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What's the worst car you ever owned, "foreign" or "domestic?"

My VW gti, jetta and my passat. All three were major lemons bought new. I stopped buying Volkswagen’s and I never had another lemon.

Of all the cars I personally have had my name on the title, I’ve never really had a bad one in terms of reliability, which leaves me to choose my 98 Camry as the worst of the bunch. It has been reliable - that isn’t the problem. Most years it won’t cost me over $100 in repairs (some years worse). But it has rusted a bit more than any other vehicle I’ve had at the same age, the paint is flaking on the bumpers (not going to blame Toyota there, since they are repaired from a rear-ending that damaged front and back bumpers)… and the handling… could Toyota have made this vehicle feel any more sloppy on the road? Ugh. My 97 Taurus felt tight and composed by comparison, and that was NO sports car.

Of all the cars in our extended families, I’d have to say:

  1. 1974 Chevrolet Vega (enough said)
  2. 1987 Toyota Camry (was on its third engine at 120k - Toyota paid for them all, well outside of warranty, which earns serious brownie points… but still… and the vibrations that car had at idle were something else)
  3. 1979 Pontiac LeMans (trans failure at 9 years old)
  4. 2002 Toyota Prius (several thousand in repairs so far, not even counting the several thousand Toyota has ponied up outside of warranty, including a near two-month stay in the shop when they couldn’t even get the thing to turn on once).
  5. 1998 Toyota Corolla (actually a pretty good car, until it got possessed by electrical demons)

I can’t say that I’ve ever owned a Lemon type of car and I’ve owned about everything in the book. Some had a chronic issue here and there but overall none were bad no matter the make.

The most chronic headache I’ve had to wrestle is carburetor problems on Subarus back in the day; both customer cars and on one that I owned. Most used the Hitachi carburetor, a very few used a Carter Weber, and the former is probably the lousiest carb ever made. A gas drip on a sponge would have been a better option. :slight_smile:

Jt, there will always be bad cars. Federal requirements for safety and for emissions, combined with the dramatic changes in manufacturing technologies and materials, have definitely raised the bar gigher than most would have dreamed possible, and these things have applied to all cars, but I’m sure there’re still a few bad cars being produced. In a couple of years we’ll look back at a few and say “Good Lord, that was pathetic”.

When emission standards were introduced back in the 70’s all manufacturers had a problem with quality trying to meet the emission standards which was totally new to them. Some companies were able to adapt much faster then others.

Toyota cheated me with that car and I’ll never buy another; don’t care how good some believe that they may be.

Some believe they are good, because they did not share your bad experience. While I don’t blame you for the negative view, most had a good experience.

Here in Mexico, Nissan is considered a great car, and very reliable. The worst car I ever owned, by far, was a late 70’s Datsun (Nissan). Every time I spent a dollar on gas, I knew I’d be spending a dollar on repairs. Not maintenance items. Things like a switch down inside the a/c which required a complete a/c tear down. Terrible car.

When I bought it, it said 39,000 miles on odometer. I have wondered if it was 4,039,000 miles, but like you, I do not plan to ever buy another Nissan.

Toyota cheated me with that car and I'll never buy another; don't care how good some believe that they may be.

Back in the early 70’s even AMC made a better car then Toyota.

But Toyota (along with Nissan and Honda) learned and adapted. By the late 70’s the Japanese vehicles were making far more reliable vehicles then GM/Ford or Chryco. But they had a very bad reputation in the rust belt of rusting out prematurely. It was very common for a Toyota/Nissan/Honda to rust out long before it was mechanically unsound. Took them until the mid-80’s to finally solve that problem.

If the big-three had the luxury of making mid-size vehicles or larger…their quality might not have suffered. Instead because of the oil embargo of the mid-70’s forced them to build and sell much smaller vehicles. That and along with the newly introduced emission standards…The Big-4 started to suffer major quality problems. At the time they just didn’t know how to make a small reliable vehicle and still make a profit. The problem with profit was that the smaller the vehicle the less the profit/vehicle. The Japanese had a huge jump on the Big-4 with designing and building smaller vehicles. And that advantage let to them getting a big foothold here in the US and never letting go.

