Comment of the Day: Old German Cars Will Ruin You

Photo: Patrick George
Photo: Patrick George

Today my boss Patrick George wrote about the disaster that was owning his 1984 BMW 733i in New York City. In the story, he suggested that we come up with a name for aesthetically nice used cars full of “secret problems,” and one reader proposed a great answer.


Take it away, MP81:


Yes, used German cars in the U.S. have a reputation for being both difficult and expensive to maintain. This is obviously a silly generalization, but, at least among my friends, it seems sorta true. (My friend’s 2013 GTI lost its clutch hydraulics, my brother’s 2007 BMW 3 Series had a bad transfer case).

As someone from Germany who frequently flies back to see family, I’ve learned that most Germans are not aware of this reputation in the U.S. In fact, I recall asking one German whether his car was reliable (I don’t remember which car it was), and he told me “Oh yes, these are known to go over 200,000 kilometers.” That’s 124,000 miles. Nice, I guess?

Anyway, despite this being just a fun generalization, I will give MP81 a prize in the form of this German viral music video:

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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Never own a German car that’s older than you were in third grade.