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Unreliable Cars That Will End Up Costing You More In The Long Run

When it comes to purchasing a vehicle, navigating through the myriad of options can be overwhelming. In the automotive market, one must exercise caution to avoid falling prey to unreliable cars that will end up costing you more in the long run.

Dec 13, 20234.8K Shares81.5K Views
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  1. The True Cost Of Unreliable Cars
  2. 5 Things To Know When Buying A Car
  3. Most Unreliable Cars For 2023
  4. Frequently Asked Question
  5. Conclusion
Unreliable Cars That Will End Up Costing You More In The Long Run

In the fast-paced world of automotive technology and innovation, the reliability of a car is paramount for the peace of mind of its owner. While some vehicles boast cutting-edge features and impressive designs, others need more reliability.

Investing in an unreliable car can lead to a cascade of issues, both financially and emotionally. In this article, you will delve into some notorious examples of unreliable cars that will end up costing you more in the long run.

The True Cost Of Unreliable Cars

Black Jeep Suv on Black Asphalt Road Near on Snowy Grass Lawn
Black Jeep Suv on Black Asphalt Road Near on Snowy Grass Lawn

Owning an unreliable car extends beyond the inconvenience of frequent visits to the mechanic. The financial impact can be substantial, with repair costs, depreciation, and decreased resale value all contributing to the overall expense. Let's explore the various ways in which unreliable cars can end up costing you more in the long run.

Frequent Repairs And Maintenance Costs

Unreliable cars often require more frequent repairs and maintenance to address recurring issues. Whether it's a faulty transmission, electrical problems, or engine malfunctions, the cost of parts and labor can quickly add up. Owners of these cars find themselves facing unexpected expenses, disrupting their budget and causing financial strain.

Depreciation And Resale Value

The resale value of a car is heavily influenced by its reputation for reliability. Unreliable cars tend to depreciate more rapidly than their dependable counterparts, as potential buyers are wary of investing in vehicles with a history of problems. The diminished resale value compounds the financial loss for owners who may have hoped to recoup a significant portion of their initial investment.

Rising Insurance Premiums

Insurance companies often take into account the reliability and repair costs of a vehicle when determining premiums. Owners of unreliable cars may find themselves paying higher insurance premiums due to the increased likelihood of claims for repairs. This additional expense further contributes to the overall cost of ownership.

Loss Of Time And Productivity

Beyond the financial implications, unreliable cars can lead to a loss of time and productivity. Breakdowns and frequent trips to the repair shop disrupt daily routines and may result in missed appointments, workdays, or essential commitments. The intangible cost of lost time and productivity adds to the overall impact of owning an unreliable car.

Negative Impact On Mental Well-being

The stress and anxiety associated with owning an unreliable car should not be underestimated. Constant worries about potential breakdowns and the financial burden of repairs can take a toll on the owner's mental well-being. The emotional strain of dealing with an unreliable vehicle can lead to frustration, dissatisfaction, and regret about the initial purchase.

Red SUV On Dirt Road
Red SUV On Dirt Road

5 Things To Know When Buying A Car

High maintenance and repair expenses might reduce the savings provided by a dependable and fuel-efficient automobile. The most crucial thing to understand is that you may have it all: a dependable vehicle that gets excellent gas mileage and costs less to maintain than other models over an extended period.

Domestic Brands Often Cost Less To Maintain And Repair Than Foreign Brands

Domestic brands often cost less than imports when it comes to regular maintenance expenses for services like air filter replacements, brake replacements, and oil changes, especially for premium models. According to John Ibbotson, head mechanic at CR, "the cost difference between some European imports and domestic brands is particularly stark."

At a dealership in Union, New Jersey, for instance, the cost of the first two planned maintenance treatments for a 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300—a premium import from Europe—is $585 at 10,000 miles and $1,050 at 20,000 miles. At a local Lincoln dealer, the 2023 Lincoln Corsair, a domestic luxury SUV, would cost $130 for the first two planned maintenance treatments at 10,000 and 20,000 miles.

