1922. Since being in business for over a century, the manufacturer has brought out great vehicles such as the Mark VII and the Continental. But the MKX is different, specifically the 2016 model. What could we say about the vehicle's mishaps that disgruntled drivers haven't already said?
Besides being recalled numerous times and Consumer Reports voting it one of the least reliable vehicles, the MKX is scoffed at for its engine ceasing during the drive.
Another common problem that drivers reported was a leaking transmission, especially in the 2008 model. The average cost that the MKX driver incurred to repair the leaking transmission was $3,600. At an average price of $45,000, the MKX will end up costing drivers more than $50,000, along with the repairs.
14 Cadillac ATS
Cadillac has been around for more than a hundred years and has made some of the best cars American drivers have had the privilege to drive. The Eldorado is a timeless classic that the company should never have stopped producing. While the manufacturer has released some treasures, it's made a few faux pas as well. The Cadillac ATS is one of those cars that has our heads scratching as to what went wrong in production. The car was considered to be a competitor to the BMW 3-series. While the manufacturer may praise the car for its high power, it cannot hide the car's defects. According to Consumer Reports, the car received a 1-out-of-5 score for reliability. Drivers of the vehicle complained about features/accessories issues, its handling, and malfunctions. The car manufacturer reported having problems, persuading enough American to veer toward the purchase of the ATS as opposed to opting for a BMW 3-series or the Mercedes E-class. Perhaps consumers would be more willing to cooperate if the manufacturer sorted out the car's breakdown issues.
13 Chevrolet Tahoe
Ask Consumer Reports what the results were when it surveyed 740,000 drivers to find out the least reliable vehicles, and the company will answer by naming the Chevrolet Tahoe. The Chevrolet Tahoe has been in production since 1991, which should give Tahoe drivers some comfort, but drivers of the 2009 model complained about the car's excessive oil consumption, while drivers of other models stated that the biggest problem with their cars was the cylinder head. With an average replacement cost of $1,000, the Tahoe's cylinder head has drivers scratching theirs about why they bought the vehicle. Other problems that drivers experienced were water leaking from the roof rail, seat heaters malfunctioning, and faulty collision or back up sensors. With a base price of $72,000, the new model can reach 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds and has a fuel consumption of 14 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, but it better not break down.
12 Yugo GV
It was named "Zastava Koral" but was marketed as the Yugo. A Yugoslav corporation produced the three-door hatchback with front-wheel drive. Made in 1977, the Yugo was marketed in the US from 1985 to 1992. Although the car had flaws, more than a 140,000 units were sold in the US. Sadly, the production of the Yugo GV ended in 2008.
Drivers cited engine failure as one of the main reasons for the breakdowns.
The other problems that drivers experienced were the in the transmission and alternator failures. Although lasting more than three decades on the road with numerous models built, the Yugo GV 1991 gave drivers the most headaches. If you're fortunate enough to find one for sale, you can expect to pay more than $2,000 for the repairs of the transmission failure.
11 Tesla Model X
Being a billionaire doesn't make you immune to mistakes. Tesla's owner, Elon Musk, has admitted that the company has made mistakes with the vehicle. The California-based plant has committed its share of mistakes with the Falcon-Wing doors, but its troubles span further. In 2017, 53,000 Model X's were recalled for problems with the parking brake. Drivers have complained about many faults with the interior and the exterior, but most have stated their concerns about the electrical faults of the car.
Drivers have claimed that the car's Auto-Pilot feature poses a threat in the rain and that the self-parking feature doesn't work.
The Model X is not the only Tesla car to experience technical problems, as 123,000 cars of Model S were recalled for a power-steering malfunction. Drivers of the Tesla are fed up. They've stated that the car requires too many repairs for a vehicle with a six-digit price tag. Since the Model X is priced at $100,000, the least that Musk can do is get the electronics of the car right.
10 Jeep Cherokee
Another American car manufacturer makes it onto the list. Of the 740,000 drivers that Consumer Reports surveyed to determine the least reliable car, the Jeep Cherokee received the 4th most votes. The first model came out in 1974 as a sports utility vehicle and lasted until 2001. Afterward, the car was marketed as the Jeep Liberty. In 2013, the Jeep Cherokee badge returned as part of the fifth generation.
