I remember buying my Jaguar S Type R and being so hyped but nervous. I was hyped because S Type R! Supercharged 400 horsepower V8! But I was nervous because Oppo tried to warn me not to get it. The car’s issues were well known and documented. And that reared its ugly head on the way home from the dealer when it overheated. I owned it for less than a week.
We asked readers about the least reliable cars they’ve owned. These were their answers.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day, our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best responses to the previous Question of the Day and shine them up to show off. It’s by you and for you, Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Mk 4 Volkswagen Jetta
For me, easily the MK4 Jetta with a sunroof. The sunroof drains would always get plugged and then water would come into the car and soak the electronics. Once the corrosion from the water set in, the car’s electronics were never reliable and it caused tons of issues. I found out there was a class action suit and remedial action for the issue but I found out too late and was years outside the window of response.
Suggested by: Shau-Chi Tse (Facebook)
2010 Mini Clubman S
I currently own my least reliable car. It’s in the shop. Again. 2010 Mini Clubman S.
I learned to drive in a ‘73 BMW Bavaria (3L 6-cyl), which was as bulletproof a car as there ever was. My dad had 6 BMWs over 30 years, each one reliable, and of course, fun to drive. But modern BMWs aren’t reliable, and that extends to the Mini brand. Yes, lots of fun to drive, and stick, of course.
Unfortunately, my story isn’t unique — the Mini community is rife with reports of reliability issues. I am looking forward to getting whatever is next (haven’t decided, yet).
Suggested by: BruceS85
Bmw645ci. I’ve never had a car make me any angrier. They all go batshit crazy. For a month the centre display-nothing then it decided to fix itself. Zf transmission was temperamental, mostly mental. 5 water pumps in under 321,869 km. 3 alternators.
Suggested by: Derek Erek Anderson
1969 Lotus Europa
69 Lotus Europa. Renault engine. Lucas electrics. Someone in France or Hethel installed 2 different pistons… 3 cylinders had the right piston, the 4th had a different compression ratio.
Suggested by: RWD_Volvo
2016 Toyota Prius
2016 Toyota Prius. By far. I’ve owned a 2000 golf, 1994 discovery, 2012 Mazda speed3, 2005 V6 Passat, 2016 Prius, and now a 2013 TDI Sportwagen. The Prius was by far the most unreliable. It was in the shop almost once a month.
Suggested by: Aaron Kilen
Ripoff From Hell 240SX
Most unreliable car? Why that would be the “Ripoff From Hell 240SX” Stef did the article on back in 2018. This is the car I bought for $US3000 ($3,815) and found out it had been in an unreported accident. My father and I ended up rebuilding the front half of the car, frame and all. But just for fun let’s lay out what’s failed on it:
Rear view mirror fell off, 5 minutes after signing the title, fell off 3 more times.
Fuel injector harness failed, had to replace whole engine wiring harness.
MAF leads abraided through, shorted and burned a trace out of the ECU. Had to solder a jumper in to fix the damage.
Rear window shattered in the cold, required new top.
Replacement transmission died.
Horn stopped working.
Temp sensor in the gauges failed and showed OK despite engine overheating. Showed symptoms of faulty MAF.
Spun rod bearing.
Multiple wiring shorts.
It’s currently down for an engine replacement but COVID has kept me from my offsite garage to do the work. It’s been a year and a half on jack stands.
I’ve owned the car for 10 years. I’ve driven it a total of 4 out of those 10 years and never more than 6mo without SOMETHING breaking. But hey, the new top is awesome and insurance covered it.
Suggested by: Umoja
Volvo 740 Wagon
A 1993 Volvo 740 Wagon!! This sometime rolling POS spent 3 weeks every month at the Service Department of the Dealership where we bought it. Every item that attaches to the engine was replaced at one time or the other and some parts were replaced twice. It would not track a straight line; went through FOUR (4) sets of Tires in less than 50K miles!! This rolling POS was Lemon Law!!!
Suggested by: Lee Paull (Facebook)
1985 Dodge Omni. Biggest POS Chrysler ever produced. But as big a turd as it was it never stranded me anywhere and it was easy to work on, which was convenient because it needed a lot over the 2 or 3 years I had it as a broke college kid. I replaced the head gasket twice, the oil pump and complete bearing set, alternator and timing belt. But every time we worked on the car there were nuts & bolts left over. No exaggeration – *every* time. And it always started and ran.
Suggested by: Turbineguy: Nom de Zoom
RX8 2 engine rebuild. Electric power steering randomly goes out. Besides those 2 problem. Really fun car. I still have it. Thinking of a crazy motor swap. Maybe a Honda or Toyota or Nissan power plant. In the future. Currently the chassis is still solid been on a coma in a garage.
Suggested by: Nayr Odarod
1997 BMW 540i
1997 BMW 540I6. Fabulous car when it was right, but it was rarely ever right. Here we go:
– door handle came off in my hand
– clutch exploded one day
– 3 of 4 window regulators died
– timing chain guides shattered
– intake manifold leak cost me 3 sets of cats.
– driver’s seat airbag sensor was kaput
– MAF sensor died
– Sunroof mechanism went
– trunk wiring harness started to disintegrate
– odometer bulbs died
– hood cable broke
– paint on the hood started doing some kind of weird thing whete I could polish it, and it would look fine until the next morning, at which point it would craze/haze over.
I am sure I am missing some things.
At one point it left me and Mrs. Hand stranded and he texted her friend “you, me, sledgehammers, the BMW.”
I have not purchased a German car since.
Giant green turd, that car.
Suggested by: Rollin Hand
2008 Ford Edge
2008 Ford Edge. Every single suspension part wore out under 128,748 km. Plus all 4 wheel bearings and several miscellaneous things.
Suggested by: Patrick Barrios (Facebook)
Our 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie EcoDiesel. We bought it Certified Pre-Owned (thankfully) with right around 20K miles on it. When it was traded in by the previous owner, it was in the middle of an engine replacement. Then it was Certified and put up for sale. The engine replacement should have been a red flag, but we gambled on it thinking it’s got a new engine and covered under the extended CPO warranty.
That CPO warranty was a godsend. The truck went into limp mode and ended up on a flat bed 4 or 5 times. It covered a tow to the nearest Ram dealership, which in one case ended up being a 370 km tow from Bishop CA to Bakersfield CA. We were about to go out of cell service into the CA backcountry for a weekend of camping when the high pressure fuel rail cracked and sprayed the hot engine with diesel fuel.
Suggested by: Magnum_SRT8
2000 Saab 9-3
I’ve never owned any truly terrible cars. For me, the worst was a 2000 Saab 9-3.
It never left me stranded. But it did need to be fixed and serviced more frequently than other cars I’ve owned. For example, over a 3 year period, I had to get the same HVAC knob shaft replaced 3 times because the OEM design was a shitty plastic thing that broke easily. I just got into the habit of NOT touching the HVAC settings any more than absolutely needed.
Also the rear brakes typically would only last about 40,000 to 50,000km.
And half of the pixels on the information display didn’t work.
And a bunch of other little things like that.
Plus, the cost of parts was more expensive than average and I when taking it in for service, it was a better bet to spend a bit more going to a Saab specialist as most regular mechanics didn’t have the Saab WIS… which is to say the can’t properly diagnose issues… which I learned the hard way with at least $US800 ($1,017) in unnecessary repairs to fix an issue that turned out to the APC valve… a $US60 ($76) part that’s easy to replace.
Suggested by: Manwich – now Keto-Friendly