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Your Worst Car.

Surveys have shown that modern cars are so much better than their predecessors. But there have been some real ‘lemons’ in the past.

So what was the worst car you’ve ever owned?

Well, let me get the ball rolling…

I took delivery of a brand new company car- a Holden Station Wagon a few decades ago. That was in September. In December we planned a family trip in the new car to Adelaide.

We set off very early in the morning and had no sooner started the climb through the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, when I noticed the temperature guage creeping up.. So I backed off a bit, turned off the aircon and hoped for the best. It settled down well enough to feel a bit more confident, but, as we progressed across the Hay Plains the day warmed up, as did the car, and as did the motor! It finally gave up the ghost in the middle of nowhere, and with two small kids on board. We arranged a tow truck to the nearest town about 60kms away and arrived at the local Holden dealer.

In their defence, if it had been virtually any other make we would have been stuck there, but not Holden. They fitted a new radiator and thermostat and we were on our way a couple of hours later. But that was just the start of our love/hate relationship with our Kingswood. When it was going, it was great, but clearly it had been a ‘Friday’ car, so didn’t go for long until it was back in the workshop. I’ve had a few more Holdens since then, and they’ve all been good, but that was the first – and not a good introduction to the brand.

So what was your worst car? We want to hear from you and we have a brand new TomTom ‘Live’ sat/nav to give away for the best story. Entries close 5th May, so let’s hear from you now and we’ll add your story to the blog. Just click below and tell us your tale.


  1. Cyril McIvor says:


    In Dec 1997 I took delivery of a new Ford Explorer Limited edition. During the next three years this vehicle spent up to a total of 6 months in with the Ford dealers for all forms of repairs including two cases of the vehicle acceleration went to the maximum revs, failure of the air-conditioning system, gearbox problems and a number of unrecorded repairs taking in a few cases nearly 2 weeks to fix. A lovely car to drive when it went. Over the 3 years I owned it I drove 105,000 km only to have the gear box fail a second time. At this point Ford Australia said it was my problem and that they would not help since it was out of warranty. Due to the failed gearbox I had to sell it at a much reduced price since the purchaser needed to buy a new gear box and have it fitted. I swore I would never buy another Ford car and I have consistently stuck to this resolution. Owning a Ford Exploder was a sobering experience. My experience with the Limited edition was experienced by a number of my colleagues who also had the same model. Never again would I buy a Ford vehicle, even if it was given away free by Ford especially as they use a separate company to screen all complaints from customers.

    April 18th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

  2. Robert Bishop says:

    Without a doubt it was A Holden Camira with the 4 cylinder
    East motor , it was a fleet car and I was asked to test itin country
    Conditions ! It lasted 4 months and went away on a car carrier
    Never to be seen again ! P

    April 18th, 2012 at 7:27 pm

  3. Ben says:

    I loved my 1993 Laser but after a cab took me out at an intersection, the transmission just wasn’t the same. I was taking my partner out somewhere near Jiilaby/Yarramolong on the Central Coast to lunch. Well after a few corners I could feel the trasmission slip and not long after we came to a rolling stop. I put the car in Neutral and revved it, back in Drive and the same. My partner just wouldn’t believe me that the car was stuffed.
    So we get our phones out and neither of us have reception with the two carriers we had. So off to the farm I went and thank God they rang the NRMA and kindly offered us a lift to the restaurant we were going to. (Thankyou to them)
    We had our meal quickly and walked back sort of joking about it and my partner complaining about the car. Tow truck had arrived and the car was on the tray top and off to ELN Ford. (That’s ANOTHER story)
    Did I mention I was taking her out for her birthday and she was 7 months pregnant? Not impressed at all!

    April 18th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

  4. Denis Bonjekovic says:

    I had a lemon called Fiat 125 Special. And special it was. This twin overhead cam motor had a 3 way manifold between the bottom of the radiator and the thermostat and engine. The system was supposed to direct hot water in a loop bypassing the thermostat and radiator to warm the motor up quicker, then return back through the thermostat and radiator once the rich temperature had been reached. Did it work- Yes. The water did heat up quicker. No- the manifold did not switch back, therebye causing the motor to cook before the temp gauge could record the correct temp and thus blowing the head gasket. This happened on a regular basis but not consistently so you never knew when you were going to be stuck. We carried around with us a few spare head gaskets and many times we could be found on the side of the road removing the heads and replacing the gaskets. Problem 2- the timing gears on the two cam shafts were made from Aluminium. This made them prone to wearing out rather fast. The profile of the rubber belt and the gears teeth and slots were very shallow also. This meant that you would be driving along when all of a sudden the motor started to misfire badly or stop and the rubber timing belt slipped over a few ridges on the cams and messed up the firing order. If you were lucky, it just meant pulling over, removing the radiator, timing belt cover, a few hoses and then loosening the timing belt pulley, the two cam shaft gears and using your trusty timing light (or the scratch mark we put on each gear) re adjusting the timing. If you were unlucky-and i was- the belt would slip a bit too far and as the fuel pump shaft was on the same timing belt system, the cam on the fuel pump would turn too far and actually strike the bottom of the piston gudgeon on its way up. Bugger. Yes, there were more problems but I would need to write a book about them. No I do not have this vehicle anymore and hope to never see one again.

