Home » What Universally-Regarded-As-Reliable Car Was UNreliable For You? Or Vice-Versa?

What Universally-Regarded-As-Reliable Car Was UNreliable For You? Or Vice-Versa?

Aa Reliable
ADVERTISEMENT

“Get a Toyota.” These mere three words, sliced from our language with an economy and precision only Hemingway could match, represented the totality of my late father-in-law’s car-buying advice. A Chevy man since WWII, he came around (as so many did) to the value and reliability of Japanese cars as the Malaise Era was delivering peak ennui and the imports were striving to build top-quality machines. He acknowledged the superior reliability and durability of Japanese brands in general, but high above them all was Toyota. Looking for a truck? Get a Toyota. You need an economy car? Get a Toyota. Something sporty? Get a Toyota. Premium sedan? Get a Toyota (a Cressida, specifically). Because reliability. You can’t go wrong with a Toyota!

Aa Fiat Camry
FACT: someone, somewhere is sick of getting stranded by their Camry, and there’s at least one guy on the planet with an unkillable Fiat Brava.

But of course, sometimes you can go wrong with a Toyota, or any other super definitely reliable brand. And the inverse is also true: examples of brands and models that “everyone knows” are totes unreliable still have their proponents that will tell you they can, in fact, be counted on. Tony does not have to fix it again!

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

And so, The Autopian Asks: what universally-regarded-as-reliable car was unreliable for you–or vice-versa?

To the comments!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
166 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Myk El
Myk El
11 months ago

Honestly never had a problem with a normally reliable car being unreliable. But keeping up on maintenance does help.

Tommy Helios
Tommy Helios
11 months ago

I had rather good luck with a series of VW mk3 Jetta/golfs. All were bought used and flipped eventually to fund the next purchase. When I tell people I’ve owned 20+ of them they ask me why I would buy so many awful lemons. Really other than rust they were all great cars.

Josh Jones
Josh Jones
11 months ago

I doubt any of you will believe me, but the indicators on my BMW X4 work perfectly, and I use them almost every time I drive.

Thatmiataguy
Thatmiataguy
11 months ago

My 2003 Miata was like one of David’s 4 liter Jeeps: supposedly reliable, but seems to need a lot more work than that would entail.

I used to say that the only part of the driveline of my miata that never gave me trouble was the differential. Everything else needed work.

In no particular order, here is some of the stuff I replaced on that car in 3 years of ownership:

Clutch, Flywheel, Rear Main sealRebuilt the shifterCoils, plug wires, spark plugsRubber damper on the differential input shaftIntake manifold (broken tumbler valves)Front crankshaft seal, oil pumpIntake Cam VVT actuator2x window regulators2x brake calipersThis is really only 20% of the money I spent on that car, but even after all that it never stopped leaking oil and transmission fluid. The ignition system seemed to be severely underspeced as well and it never ran as smoothly as it should have.

The car was a money pit and I should have given up long before the piston rings gave up due to the poor cooling system design (coolant doesn’t flow all the way from front to back on those engines).

It’s true what they say about the miata (ND2 exempted): the engine is just the thing that lets you enjoy the miata’s cornering ability.

Last edited 11 months ago by Thatmiataguy
Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
11 months ago

My experience was second hand with family. While 4 cylinder Volvo 140 and 240 series cars are regarded as stone reliable the six cylinder cars weren’t. My grandfather had a 71 or 72 Volvo 164 that was very troublesome although our 74 164E was pretty solid. A friend foolishly bought a 264 in the early 80s and also regretted it.
Similarly the pre W202 Mercedes S class is considered pretty tough UT our W108 250S was a,problem child and threw a rod while mom was driving a car pool

Steve Schriefer
Steve Schriefer
11 months ago

A buddy of mine had a Geo Metro. His wife said he could only get a “new” car if his Metro died. We drained the oil at work one night and thought it would be a quick death. It ran like that for well over a year and only died in a rear end accident. We gather it must have had the design tolerances of a Kalashnikov rifle.

Don Mynack
Don Mynack
11 months ago

Your buddy seems like a real asshole for doing that, just saying.

AKA Rukh
AKA Rukh
11 months ago

My used ’99 Crown Vic “Chief’s Special” (basically a fully optioned civilian Vic with the heavy duty P71 police interceptor stuff optioned too). I thought “thousands of police departments can’t be wrong.” Mine came with a stopleaked-to-death intake manifold coolant crossover leak that the dealership neglected to mention – the ’99 4.6l had a plastic intake manifold with a plastic crossover that was insanely prone to cracking and leaking. 2 weeks after I bought it, the stopleak became “stopflow” and the intake manifold let go. All the coolant in my engine decided to evacuate into the atmosphere and the upper end of the engine. In addition I had a consistent issue with the #7 coilpack. It was cushy, but probably my last Ford product.

Dan Parker
Dan Parker
11 months ago

My old ’93 toyota pickup was a massive pain in my ass, probably the least reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned. But hey, at least the parts were ungodly expensive and it was a nightmare to work on. So it had that going for it I guess. Still loved it, and to be fair it was at least 15 years old with 220k+ miles on it when I had it.

I had a ’98 M-Roadster around the same time and it never missed a beat. Just basic maintenance that was cheap and easy to do.

M K
M K
11 months ago

1985 Renault Alliance. Unkillable. You would not expect that from a Renault/AMC partnership. Absolutely the most reliable car I have ever owned….even years after I parked it behind the barn, it had sunken into the earth and the animals had reclaimed it as their own.. It started right up with a jump-start, idling perfectly.

166
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x