10 Cars With the Most Horrible Engines of All Time

A set of camshafts out of a turbo diesel motor await their new donor motor | iStock

From econoboxes to luxury cars, there have been some serious stinkers over the years. Plagued with everything from recalls for door latches and exploding airbags, to transmissions locking up and engines exploding, it can feel like there are too many components on a car that can go wrong.

But of all the issues you can run into, having a doomed motor is perhaps one of the worst. It doesn’t matter if you have two cylinders or twelve, eventually a major component is going to grenade and leave you stranded. And while most cars will have 100,000 miles or more on their odometer before troubles start, certain engines suffer from birth defects right from the get-go.

Whether it’s due to poor engineering, materials, assembly techniques, or any combination of the three, crappy engines can quickly ruin the joy of automotive ownership while doubling as an albatross for the automaker. Which raises and important question: What are some of the worst engines ever made?

We’ve taken a look at the worst of the worst and come up with the biggest offenders. But instead of focusing on just classic engines or modern mistakes, we’ve created a collage that focuses on both. These engines didn’t need to be a recall disaster; some were prone to catastrophic failure from day one, while others just plain under-delivered.

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