Toyota cheated me with that car and I'll never buy another....
I don't think you should go without a car just because of your experience with this one. You should be willing to buy another car, just maybe not a Toyota. ;)

When I bought my 1998 Civic, a friend of mine told me horror stories about his 1978 Civic. He said he would never own another Honda because of the problems he had with that car. Meanwhile, he has gone through three different cars because of things like transmission failure, catastrophic engine problems, and other high ticket repairs that approached the value of the vehicles, making them cost more to repair than they were worth. I’m still driving my 1998 Civic, and the only repairs I’ve had to do were minor items (exhaust manifold at 80,000 miles, radiator at 180,000 miles, and leaking rear brake cylinders at 210,000 miles). If I had followed my friend’s car buying advice, I’d have spent much more on my car(s) than I have on this one.

If I made my car buying decisions based on what cars were like 40 years ago, I’d never own another car … of any type!

 I have never had bad car.   

Sunbeam Imp 1965
WV Beetle 1970
VW Rabbit diesel 1969
Mazda RX7
VW 2002 New Beetle diesel

They were all good cars, all meet the needs I had at the time I had to make the choice. 

If you pick the right car and give it the right care, I believe most people can be equally happy. 

Chose the right car and keep it maintained.

2001 Volvo C70 Convertible.
Looked great drove like a bus. Imagine a small cool looking convertible with no power, huge turning radius, clunky handling and so-so brakes.
This was suppose to be my first near-luxury car but it was no more luxury than my old Excort GT. At least my Excort was fast.

Worst dom was an 85 Ply Voyager
Worst foriegn was an 80 Toyota pickup

All manufactures have there great cars and thier turds.

I bought an '81 Ford Thunderbird with about 35,000 miles that appeared to be in ‘cherry’ condition. Looks can be deceiving it seems. From the variable venturi carburetor to the automatic door locks to the fading paint that car was a pox on me. It would refuse to start for my wife but when I got there it fired up and run flawlessly. It suddenly overheated and blew the top hose off at the dead end of a narrow street in an ice storm.

My worst? Mercedes 190. In its last two years of ownership repair and maintenance costs easily exceeded new car payments for an equivalent car – our mechanic said part of the problem was that they are “built like no other” so repairs were hard to do.

72 Chevy Vega, used oil like crazy. Next, 79 Ford LTD, rust holes the size of basketballs, roof liner fell, transmission failed, all right after end of warranty of course. 95 or 96 Dodge mini van, transmission failed in warranty, after warranty, door locks would pop up and down while driving and other times all power steering fluid would drop on ground all at once. Refilled power steering and it would be fine until just dropping out again.

When I was going to college in the 60s, I bought a “low mileage” 1957 Plymouth six with a stick shift for about $300. Even though it only had 52,000 miles on it, the car systematically self destructed.

In a 2 year timespan, the windshield wiper motor failed, the engine started using oil prodigeously, the torsion bars on the suspension snapped, the front seat supports fell though the floor as a result of rust, the windshield leaked so bad I could have used wipers on the inside!. The rear view mirror was mounted on a stalk on the dash, an impossible situation, since it vibrated constantly like a tuning fork.

The steering was extremely sloppy, and those big tailfins were a constant source of amusement on the campus. I also needed a new starter and alternator.

I gave the car to my kid brother who was about to go to college, and who was a good shade tree mechanic. He had to replace the rear springs as well because of rust.

1974 Ford Maverick. What a POS. Granted, I did buy it used, (from a relative). I owned it for 4 months, and every month, there was another problem to be fixed. First month, the brakes. Second month, the carburator. Third month, the fuel tank started leaking. Fourth month, the brakes again. Sold it right after that.

Coming in at a close second is my 1977 MGB. I’ve probably spent as much time lying under the car as I have driving it, but being the slightly deranged person that I am, I absolutely love the car…

My parents bought my sister a 92 Chrysler LeBaron for probably 500 bucks. Worst car ever. The hood ripped every time you put the top down and water would constantly leak and fill up the trunk. I personally have only owned 2 cars and never had any serious trouble.

My worst car was a 74 Maverick. The 74 cars had a herkimer seat belt system that would’nd allow the start in any gear. In spite of work done by the dealers. My wife could start it easily and I couldn’t so I little experimentation found that the weight of her purse on the passenger seat would allow it to start. I started using a brick for weight. The body always felt like it was gonna fly off the chassis any minute. It rattled so much that that you couldn’t hear the front seat passenger talking.
I finally found that all four chassis shock mounts were loose at the chassis due to stretched mount rivets. I tried welding the mounts but the chassis was too brittle to hold a seam., I traded it in on a full size ford after 6 months and was happy to part with it.

1975 Fiat X19.