    April 18th, 2012 at 7:33 pm

  5. Rex Gibbs says:

    Toyota’s are my bane. 4 times I have been the sad driver of Toyota’ Products. In the late 1970’s I had a Toyota Hilux 1 tonne company ute. We were driving bridge piles and as the project engineer each Saturday I would take the 450kg driving cap back to the plant department 300km away. It would have a new impact layer fixed and then I would return it Monday morning usually with another 200 or 300kg of gear. The 2litre motor died at 40,000km (and just under 1 year from brand new. It was prone to overheating from the first day it was bought. 80km was the speed limit when loaded to 750kg. It filled the engine with shrapnel from the bearings and blew the tops out of 2 pistons. The brakes were not up to the payload, the chassis used to twist so it had terrifying load oversteer when loaded to about 750kg. After a few mishaps the company used to put them on the weigh bridge to enforce a 750kg limit. Once you entered a turn it just wanted to keep turning no matter what. The chassis cracked at 60000km and was re welded. At 80,00km (2 years old) it was traded on a new Corona. The motor self destructed the very next week. The Toyota dealer was not happy but since they had serviced it for its 2 short years and had replaced the motor they had no leg to stand on. It seems it had Japan specification cooling and sump and these would not cope.

    The replacement Corona had a cool trick. Go over a bump at night while turning Left and all the lights would go out. At 50,000km the waterpump came loose this was a little over 12 months into its life. The fan and waterpump just fell forward and was caught by the fan cowling. In hindsight I heard a strange noise but at the time the temperature light did not go on. The air temperature behind the radiator was fine and that was being measured. The temperature sensor sat on the thermostat housing. The Toyota had an exhaust gas recirc pump ant the alternator ran on the same belt. A different belt ran fan and waterpump. No Alternator light came on. Overtaking a Semi trailer late at night all of a sudden I ran out of go. A huge cloud of white smoke. I could not see the semi headlights there was so much smoke. A cherry red glow from under the car when we pulled up. It was the last of many bits that fell off the car.

    20 years later I bought one of the first Wide bodied Camrys. My return to Toyota soured in days. It was 45 degrees. I took some guests to Mount Lofty. The communications tower disabled the smartkey system. Sunday afternoon. The RAA said in response to our call that they knew of the problem but could not fix it. We had to get the car towed. I turned out there was a fix but you needed to get the Toyota Melbourne Tech. department. It turned out you just had to tow the car out of range and all was well. after 3 years the steering rack rattled and leaked and the cv joints made Minis seem low maintenance. The ‘Touring’ gas shocks leaked. The Touring model had a low ride height and this created a geometry problem where the steering system was set up for the standard ride height wheel alignment. This scrubbed tyres and dealers were realigning the steering wrongly. It seems it was a known problem but no complaint no fix. The Smart key was also hit and miss in a couple of other locations. The consequence was that the dealer offered me about 40% residual when i wanted to trade it at 3 years. No more Toyotas for me. I went to Mitsubishi- less finesse but oh so much more reliable. Service and forget about it.

    April 18th, 2012 at 7:36 pm

  6. John Rowney says:

    With great delight, I picked up my first company car, a Falcon wagon, about 2 weeks late from the dealer in Brisbane in 1985. They could give no explanation for why it was late. I soon found that there were multiple problems with the car, and over the space of 12 months, the car had 30 days fixing problems at the dealership. After about 10 months, I highlighted a minor problem with something under the door when it went in for a regular warranty repair, and the service manager asked me whether I had given the car to a backyard repairer. The penny dropped! The car had been dropped or was in a prang on the way from Geelong to Brisbane and was delayed while bodgy jobs were done on it. The engine started to blow smoke after 90,000 km and I gratefully traded it in on my second company car, a Holden, a couple of months later.

    April 18th, 2012 at 7:43 pm

  7. Geoff Mc Donald says:

    Our family became the proud owner 0f a 1952 Vanguard. I believe the very small 4 cyclinder engine was the same one used in Massey Furgusson tractors modified to produce a “whopping” 50 horse power. It weighed about 2 tonne so the power to weight ration was embarrassing by today’s standards. Mind you, power and acceleration was not easily afforderd unless you bought a Ford Consul or Jag. The most amazing failing was the fact that the 3 speed manual gearbox ( column shift) would stick in reverse quite regularly requiring my mother to open the bonnet and hit a certain cog with a hammer to return to neutral. The amazing thing was that she always had the time to do this when stopped at a set of lights witthout any raod rage. It was quite common for cars to be on the roadside with bonnets up in the 50’s.

    April 18th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

  8. wayne middis says:

    Decided to down grade my Landcruiser of 10 years to a midsize true four drive. I chose a Jeep , a 2007 Cherakee 2.8 turbo diesol. The jeep was just under three years old and thoroughly checked by the RACQ and given a all clear..In the next couple of months both rear window winders were replaced under warrentry however as soon as the warrentry expired , nothing but expensive repairs all paid by me. Iam not a heavy off road driver..
    1 The gear box would lock when the speed reached 100 klms.Jeep off road for 8 weeks
    Jeep had NO idea what was wrong and would not help I had the gearbox replaced
    2 The fuel filter pre heater burned out
    3 No 1 glow plug replaced
    4 All 4 glow plugs replaced
    5 Starter motor replaced
    6 Battery burned out
    7 Front window winder replaced
    8 Front suspension collasped and replaced

    April 18th, 2012 at 7:58 pm

  9. Darrell says:

    My worst car is a 2004 Holden Rodeo 3.5 liter ute. It now has 190000 km on the speedo but it is now on its sixth engine replacement. The first four were replaced under warranty but after that Holden basically told me to beat it and they would no longer be replacing any more engines for me. I have purchased several cars form Holden in the last few years but this will be the last time I buy a Holden, it’s back to Toyota for me. Even though they cost a fair bit more I still have Toyota vans in my fleet with over 500000 km on the speedo with not one problem other than general wear and tear.

