Saab 99

14 Cars People Wish They Had Never Bought

Owning your first car is often a rite of passage, a symbol of freedom, independence, and the open road ahead. It’s a dream many of us hold dear, imagining the thrill of that first drive with stars in our eyes. Yet, amid all the fantasies of automotive adventures, few ever imagine the harrowing tales and nightmarish experiences that can accompany ownership of their worst car. These are the stories that we seldom hear in the glossy pages of car magazines or the romanticized road trip movies.

1980 Porsche 924 Turbo

1980 Porsche 924 Turbo
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Reflecting on their automotive journey, one individual candidly admits their biggest car-related regret: the 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo. Despite the allure of a Porsche, this purchase turned into a nightmare. The car’s unreliability led to frequent breakdowns and stranded moments. In 1989, as a 19-year-old, they grappled with monthly payments of $189 and a hefty $212 insurance bill, which left them questioning their decision. This unfortunate experience left a lasting impact, dissuading them from ever buying another Porsche.

2001 Toyota RAV4

2001 Toyota RAV4
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A tale of disappointment unfolds with the purchase of a brand new 2001 Toyota RAV4, decked out in pearl white and priced at $34,000. Early on, issues emerged, including windshield pillar leaks during rainfall and mysterious gurgling sounds within the passenger compartment, signaling coolant loss. Despite Toyota’s attempts at fixes, problems persisted. The climax came at 21,000 miles when the oil light illuminated due to paint peeling inside the oil pan, obstructing the oil pickup tube. Toyota initially refused warranty coverage, leading to a confrontation, and eventually, Toyota bought the car back.

1992 Infiniti G20

Infiniti G20
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The ownership journey of a used 1992 Infiniti G20 took an unexpected turn after 165,000 miles. While it provided a fun driving experience, the decision to trade it for a new Sentra SER proved troublesome. The new car’s quality fell short, notably in the way the doors sounded when closed. What hadn’t been considered was the rapid growth of their children, requiring seat adjustments. Upside-down on payments, they had to acquire a larger car. This trade-off between performance and quality left them longing for the reliability of their old G20.

Volkswagen Eos

Volkswagen Eos
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The pursuit of a “fun” car led to the purchase of a Volkswagen Eos convertible. Despite the allure of a convertible, issues began to plague the experience. The Eos became notorious for leaky roofs, and this one was no exception. Inconsistent oil consumption added to the frustration, ranging from 300 to 2,000 miles between top-ups. Eventually, the owner sold it at a loss to a VW enthusiast. The quest for fun had taken an unexpected turn, emphasizing the importance of thorough research when seeking a spirited driving experience.

2013 Kia Optima

2013 Kia Optima
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

One individual’s experience with a 2013 Kia Optima serves as a lesson in value versus quality. At first, the car seemed promising, offering numerous features for the price. However, soon after, paint chipping became evident, undermining the car’s appearance. Additionally, the Kia’s direct injection engine proved problematic, leading to a motor replacement due to rod knock. The owner realized that cutting corners in car purchases might save money initially, but it often results in regret, ultimately leading them to opt for a more reliable Honda Accord.

1996 Honda del Sol Si

1994 Honda del Sol Si
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In the early 2000s, the desire for power steering led one individual to replace their reliable 1988 Honda Civic hatchback with a 1994 Toyota Tercel, seeking affordability and a more modern feature. However, the transition turned out to be far from satisfactory. The Tercel felt more like a life-sized Barbie car, lacking substantial metal construction and providing uninspiring acceleration. It left the owner yearning for a better automotive experience.

1999 Ford F150

1999 ford f 150
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The purchase of a brand new 1999 Ford F150 turned into a series of unfortunate events for one owner. Before even reaching 20,000 miles, the truck experienced a laundry list of problems. A new transmission became a necessity, wiring under the dash burned up, and a rather bizarre incident involved the spare tire and its carrier mysteriously falling out onto the street. Then came a flat tire, which led to the twisting off of two lug bolts during a tire change. Although Ford honored the warranty and covered the repairs, the litany of issues made it a challenging ownership experience.

1986 Pontiac Grand Am

1985 Pontiac Grand Am
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A brand new 1986 Pontiac Grand Am seemed like a promising choice until constant problems soured the experience. Equipped with the troublesome “Quad 4” engine, the car faced engine knocking issues at just 13,000 miles. Despite dealership servicing, the dealership refused to address the problem, accusing the owner of racing the vehicle, which was untrue. Frustrated and disillusioned, the car was sold swiftly to rid themselves of the ongoing headaches.

