Thursday Twister: Trouble Makers
Today’s Thursday Twister comes from Erik202 who writes: I had an idea for a Thursday Twister, maybe this one has already been done but i was wondering what the most fantastically unreliable car you can get in the DT price range is. Or maybe the most unreliable car you’ve owned, IDK, basically the opposite of discussing volvos and roadmasters and cars that will give you half a million miles without trouble…
This one buddy of mine had a brand new Mitsubishi Lancer in 2010(N/A engine AWD) that ate coilpacks so often the service guys at the dealership gave him a spare and showed him how to change it so he could stop getting it towed in, that’s the kind of unreliable mess I’m talking about here…
I’m curious if it gets much less trustworthy than this (it probably does). Find this 2006 Maserati GranSport offered for $12000 in Los Angeles, CA.
What car will drain your bank account in maintenance? Thanks to Erik202 for the Thursday Twister!
Hands down my first car, a 1971 MGB owned in the mid-eighties. At one point I was starting it by twisting wires together that dangled from the steering column that had a screwdriver jammed in to free the steering lock. Also spent a whole winter with no windshield wipers or heat. In RI. And this is when it was still only about 15 years old, which I am thinking is one of the intrinsic ingredients to fit into the DT mold.
Carter, that sounds kinda like my misspent youth, also in RI, although my story involved a Morgan roadster a buddy and I 'borrowed' from his older brother and proceeded to fling around the East Side with the top down – around 10 o'clock on a school night, if I remember. And also in the middle of winter.
At the risk of being too obvious….
And from the stories I have been reading lately, the new Alfa Giulia could be a future Biturbo.
Least reliable car I've ever owned? 2005 Legacy GT wagon 5 spd m/t. Second least reliable car I've ever owned? 2005 Legacy GT wagon 5 spd a/t.
Lol. People keep telling me to buy a Subaru and my response is always "Everybody I know with a Subaru has replaced at least one engine or transmission, some have done both multiple times."
I sold my '03 WRX wagon just as 100k miles and piston slap happened (simultaneously). It was great until then.
Aaaand that's why I specifically searched for & found a 2nd gen Legacy wagon, grandmother owned in mint condition with the 2.2 liter single cam: as reliable as a hammer and no head gasket issues.
$3000 netted me a 73k miles car that couldn't be replicated new.
That said, I once had a '80 Scirocco S that was execrable.
@Hunter – 2 engines and 1 gearbox on my m/t car. 6 head gaskets between the 2 cars over 217,000 combined miles… valve cover gaskets every 50k miles, axles every 60-70k… so yeah add me to that list. $13k in service receipts over 5 yrs on the m/t car. Add wheel bearings to that list, too, as we went through I think 8-10 between the 2 cars. And whateverthehell TGVs are. Replaced 4 of those between 2 cars before I realized you can do a TGV delete.
I have a Subaru fanatic friend who has a '09 Forester and a '16 CrossTrek. Crosstrek is on its 2nd engine and 2nd gearbox at 30k miles, and their Forester, at 80k miles, needs head gaskets. And yet, this friend refuses to acknowledge how unreliable they are. This is completely baffling to me. I've owned Saabs and Audis that were more reliable.
Meanwhile, my '98 Volvo compared to his CrossTrek is faster, quieter, brakes better, gets better fuel mileage, and has over 300,000 miles on it… on the original engine (even the original head gasket), original rear main seal, original automatic transmission… etc. My '98 4Runner has 353k miles on it and it's still on the original engine, trans & t-case. But I guess I have high standards for what reliability should be.
And I suppose my relatively small sample size isn't really indicative of overall reliability… but I don't know of a *single* person who hasn't had problems with their Subaru. Except I guess CFlo, now that I read his reply.
I'm so glad this has come up here. When you talk to non-car people they think that these things are actually reliable. They just aren't. They just aren't at all.
That said the most unreliable cars I've had are probably an Audi A4 and a Jeep Cherokee. Both of those barfed out receipts like a ticket day parade.
I owned a low mileage 84 928 euro S. It was a while ago but I think I paid 12k for the car and it had something like 40,000 miles on it. In the year and a half I owned the car, I spent nearly the purchase price keeping it on the road. In hind sight, it was not a great idea buying a car that had not been driven much.