    April 18th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

  10. Warrick says:

    Let me start off by saying, if you include my wife’s cars, I have owned 27 cars, from Morris Minors to the forgettable EA Falcon, a number of Landcruisers and a fist full of Fords. My worst car was a 2005 (current shape) diesel Nissan Pathfinder.
    It had, over the time I owned it (82,000 km) 29 DIFFERENT faults. Here are just a few samples
    1/ The rear tail gate gas struts repeatedly fell off, even though Nissan said there wasn’t a problem. Eventually there was a new improved version fitted under warranty.
    2/ The diesel, although a manual was thirstier than the auto petrol Territory that replaced it. (I have verified this issue with a number of EX pathfinder owners)
    3/ It had an unusual hesitation (like a petrol ‘miss’) that came and went at anytime, any rev’s & any throttle setting. The dealer said it never happened to them, even though it was in for that fault at least a dozen times.
    4/ The drivers seat height adjustment continually worked it’s way lower over a few days, requiring constant adjustment.
    5/ I live 55km south of Grafton, NSW. The climate control in the summer used to take almost that distance to work in Grafton to get to the desired temperature setting. The climate control in the winter used to take almost that distance to work in Grafton to get to the desired temperature setting.
    The dealer told me it always worked fine in the workshop. I pointed out, landing on deaf ears of course, that a stationery car in a workshop was was no climate control test.
    I run my own Electronic Security Business. The finale for me was when, in Sydney on a Sunday night, needing to be back home (about 700km) by Monday afternoon to pack to do a major installation 200km north of my home, the car went into limp mode!!
    With the ridiculously short, by today’s standards, service interval of 5000km and the constant visits to the dealer for faults, the car was in the dealers workshop at least once a month.
    Yes, more downtime AND loss of income.
    Add to that, unbelievably uncomfortable seats after you have sat in them for a few hours, rattles that made it sound 300,000Km old, ridiculously high gear ratios, (don’t by a manual if you want to tow any weight)
    I USED to respect Nissan vehicles before THIS one. The Pathfinder left such a bad taste in my mouth AND a massive dent in my wallet I would NEVER consider a Nissan again.
    BY THE WAY, I hope Nissan read this!

    April 18th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

  11. Garth says:

    I inherited a 1982 Mistubishi Sigma from my late grandfather when I turned 18. On the surface it seemed like a great car, in good condition for such an old one, but my grandfather always looked after his cars. A little too well, I discovered.

    My grandfather served in the Royal Navy in WWII and they had to perform a lot of running repairs to keep the ships going, often using unorthodox ‘parts’. This was a philosophy he extended to his cars. Rather than buying spares, he’d just knock something up in his workshop.

    All of which leads me to the first time I got the Sigma serviced. On examining the vehicle, my greatly experience mechanic informed me that he could barely make any sense of what was under the hood, as vast chunks of it had been built (read: thrown together) by my grandfather.

    The biggest problem I had with it was that it had almost no power, which I presumed was due to a fuel intake issue. And sure enough, my grandfather had customised his own fuel injection and fitted to the car. It must have worked when he first fitted it, but by the time I got the car, it was severely limiting the fuel entering the engine.

    So, while I will always be grateful to my grandfather for the car, the cost of gradually replacing all of the custom parts with parts that were recognisable to a mechanic was a fair bit more than I had budgeted!

    April 18th, 2012 at 8:21 pm

  12. Chan De Silva says:

    In defence of the Ford motor car, I would state that from my very first car, I have driven a 1939 Ford 10 or 8 owned by my family, the very first car owned by me being a Ford 1955 Ford 10 Sedan, in Australia, the 6 cyclinder 1975 Ford XB Station Waggon, the 1988 Ford XF Sedan, the 1994 Ford ED Futura Satation Waggon, the 1997 Ford EL Futura Station Waggon and presently, the Ford FG XT Sedan.
    These vehicles have, throughout been serviced by agents of the Ford Motor Company and NOT by some corner shop/mechanic.
    I am proud of my Ford vehicles and have NEVER had even one problem since my association with the Ford car from 1939 todate. I am 80+ years young and will always own and rely on the Ford car.

    April 18th, 2012 at 8:35 pm

  13. Jim Taylor says:

    My worst car bay far was a Ford Cortina Estate in UK in the 1970s. It’s road holding was awful and when driving on cobbles is skittered about all over the road. It was also vastly underpowered, perhaps a blessing in the circumstances as more power would have meant even less steering control.

    April 18th, 2012 at 9:15 pm

  14. Marshall Peters says:

    I saved from my first job, and paid cash to become the owner of a new 1964 Vauxhall Viva. Everything failed. The transmission had to be re-built because the synchomesh was faulty, but the Dealer said it was my driving because every time I took it to them, the gearbox was cold and the fault could not be replicated.. Finally I woke up and took it in hot, and their test drive crunched the gears. I had to wait 4 weeks while they got the parts, and was without a car. The door handle fell off at a few days after the 12 months warranty, and they tried to avoid replacing it. It always boiled the battery dry, and despite my numerous complaints and the usual ‘they all do that’, eventually after a letter to GMH, the dealer then checked the regulator and it was trying to put too many volts into the battery. Meanwhile, the high voltage burned out the wiring loom, and also the light switch burned out. Then when I was transferred to another town, and I went to a different dealer, they found that the top ball joints had never been greased. Later I decided to learn about these things and service my own vehicles. No problems now. Now as a man of 66, I can say that not only was it a bad car, it was a bad dealer too.

