Most unreliable car ???

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MB Enthusiast
Mar 30, 2007
North Wilts
XC60 MY2014 SeLux Nav plus lot and lots of toys...
What's the most unreliable car you've owned?

For me it has to be either a 1972 Renault 16 - I think the AA planned their day around my journeys or a brand new ( my first) 1980 Alfa Romeo Guilietta. Came with warped discs. Needed a new gearbox after 3 months. Engine seized after 6 months. Car sold after 9 months.

Oh and my current one is heading up the list. Auto shut off valve replaced 3 times and now going in today for crankshaft bearing replacement. So why do I still love it. ?????
No brainer for me;

Audi A6 2.5 TDi.
All within a year-
Gearbox recon
Front suspension arms
Starter motor
N/S window regulator

And then after all this

The cam belt snapped!!!!:mad::mad::mad:
Mercedes C32AMG 02 reg.

Broke down three times in a month with an engine that was revving to 3500rpm while at slow speed or stationary (not for long, the brakes could hardly contain it, parking up was a nightmare). Dumped it straightaway, a brand new car should not need a new ECU, and I took it to be a sign of pain to come.
1964 Hillman unmitigated disaster.
Never bought a British car again !

VW Beetle
VW 1600 Fastback
VW 1600 Fastback (again)
Nissan Sunny
Nissan Bluebird
Volvo 240GLT
Daihatsu Charade (wife)
Volvo 440 GLT (wife)
Audi 100 5 cylinder diesel
Toyota Yaris (wife)
Mercedes W202 diesel
Mercedes W202 estate petrol
Mercedes W202 estate diesel
Mercedes W210 estate diesel

Happy Motoring since 1965 !!

Mine was a Vauxhall Cavalier Diplomat purchased second hand with about 45000 miles from a respected dealer. Seems like the recent service invoice that came with the documentation must have been a fake......

First the discs went, down to the metal after about 2000 miles. Then the cambelt, supposedly recently changed but looking like it had been in there for years, gave up the ghost on the M23, then the auto box packed in, an expensive replacement, then a high pressure fuel line cracked and started spraying petrol over the engine, fortunately when it was cold, finally the alternator went on a cold winter night when I was 150 miles from home. That was the last straw so I sold it.

Since owning Mercs I've had very few reliability issues and have never been stranded.
'99 Jaguar S Type V8. The list of problems I, and most people had, is long.
W203 C180. One of the very early german built 203s. Total disaster.
New dash screen
New keys
New ignition switch
New "brain" in the boot.
Front suspension bushes.
Bits of alarm system replaced
Climate faulty. New flaps and other bits.
The common thread was the electronics. It would randomly leave you unable to unlock it or if you did get in it would not start. We were on first name terms with the mobilo and enterprise guys.
According to the dealer it had £6000 worth of warranty work in the first 3 years.
At one point my wife was in the crowded dealer reception when they were making their excuses yet again and had to say in a very loud voice that she did not want the car back until they had finally fixed it properly. At that point they seemed to get their act together and it was finally sorted.
SWMBO bought a Peugeot 106, all nice and shiny new. Fine for the 1st 8 months. Then the gearbox seized, and got dragged off to a Peugeot dealer, who replaced the gearbox with one that sounded like it was full of nails, claimed it wasn't covered under warranty, but couldn't explain why the original had failed after 8 months, 4 k miles.

A few phone calls and letters(!) got the warranty back in place, and the 2nd gearbox replaced replaced with one only marginally less noisy.

Roll on 6 months, and the fitting of gearbox no.5, which was not noisy, but simply misfitted to the extent that the flywheel sheared off within 2 miles of leaving the garage.

Peugeot bought the car back, doing the decent thing after considerable prodding.
Without doubt my new then Volvo 440GLT.
Broke down twice in the first two weeks, then in the first 5 weeks it had....gearbox, next day...electric mirrors, then continued with electric windows, mirrors again, windows again, rear axle alignment, cracked exhaust, drivers door sheared off at check strap/hinge, electric windows again...and then windows again, followed by a wheel bearing.

Not a bad list to say it only lasted 16 months.
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1964 Hillman unmitigated disaster.

Ditto - except mine was a 1967 model. Taught me a lot about engines though.....
Mine was a Vauxhall Cavalier Diplomat

Funny as that is the most reliable car I had apart from my 124s
It was very juicy and I mean very but never had any problems
I've never had a real disaster.
I've obviously been lucky.
Especially as I've only ever bought older cars (Some of them very old).

