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Old 10-05-2015, 02:00 PM   #81
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This is an easy question. I bought a Fiat 128 in the early 70s based primarily on an absolutely glowing positive review in Consumer Reports magazine.



Worst mistake I ever made. That dog spent almost as much time in the shop as on the road.



Just one small example: The clutch cable broke so frequently that I developed the practice of carrying a couple of spares, and I could change it in under 15 minutes on the side of the road. That alone astounded some of my passengers!

+1. As it turns out the clutch cable was not enclosed at one point, where friction would cause it to break! My mother traded in her reliable 69 Bug for this POS. I chuckled when Fiat said they were coming back to the U.S.
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Old 10-05-2015, 02:31 PM   #82
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2003 Nissan Murano...piece of crap. Traded it in a couple of months ago while it still had some value .
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Old 10-05-2015, 05:05 PM   #83
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Most of the vehicles cited, including Fords, have been decades ago. Hopefully all newer production cars are more reliable these days?
(Knocking on wood) so far at 94k miles my 2003 GMC pickup has been okay. It did need rear brake calipers because one was sticking (shop said known issue) and a new controller circuit board for the windshield wipers.

The circuit board may have been my fault though as I think I accidentally had the switch in between the "fast" and "normal" speeds for a while and that may have fried it. The symptom was that the wipers wouldn't turn off - I had to pull the fuse to stop them. I'd guess that's intentional so it's a "fall safe".

At 23k miles the 2013 Honda Accord is too new to know for sure but it's starting out right. Zero issues so far although we got a nail in a tire sidewall so had to replace the tire.
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Old 10-05-2015, 05:25 PM   #84
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I have a friend with Westy that gives him nothing but grief. I asked why he didn't get rid of it and he asked "Do you realize how much these are worth?" Indeed they are surprisingly valuable given their age and, ahem, reliability.
A Westy is an art form, not transportation!
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:17 AM   #85
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I remember those. Buddy had a later generation 'bird and still had the problem. It can be fixed by removing the assembly, pry open the gear cover. Then you can replace the nylon gear or flip it over as it only wears in one spot and use the good side ( till it wears out ). The dealer wanted several hundred $$$ to replace it.
I currently have an 88 GTA Firebird with the flip-up headlights. The headlights stopped flipping up a few years ago. I was able to fix them both by using Youtube videos. In my case, I just had to remove 3 small soft plastic bearings and replace them with similar (but not exact) bearings, which I got for about $2 each at Autozone. Total cost was 6 bearings at $2 each equals $12 plus tax. My labor was huge though, (but free). I spent about 24 hours over 2 weeks slowly and carefully taking apart the ancient motor assemblies, soaking screws in Liquid Wrench overnight, etc.
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:20 AM   #86
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A 2000 Audi A4. After I had owned it a couple of years I was waiting at the dealer's for a repair when the service writer went up to another customer to go over what repairs were needed for her car. After he left, she turned to me and said, "Sell your Audi NOW, before it's too late." How I wish I had listened to her.

Multiple oxygen sensors replaced. Secondary fuel injection pump failed twice. ABS failed, requiring an over $2,000 replacement of the entire brake master cylinder assembly (at this point the car had fewer than 60,000 miles). An air bag went bad and needed replacement. I took it in for a recall on bad steering control arms (upper or lower- I forget which) - the ones being recalled were fine, but the OTHER ones needed replacing. Timing belt needed premature replacement. The list goes on. My wife and I have owned four Toyota Camrys in the course of our marriage, and the total cost of repairs on ALL FOUR Camrys is LESS than what I dumped into that Audi!

