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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2011
    Posts
    1,213

    Default Bad/Lemon Cars: Your Experience

    I think we've all had at least one. That car that was a death trap, money-eating machine, and/or you just plain hated.

    So what is yours? Mine was a used 1999 Ford Contour I had the misfortune to own for a year. My Contour fell under the death trap category. A couple months into my ownership the car decided it would be fun to randomly shut off in traffic. One second - running. Next second - praying the 15 cars behind you didn't rear end you as you, like a fool, drift to a stop and have to turn it off and turn it back on to get it running again.

    The car always came right back on after it shut off. It didn't happen all the time. Maybe once every couple of weeks, and without any warning. We never did figure out what was wrong with it before I unloaded the jerk.

    It also developed a habit for shredding timing belts. I owned the car for one year. I put TWO timing belts into it. Remember when a cassette tape would jam into a cassette player, and you'd have that stringy black tape coming out of the cassette? That's what the timing belts would look like after my Contour was done with them, stringy black tape.

    Oh, and the alternator went. That decided to go when I was about to drive two hours to attend a wedding. Needless to say, I missed the wedding. Thanks, Contour!

    I.hated.that.car. I still shudder and think it's a harbinger of the devil whenever I see a Contour. Especially a white one, which is what my car was.

    So there's my bad car story. Let's commiserate and reflect with humor on our not-so-fun vehicle owning experiences!
    *Wendy* 4.17.73 - 12.20.05



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 3, 2010
    Posts
    179

    Default

    A 2006 Ford Mustang. The transmission went out at 65k...I was NOT a happy camper. It also had a leaky trunk, and a few other problems.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2012
    Posts
    155

    Default

    A BEAUTIFUL blue with white top Z-28! Ordered it even to fit our specs. Fun to drive and just look at.

    The convertible top leaked from the first rain storm! When we looked at the top we could see the problem. The top/vinyl was cut too short and did not overlap the window class like it should.

    We took that car to three different dealers for a total of 10 trips. We had the third visit in the first 3 months.

    After the 3rd dealer tried to "fix" the problem we were DONE with the car. I just wanted it gone. I had asked for a new top after the 2nd dealer looked at it. "Oh no we just need to adjust the top frame and windows."

    I started the lemon program and all of the sudden Chevy wanted to give us a new top! Sorry too late! The car was declared a lemon and they had to give us ALL of our money back since we had the 3rd visit within 3 months!

    We drove that car for 3 yrs (just not in the rain LOL) for many miles and only paid a small amount in interest for the loan.

    No more brand new cars for us! Buy a year or so old and look at the service records REAL close!

    Kim


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2004
    Location
    Houston, Tx
    Posts
    1,028

    Default

    Multiple Jeep Cherokees. Loved the car (which why I owned more than one), both had many many little problems. Granted - this was in the late 80's and 90's. Also had the pleasure of owning a few of the 6.0 ford desiels that had turbo's and fuel injector problems...



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    10,660

    Default

    My first car (White VW estate) cost me £1000 to buy... and probably another £3000 or £4000 over the years I had it.

    It ate springs. I replaced all of them, one side twice. It boiled the battery dry and almost killed me. It had an oil leak that we could never find. It never cost me less than £100 per MOT (compulsory yearly safety inspection.) I owned it for six years and while I loved it, it cost me a fortune.

    I drove it down this hill in the dark/rain. Made it down safely then found out the next day that the brakes weren't working properly.

    I'm really surprised that it didn't kill me.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2011
    Posts
    881

    Default

    Jeep Cherokee, mid 80's model. Altenator went out and had me walking down the highway with our son who was just a bit over two, in the dark, at 6:30 am. What made that worse was two, yes two, law enforcement cars went by and did not stop but a nice lady did and took us on in to town to the store so I could call someone.

    Oil leaks galore, always from a different spot. Sometimes would not go into gear. AC may or may not work. Even the radio was spotty.

    Traded it for the only car I have ever had, which was great mechanically but I hated it because it was a car. At least I knew it would not leave me sitting.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2011
    Posts
    881

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by f4leggin View Post
    Multiple Jeep Cherokees. Loved the car (which why I owned more than one), both had many many little problems. Granted - this was in the late 80's and 90's. Also had the pleasure of owning a few of the 6.0 ford desiels that had turbo's and fuel injector problems...
    I had one of those Jeeps too.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    NorthEast
    Posts
    24,661

    Default

    Lemon cars are tough...because many times the make and model aren't lemons so much as a single year was, or a single engine, etc.

