The likelihood of a car failure can get reduced by keeping on top of maintenance and driving with care, but there are some used car models that seem to get plagued by issues.
This can be because of a new engine or component that hasn’t had the benefit of years of design evolution and sometimes because of an attempt to reduce manufacturing costs by reducing build quality. Performance cars are another ball game, with their intended use putting even more stress on the components.
Word travels fast and some cars’ reputation for being problematic becomes known, and The Fast Lane Car on YouTube are on hand to sort through a sad bunch of wholesale cars to find the most problematic cars we should avoid buying.
Two Of The Worst Cars you Can Buy On The Used Market
They are at a wholesale auction lot in the Rockies and explain that when dealers have problematic cars they want to shift, they can send them to auctions like this to get rid of them.
In the couple of hundred used cars present, there should be an abundance of questionable vehicles we should avoid. First up is a Cadillac Eldorado, from the final 12th generation that is sporting the 4.6-liter Northstar V8, that got intended to be a forward-thinking engine.
It has a reputation that precedes it, however and TFL Car shows us why – under the hood they point out a covering of white everywhere. This could be from a coolant leak, and sure enough, the engine spits out water when it gets started up. The liquid is white as water is mixing with oil thanks to another problem with the engine’s inherent design, a type of bolt used in the block and head. Carbon build-up, reduced performance and water pump failure resulting in overheating are likely to follow. Next on the duo’s list is an unassuming C5 Audi Allroad wagon that looks ok from the outside.
As you might expect, though, the team has a list of reasons why Audi’s Germanic reputation for reliability doesn’t apply here.
Two More Of The Most Unreliable Cars On The Used Market
It was a forwards-thinking machine, a jacked-up wagon to take on crossovers and SUVs, but its air suspension fails frequently. So frequently that most of these cars will already have had standard coils fitted – and this one does. The turbochargers fail on this 2.7-liter V6, timing belt tensioners fail, and the transmissions usually always fail before 100,000 miles. Not great.
A Mini Cooper S is next up, whose engine in the 2007-2010 range is not known for reliability. TFL says that they are notorious for timing chain issues, turbo problems, carbon build up in the engine, fuel pump problems and a tendency to need oil every 500 miles. That’s what you get in a highly-stressed motor, and one that needs the right kind of regular maintenance which this one seems to have missed. It emits smoke on startup and acceleration – ‘like a chimney’ as they put it.
Finally, the Ford Focus. Our hosts pick it out mainly for its Powershift dual clutch automatic transmission which got known for failing extremely frequently.
This one doesn’t have fuel, but a Ford Fiesta nearby with the same gearbox has slipping gears on show straight way, proving the point.
Not all of these cars will always throw up the same problems, but it does serve as a guide and highlight once more the importance of a walkaround, inspection and test drive before you buy any car.