    April 18th, 2012 at 9:37 pm

  15. Cameron Macdonald says:

    I still own my lemon; a 2007 Volkswagen Passat. The car has gone through two radiators with them both splitting open during our driving holidays. Front end wheel alignment issues from day one, where the front tires would last for only 10000 km. Of course it has always been my fault that the tires lasted for such a short period of time and that the car would wonder all over the road at highway speeds. I don’t even drive on dirt roads!!! Even today I need to get the wheel alignment done every 5000 – 7000 km just to get 30000km out of the tires. And these issues are just the major problems. I’ll be glad when the lease runs out later this year…

    April 18th, 2012 at 9:46 pm

  16. David says:

    How hard do you drive them?
    We’ve bought four new Toyotas in 23 years: 1989 Camry Wagon, 1992 Tarago, 2007 Yaris, 2011 Rav4.
    Apart from regular maintainance, the only trouble we’ve had was when the Tarago battery failed after 12 years, then the replacement (NRMA) battery died after 14 months.
    That’s it.

    April 18th, 2012 at 9:48 pm

  17. david milton says:

    I came to Australia from the UK in 1973 , got a job as a Sales Manager, and had to pick up a new Holden Kingswood S/W . When I picked up the car from the dealer, firstly I asked the dealer how the Air Conditioner worked, his reply was, [you wind down the window like everybody ,] I then found out there was no Air Conditioners available in Australia, I had driven an Air Conditioned car in Canada from 1969 to 1971. But under the Australian Design Rule, they where not approved for use in Australia till 1977. Also this car claimed it had Power Brakes, but no Power unit was fitted. Holden claimed it had left there Factory with a Power Brake unit fitted. but I must have removed it. If I wanted one I would have to pay for one to be fitted. I found out it had been removed by the Dealer, and fitted on a Staff Car. So I did land up with the Power Brake unit being returned.
    I have driven 29 new cars, since living in Australia, some where good, but many where bad, presently I drive a Mazda cx5, it seems OK.

    April 18th, 2012 at 9:49 pm

  18. Geoff says:

    My family had a 1949 Vanguard, in the early 1960s. I remember my father fiddling with the gear linkages in order to free up the problem of not being able to select gears. Grease all over his hands and arms. Back in the car and then continuing on to our destination.

    Come to think of it, I also remember having to do the same thing to my company car during the early 1980s. It was a HQ Holden with “three on the tree”.

    April 18th, 2012 at 10:18 pm

  19. jeff Lacey says:

    In early 2008 I bought a new VW transporter, it was a special order with a lot of factory options. At first it seemed OK but the headlamps were as effective as the 6 volt FJ Holden I had as a teenager, shock absorbers were hopeless but a $1000 set of Bilstiens fixed that. The paint chipped really easily, it was noisy, the seats too close to the pedals and the steering wheel too far away. If you were a deaf long armed short legged man who only drove on smooth roads during daylight it was perfect. Then there was the reliability and backup from VW the following is an extract from my web site.

    Any Problems?

    The front end was out of alignment from new.

    December 2009 warning light on dash, to do with the sensor that controls the Particulate Filter and it did not affect the engine performance. Dealer easily fixed this. Also had to replace the instrument cluster as it developed a crack. New cluster took 3 weeks to arrive from Singapore. Done under warranty.

    Gremlins/impending doom One time the interior lamps refused to come on when I opened any door. I was in Sydney at the time. Another time the electric windows would only move if you held the button. They are one touch normally, in that you touch them and they go all the way down. Both problems quickly fixed themselves. In May 2010 I did a delivery trip to Sydney via the Hume and Jarvis Bay. I stayed overnight north of Gosford. Next day I started home and there was a terrible vibration, like no wheel weights, a flat spotted tyre or tread separation. Straight to a tyre service. both front tyres balanced, no difference. At another tyre service I had all 5 wheels dynamically balanced (not one was perfect) and the spare put on the front right, little difference. When I started home I was not game to go over 80. The vibration was severe. Gradually it got better, the further I drove, but was with me all the way home. In the end I drove at the speed limits, this was after maybe 250 to 300k at reduced speeds. It was quite weird, around left hand curves it disappeared, around right hand curves it got worse. I did not enjoy that trip at all! At home I put the spare (formally on the RHS front) on the left front. The vibration seemed to go but it was never there at speeds under 70kph. After a few days of vibration free driving, I did a 50 k freeway drive one night and suddenly it started up, as severe as ever. It did not appear the next two drives to the same location. I drove to the airport with 3 passengers and a third of the distance there it again started up, as bad as ever. Since that trip, 3 weeks prior to writing this, it has gone and due to the full wheel balance the van is smoother than ever at highway speeds. I had it booked into Peninsula VW to see if they could determine the problem, but did not go as it was behaving perfectly.

    Thursday 8 July 2010. 57000km covered It finally broke down and left me stranded on the side of the road. The vibration started, I had just crossed over a speed hump, when it started vibrating, more like a wobble. It lasted 200 metres, then there was a bang, and a grinding sound and I had no drive. The engine was running OK. I coasted to a halt. This is only the first time in 1.2 million kilometres of driving that I have had a car break (or crash) and strand me. Maybe I have been lucky. In my early days I could fix things on the side of the road, then as a mature citizen I have had new cars (Fords) and they have been reliable. I rang VW assist and they are sent a tow truck, within 40 minutes. The driver could not have been more helpful. Good service!!

    This is what every driver dreads, being winched onto a tilt tray after a breakdown.

