1A Auto Blog Asks: What Car Do You Most Regret Buying?

If you’re a typical car enthusiast, you have likely owned a few really terrible cars over the years. When you bought them, they weren’t terrible.  In fact they probably seemed like a great deal at the time. A little bit of elbow grease and you would be hitting the beaches, and living the dream!  If you really played your cards right, you may even sell it for a profit.  Then reality hits you in the face like a full pedal’s worth of old brake fluid. Yea, we’ve been there.

So which car is your automotive nemesis? Tell us a story.

10 comments to 1A Auto Blog Asks: What Car Do You Most Regret Buying?

  • Jeff

    Sometimes I regret keeping the Galant, the first 5 years I had it were great. But as it aged and time takes it toll, and you dump money into it… When it runs its great and I remember why I got it: to embarrass people with nicer cars.

  • Tony Patterson

    I purchased a red 1992 Chevrolet Beretta from a friend for $500. I drove it for about a week and was loving it. Then the bottom fell out – transmission started not shifting from 1st to second, brakes were grabbing… by the time I finally got rid of it spent about $2000 and still had not dealt with engine issues.

    Worse car purchase ever in my life and will forever have nightmares. :)

  • Nick

    My diesel Volkswagen (a 2001 Golf) is the car I appreciated the most. Exceptional fuel ecomony and really fun to drive but still, I regret keeping it because it cost me so much.

  • Arco777

    When I saw the post’s image of a 3rd gen Camaro, I got bugged – “hey, those cars are cool” – and then I remembered my ’91 RS and what a pile it was. Definitely not my worst purchase though, as I at least traded it for a decent car.

    I think my biggest regret was the ’83 Mercedes 380SEC. A neat looking two door coupe with potential for serious speed. It had a later model 560SEC motor transplanted in at some point in its life, didn’t run, and had been sitting in a field for some time.

    With some work I got it running and drinking fuel on its own, but after that I set about the task of getting it to produce more than 25HP and quit making terrible clouds of stinky smoke.

    I learned how hard it was to find parts for a Mercedes and how ridiculously expensive they were once found. I learned how my usual method of perusing auto forums for help was ineffective because I didn’t speak German. How even Alldata couldn’t explain the Bosch fuel injection system. How useless the diagnostic connector was. How to wrench on all the weird parts (it has everything a domestic car has, the components are all just… different). Ultimately I gave up and sold it. The only cost effective fixes for it would have been a Ford or Chevy engine transplant, or grafting a carb onto the stock manifold.

    Next to that might have been the 2000 Expedition which “just needed cleaning”. Should have known it was too good to be true for the price. After removing the unspeakably nasty carpet for good I found that the whole SUV was infested with roaches and had electrical gremlins. I traded it for a Firebird, burned rubber and never looked back.

  • Ryan

    My biggest regret was buying an 02 wrx and a 01 Vw passat and selling them. Only to find out the wrx I bought new didn’t go to a good home (not like I was a saint in it, but hey I took great care of the body). The passat my friends wife bought new. They took amazing care of it even having two kids. I had it for 1 week and someone offered me double what I paid for it, and totalled it two months later. I regret selling that car all the time. 25-30 mpg, and 5 gears to row through. I only sold it because my wife wouldn’t learn to drive a stick, which was a bummer, but seeing what the end result was after one of my employees bought it from me sucked. To make matter worse, I went to a 50% off day at Roosevelt u-pull-it and saw it there. I took tons of pics of the aftermath. I just wish I had before pics.

    As for cars I regret buying….. My old flat black 84 TA. I had nothing buy nightmares with it. Motor leaked from every oriface, when I fixed one thing another broke. And when I fixed that something else broke. Sounded like a great deal at first. I drove it home for 400 bucks, but couldn’t sell it for a whole lot because I knew I’d be screwing someone really bad.
    Not to mention it was carb’d. I should really regret anything that I ever bought carb’d and kept messing with trying to make it a happy car with a carb. That mistake will never happen again. That why the first real thing I did to my duster was convert it to fuel injection. Lesson learned.

