13 Most Unreliable Used Cars You Must Avoid Buying in 2024

You might want to steer clear of these models when shopping for a used car.
Updated April 9, 2024
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Buying a used car can be a great option if you are trying to get ahead financially, but some models are better than others.

You might find that specific models have problems after years of wear and tear, for example. Other cars may have issues right from the start.

Check your list of potential used cars and think twice if one of these models is on your list.

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Dodge Grand Caravan

Konstantin/Adobe family passenger red Dodge Grand Caravan

Minivans like the Dodge Grand Caravan can be an affordable option for a family who needs space. But this vehicle comes with some major drawbacks.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says the 2020 Caravan doesn’t have very good headlights. It also noted that while the minivan did have anchors for car seats, they were hard to find or stuck too deep in the seat to access.

Audi Q7

bilanol/Adobe silver audi standing in street

The Audi Q7 may seem like a luxury choice for an SUV, but you also may have to deal with some not-so-luxurious issues.

The model has had documented issues with its suspension and brakes. Drivers have also complained about problems such as electrical glitches and air conditioning issues.

Jeep Wrangler

Gabe Shakour/Adobe Red Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

The Jeep Wrangler has been noted for issues with its engine and brakes, as well as exterior problems with body hardware and paint.

Consumer Reports also says the Wrangler can have water leaks around the top and the windows.

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Ford Bronco Sport

jetcityimage/Adobe Ford Bronco Sport at dealership

Ford resurrected the Ford Bronco name with a new model in 2021, followed by the Ford Bronco Sport for drivers who wanted a more sporty trim.

But the Bronco Sport has been plagued with issues such as problems with the engine, brakes, and transmission, as well as air and water leaks.

Tesla Model 3

Taina Sohlman/Adobe White Tesla Model3 on Rural Highway

Teslas have become more in demand as drivers take on electric vehicles instead of buying gas-powered cars.

But Tesla has also gotten a reputation for expensive repairs with lengthy delays. That could add up to higher costs if you have to wait for months for a part to arrive and need to rely on a rental vehicle in the meantime.

Fiat 500

pixarno/Adobe fiat 500 pearly color in street

The small Fiat 500 will stand out in a crowd of typical sedans. However, the two-door car doesn’t have a reputation for being reliable.

It can also be tough to find parts in the U.S. for a vehicle that doesn’t have a large dealer presence or repair network.

Dodge Dart

vector_master/Adobe Black Dodge Dart car on street

The Dodge Dart has some stylish lines that may make it look nice. However, the Dart has a history of durability issues.

Dodge also discontinued making the car with its 2016 model, so you might have problems finding replacement parts.

Jeep Compass

Виталий Сова/Adobe red Jeep Compass parked on street

The recent 2023 model of the Jeep Compass had a recall for electrical issues. Some models fail to display information such as the speedometer reading and warning lights.

Previous models also had issues with transmissions, suspension, and steering.

Mini Cooper

Grigory Bruev/Adobe Red mini cooper With White Stripes

The Mini Cooper has a British flair with a unique compact design that will make heads turn. But while it looks great, it lacks cargo space if you need to transport anything.

In addition, the vehicle has a reputation for having maintenance issues.

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Mercedes-Benz GLE

art_zzz/Adobe driver in Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz GLE may be near the top of your list if you are looking for a luxury SUV. But you might want to consider other options instead.

The 2020 GLE had 11 recalls for issues with the electrical system software, electrical wiring, and body panel. Make sure those recalls were completed before you buy a model from that year.

Toyota CH-R

pixarno/Adobe grey Toyota CH-R

The Toyota CH-R was recently discontinued by Toyota, but you’ll still be able to find some models on the used car market.

It may be a good idea to steer clear of them, however. U.S. News says this vehicle has a subpar powertrain.

Chevrolet Tahoe

art_zzz/Adobe Chevrolet Tahoe

Consumer Reports says the 2021 version of the Chevrolet Tahoe had major engine issues. The 2022 version had built-in electrics that were worse than in previous years.

So, think twice about buying the Tahoe.

Volvo XC60

Belogorodov/Adobe Volvo XC60 at mountain

Volvo has a reputation for making safe cars, and the Volvo XC60 is no exception. Previous models have earned a Top Safety Pick rating for previous models by the IIHS.

However, Consumer Reports has noted that the compact SUV has had issues with reliability. The vehicle has been recalled for issues with its electrical system and engine cooling problems.

Bottom line

rh2010/Adobe couple choosing luxury car

Used cars can be a good option if you’re trying to save money so you can move beyond living paycheck to paycheck. But it is important to choose the right model.

The cars on this list do not have a history of being reliable. So, before heading to the dealership, you might want to cross these options off your list.

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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.

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