However, it is likely the best driving I will ever own. The euro S cars have like 310 hp 16v engine that was reported to be like 330 hp. The car had no cats and sounded amazing. It felt the same at triple digit speeds as it did at 20 mph.
The final straw was when the cam sprocket cracked and destroyed the impossible to replace euro cams and other bits. I learned some $ painful lessons with that car. It seems the selling prices are finally starting to turn north on the 928s.
My worst thing that I've ever tried to use as a daily driver was a clean, low mileage '95 Honda Civic that seemed to subscribe me to the Breakdown of the Month club. Problems included the factory ECU catching on fire, a distributor dying on the freeway, multiple dead starters, and a crank pulley keyway failing and letting the crankshaft bore the crank pulley 1/2" oversized, among other things.
Turned out the car had previously been at least two not so clean Civics…
For me, my least reliable car was my very first: a 1970 Cortina 1600 GT. Bought used (of course) before I learned that you do not shop for a used car the way you shop for a new car. Anyway, I drove that car for 5 years. I later calculated that it broke 60 times, or once a month on average. I did basically everything to it, from minor and major electrical to a complete engine rebuild and a gearbox rebuild (separate incidents, of course). Some of her most memorable foibles were a hydraulic clutch system that failed regularly (I got pretty good a driving home without a clutch pedal) and the cold day that the valve cover breather froze and she pumped all the engine oil out through the dipstick tube (obviously prior to the aforementioned engine overhaul). Amazingly, I never needed a tow truck to get her home. I have to say that I learned a huge amount from that car, and especially from my long-suffering, former army engineer father who shared his knowledge disaster by disaster.
Chevy Vega. Aluminum block, no iron cylinder sleeves. Motor good for 12,000 miles.
Jeez, I got almost 50K out of my '73 Kammback before it nuked itself…
I had a used 1975 Mustang II in college. Replaced two howling rear ends, the interior plastic parts seemed to be made of candy glass, it drank oil like a college kid drinks beer, and the heater fan kept failing. On a below-zero trip home the heater fan died again, and at 1am I pulled up to a toll booth. I just touched the window crank and SLAM, the window dropped into the door. The rest of the trip home was slightly cold. Parked it and bought a new 84 Honda Prelude within a month that lasted 20 years and 300k miles.
My worst were an '85 SAAB 900 that was perpetually broken…but I cut my teeth on a very needy '84 Golf. After those two missteps, I've had substantially better luck. Unfortunately, I don't drive enough to add good data about reliable cars, and around here rust murders everything before they stop running anyhow. I have managed to get my lovely little '91 BMW 318i up to 293K without too much drama.
Convinced my parents to buy an MG 1100 when I was in high school. Engine mounts and clutches were considered consumables. My personal final straw was when I pulled into my date's driveway, looking very cool until the back window just fell out and clattered on the macadam. Tossed it into the back seat and rang the bell. Handled great, though, compared to the '58 Bug that had preceded it.
Bought a used 1994 Mazda p/u AKA Ford Ranger with 3.0 V-6 5 SPD gutless wonder and poor mpg would stall when cold and would not re-fire. Windshield leaked steering shaft would rattle thru the steering wheel it was under warranty and dealer half tempted to fix it. Got rid of after 6 months traded in on a used 93 Toyota pickup still have the truck and today is the first time it let me down the starter is out, i did know it was on it's way out so no surprise. I hate subies and there lousy head gaskets, wheel bearings etc 2nd worst car was an 85 VW Golf diesel that was well wore out but 44mpg to 50 mpg was great.
TR-7. My father bought one for my sister (the princess) when she was in HS. I don't know that I ever saw it leave and come back under its own power. Me, I had a beige 65 Plymouth Valiant that I bought from a spinster aunt with my own money. Indestructible slant six. Ugly as sin but reliable.
My dad had a 78 TR7, first car he bought new in his life. Traded his 75 Celica for it. The story goes that he made it through about one full tank of gas before he took it back to the dealership on a flatbed and asked for his Celica back. And when that didn't happen, and the dealer replaced the engine (!!), he drove it down to the VW dealership and traded it on a Scirocco.
Only car he said that was worse than his TR7 was his Chevy Citation.