The List of Lemon Cars You Need to Read Before Heading to the Dealer

Have you had the misfortune of buying a lemon car in the past? Well, it may have had less to do with luck and more with not doing the necessary research and investigation that would steer you clear of models that have a higher potential of being lemons. There’s bound to be the occasional car that gets great overall reviews, but is actually a lemon once you buy it and you end up having to report it. But with the internet and other resources available to you, it’s possible to protect yourself if you end up with a lemon car.


Steer Clear of Trouble with our List of Lemon Cars

We’ve got eight cars on our list that consistently have problems and should be avoided. It helps to know how to spot potential problems in any car when you’re trying to determine whether it will be a good buy. A thorough investigation of the exterior and interior are great places to start. If looking under the hood doesn’t really tell you anything, then find a professional mechanic who understands cars. He or she may see something you don’t. And be sure to get a vehicle history report that can alert you to possible odometer fraud, past accidents, fire or flood damage, or the presence of a rebuilt or salvage title for the vehicle. In the meantime, if the car you’re considering is any of the following, your best bet is to walk away.


1.  Chevrolet Silverado (2016)

Chevy Silverado claims to be solid as a rock. But the 2016 model was not quite so solid. That particular year was recalled because of the possibility that the mounting stud used to secure the airbag sensor and diagnostic module were incorrectly positioned. If that was the case, there was the risk of a fracture that would allow water into the module and cause it to malfunction and hinder the deployment of the airbags in an accident.


2. Oldsmobile Alero (1999-2004)

The Alero may have looked nice, but it had several problems. For starters, the intake manifold gasket may develop an external engine oil or coolant leak. Additionally, a coolant leak may develop from the water pump. A problem with the fuel pump caused the engine to stall and not restart. The pass lock sensor in the ignition lock cylinder was known to fail and cause an anti-theft system fault and inability to start the car. A fail in the turn signal switch caused the hazard/turn signal flasher to continue to click even when the turn signal switch was not on. The front windows came off track as the result of broken window sash brackets.


3. Ford Escape (2008-2013)

Given the Escape’s popularity, this one might surprise you. Among the complaints for the 2008-2013 Ford Escape were:

·        A “check engine” warning light illumination

·        Engine stalling and no-start

·        Loss of power

·        Automatic transmission problems

·        Hard-start

·        Steering, power steering, alignment and pulling problems

·        Suspension and brake problems

·        Air conditioning problems

·        SYN/MY TOUCH infotainment malfunction

·        “Tire pressure” warning light illumination or SRS/airbag warning lights illumination


4. Jeep Cherokee (all years)

This is another very popular vehicle. And though the list isn’t as extensive as that for the Escape, there have been some serious issues with the Cherokee. More than a few of the problems concern airbag deployment, which is a big problem. Then there have been issues with the radio software permitting third-party access to networked vehicle control systems. Finally, there’s the issue of a possible misrouting of air conditioning suction and discharge hose which put the hose in contact with the exhaust manifold. So what does that mean? Risk of a vehicle fire. Not an issue to take lightly!


5. Dodge Challenger (2015)

Despite its sporty and tough guy exterior, the 2015 Dodge Challenger had its own challenges. It was recalled because of a potential instrument cluster failure that would make the gauges oscillate at zero and the “Vehicle Theft Alarm” light to stay illuminated. This, in turn, increased crash risk. On top of that, possible O-ring seal damage and fuel rail crossover hose increased the chances of leaking of fuel and, therefore, vehicle fire. There was also a chance of increased injury as a result of a faulty mounting bolt on the driver’s side airbag inflated curtain.


6. Chevrolet Cruze (2009-2011)

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze contained steering wheels that could suddenly detach from the steering column while driving. Cruze models manufactured from 2009-2011 were also recalled because the shaft to the steering gear input separated, resulting in loss of steering control. Another big issue was the possibility of the transmission shift linkage being faulty, rendering the car unable to restart and having the vehicle potentially roll away after the driver exited the car. There were other issues, but those three should certainly should give you pause if you’re considering a Cruze.


7. GMC Acadia (2007-2017)

The first generation 2007-2017 GMC Acadia has an impressive laundry list of problems:

·        Engine misfiring and knocking

·        Surging and stalling

·        Cooling system overheating and/or leaks

·        Consuming too much oil

·        Problems with the transmission

·        Loss of power or warning lights while driving

·        Repeated dashboard warning displays

·        Power steering problems

·        Headlights not coming on and fuses burning out

·        “Check engine” light problems

·        “Service engine soon” light problems

·        Suspension issues

·        Passenger seat airbag problems

·        Traction control and stability control system problems

·        “ABS brake warning light” problems

While these problems are not as potentially dangerous as some of the others in our list, there are just far too many of them. This is a car that spends a lot of time in the shop.


8. Jaguar X-Type (2002-2009)

Looking for luxury? Look elsewhere. It’s not unusual for the Jaguar X-Type to experience premature automatic transmission failure or for the the engine oil pan gasket to develop a leak. The small plastic lines or tubes that carry the hot coolant to the radiator may become brittle and break. Plus you’ll be dealing with hard shifts and transmission slippage on models equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission. This a luxury automobile that you can afford… to skip.


You Are Ready to Head to the Dealer

Just be sure to keep this list of lemon cars in mind when you head out for a new car. Better yet, print it out. Don’t get stuck with a lemon. Then once you get that great new vehicle, be sure to lemon proof it with us! You’ll be so glad you did.