If you plan to live with a car for a long time, reliability means everything when you shop on the used market. Look for the vehicles people rate high in initial quality and later report as dependable once they have a few years and at least 20,000 miles on them. By then, you start to see whether an auto investment will pay off or whether you bought a lemon.
Another approach is seeing which cars rate the worst. There are some variables — including how you drive or how often you drive — that could lead to a well-built vehicle wearing down before its time. However, when a wide range of consumers give a car poor marks on reliability, you’re better off steering clear of them when buying used.
Consumer Reports did the auto shopper a big favor when it rounded up the poorest models of the past decade to be found on the secondhand market. Here are 30 of the worst used cars you will come across, listed by specific model year. They should be avoided at all costs.
1. Chrysler Town & Country
Most reviews suggest the redesigned Chrysler Pacifica is a great minivan to buy. However, since Consumer Reports recommends giving an all-new model a year or two to settle in, consumers might wait until 2018. According to the returns on the Town & Country, reliability has been very bad with Chrysler minivans in the past. Models from 2008 through 2012 rated much worse than average. That holds for Grand Caravan, which is the same vehicle with a Dodge badge and a few minor tweaks.