The Most Unreliable Cars – Vehicles That Won’t Make It 100k Miles

Purchasing a new vehicle is a hefty investment. You take the time to negotiate the best offer for your current vehicle (if you have one), then move on to the grueling and arduous searching and buying processes in the car market. You deal with shady dealerships and awkward private sellers, just to place a significant amount of hard-earned cash on a new car. The last thing you want, regardless of your purchasing needs, is a vehicle that’s on its last leg. Unfortunately, the market is stuffed to the brim with unreliable cars.

As we noted, purchasing a new vehicle, used or brand new, is a colossal investment. In fact, it’s only grown more expensive in the post-pandemic age.

Let’s do some quick math: according to iSeeCars, the average price of a used car in Colorado as of December 2022 was $35,269. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a Coloradoan is $56,828. Therefore, if my calculations are correct, the average car costs a Colorado denizen approximately 62% of their yearly income. And, remember, that’s just a used car.

Hefty investment may be an understatement.

Therefore, you want to make sure you aren’t spending your yearly salary on a vehicle that won’t even crack 100,000 miles on the odometer.

As a car-selling website, we’ve seen and dealt with almost every vehicle. We know what cars are considered unreliable. Therefore, to save you time and money (our main goal as a company), we will break down the top-5 most unreliable vehicles in 2023.

Side note: all car pictures are provided by and credited to AutoBlog.

What Is Considered an Unreliable Car?

Overall, the definition of unreliable depends entirely on the beholder. In some cases, a vehicle considered reliable by one will be considered outright horrid by another. Therefore, before we begin to rank the most unreliable cars, we have to create a common ground among our audience.

Ultimately, our main factor in deciding reliability is how long a car will drive without total failure. How long a car can go before it is considered totaled beyond repair (or needs repairs that would create a total amount). Even then, the definition is fairly vague, for how often and well a car is maintenanced can make a significant impact on reliability.

Consumer Reports released its 2020 list of the most unreliable cars based on a buyer survey, ranking specific models based on 17 problem areas including:

  • squeaky brakes
  • broken interior trim
  • out-of-warranty transmission repairs
  • trouble with four-wheel-drive

Even then, some of those defining factors seem a bit nitpicky. Does a broken interior trim really mean a car is unreliable? Isn’t reliability a car that is significantly beaten up aesthetically but can still make it across the country?

To us, reliability is the length a car can be driven without significantly expensive repairs. For example, if a car has a low rate of engine issues, it’s considered more reliable than a car that has notorious transmission problems.

This also disregards some Colorado-specific reliability. A reliable car in Colorado may be one that will never be stranded in a snowstorm or on a mountain incline. That is an entirely different discussion, though. That would be something more so akin to off-road reliability.

Therefore, reliability to use would be something like a vehicle that can make it past 100,000 miles without a single significant repair.

Anyway… Here’s our list:

5. Chevrolet Colorado

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The name including Colorado is entirely coincidental. We aren’t picking this vehicle just due to its proximity to our base of operations, though it is humorous.

Though Chevy is often synonymous with powerful and loved trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado is nowhere close to the company’s Silverado counterpart. In fact, the list of issues with the Colorado is too long to note.

The problems with the Chevy truck (especially in its early 2000s years) include engine stalling intermittently due to worn-out valve seals, contaminated power steering fluid, low fluid levels, and damaged belts and power steering pumps. Other issues include the key getting stuck in the ignition, braking problems, and a faulty fuel level sensor.


4. Jeep Commander

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We have spent countless breaths speaking about the long-term investment that is a Jeep. Jeeps continue to be the vehicles with the highest resell value due to their everlasting style and cult-like following. If you have a used Jeep, you are likely to find a decent profit for it, unless it’s a Jeep Commander.

Unlike the other Jeep counterparts, the Commander didn’t have a long life. Production only lasted 5 years from 2005 to 2010 due to a range of issues and a lack of interest. Overall, it was a fairly unreliable vehicle with a host of issues (though Jeeps aren’t often seen as the most reliable overall).

The biggest issue was the engine that would stall once pushed past 80 mph. An extremely, extremely dangerous defect.

3. Dodge Neon

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Dodge has made a living off of making affordable vehicles that can act as daily drivers. It’s part of their mission, after all. Unfortunately, the usage of cheap parts can often lead to significant unreliability. Henceforth, the ugly duckling that is the Dodge Neon had to crack the list of the most unreliable cars.

The Neon had notorious engine problems. And, if that wasn’t enough, the cheap spark plug tube seals tend to fail which causes oil to flood the spark plug, the engine misfires, and the engine overheats because of radiator fan failure. Basically, it all falls apart eventually.

While Dodge parts are cheap, allowing for cheap repairs, they add up over time. By 100,000 miles, you may be reaching for a new vehicle entirely.

2. Chevrolet Cobalt

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Another Chevrolet on our list of unreliable cars doesn’t scream bias, but it might be part of a terrifying trend. In fact, there are a plethora of Chevrolets on every list of unreliable cars.

The Cobalt was specifically bad, though.

The Colbalts between 2005 and 2010 had faced 11 recalls overall and caused 13 deaths. It had a range of issues involving ignition coil failure, headlight, turn signal functions that didn’t work, gas cap failure, timing chain tensioner failure, and it flushed brake fluid every 60,000 miles.

Though the 2012-2020 models were a bit higher in quality, the original run leaves a sour taste in the mouth of any car consumer.

1. Dodge RAM 3500

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Oh, boy. Where do we even begin?

The most unreliable of cars, the Dodge RAM 3500 (especially in the early 2000s), had a wide array of issues and hazards. For example, the 2005 model had complaints of the “Death Wobble” that occurred when driving over 60 mph on a highway, causing the truck to shake with limited ability to control the steering wheel.

It has a very fragile suspension, a horrible electronic system (expensive to fix), historic transmission issues that may cause an entire replacement, and dashboard cracking.

The car has one of the poorest reliability ratings across the entire truck segment. Even the 2023 model was rated 16th out of 17 for full-size trucks.

Need to Sell?

Need to sell one of the bad boys listed above? Worried that the unreliable nature and reputation will hurt your profit? Don’t worry, Sell My Car Colorado is here for you.

As a car-selling website, we will buy your car regardless of its condition. Did your transmission go up on your Dodge RAM? We’ll buy it ASAP. We will offer a fair, market price and pick the car up free of charge.

You don’t even have to leave the couch!

Contact us for a free quote!