  • Laurence Marks

    Worst? 1985 Dodge Caravan with small engine and 5-speed manual. The manual transmission started eating mainshaft bearings at about 80,000 and the local transmission shops (not very good) couldn’t figure out how to repair it for more than 10,000. A junkyard replacement trans made that problem go away. But not before one shop failed to tighten the front axle nut to 150 ft-lbs (must have thought it was like a wheel bearing, snug, then put in the cotter key), which ruined the front wheel bearing as the axle shifted in it.

    And there was the nightmare of replacement air conditioner clutches. And there was the nightmare of the electric door lock switches (Iacocca was too cheap to put a 6-cent diode across each switch to keep it from failing.)

    And the parking brake. Need to hold that heavy pedal onto the shaft? Peen the shaft end over. But first put a soft aluminum plate over the pedal. Then once it’s peened, the soft plate just opens up and slides right off! The dealer’s parts counterman told me he kept lots of these in stock because they failed so often. (I reworked mine with a drill, tap, hardened bolt, and steel washer.)

    And the air conditioner hoses that fail after only five years, cannot forget those.

    And then the cam. (This was the 4-cylinder designed by Chrysler, not the V6 designed by Mitsubishi.) Car started running poorly. Couldn’t figure it out for a while. Finally removed the cam cover and saw that the cam had been worn down to almost round–almost no lift at all. The parts guy told me the price without even looking it up, $245. This was another item which he kept a great stock on because the demand was so high. Either the cam was too soft or the springs too strong or the lubricant too sparse. Never decided which.

    Probably should mention removing the cam cover. Pretty easy–remove a few vacuum lines and all set–or so it seems. Then you discover the mounting cradle for the air conditioner compressor overlaps the cam cover flange by just enough to prevent removal. About eight more bolts and two belts and you can remove the compressor, then the cradle. But watch that last stud. It goes right into the water jacket and as soon as you remove it anti-freeze goes everywhere.

    Last I gotta mention the interior plastic. The seats and carpets were like iron. After 145,000 miles and about 10 years they looked like new–and I am not good at keeping the car clean. But the plastic trim at the side of the seats, door sills, and the pop-plugs that held the headliner up all turned to powder. You could literally touch the trim and it would turn to dust under your fingers.

    I still fondly call that car “The Last Chrysler Product I Will Ever Own!”

  • hAAgarpilot

    1999 Ford Windstar SEL has to be the most disappointing vehicle purchase I have ever made.
    Bought it brand new in 1999 and had one problem after another the entire ten years I owned it.
    Paint cracked on the roof, warranty repair work at Ford dealership was poorly accomplished.
    So the repaired area corroded. Transmission crapped out at 80,000 miles. Electric sliding doors worked intermittently, along with numerous other electrical problems. Finally took it AutoMax and sold it to them. I was never so happy to be rid of a vehicle.

  • Paul

    2000 Silverado was the worst vehicle I have ever bought, it continued to give me problems from time I drove it off the lot new. It is the reason I have not bought a new one since.

  • Sadly, it’s my current car: 1996 Subaru Legacy Wagon. I bought it from a shady dealer in Wyoming, which should have been my first hint, but I decided to move forward with it since it only have 80,000 miles, and they had just put a new transmission in it (another hint). Low and behold, they didn’t install the new transmission correctly, and I had to get it fixed a couple months later. Go figure I got a job at one of the biggest car dealerships in Montana, and I get asked when I’m going to buy a new car every day.

  • Zelvin

    My worst mistake was a 1982 Ford Escort. This joke allegedly had a rebuilt 1.6 litre 4 cyl and the largest trouble was overheating which lead to a cracked head. As far as I’m concerned FORD F.ix O.r R.emair D.aily.

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