We ran 3 Rover SD1s over a number of years.
Nice idea - But under-engineered.
They taxed my patience a bit.
Even so ... We took the 3500 Vitesse through France over the Pyrenees and on to Santander ......... And back.
It got us there and back.
We didn't do so bad.
Top of my list:
1966 Vauxhall HA Viva SL 90. Paid £90 for it (it had been a write off due to an internal fire). 126k miles when I bought it and lots more when I sold it after an engine transplant, a couple of clutches, several carburettors, distributors, brake drums & calipers and wheel bearings along the way with a bit of welding thrown in too. All work done by me, apart from the welding, and all parts sourced at the local scrappers (apart from the clutch plates). Sold for £120.

It was also the cheapest motoring I've ever experienced and taught me a lot about car mechanics. Man, how I loved my first car! :)

Maybe 20 cars later:

Close runner up:
2008 MB SLK, from new: New diff, replaced air con, new window mech. Now two weeks out of warranty and the window mech is grumbling again. :(
I bought a 1996/P MK1 Mondeo 2.5 V6 24v auto in 2005 just after selling an expensive motor - just until I could decide what I wanted next.

It had done 124,000 miles and was a CAT D (minor off side quarter damage) but cost £900.

The lesson learnt here was if you are going to buy a dirtbox, ensure it has the middle or small engine!

It went on to need:

- New exhaust (which looked like it was designed by someone who liked to use a lot of metal and wasn't cheap).

- New alternator (which took 5 hours to change due to the V shape of the engine and the fact it was tucked right underneath the V). A lot of fun breaking down on December 26th on the M1 when it is snowing.

- New water pump (not too bad to fix).

- Other bits which broke; aircon died but I didn't bother fixing it, the fuel flap catch stopped releasing meaning I had to force it open, then use a piece of tape to hold it shut...

- Then I didn't use it for a period of about 5 months after moving house and when I did start to use it, I thought "great, it still works" only shortly after on that first test drive after its hibernation, I could see smoke lit up in the lights of the car behind. I assumed it had an oil leak and took it in to be repaired. They offered a bodge or proper fix (£150 vs. £600) and that was to the ATF coolant pipe running to the radiator which was leaking. Opted for bodge and after a 200 mile round trip not long after, it gradually wouldn't change into 5th, then 4th and eventually 3rd. I was stuck doing 50mph in 2nd gear on the M11 and M25.

Sold it for £200 with the problem after owning it for 2+1/4 years.
My most unreliable car was probably also my favourite as well.
It gave me an enormous amount of driving pleasure and many was the time I would take off just for the shear joy of it.
And yet it needed copious amounts of attention and care to keep it running and on song.
Winter mornings were the worst. Whether it would start was in the lap of the Gods and many was the time I had to bump start it down the hill I lived on.
But once it has started it was like a dream on wheels.
And the car ? ?
A Lotus Elan.
Bought from main dealer and owned for 6 months, during which time it spent a total of 2 months back at the dealers getting fixed.
Issue with the door sensor meant that I couldn't lock it for 2 months without the alarm going off.
Blown VVC unit seal.
Blown head gasket
Repeated fuse failures resulting in loss of all electric including power steering.
On one visit after I had pushed the car into the dealership with the help of an AA man following the blown head gasket they told me that they didn't have any courtesy cars I could use to get home. I promptly walked into the show room and started talking to customers until the service manager gave me his own car to use.
Car was later returned to me with parts of the engine still in the boot!
Ended up getting compensation from the dealer before I traded it in for an Audi, losing a small fortune in the process. The sad thing was it was BRG with cream leather interior, 160bhp, mid engined and rear wheel drive so it looked great and was actually quite a laugh to drive, but a complete dog to own.
It's no wonder they went bust!!
Worst car I ever owned was a Mercedes E320CDI bought for £20k and kept 4yrs till the finance ran out.
Problems were not all electronic,there were a number, but electrial switches too are a disaster especially the Zennon lights. in the 4 yrs of ownership I covered 6000 miles got to the stage of not using it being unsure if it would get me home..
My Best car was a Ford Granada 2.5 diesel 86 covered 260K miles till some no brainer stole it and burned her out.bought it new and only needed one clutch,engine never touched. They were not popular cars but I loved that car and never let me down...
John Martin
Welcome John. Did you mean you only drive / drove 6000 miles in 4 years? Surely a hire car for the days you used it would have made more economic sense. :D
no laughing please i bought a brand new austin maxi tax free when i was in germany half price to uk first service at 1000 miles 1 brake pad each side was nearly down to metal the other pad was as new discs warped 2 months later layshaft bearing in gear box noisy then the alternator went and finaly the dreaded austin tappet rattle and all this before it was 6 months old and this was additional to the speedo not working when i collected it from bremerhaven docks and when the sun shone on the car the drivers door was a slightly different colour to the rest of the car

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