    My worst (new) car was a Nissan Maxima. Not so much a lemon as it was cheap, cheap cheap! And poorly designed. IIRC...it was a 2000? So a while back and most likely has changed since then. They souped up the engine too much for the size/weight of the car and the damned thing went NOWHERE in wet conditions. Rain or snow. And if you got the thing going...it didn't really stop. And a shopping cart almost totalled it...cheap-ass side panels.
    Funny/sad part was...2 weeks after I got rid of it in 2002 and was driving my new lease in the season's first flurries...I was stopped at a red light and a Maxima hit the back of the SUV. Unable to stop. Was going *maybe* 5-10 mph...driven by an elderly couple. It bumped into us, didn't slam into us.
    Car was totalled. Hood was folded up over the roof, one tire was sideways, engine dropped out. (they're supposed to to prevent entering the cabin, but this was a freaking fender bender in slo-mo!) Nobody hurt, but this was the couple's FIRST new car. I felt horrible for them. And my vehicle? The tail light cover was broken. That's it.

    One of our best vehicles ever was a 1994 Jeep Grand Limited. Finally donated it's carcass a couple years ago. With over 300k miles on it. Had 1 set of brakes and replaced the AC system. That was it other than tires. Went through anything, ran like a charm. We hammered on that poor thing too. Drove it like a rented mule. It even did double duty as a tractor our first year with acreage, LOL! I almost cried when she was towed away.

    Now we have a great 2004 Ford 500....fantastic car. Over 200k miles on it. Will be sad to replace it when that happens. Love the AWD, goes anywhere in any weather.

    Oldest daughter has a 2009 (I think, maybe 2008?) Chevy Equinox. Thing is a POS! Everything has either gone on it or isn't working right. She's been stuck broken down in it multiple times. She did buy it used, 2 years old, low miles. But a friend has the same one, same year or a year off, and has the same problems. Maybe it's that year? Not sure.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 28, 2003
    Location
    Hollywood, but not the one where they have the Oscars!
    Posts
    7,618

    Default

    89 Pontiac Le Mans.....oy
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2007
    Location
    Camden, DE
    Posts
    1,948

    Default

    This thread makes me laugh a bit because I have always sworn (as an avid Jeep fan and owner) that Jeeps have a mind of their own. I owned a 2005 Wrangler for awhile and it never let me down. If it did, it was due to my error (it was decently modified). SO has a '97 Cherokee that will. not. die. But don't get me wrong, it has it's quirks, but that is to be expected at 200,000 miles I can say that I am lucky enough to have never had a Lemon car.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2008
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    2,035

    Default

    01 Olds Alero. My parents, in an act of desperation and extreme generosity, bought it for me brand new to replace the '95 neon that I had bought as my first car- the neon was a pile of utter crap and they felt very badly that I'd worked so hard (and sold my horse) to get such a dangerous, unreliable vehicle. If only we'd known!

    It was just a nightmare from the start. OEM rotors were awful and under completely average driving conditions needed replacing at every 10k- if you were lucky. I didn't know much about cars at the time and had bought the thing from a close friends family dealership, so I felt that they were trying to do right by me replacing with OEM rotors every time. Lots and lots of "routine" maintenance issues that came up far, far too often- I had the car for 75k and had to have the bearings replaced (not repacked- replaced) 5 TIMES. Friend's Dad, at one point, had the gall to tell me that the car had just been "too much car for a young person". When asked to elaborate, he said newer cars needed more maintenance because of the "advanced technology" and that because that maintenance was expensive, newer cars were best suited to older people with established finances who could afford it. (Dad, for the record, really is a wonderful human being, and several years later we discussed this statement- after he had gotten rid of the dealership he'd owned for 30+ years. He said he was just tired of selling an inferior product to good, hard working people. And he apologized for saying that to me. )

    Things started to get really bad after 60k, which is of course when the warranty was up. Like OPs car, it would randomly die in traffic- no warning, just cruising along at 65 one second, coasting and praying the next. This was extra fun in a black car on the expressway at night. I had to ditch it in a snow bank or friendly looking sod pile more than once. Big heavy car with crappy brakes minus power = very difficult to stop. I discovered towards the end that if it stalled out, I could smack it hard with the palm of my hand in the center of the dash and it would restart. Explain THAT "advanced technology" to me. Endless compounding issues caused by poor fit & finish in the underside- water got in EVERYWHERE and did amazing amounts of damage. Poor fit & finish on the interior as well- stuff just started falling off. I got smacked in the head by the falling interior light a few times. Starter & fuel pump went frequently. Transmission issues started popping up. On and on. I started leaving it unlocked in hopes that someone would steal it.

    When it got really REALLY bad, I dragged it to a very trusted mechanic who I'd been avoiding taking it to as they're almost 80 miles away from home. Two days later, when my guy called me and said that to be safe and sound it'd take around $5500 worth of work, I had him do the bare minimum to drive it off the place and drove it straight to a dealer. Left with a Mazda 3 and never looked back.

    That was my LAST american car. I know some manufacturers have come back from those days, when shoddy manufacturing and design seemed to be the name of the game, but between the Mazda & the current subaru i've spent less on maintenance and issues in 8ish years than I did on the previous three american branded vehicles in 5, less by VOLUMES.
    bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
    free bar.ka and tidy rabbit



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