11 Used Cars That Are Really (Really) Bad Deals

Put the brakes on driving one of these used cars off the lot.
Updated July 2, 2023
Fact checked
worried young girl holding her head in hands is standing infront of her red car that got out of order.

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

You might be in the market for a used car so you can keep more money in your bank account — and in that case, you should really avoid certain vehicles.

Which vehicles should you be avoiding, and why? Here are some cars that, for different reasons, could be a terrible idea to bring home from a used car dealer.

2015 Ford Fiesta

StockPhotoPro/Adobe Handsome young man with his hand on cheeks is worried about his car

Why you should avoid it: Mechanical issues

The Fiesta can be a great small sedan when it works properly, but this particular model has issues with transmission mounts and regularly needs strut replacements.

Those types of repairs can add up significantly over the car’s remaining lifetime. Over the long haul, affordability depends on reliability.

2020 Nissan 370Z

Krakenimages.com/Adobe Young hispanic man is stressed while driving car because his car is cosuming too much fuel.

Why you should avoid it: Weak infotainment and safety features

The 2020 Nissan 370Z may look cool and sporty, but the inside leaves much to be desired.

The car lacks a good infotainment system for the amount of money you may have to pay for it, and it lacks safety features that you would expect from other cars of this age.

2008 and 2010-12 Chrysler Town & Country

Prostock-studio/Adobe A middle aged man driving his car is looking upset due to traffic jam

Why you should avoid it: Overall reliability

You may be in the market for a minivan, but be sure to check on other models before settling on a Town & Country.

Models from 2008 and 2010-12 can be very unreliable, according to CarComplaints.com, particularly when it comes to its electrical systems.

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser

Alfons Photographer/Adobe Middle aged man wearing glasses is waiting for traffic lights to turn green.

Why you should avoid it: Low fuel economy

A 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser is probably not the best car for you if you want good fuel economy. When you’re shopping, compare its miles per gallon with other SUVs.

You might be surprised at how low the Land Cruiser’s gas mileage (13 for city driving and 17 for highway driving) is compared to 2020 Ford Explorers (18 and 24) or Chevrolet Blazers (18 and 25).

2011-14 Hyundai Sonata

Szasz-Fabian Jozsef/Adobe A young pensive women is getting mad at her out of order car

Why you should avoid it: Engine failure

Hyundai’s 2.0- and 2.4-liter Theta II engines were so notorious for failures and other issues that owners filed a class action lawsuit against the company. The suit was eventually settled, and Honda reimbursed drivers for certain repairs.

If you do decide to go with this model, it will be important to see the previous maintenance history and check for engine issues.

2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Krakenimages.com/Adobe Young caucasian man is very stressed to see the road accident while driving his car.

Why you should avoid it: Engine issues

You may be in the market for a pickup truck, and there are plenty of good options to choose from in the U.S. After all, the top three best-selling new cars in the country in 2022 were pickups.

However, the 2007 Chevy Silverado 1500 has been known to experience engine issues, including excessive oil consumption. So it may be best to steer clear of this truck.

2015 Honda Civic Hybrid

DimaBerlin/Adobe Stressed girl with headache touching forehead with hand is displeased with heat inside vehicle

Why you should avoid it: Brake issues and limited space

Honda Civics are popular vehicles, and you may be enticed to buy a hybrid version to test out the combustion and electric engine combination.

Unfortunately, problems with this model’s ABS braking system could cause issues with braking in bad weather conditions.

You’ll also have to deal with less space, as the battery for the electric engine takes up space in the back seat and trunk.

2016 Jeep Compass

deagreez/Adobe unhappy cute young lady driver sit putting her face and hands on steering wheel,looking at traffic jam.

Why you should avoid it: Lacks features

A 2016 Jeep Compass may be a good option if you’re just looking for an SUV with some basic options to get you from one place to another.

But you should look for something else if you want to grab a used SUV with more than the bare bones. The base model lacks power window controls and power door locks.

2010 Volkswagen Jetta

Anela R/peopleimages.com/Adobe Frustrated black man is calling his auto-mechanic after his vehical breakdown for motor.

Why you should avoid it: Overall reliability issues

Small problems seem to add up for the Jetta.

Many Jettas are reported to be unreliable, but the 2010 model of the vehicle is known to be especially shoddy. Drivers have reported unreliable audio systems, power systems, climate controls, and more.

To avoid repeated headaches, keep the 2010 Jetta off your list.

2015 Audi Q7

Prostock-studio/Adobe Sad businessman driving alone in his new car and missing his family.

Why you should avoid it: Engine and electrical issues

The 2015 Q7 is more luxurious than the typical SUV, but the issues you may encounter are no luxury.

This was the last year of the Q7 before a major redesign, and it’s easy to see why with so the issues that crop up. Drivers report engine and electrical issues.

If you want an Audi Q7, find a more recent model on the used car lot.

2002 Ford Explorer

DimaBerlin/Adobe Middle aged women suffering from anxiety is lying on steering wheel frustrated,feeling scared to drive

Why you should avoid it: Transmission and drivetrain issues

The Ford Explorer is one of the best-selling SUVs in the United States, but some versions are better than others.

The 2002 model, in particular, is known to have issues with its transmission and drivetrain. Since Explorers have been on the market for decades, you should be able to steer clear of the 2002 version when looking for a new car.

Bottom line

Drazen/Adobe Adult woman holding bill feeling shocked with expense of car repairing in a workshop. Automachanic is standing with his tools in the background.

Remember to factor in expenses besides the vehicle when buying a used car on a budget. Some vehicles might not be worth it in the long run.

In general, find ways to lower your car costs by staying on top of maintenance and comparing auto insurance rates to find the lowest price.

  • You could save up to $500 with some companies
  • Compare dozens of providers in under 5 minutes
  • Fast, free and easy way to shop for insurance
  • Quickly find the perfect rate for you

Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

Want to learn how to make an extra $200?

Get proven ways to earn extra cash from your phone, computer, & more with Extra.

You will receive emails from FinanceBuzz.com. Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

  • Vetted side hustles
  • Exclusive offers to save money daily
  • Expert tips to help manage and escape debt