Curiously, in college I had 2 MGBs. I had very little trouble with either one. Weird.
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:19 AM   #87
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Anything with a carb was unreliable compared to fuel injection.
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:24 AM   #88
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BMW 3 series over > 10 years and 150k miles. Was a blast when newer, it really liked the feel of the mechanic's wrenche$, and new part$ when it entered german car geriatric age. With a BMW ,sell them before 6 years /120 k miles and things will generally be ok
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Old 10-06-2015, 01:37 PM   #89
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VW Jetta 2001. No problems for the first 50,000 miles, but it went all down hill after that. Needed repairs were expensive and frequent, despite doing scheduled maintenance religiously. It left me stranded on several occasions. It was not a lemon - the issues I had were widely reported by other owners on the internet. The nail in the coffin was when a warning light started lighting up randomly on the dashboard. When it did, the car would suddenly slow to a crawl - often at the most inopportune time, like in the middle of a busy intersection or on the highway. After that, I had to ferry the car to the closest dealership at the top speed of 15 miles an hour. Every time it happened, the dealership would "fix" it. And 2 weeks later it would happen again - and the bills kept escalating with each occurrence. They were never able to actually fix the problem and I gave up on it. It had just over 100,000 miles on it when I disposed of that car. Cosmetically, it was still in great shape for a 9-year car, but mechanically it was a disaster. So much for German engineering.
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Old 10-06-2015, 06:25 PM   #90
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Decided to look it up to see what others have said....

100 Worst Cars of All Time

Note... this is not a list of the least reliable, but the worst cars.....


Now, looking at the list I would have to say Yugo... I remember a joke that said to get the back window heater so you could warm the hands of your friends who helped push it...
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Old 10-06-2015, 06:50 PM   #91
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It really wasn't unreliable, but I ditched my last new car, a '96 Camaro, when it took me a SOLID weekend to change the sparkplug wires. I got rid of it before I had to change the plugs. I replaced it with a 1982 Mercedes 240D stick which will be running when the cockroaches reclaim the earth.
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:05 PM   #92
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Note that so many of the cars mentioned here are in the long past. Cars are more reliable now than they've ever been, but God help you if you have an electrical issue on a modern car.

I have a Jaguar convertible with the latest electronics. I've counted as many as 17 electronic modules on it--averaging $1,000 cost each. They communicate by CAN/BUS--electronic signals akin to computers communicating.

I had a ABS problem, but it affected my transmission control module, the dashboard module, the cruise control, the stability control module and the ABS module. The car sometimes would go into a fail safe mode that greatly held down horsepower not allowing it to hurt itself or the driver/passenger by going too fast.

The ABS problem could have been as little as having mud on an ABS sensor on the front brake under a wheel. In my case, it was a module.

But the modern vehicles with the worst reputation are BMW 750's (electrics), any Hyundai/Kia, any Chevy 4 cylinder with 2.2 engines (heads), Mitsubishi built 4 cylinder engines and Chevy front wheel drive automatic transmissions (SUV's). Modern Mercedes often have problems of some kind--every one is expensive to fix.

Most reliable: Honda's, Toyota's, Lexus'.
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:07 PM   #93
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+1. As it turns out the clutch cable was not enclosed at one point, where friction would cause it to break! My mother traded in her reliable 69 Bug for this POS. I chuckled when Fiat said they were coming back to the U.S.
+2 for the venerable Fiat 128 Sedan, which I bought new in 1976 for $2500. At around 2000 miles the car would simply shut down while I was driving down the highway. Once I came to a stop, it would start right up. This happened about 50 times but the dealer could never figure it out. It also made a dozen bizarre noises that could never be resolved. At around 5000 miles, I got a flat and inserted the jacking tool in the specially designed slot. After I started jacking it, the slot welds separated from the frame of the car. Every time I waxed the car, my hands ended up completely blue to match the color of this turd.
I sold it after a couple years to an Iranian college student. The temp gauge was pegged on overheat when I sold it. Keep in mind this was during the Carter years when we had those hostages at the embassy in Tehran. So I didn't feel too bad selling to an Iranian student
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:42 PM   #94
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I sold it after a couple years to an Iranian college student. The temp gauge was pegged on overheat when I sold it. Keep in mind this was during the Carter years when we had those hostages at the embassy in Tehran. So I didn't feel too bad selling to an Iranian student
Not to threadjack too much, but I knew some Iranian students while in college around the time of the revolution and hostage crisis. These folks were the children of those ousted by the revolution, could never go back home and were even more anti-Ayatollah then we were. The Iranians who were stuck here in the late '70s (at least all the ones I knew) were on OUR side.
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:29 PM   #95
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Not to threadjack too much, but I knew some Iranian students while in college around the time of the revolution and hostage crisis. These folks were the children of those ousted by the revolution, could never go back home and were even more anti-Ayatollah then we were. The Iranians who were stuck here in the late '70s (at least all the ones I knew) were on OUR side.

