Whether it’s a project car, a winter beater or a shiny new car fresh off the dealer lot, we all buy cars expecting the best. It doesn’t always work out that way. Those are the stories we want to hear today.
Welcome to Countersteer, where we ask you to tell us your greatest stories of success and failure, then we pull the very best of them to share with the rest of the world.
While many new cars are certainly better picks than others, these days it’s harder and harder to find a truly, objectively bad car. Pretty much everything you can buy new is going to be safe, hopefully well-built, and probably even fuel-efficient.
It wasn’t always that way! The car world used to be filled with all sorts of horrible stinkers and duds that now fill America’s junkyards and line front yards in front of double-wides. We want you to tell us about the worst car you ever owned.
Define that however you want. Maybe it was a car that gave you a world of mechanical headaches; maybe it was something you bought expecting to be fun, but later had major buyer’s remorse over. Maybe it was something that seemed smart at the time and turned into a bad idea.
I polled our staff, and I think Jalopnik’s worst car ever might have been Jason Torchinsky’s 2000 Volkswagen Passat AWD V6 wagon. He doesn’t have it anymore because VWs of that vintage are notoriously unreliable. He even wrote a few years ago about its dreadful oil pan:
I know it’s technically an aluminum oil pan, but it may as well be made of crépe paper and cheese for all the durability it has. I live in Los Angeles, and LA’s vast road network isn’t exactly the most pristine, so potholes and other exciting road textures are common. And while all my other cars bounce over them without a care like the lunar rover, the Passat has a very annoying habit of cracking its oil pan on unassuming-seeming bumps.
The current pan on the car is maybe just over a year old. Maybe. I was out with my wife and baby in the car the other weekend, and we hit a bump. Not a huge one, but it made a telltale sound that made our stomachs drop in unison, like some Olympic synchronized stomach-dropping team. When we got home, I peeked under the car and saw the telltale drooling of oil.
He dumped it for the Scion xB, which may not be as quick but is likely to run forever. “Vastly better car, even if it is several classes lower,” he said.
What’s your worst car ever?
Photo credit Owen W Brown/Flickr
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