    Friday 9 July, 2010. The van was towed to Peninsula Volkswagen. Today they were too busy too look at it. At 10 to 4 in the afternoon I was told that a “technician” would be able to look at it on Monday afternoon. Their loaner cars are booked out 3 weeks in advance.

    Tuesday 13 July, Rang Peninsula VW, true to their word they looked at the van yesterday, the left hand front drive shaft has broken. A new one is on order and it is about 1.5 hours work to replace, which they will do immediately. Must have been some fault in the drive shaft from the beginning, but I assume they will know more when they take it out. Fortunately my son had a spare BF Falcon cab chassis ute, which I could borrow. Once more he said I should have bought a Transit, as he has had no trouble from the 3 he owns.

    Monday 19th July , Did not hear from Peninsula VW all week, rang them to see if they had a update on the parts arriving, they said they would make inquiries and get back to me, which they did. The parts are coming from Singapore and are due, at the latest the 28th July. They are also having a paint expert look at my bonnet to see if bonding of the paint is an issue. The bonnet has a lot of stone chips, where the paint seems to flake off way too easily. I just need to be patient.

    Wednesday 27th, I was advised the parts had arrived. The van should be OK on the following afternoon. Thursday 29th at 3pm I rang and was advised it would be ready about noon on the 30th, as they had to replace a sensor in the engine compartment and it would be arriving in the morning. Unfortunately I did not ask which sensor would be affected by a broken drive shaft. Friday 27th, collected the VW. All fixed. They had also found an engine sensor not working correctly so it was also changed.

    During this down time I have been driving a well used 60.000km BF Falcon Cab Chassis, it reminded me how good Fords are. I sold the VW as soon as I could and bought a BF Falcon 50th Anniversay Turbo ute which has been perfect.

    April 18th, 2012 at 10:28 pm

  20. Naomi says:

    Well I’ve had 4 dodgy cars and despite everyone around me telling me not to buy another French car I just couldn’t resist their appeal. It all began with a Peugeot 206cc, which was probably the best of the bunch except can’t put a baby seat in the back of one of those so I sold that to my sister which recently was written off in an accident on the freeway. So I then bought a Peugeot 307 hatch. Fine for the first 6 months and then the aircon decides to go and miraculously no mechanic could find anything wrong with it but were happy to keep charging me for a hours labour to try and find the problem. And the automatic transmission was just crap and then I decided to have a small head on accident in that and it was all down hill from there so that was the end of the 307. Next was a citroen c4. Had that 6 months before I got stuck in a storm and the auto transmission filled with water = write off! And finally a Peugeot 207 hatch. I think this one was the worse. It was auto also and would stall on a hill. Next the aircon went again,that was a nice bill at the mechanic. And finally the engine fault light. Sensor apparently but well over small things going wrong and costing me a fortune! So I bought a Japanese car this time round and so far so good!

    April 18th, 2012 at 10:41 pm

  21. juia says:


    My worst, worst, worst ever car was the Range Rover Vogue 2000/2001. We traded a BMW (never missed a beat) having out grown it and decided on a bigger car to pack all kinds of kid things. From day one it gave us TROUBLE. It over heated, also had some leak somewhere, the doors locked whenever they wanted which wasnt good with children and thus the tail gate wouldnt open either. Every 3 months something went wrong mechanically needing a tow truck everytime because the whole sysytem shuts down and costing a small fortune in repairs. The alarm would go off when it wanted, the navigation system worked when it wanted aswell, the car actually did what it wanted ,the battery would go flat every month, and was told by range rover you need to drive the car everyday, what a cop out. The car was sold with a racv test. Apart from all the trouble and expense it caused it was a pleasure to drive, when it was on the road. We had it 14 months and have now updated to a mazda cx7 hopefully with no problems.

    April 18th, 2012 at 10:52 pm

  22. Ingrid says:

    Worst of the bunch by far was my holden camira!. I can remember filling up at the gas station one day with a high octane, and wow it burnt a hole in something because the petrol started dripping out from under the car!. A friend, came back from a day out with the dependable camira. He told me that when he turned the lights on for night use, you could see the very tops of the trees, and it also gave you a very good view of the night sky. The lights of course were self adjusting, if you hit a bump in the road, it would determine, where the lights would shine for you. Hopefuly, it would be the road of course. When you used the blinkers,….. the pretty little dependable camira would blink alright,… “no not with the little blinkers, but with the main head lamps!!. And at times if you were driving over 40k, the wheels would lock up and the young kids would think granny’s out doing burn out’s today!!. Go gran. Oh yes and i almost forgot, ” it got towed to the tip and i have never, ever, owned one since!!!.”

    April 19th, 2012 at 12:11 am

  23. Rusty says:

    My worst car was a 1984 Mazda 323 RWD wagon. One of the noisiest diffs I’ve ever heard. Mazda ended up bevelling the diff teeth to quieten it down a bit. No good. Then I went to a rust proofer and got him to spray the diff housing a couple of times with that thick gunk they use. That was the most effective remedy.
    Then I kept losing brakes. It turned out that when reassembling the rear drums, the adjustment fork was put back on the wrong way around. When the hand brake was applied, it should have adjusted the rear brakes up but instead, it adjusted them off. I progressively lost brake pedal as a result. Many visits back to the dealership failed to solve the problem. It took a visit to my long time local mechanic to finally get it right, and after many months of anguish.