EVs And Hybrid Cars Cost The Least To Maintain

In addition to saving money on gasoline, EVs and hybrids need less maintenance than their traditional competitors. Regular oil, filter, and fluid changes—a significant portion of a gas vehicle's maintenance and repair costs—are not necessary for EVs. Over ten years, hybrid automobiles need just somewhat more maintenance ($2,785 vs. $2,320) than EVs.

Additionally, compared to a hybrid SUV owner, a typical owner of a hybrid vehicle will save about $1,000 in maintenance expenditures over ten years.

Cars With Sport And Premium Trims Cost More To Buy And Repair

The sport and premium versions' bigger wheels offer your vehicle a more eye-catching appearance, but they also come with more costly tires that are more vulnerable to damage from potholes and other road hazards.

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 is available with either 17 or 19-inch wheels. It will cost more than $200 extra to replace the 19s with a set of identical original equipment tires; this difference might add up if you often encounter potholes and cause damage to the wheels and tires. Premium trims sometimes include high-tech amenities like massaging seats and adaptive suspensions.

While these features are lovely to have, CR mechanic and seasoned master technician Mike Crossen believes the more complicated the function, the more probable it is to break. And you may pay for that: Repairing the Audi Q5's optional adaptive suspension may run you around $2,000.

Pay Close Attention To Maintenance And Repair Costs When Buying Used

A dependable new automobile may be driven safely for many years with only routine oil changes and sporadic brake and tire replacements. However, manufacturers began to suggest changing components like coolant, timing belts, and spark plugs around 80,000 to 100,000 miles. If you acquire an older automobile, particularly a model with higher-than-average maintenance expenditures, these procedures may become pricey very fast.

Check Independent And Chain Repair Shops For Lower Prices

Dealership service departments have always been the priciest choice, but they usually perform superb jobs. The repairs could be completed more affordably by an independent repair shop than by the service department of a dealership.

Numerous nationwide chains, which service a broad range of car brands and vehicle types and are often less expensive than dealerships, including Goodyear Auto Service, Jiffy Lube, and NAPA AutoCare Center.

Red Land Rover Range Rover
Red Land Rover Range Rover

Most Unreliable Cars For 2023

Forecasts were created after the collection of information from over 300,000 automobile owners throughout the preceding three model years. Furthermore, this list of cars that are thought to be the least dependable is a bit startling.

Jeep Wrangler

Although the Jeep Wrangler is well-known for its off-road abilities, it could be more dependable in daily use. According to Consumer Reports, it performs less well on the road than modern SUVs because it is jittery and constantly moves in short bursts, even on calm highways. On highways, it seems out of place.

Owners have reported issues with the Jeep Wrangler's interior electronics and steering/suspension. It is making too much noise while driving is another prevalent problem.

  • $634 yearly maintenance costs (RepairPal)
  • Estimated Maintenance Over 10 Years: $10,397 (CarEdge)

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

Its unique and futuristic exterior design sets the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe apart from other high-end vehicles, and this may be a point of contention. But its reliability needs to be better.

According to Consumer Reports, the GLE has a quiet interior and a comfortable ride. Still, it may be challenging to use the controls, and the keyless entry system regularly causes problems. Owners and tenants often need help with the car's hardware, electronics, engine, and temperature control.

  • Costs of annual upkeep: $908
  • Maintenance Cost Estimated for 10 Years: $14,738

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 / Gmc Sierra 1500

Surprisingly, the famous GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 are ranked among the least dependable vehicles for 2023. With just 48,000 Silverado 1500s sold in 2022, their presence seemed surprising.

Consumer Reports found problems with the Silverado's engine, brakes, fuel efficiency, and gearbox safety, among other things. Owners report faults with the drivetrain, brakes, electrical system, infotainment system, and engines.

  • Annual Maintenance Costs: $649
  • Estimated 10-Year Maintenance: $10,003


Lincoln's rating of 54 out of 100 from Consumer Reports for 2023 could be deceptive since it was lower due to one particular vehicle. Just one. According to the poll, the Corsair and the Nautilus scored highly—82 and 73, respectively—and their existing owners said they would rebuy them in the future. But the Lincoln Aviator, the brand's troubled offspring, damaged the reputation of the whole thing.