Two Iranian sisters owned a bakery near me and were very anti ayatollah. They were in favor of a US invasion to get rid of the theocracy. Thankfully we did not do that.

Back on subject, my sister had a Fiat 850 spider convertible with a one liter engine. I don't think it ever went more than 2 weeks without needing something repaired. But, it was really cool to drive and I borrowed it more than once to impress a young lady.
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:35 PM   #96
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Most reliable: Honda's, Toyota's, Lexus'.
I would throw in Acura also, but that just means Honda and Toyota....


Funny thing is that one of my sisters has a 12 YO Lexus and has been having some problems lately.... I asked her the other day and she said she cannot afford to replace it even though it has 200K miles on it...


Tonight I talked to my DW and she was talking about a friend who has a Lexus... well, some electronic boards were fried... so they take it in and was told $4,000 to fix.... so they put in the boards and PHFFT.... fried again... I do not know if they paid for the fix or not.... DW thinks friend said it could not be fixed or that it would cost $8,000 to fix...

I hope to find out what really happened, but I do not see this lady that often and probably will forget to ask next time I do....
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:24 AM   #97
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Fords. Several of them-company cars. Last one was an Escape. Ford did not have a better idea. Runner up was the Lincoln.

New transmission, engine module at 12K miles. Same for several others in the fleet. Three weeks out of service.


'97 Camry @200K plus miles- still driving like new. No issues. Huge difference in quality of dealership service as well. Same for our 2006 Accord.


Last time we looked at vehicles we did not even bother going into a North American label store.
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Old 10-07-2015, 08:21 AM   #98
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+2 for the venerable Fiat 128 Sedan
I'm not the least surprised by others mentioning their tribulations with the Fiat 128. Another of its little "features" was that the fuel gauge would frequently get down to about ⅓ and stick there.

If you didn't constantly monitor it (and who makes more than an occasional glance at it?) you were SOL when it finally ran out completely. I had a few interesting adventures when I ran out of gas on a lonely highway while thinking I had plenty!
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Old 10-07-2015, 08:27 AM   #99
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Brand new 1983 Ford Thunderbird. Loved the looks, the ride, and the performance, but sadly the dadgum thing spent 65% of the time in the shop under warranty repair.
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Old 10-07-2015, 08:43 AM   #100
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My worst was a 1982 Olds Cutlass Supreme coupe. In its defense, the car was 11 years old and had about 61,000 miles when I bought it, and I only paid $800 for it. It had been old-lady owned, which normally is a good thing, but not if you don't keep up on maintenance, I guess.

About a month after I bought it, the transmission started acting up, holding the gears too long, and shifting rough. I took it to a transmission shop and they said they could clean it out and get it running right for about $150...but couldn't guarantee that the problem wouldn't come back soon. It had metal shavings and debris that were clogging the filter. So, since it was already compromised, chances are it would have kept deteriorating. I thought I was going to keep this car "forever", so I opted instead to have the transmission rebuilt. This was 1993, and it was around $675. Not too bad, I thought.

In early 1994, the car needed new tires. Again, since I thought I was going to keep it for the long haul, I bought fairly nice ones. Then, a few weeks later, it lost all oil pressure. A friend of mine was able to replace the gears in the oil pump for me, but again, like the transmission, there was a lot of metal shavings and such in oil, another sign that sucker wasn't long for this world. Replacing the gears and changing the oil did make the oil pressure light go off, though.

In the end, I sold that sucker, with 73,000 miles on it, for $400. The engine was sounding sicker by the day, so it wasn't going to last much longer, most likely.

The engine it had was a 231-2bbl V-6, manufactured by the Buick division. Ironically, a few years later it would be hailed as one of the most durable engines in production. But, the 1984 and earlier versions had a lot of narrow, right angle oil passages that were easy to clog, and other issues. I've heard one problem was also that the block was a little too lightweight for the time. The auto makers just didn't have the technology yet to reliably produce an engine block that was that lightweight and thin.

Anyway, it was the only car I've ever owned where both the transmission and engine crapped out on me. Still, I liked the car. It was good looking, roomy, comfortable, handled pretty well, and was a good highway car. 0-60 was kind of slow, but at highway speeds it seemed to catch its second wind. It was a light, silvery greenish color called "Jadestone", I think. The landau top and Rally wheels were color coordinated as well.
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