    April 19th, 2012 at 12:47 am

  24. David Couchman says:

    Back in the ‘good old days’ early 70’s in the UK I had a wife and 2 young kids to support and owning a good car was virtually out of the question. Lots of people were in the same situation and a lot of wheeling and dealing went on.
    One Friday night I bought 1957 Hillman Minx with a registration label valid for 2 months for 8 pounds. The theory was, if it’s registered it must be ok.
    The next day during daylight hours my new pride and joy didn’t look quite so good but never the less the kids were excited about going for a drive in the new car.
    First stop was the servo, 4 gallons of regular, 4 pints of oil and a good drink of water.
    20 minutes down the road and a trail of smoke behind us my wife said what’s that red light flashing for? – 2 more pints of oil. As we pressed on a bit futher the kids were being entertained watching the road pass by through the holes in the floor.
    We pulled into a servo for a cuppa just as the red light started flashing on the dash again, 2 more pints of oil.
    On the way home we were just approaching a wrecking yard when the oil lamp started again so I turned into the wreckers and the boss offered me a fiver and a lift home, I took the deal.
    It wasn’t the first or the last time I got seen off but it was the shortest time that I owned a car for.

    April 19th, 2012 at 1:14 am

  25. Danny Hannon says:


    I’m totally with you on this, I own a 2006 Ford Courier 4.0 V6 4×4 and it is the worst vehicle I’ve ever owned. It has 90,000km on it and has shuddered in the front end from new, had to pay $1600 to get it rebuilt and it still does it, had to twice replace the electronic 4wd module, is on its 6th starter motor, has a new air conditioner compressor, had to have the back diff seals and bearings replaced, leaks water when it rains, the paint was totally shot inside 50,000km and a heap of other niggling problems that just can’t be fixed. It had a three year warranty and all Ford did was stall obn everthing and eventually Ford Australia told me to go away, it was out of warranty and no longer their problem. Great customer service…..not. I’ve never ever had a vehicle that I’ve had to complain about before and am not a serial offender, so thanks for nothing Ford. I will also never ever buy a Ford again, and when I hear that others are considering one, I make sure that I tell them about my vehicle and Ford Australia’s lousy after sales care.

    April 19th, 2012 at 8:44 am

  26. Sharon says:

    My dad purchased a Honda HRV from a friend that worked at a dealership. He told him it was great buy at $14K. It had over 100,000 km on the clock. When he got it home he noticed the car making a noice from the gearbox. He rang the dealers and they said it’s just the sound it makes. Next thing as he’s driving it along the freeway doing 110km it slips out of gear and into Neautral very scary. Once again on the phone to the dealers same response nothings wrong. After several more Neautral episodes he decides to take it to a machanic who then tells hims that he needs a new gearbox at $7K thats half the cost of the car Honda would pay any of it because by this time there warranty had finished. After a little ring around we managed to find a reconditioned one. We replaced it 4 more times in less that 3 months it still does the same thing. We have since learnened that the HRV’s have a 100,000 throw away gear box so you will have the same problem forever with this car. Now it just sits on the front lawn as no one is game to drive it. Will never by a Honda ever again.

    April 19th, 2012 at 8:56 am

  27. Bruce says:

    Starting out on my own and running my own service business i decided to purchase a new van. At that time Holden had a new van the Shuttle which by all accounts looked fine large and roomy to fit all my gear in and room to fit shelves to both sides i thought i was set. The first year was fine the second year and those following years just about done my head in.Firstly after approx 12 months the rust started and never stopped it ripped through doors,panels,and just about every piece of metal in sight at one stage the rear window was just about falling out and the roof was starting to peel off and yes i do mean the whole roof. And that was not the end of my problems it happend twice the jockey wheel which puts tension on the timing belt stuffs up and yes you guessed it the engine is stuffed.This happened twice and i had to get rid of it. So to all those ex holden shuttle oweners you will know what im talking about. I went on to buy a nissan and have never looked back . I now drive an X-Trail and its GREAT!!!

    April 19th, 2012 at 9:35 am

  28. Paul Stephenson says:

    Peugeot 307 cc convertible, roof stuck half up half down in the rain.air bag warning light failures, cruise failures, brake light failures, power window failures, roof warning failures…. Electronics generally too complicated and unreliable. Take it too peugeot they charge a fortune and don’t fix the issue. After 18 months sold it at a huge loss

    April 19th, 2012 at 9:59 am

  29. David says:

    Worst car ever? A 2006 Toyota Corolla sedan. It was impossible to keep the thing straight on the road! It would wander all over the place. New Michelins, umpteen wheel alignments and visits to the dealership solved nothing. Their service manager even said that it was because the car had a narrow track the car would wander. Where do they find these people? No solution ever found. I had to get rid of it – it was just too frustrating and dangerous to drive.

    April 19th, 2012 at 9:59 am

  30. Paul says:

    I still own my worst ever car, a 1996 Landrover Discovery. I sold my bike to purchase it as the family was growing and wanted to go to more extreme camping locations.

    The vehicle has never been without a fault. You fix one thing and another appears. Generally, electrical related which includes the engine management system.

    Having said that, it has achieved the goal of getting to more extreme places. And to date, has not left us stuck even when you thought it was going to. 4wd capability is excellent.

    Moral of the story, don’t buy older luxury cars as tracking down the electrical gremlins when they start can be a nightmare.

