20 Used Cars To Avoid (Part 1)

1. Ford ExplorerThe Ford Explorer has been a popular vehicle since it was released in 1991 and is one of the safest SUVs on the road today. While it may have plenty of safety features that gets it placed on many “safest” lists, the Explorer is plagued by other issues that make it a very questionable choice for a used vehicle. Several model years are listed on carcomplaints.com’s worst vehicles lists, with the 2003 Explorer being on the 20 worst vehicles ever list. The transmission is the source of many of the Explorers problems, with failures resulting in costly repairs. Many users also complain about paint issues, which leads to rust on the body of the vehicle. Before buying a used Explorer, it would be wise to do some research first.

 2. Audi Q5The Audi Q5 was a hit when it first hit the market. The compact SUV was loaded with luxury features and had a fantastic interior. The suspension and steering were well built, offering exceptional handling and comfort. The engine was a powerful V-6 that gave owners plenty of pep to zoom down the road. Overall, it didn’t seem like the Q5 was flawed at all. Sadly, the Q5 has a number of reliability issues. Consumer Reports gave the Audi Q5 its worst rating for overall reliability. According to various forums there are numerous complaints about the climate control, navigation system, keyless entry, and the stereo system. This wasn’t just for the first few model years either, these complaints haunt to Q5 throughout all model years. Best to steer clear of this vehicle all together.

 3. Jeep WranglerThe Jeep Wrangler is a great vehicle, the problem when buying a used Wrangler is you don’t know how the previous owner treated it. The Wrangler is a very common off-road vehicle, and enthusiasts love to push these vehicles to their limit. For all you know that clean looking Wrangler for sale has been ridden hard and put away wet its entire life, and now the owner slapped it with a good cleaning and is passing it off as a great vehicle. Another issue regarding the Wrangler is the number of recalls that have plagued it for the past 10 years. Every model of Wrangler since 2005 has had a recall for various parts. Brakes, transmission, fuel system, wiring, engine system, emissions systems, and more have all had recalls. The issues end up fixed, but that’s only if the owner actually took the vehicle in to have the problem rectified. Unless you can be certain of the vehicles past, the Wrangler is a used vehicle you should overlook.

  4. BMW X5The BMW X5 first hit the scene in 2000. The luxury SUV was praised for it’s performance and high end interior. The suspension was given praise for offering a smooth, comfortable ride as well as reducing body roll. As a used vehicle, the X5 can be very pricey, mainly due to the BMW name. Owners on forums have a number of complaints about the X5 though. Reliability issues are a significant problem with many owners. The all-wheel drive system, electrical system, and drive shaft are all areas of concern for the X5, and the problems seem to affect all model years. For such an expensive used car, you are better off looking elsewhere. No reason to spend that much on a vehicle with so many user complaints.

 5. Dodge IntrepidThe Intrepid was built by Dodge between 1993 and 2004 and during that time it received a number of awards from critics. The roomy interior, well built suspension, top notch handling, and stylish exterior were all things reviewers loved about the Intrepid. Unfortunately, the vehicle did not stand the test of time. CarComplaints.com lists the Intrepid as one of the least reliable used cars you can buy. The 99-03 model year vehicles has a serious issue with oil sludge problems in the 2.7L V-6 model, making the vehicle worthless due to engine failure at high mileages. Other issues that are noted through most models years are electrical problems, engine problems, and AC/Heater problems. Avoid this one like the plague. 

6. Cadillac STSThe Cadillac STS was built for 6 years, between 2005 and 20011. When it was released it garnered praise for its comfortable ride and great handling. It was offered with a choice of V-6 and V-8 engines, both of which are costly to repair when problems occur, and problems were common with this vehicle. The STS was given low marks for overall dependability by J.D. Power. Engine, transmission, electrical, and braking system problems are commonly reported problems for the STS. The fuel system, cooling system, and navigation system  are also common problem areas. With so many problems and the cost to fix them being so high, the Cadillac STS is one of the worst used cars you can buy.


7. Chevrolet AveoThe Aveo was replaced by the Chevrolet Sonic in 2012, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. The Aveo was a subcompact car with few redeeming qualities. Outside of a low price and high gas mileage, the Aveo didn’t bring much to the table. A tiny 103 horsepower engine made driving feel like a chore, especially when climbing steep hills. The interior was covered in cheap plastic, reminding you of how low end the vehicle is every time you got climbed into it. On top of the poor qualities of the vehicle when new, the Aevo is known for having problems with the fuel system, brakes, and audio system. The Aveo wasn’t a car that you should have bought new, and it didn’t get any better with age.


8. Chrysler SebringThe Chrysler Sebring was manufactured between 1995 and 2010 and is one of the most repair prone vehicles on the market. 2002 and 2003 were particularly bad years for the Sebring according to Chryslerproblems.com. Engine issues were the most prevalent issue with these year Sebrings, with oil sludge causing a majority of the engine failures. Oil leaks, engine knocks, and blown head gaskets are also among the more frequent problems. The AC / heating system was another place where the Sebring often failed. The blower only working on high, water pooling on the floor, and the heater / AC failing to work at all are the most common complaints. This is a Chrysler product you are better off avoiding all together.


9. Pontiac AztekThis weird looking car was built between 2001 and 2005 by Pontiac. The boxy shape and terrible paint color options caused a lot of criticism, but the vehicle did work well as a crossover. Large cargo area and plenty of features enticed some people to purchase the Aztek, and the success of the TV show Breaking Bad breathed new life into the vehicle as a popular used car purchase. Sadly the vehicle didn’t fare well as time took it’s toll, and the 2002 model year in particular was plagued with problems. Specifically the electrical system of the 2002 Aztek had major issues according to Carcomplaints.com. Problems from the car refusing to start, to motor mounts rubbing through wiring harnesses are reported by owners of the vehicle. If you absolutely need to have an Aztek, stay far away from the 2002 model year. 

10. Chevrolet BlazerThe Chevy Blazer was one of the more popular SUVs in its day. The vehicle was discontinued in 2005, but they are still seen on used car lots. The Blazer scored low in crash tests, which throws up a red flag out of the gate, but the vehicle is also haunted by reliability issues. Consumers report a slew of issues with the Blazer on various forums. The top complaint is that the engine frequently stalls or bogs down while driving, sometimes this happens without warning after the car has been running for hours. No start issues, acceleration problems, fuel problems, transmission problems, and electrical problems are also commonly reported. These issues are found throughout the multiple model years, making the Blazer a risky choice for a used car.