The Lincoln Aviator has seen a great deal of issues since manufacturing resumed in 2019. Nearly every aspect of the automobile is the subject of some of the most frequent complaints, including the electrical system, paint and trim, drivetrain, suspension, steering, air and water leak seals and seams, and in-car electronics. The body components and transmission have a respectable lifespan, which is excellent news.

  • Avg. Yearly Maintenance Costs: $879 (RepairPal)
  • Est. Maintenance Costs For The First 10 Years: $12,099 (CarEdge)


Despite never really being in the spotlight, Buick has persevered throughout the years thanks to some fantastic vehicles like the Buick Regal, LeSabre, Riveria, and Park Avenue. All of them have been dependable vehicles that provide excellent luxury and comfort at a fair price. Still, many Buick models have needed help keeping up with the times as we've entered the modern era of technology.

Buick must closely examine the issues with the engines, fuel systems, brakes, and emissions components since they cannot be directly blamed on any one model. While the difficulties with the Encore GX, Envision, and Enclave are not universally documented, it is reasonable to conclude that they are all in the 50s to 100s range and that all models need attention.

  • Avg. Yearly Maintenance Costs: $608 (RepairPal)
  • Est. Maintenance Costs For The First 10 Years: $9,063 (CarEdge)

Jeep Gladiator

Similar to its sister, the Jeep Gladiator has many of the same dependability difficulties as the Jeep Wrangler, but in truck form. While it bridges the gap left by the 1985 Jeep Scrambler's retirement, it is not recommended for use as a reliable vehicle on a daily basis. Consumer Reports claims that the Gladiator is better suited for off-roading. Gladiator owners claim that problems with the car's electrical system, engine, gearbox, brakes, and power equipment exist.

  • Costs of annual upkeep: $634
  • Cost of Ten-Year Maintenance: $11,803

Ford Explorer

Despite its strong sales, the 2023 Ford Explorer lacks the same degree of reliability as its competitors. According to Consumer Reports, owners of the Ford Explorer have reported a number of problems with the vehicle, including power equipment and gearbox failures, making it one of the worst midsize SUVs. There have been issues with the gearbox, engine, body parts, suspension, steering, temperature control, paint, and leaks.

  • Costs for yearly upkeep: $775 (RepairPal)
  • Estimated Maintenance Over 10 Years: $9,017 (CarEdge)

Nissan Sentra

The 2023 Nissan Sentra may seem appealing to purchasers looking for a solid little car at a short price. However, complaints about alleged problems with the paint, noise, brakes, temperature control, and leaks affect the whole ownership experience. Furthermore, the Sentra's halogen headlights provide a dimmer light and decrease safety in low light.

  • $500 yearly maintenance costs (RepairPal)
  • Estimated Maintenance Over Ten years: $5,441 (CarEdge)

Frequently Asked Question

What Car Will Last You A Long Time?

In 2022, the average age of an automobile on American roads reached a record of 12.2 years. The models with the most extended possible lifetime are as follows: The top two SUVs are both Toyotas, with the Land Cruiser and Sequoia having a combined mileage of about 300,000 miles.

What Is The #1 Unreliable Car?

Surprisingly, the famous GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 are ranked among the least dependable vehicles for 2023. With just 48,000 Silverado 1500s sold in 2022, their presence seemed surprising.

What Is The Number One Best Car Brand?

Earlier this year, Consumer Reports published their ranking of the best auto manufacturers for 2023. BMW, Subaru, Mini, Lexus, and Honda are the top five brands in that order.


While the allure of specific car models may be strong, consumers must consider reliability as a primary factor in their decision-making process. The examples provided in this article are unreliable cars that will end up costing you more in the long run, highlighting the potential pitfalls of investing in unreliable cars.

The actual cost of ownership extends beyond the initial purchase price, encompassing frequent repairs, depreciation, higher insurance premiums, and the intangible toll on the owner's well-being.

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