The American manufacturer deserves to be commended for keeping the car on the road for more than four decades.
However, although it's been around for decades, the car isn't without flaws. Drivers participating in the survey stated that the most common problems with the car were the transmission needing reprogramming and replacing (sometimes several times), the engine computer needing to be replaced or reprogrammed, and rough, erratic shifts. Other problems include oil leakage, driveline vibration, sunroof rattles, and faulty ball joints. To avoid these problems, drivers should stay away from the 2014 model.
9 Skoda Superb
The first generation appeared on the production lines in 2001. It may be called "Superb," but is it really? Not according to Consumer Reports that ranks it as one of the least reliable cars on the road. If you're happy with the latest models of the Superb, then you should stick with it, as the older ones were a nightmare. Drivers who owned cars with the DSG gearbox reported having difficulty shifting from the first to the second gear. The car jerked since it didn't engage the gear in a timely fashion. Skoda did software updates to it, but little improved. Fuel leakage was a major issue. It was such a big issue that Skoda recalled the 2009-2011 3T 2-liter diesel vehicles due to the high-pressure fuel pumps springing leaks. Numerous drivers reported water leaks on the car. The common problem was that leaves and debris would collect at the bottom of the windscreen and block the drainage system, resulting in leaks in the interior and affecting the electronics. The 2008 and 2009 models had a problem with the heating element that caused drivers to hit panic mode, as the car could ignite a fire and coerced the manufacturer to recall the cars.
8 Dodge Avenger
Originally introduced to the market as a two-door coupe in 1994, the Dodge Avenger was reintroduced in 2008 as a four-door sports sedan. Despite the manufacturer's efforts to revive the vehicle, its death was inevitable. It was another car that received good ratings for the accessories but dismal marks in the performance department. Drivers complained about the engine head cracking, the heater that blows cold air, the car not starting, and brakes that need replacing after low-mile usage, as well as the alternator and the serpentine belts bursting. Apart from the engine that broke down, the car's driving capability also scored low points.
Motor Trend gave the car a 1-out-of-5 rating for driving comfort.
The fuel consumption was good, considering you could get 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. But what good is it to have a car that saves you gas but adds additional costs for repairs? Dodge tempted drivers to give the Avenger a second chance by offering it below $10,000, but even the low purchase price wasn't enough to sustain an adequate clientele. The Avenger broke down for the last time in 2014, never to be fixed again.
7 Chrysler 200
It went into production in 2010 and came out as a five-passenger mid-sized sedan. Initially, drivers were complimentary of its accessories, rating it four out of five. Then, in 2015, the car was redesigned to give it a more stylish appearance. Although the manufacturer attempted to lure in buyers with its enhanced look, astute drivers weren't convinced.
The most significant problem that drivers reported was the engine failure.
Drivers complained the most about the 2015 model, although they ranked the 2012 model as worse due to experiencing higher repair costs at lower mileage. The three most common problems drivers reported was the heater not working, the engine cutting out during the commute, and the slipping transmission. The 2012 model was voted the worst C200 that came out. According to Consumer Reports, drivers ranked the car rock bottom for reliability and cited it as one of the worst cars in 2017. What a coincidence that the manufacturer pulled the production plug that year.
6 Nissan Rogue
The rest of the world knows it as the "Qashqai," but the US market calls it the "Rogue." Call it what you will; just don't call it reliable. The Mirror UK certainly doesn't since it ranked the car as one of the most unreliable vehicles on the road for 2017. So, what problems did drivers experience and which model is the worst? The 2008 and 2013 models should be avoided.
The recurring problem that drivers experienced was a loss of power during the commute. Apart from the mechanical problems, drivers complained about the electronics as well. Common problems include navigation system failure, excessive noise by accessories such as the Bluetooth, as well as CVT transmission failure. Fans of the Rogue will be delighted to know that the 2018 model has received praise.