    April 19th, 2012 at 10:12 am

  31. Kevin says:

    My worst was my first, a “brand new” 1974 Ford Escort at $2472.
    The Ford dealer said I could not look at it before purchase because it was “at the back of the yard”. Seemed OK at the start but then after a wet spell all the exterior paint started to get little bubbles. Various parts of the car were re-sprayed several times by the dealer but the bubbles would always return especially the bonnet which would flake paint as well. Strangely there was also a distinct crease in the panel behind the radiator top and a broken weld between the panel and a bracing piece. Someone at the dealers thought it was a good idea to fix the broken weld with one self tappng screw! After a minor traffic bingle my repairer said the car had obviously had major damage which would have broken the weld. The major damage had obviously been repaired by the dealer before selling it to me as a New Car. No wonder they would not let me see it before purchase! Unfortunately, 12 months were up and the dealer was no longer interested. The opening side back window glass was only attached to the catch and hinges by glue. The glue ( including my own atttempts with Araldite) only lasted about 3 months at a time so the windows fell off repeatedly. The only solution was to have a glass specialist put them in fixed rubbers. The first clutch went after about six months, somehow welding itself to the flywheel during a rainy period when I did not drive it for a week . After a tow away by Ford the new clutch lasted about 3 weeks when the springs in it broke preventing the clutch from being disengaged. After the second clutch replacement there was a continuos knocking sound from the engine. When replacing the clutch the second time someone thought it was a good idea to tilt the engine to help align the gearbox but did this by jacking under the sump bending it up and causing one of the connecting rod caps to hit it every rotation of the engine. It was claimed that I must have damaged the sump on the way home. After 25,000 miles the cylinder head had to be reconditioned due to a burnt valve. The differential and underside of the car was always covered in oil as it seemd to pump its own oil out of the diff breather. Rust was a constant problem especially generated under the rubber floor mat in the boot. The floor mat was so effective at generating rust I suspected that this feature was deliberatley designed in by Ford. Perhaps the oil spray from the diff was supposed to stop the boot floor from rusting? Anyway, I spent many hours in the boot looking for water leaks but could not find any so I threw the floor mat away and painted the boot floor with Killrust which seemd to arrest the problem long enough to sell the car at 29,000 miles.

    April 19th, 2012 at 10:21 am

  32. Steve says:

    Back in 2000 I had just returned from a European trip. Being in the market for a new car and having seen heaps of Opel Vectras on the autobahns in Germany I decided I would buy the Holden version when I got back to Australia. This was the 2.2 Litre sedan version. Whilst some of these were imported from Belgium the one I bought was assembled in Australia.

    Right from the word go I noticed several problems. Firstly the front bumper was out of alignment. I took it back to the Holden dealer and they tried to straighten it up a bit but it still looked a bit deformed. The next thing was that one of the doors was out of alignment. I took it back to Holden again and they said it wasn’t covered under warranty but they’d see what they could do. The service guy merely jerked the door around a bit to get it back in alignment and told me it was fine now. Within about three months the strips on the door windows started to separate and once again I had to take it back to get them fixed.

    Within another month I noticed a weird noise coing from the front end every time a turned a left hand corner, sort of like a squeeking sound. Then another noise when I went over speed bumps like a loud thud. Even pedestrians could hear this, as they would look back startled at my car. I kept taking the car back to Holden and they kept saying they couldn’t find anything wrong it. I owned the car for 4 years and put up with this ongoing annoyance and totally gave up on getting any satisfaction from Holden.

    The next car I bought was a Honda Accord Euro, which gave me no problems and now I’ve got an Accord V6, which is a great car. I’ll never buy another holden, the quality of manufacture and assembly just isn’t there.

    April 19th, 2012 at 11:22 am

  33. Donna says:

    My first car that was not a company car was a VW polo 1999. I loved that car. When I first when to pick it up the interior drivers door handle was hanging out. I should have known then and there. It was the start of a not so beautiful friendship. Thank god for 3 year warrantys. The battery was replaced in the first 3 months, the radiator in the next 6 months. The car must have been repaired with a myriad of faults over a dozen times in that 3 years and to top it all off I was in it during the biggest hail storm in Sydney where the windshield cracked and the interior light popped out and scared me even more. Every single panel was replaced on that car including the roof which had to come in 4 or 5 times because it was damaged every time it came from overseas. It must have been cursed!

    April 19th, 2012 at 11:38 am

  34. Mark Spieth says:

    Another ford saga happening right now. This is a Ford Focus 2009 TDCi with power shift obtained via privatefleet (1/2 a year to go with warranty). First it cut out whislt driving. This was apparently a badly assembled (in south africa) antilock braking system. Then the rear wiper motor went.
    Also x 2 Ford recalls on the model for heat shield installation which was not installed during manufacture.
    The latest one is the transmission. The gearbox changes from 5th to 2nd for no reason at 50kph and then revs its guts. It has been in twice for this fault, the latest one has been 2 months and they cant seem to fix it. Apparently even the ford engineers cant reprogram the transmission computer. I can’t believe it could be this hard.
    As can be expected we are very annoyed. We get the runaround in that the ford service franchise cant do anything without ford corp’s permission, and at Ford Corp, responsible peoeple cant seem to be found.
    We eventually got a free loan car, same type but newer. Even in this car the gear lever comes off in your hand!
    It is however a lovely car to drive, when it goes. So much for depreciation when you cant
    use it too.
    Funnily enough, I had a workaround for the transmission problem before it went in for the 2nd and current time. On starting, after 5 seconds if the fault was going to happen, the idle speed changed from 800 to 1200 rpm. Turn the engine off and on again and everything was fine. Who would have guessed how hard it could be to fix.

