If you plan to live with a car for a long time, reliability is everything when you shop on the second-hand market. Look for the vehicles people rate high in initial quality and 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 way is checking 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 gives 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 model and year. They should be avoided at all costs.
1. Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
Heavy-duty Chevy Silverado models for 2015 and 2016 scored much lower than average on reliability surveys. The trouble with the vehicle’s suspension, body integrity (including cabin noises and leaks), and power equipment rated among common complaints. Consumer Reports also pointed to 2011 and 2012 models as troubled vehicles — featuring problems with their fuel and brake systems — when it comes to reliability.
2. Audi Q7
By 2015, Audi Q7 was going on a decade-long run without a full redesign. That changed for the following year, but the Q7 from the ’15 model year showed its age. Consumer Reports surveys showed problems in the brake system, audio components, and general body integrity. New models (2017 and later) showed remarkable improvements in these areas and won the Q7 top scores among midsize luxury SUVs.
3. Mini Countryman
Between the standard Mini Cooper and the Countryman, the 21st century has been a terrible era for the BMW sub-brand. Countryman from model years 2007 through 2011, along with 2015, had some of the worst reliability ratings a car could have. Transmissions problems factored heavily here. In 2014, Consumer Reports named Mini the least reliable car brand in the U.S. market.