5 Land Rover Discovery
If you think that you're exempt from breakdowns because you drive a fancy 4x4, you're wrong. The Land Rover Discovery topped the list in 2012 for the most breakdowns, according to insurance company Warranty Direct. A staggering 85% of drivers who owned a Discovery and insured with the company claimed repair damages. The study was conducted on vehicles between 3 and 6 years old. Is it a surprise that the car has been dubbed a 4xflaw? To add insult to injury, Warranty Direct is an insurance company based in the United Kingdom, making it Land Rover's neighbor. The average annual repair costs of the Discovery was estimated at just over $700. Originally released in 1989, the Discovery has been on the roads for almost 30 years. For enthusiasts of the vehicle who need reassurance in the car's capabilities, Jaguar Land Rover was named 2016's biggest car manufacturer in Britain for 2 consecutive years. The company accounted for more than 30% of the domestic car production.
4 Fiat 500L
The 500L was supposed to be the big brother to the 500. It had more space, 68 cubic feet of storage, and a 160-horsepower engine that dragged the car from 0-60 in 8 seconds. Apart from its sluggishness, the car entered the market with a problematic automatic transmission. The complaints about the automatic transmission are ubiquitous.
After being inundated with complaints from drivers, Chrysler decided to recall almost 20,000 vehicles to upgrade the transmission software after drivers had stated that they couldn't shift readily out of the park gear.
The Fiat 500L drivers also mentioned that the car's engine would cut out and couldn't restart since the transmission was locked in second gear. Unfortunately for the Italian-American corporation, the complaints didn't stop at the automatic transmission. Numerous drivers complained about the car losing power and switching off amid the commute. Despite its mechanical failures, the car is priced at $20,000. Don't forget to add a few more thousands of dollars you'll incur for the repair costs. Consumer Reports rated the car 1 out of 5 for reliability and named it one of the worst 10 cars of 2017.
3 Ford Focus
Consumer Reports was established in 1936 and has been one of the most prominent sources for shoppers. Frugal shoppers who want to glean the latest information about sound systems, fridges, or cologne veer toward Consumer Reports. Credited for being a consumer watchdog, Consumer Reports has gained eminence for its vehicle reliability ratings. When Consumer Reports compiled a survey of the 11 least reliable vehicles, the Ford Focus Hatchback took the second spot. Drivers of the car praised its sporty handling, its decent interior, and the well-controlled ride. Although the drivers enjoyed some of its features, they complained about the tight back seat, the dual-clutch automatic transmission that doesn't shift smoothly, and the constant breakdowns.
Besides drivers complaining about the automatic transmission, the most common problem Ford drivers faced was the catastrophic engine that broke down.
With so many drivers experiencing a problem with the head gasket, experts jumped to analyze the problem to discover that the engine had been designed for the Mustang Ecoboost and not the Focus.
2 FSO Polonez
The what? It may not be the most known vehicle on the list and is rare in the US, but it did exist. Thank goodness it's past tense. The Polish manufacturer produced it from 1978 to 2002. The car's name stems from a Polish dance, and its passive safety features were its key attribute. In 1978, the Polonez was the only Eastern European car made to pass US crash tests. What was wrong with the car? So many things.
The car was voted as one of the worst cars ever made due to its unreliability and poor design.
Besides being dubbed one of the ugliest cars of all time, the Polonez was notorious for breaking down. Drivers of the car had endless problems with the engine. If you want numerous headaches and exponential repair charges, you can buy a 1982 model for $7,500. Might as well double that amount, as the maintenance costs will accumulate.
1 Alfa Romeo Giulietta
In a world were defective cars block the roads, Alfa Romeo is the ruler. The good news is that the Alfa Romeo repair shops are only a few miles apart and business is booming. In 1910, the Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (ALFA) was born, and five years later, the company changed its name to "Alfa Romeo." The company was a blessing since it provided many people with jobs, first at manufacturing plants, then more at repair shops. Considering the car was made in Italy, we were expecting the Alfa to fare well against its fellow country cars such as the Ferrari and Lamborghini, but we were wrong. In case you thought it was only the old models that break down and that things have changed since the bad old days, drivers of the Giulia Quadrifoglio have suffered the same fate. In research conducted by Warranty Direct analyzing more than 40,000 policies to ascertain which car manufacturer claimed the most repairs, Alfa Romeo topped the list, according to Mirror UK. There's good news for Alfa Romeo drivers, though. (Who would've thought?) The car also reported having the lowest repair costs out of all the manufacturers on the list.
Sources: consumerreports.org; mirror.co.uk