    April 19th, 2012 at 12:01 pm

  35. Jo says:

    1996 Holden Astra hatchback. For three years I religiously took it to the dealers for its services and paid hundreds every time. After 90,000km I finally took it to a back yard mechanic for a service because the performance went south and the noises coming from the engine didn’t sound right. The ‘back yard mechanic’ found that the belts and fuel filter he replaced were installed at the factory – showed me the dates on the old parts. I went back to my job sheets and invoices from the dealership and found that I paid for new fuel filters at every service. I never took it back to the dealership for a service and will never buy a Holden again. After that it went like new for another 40,000km before I traded it in on a Toyota Corolla and despite what some people here said about Toyota I believe they are the most reliable cars in the world – not the most exciting though. They’re like a good appliance – it just keeps going but you won’t find anyone raving about them. At the end of the day all you really need is a comfortable, reliable and practical mode of transport and Toyota delivers that in spades.

    April 19th, 2012 at 12:10 pm

  36. Mark says:

    Well, would you believe my worse car was a German Volkswagen. When I finally got my 2003 VW Golf brand spanking new I thought I’d arrived. How wrong it was to prove. The car was the base 1.6 Automatic (called the “Generation”). When I drove it away the car “lurched” into second gear, almost throwing me through the windscreen, and this was as I was driving away from the dealer. I drove straight back (very gingerly) only to be told they couldn’t do anything on a Saturday but they assured me it must be a minor adjustment in the sensors. Needless to say it wasn’t – the whole transmission had to be replaced, but that was after three months of head scratching by the dealer and it wasn’t until I asked for my money back that they sent their analysis off to Germany whereby they were told to replace the whole transmission. This hadn’t happened before, so I was told, so I had to wait another 3 months for the transmission to be shipped from Germany and then fitted, at least I was given a loan car to use but that’s not the point.

    Once all that was finally fixed I had no end of electricial problems with the car – headlight bulbs constantly blowing, shorting of the rear light cluster, dashboard lights failing (and miraculously working whenver I took it back to the dealer). I eventually traded the lemon in on a Mazda 3 which was absolutely brilliant and trouble-free, so good I traded that one in for another Mazda 3 this year.

    Then there’s the story of my Renault 5 (many moons ago) when I was travelling along the freeway when I changed gear and I noticed something strange – the gear stick was still in my hand but no longer attached to the gear box! Ah, French character…

    Moto of my experience – European cars are not robust enough for Australian conditions. I have had a Ford and a Holden also and they were both trouble free. However, I am now a convert to Japanese, quality without the Euro price tag.

    April 19th, 2012 at 5:11 pm

  37. Rimmo says:

    I used to own a Kia Carnival. What more can I say. My friends still remind me of the error.

    April 19th, 2012 at 6:51 pm

  38. Bryan Howard says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Could you please direct me to your website?

    I have had the axle problem, but also auto failure, new turbo, water pump, power steering,
    Cruise control, air conditioning compressor and ignition key.

    It is the worse thing I have ever bought.


    Bryan Howard

    April 20th, 2012 at 3:39 am

  39. Chris Kirwan says:

    I bought a brand new Holden captiva- it went back to the garage 45 times- everything that could go wrong did- 2006 model- 2010 components- RACQ were fed up of me.
    2 years ago I was today and tonight with the car- in the end only 8 months ago Holden swopped it for me……

    April 20th, 2012 at 8:14 am

  40. David George says:

    I think of all the cars I have had owned (at least 30) and driven, it has to be the Holden Camira. One particular example was not one that I owned, but one that I came to drive (and loathe) in the course of duties as a police officer. Now, the normal frontline sedans we have are Falcons and Commodores (of which the EA and AU Falcons are horror stories in themselves) but for ancialliary duties we got smaller cars like this. In the late 80’s where I worked we got this particular Camira. This car had done the rounds and was foised upon one section after the other after its custodians knew enough to want to part with it, and it was well used when we got it. It was quite a rocket actually, but had THE most vicious torque steer imagininable. I dont know whether it was the design or accumulated front end abuse, but it was like trying to control a bucking bronco when accelerating in a straight line, and FORGET acceleration AND cornering. Eeek!
    It broke down with monotonous regularity and unfortunately one of the things that did the breaking and was desperately needed in this car was the aircon. Thats because this was the early days of sulphur laden unleaded fuel, and the more poorly tuned a car was, the more rotten egg gas the car made. This Camira was lethal when it stood idling and on a hot day in traffic you almost gassed yourself without the benefit of aircon. I still remember one day being the first car at a set of lights and pedestrians were crossing. I can still see these poor people visibly reeling as they inhaled the foul noxious fumes this beast of a car emitted as they passed.
    (Now I can laugh, but then it was very embarassing)
    Fortunately our bosses then palmed it off to some other unfortunates and I have never been near one since (well except for a friend who when asked if a Camira was a good cheap car to buy for his wife years later. I said a firm NO, but it seems not firm enough, and it didnt take long for this car to burst in to flames at a set of lights with his wife at the wheel. He should have listened…..

    April 20th, 2012 at 1:45 pm

  41. Peter says:

    Bought a new 2005 Volkswagen Transporter D/Cab Auto. At 68,000K’s the engine died and was replaced (Two Months) Within another two months the Drive shafts were replaced, Turbine replaced and an oil seal. A year passed and the Drive shafts were replaced again. Meanwhile 4 yes Four radios were replaced and Brake warning circuit failure. Just out of warranty and the auto gear box packs it in. $10,380.00 and three months off the road later then another set of drive shafts need replacing. This vehicle was repaired and serviced three different dealerships and each had horror stories about each other. I bought it because I had a 1995 Transporter for 10 years and it was the best vehicle I owned.
    I now have a second hand 2004 Hi-Lux.

    April 24th, 2012 at 10:24 am