2007 Lincoln Town Car

2007 Lincoln Town Car
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Inspired by the reputation of New York airport limos, the purchase of a 2007 Lincoln Town Car initially held promise. However, the vehicle’s reliability soon came into question. Within a month, the air conditioning failed, just past the warranty period, resulting in hefty repair costs. The actuator doors subsequently broke, adding to the list of issues. The breaking of the upper rocker control arm during a cross-country drive became the last straw. The owner ultimately traded it for a Lincoln MKS, enjoying trouble-free ownership thereafter.

UK Vauxhall Firenza

UK Vauxhall Firenza
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The UK Vauxhall Firenza proved to be an automotive headache for its owner. Beyond a cracked cylinder head and a dangerous fuel leak, the unique engine design, resembling half a V8, presented constant challenges. Maintaining vibration control, correct spark timing, and frequent adjustments turned into a weekly ritual. Despite its quirks, the car introduced hydraulically adjusted overhead valve camshafts, saving some hassle in an otherwise troublesome ownership experience.

1996 Chevrolet Corsica

1996 Chevrolet Corsica
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The 1996 Chevrolet Corsica, intended for long-term family use, became an electrifying nightmare. Its electrical system suffered sudden and catastrophic failures, leading to harrowing experiences, including a shutdown in the middle of an urban tunnel. The recurring issues left the owner with towing expenses and mounting frustration. Mechanics eventually revealed that the car’s power alignment with the generator system was to blame, making it a source of never-ending headaches.

Saab 99

Saab 99
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The ownership of a Saab 99 became a rollercoaster of random issues for one unlucky driver. This peculiar car had a tendency to cut out and come to a halt without warning, leaving the owner stranded at the most inconvenient times and places. Strange occurrences continued as windshield wipers flew off, wheel covers popped off during turns, and various parts seemed to detach themselves from the vehicle. The Saab 99 was undoubtedly built on an off day—quite literally, as it was assembled in Belgium during Saab’s brief flirtation with Belgian manufacturing. Frustrated after nearly a year and numerous dealer visits, the owner decided to take drastic action, locking the car sideways across Saab Canada’s parking lot entrance until it was fixed, which took three weeks. It miraculously ran flawlessly for the next six years.

1986 BMW 325

BMW 325i E30
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

While the 1986 BMW 325 was a lovely car to drive, it came with its share of troubles. Random stalling incidents plagued the owner, adding inconvenience to their experience. Bizarre electrical glitches included unexpected window openings, disobedient lights, and a convertible roof stuck halfway open. To add to the strangeness, some of these BMWs had new low-rolling-resistance Michelin tires that generated static, causing problems with the antilock sensors on the rear wheels. After nine months of frustration, BMW finally acknowledged the issue, fixing it with two 12-inch lengths of wire to ground the sensors and resolve the quirky electrical problems.

1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel

1984 Chevrolet Chevette
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The 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel was a nightmarish experience for one owner. Despite its impressive fuel mileage, the car was riddled with issues. It became an oven on wheels during hot weather, featured rear-wheel drive that made snow driving a challenge, and came with cracked and disintegrating interior components. The original tires squared off due to prolonged inactivity, and the exhaust mysteriously blew off in multiple pieces. The optional 5th gear unshifted itself in warm weather, and the factory AM/FM radio was reduced to AM only. The Chevette became a source of ridicule, with the owner experiencing multiple incidents of vandalism and accidents. After 26,000 miles of misery, it was gladly exchanged for a motorcycle, marking a significant improvement in their overall well-being.

Author: Madison Cates

Title: Managing Editor

Bio:

Research journalist, Freelance writer, Managing editor

  • Expertise: automotive content, trending topics.
  • Education: LeTourneau University, Bachelors of Science in Business Administration.
  • Over 400 articles and short news pieces published across the web.

Experience: Madison Cates is a journalist located in the great state of Texas. She began writing over eight years ago. Her first major research piece was published by the Journal of Business and Economics in 2018. After growing up in a household of eight brothers and a dad who was always restoring old Camaros, she naturally pivoted her freelance career into the automotive industry. There, she found her passion. Her experience paved the way for her to work with multiple large corporations in automotive news and trending topics. Now, she now finds her home at Wealth of Geeks where she proudly serves as Managing Editor of Autos. Madison is always down to geek out over the latest beautiful cars on the market, and she enjoys providing her readers with tips to make car ownership easier and more enjoyable.

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