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40 Cars That Break Drivers’ Budgets Just to Maintain

Cameron EittreimMay 2, 2022

Photo Credit: Chrysler

20: Chrysler Sebring

The Sebring was long the sweetheart of rental car fleets across the country thanks to its cheap price tag and a seemingly stylish exterior. Sadly, though, the Sebring didn’t have the best build quality, and many of these issues have come to the light (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Chrysler

The Sebring had a notorious engine failure rate, involving the 2.7L V6. These engines are known to suffer premature engine sludge and worse. The cost of these repairs is astronomical, and thus the Sebring is one of the worst money pits out there.

Photo Credit: GM

19: Chevrolet Suburban

The Suburban is one of the longest-running auto nameplates of all time, it was the original family car. This large cruiser has long been popular in the SUV world, and even more so in the last couple of decades (via Hot Cars).

Suburban Via GM
Photo Credit: GM

But the Suburban isn’t without its faults, and if you own one, there are a few costly repairs that you will encounter. The most common problem with the early Vortec V8 models is that with the spider injectors going out, drivers are left with a repair that will cost upwards of 800 dollars.

Mini Cooper
Photo Credit: Mini

18: Mini Cooper

The Mini Cooper experienced a resurgence when it was revived for the 2001 model year, and since then it has remained a unique option. But the Mini Cooper is a complex car to own and repair costs can be expensive (via Hot Cars).

Mini Cooper
Photo Credit: Mini

Even an oil change in one of these automobiles can break budgets, especially if you are doing it at the dealership. In recent years, its transmission has also been the subject of many problems with owners, and it’s not a cheap fix.

1999 Dodge Caravan
Photo Credit: Dodge

17: Dodge Grand Caravan

The original and arguably the most popular minivan to ever grace the automotive world is also expensive to fix. The Grand Caravan has one of the most stellar sales records of any minivan on the market (via Hot Cars).

Dodge Caravan Via Edmunds
Photo Credit: Edmunds

But there are many reliability issues with the caravan, and many of these issues are expensive to repair. The transmission is the most common, and the timing chain is the second most common failure on the Grand Caravan.

GMC Acadia Via Motor Trend
Photo Credit Motor Trend

16: GMC Acadia

The GMC variant of the GM crossover trio including the Buick Enclave and the Chevy Traverse also had its fair share of reliability issues. These automobiles’ design was rushed to the market and thus there were many shortcomings (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The CVT transmission is problematic, and the cost to replace one of these is expensive. The head gasket has also been known to go out on the earliest models of the Acadia, which leads to frustration when it comes time to pay for the repairs.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

15: Jeep Wrangler

The Wrangler has long been a popular off-road SUV with a lot of potential but recent models have been problematic. It should be expected that any modern SUV will have more expensive repair costs than the classics, but the Wrangler is taking it to the next level (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Wrangler TJ Forum

There have been problems with the seals along the removable top, the engine overheating, and several electrical issues. There have also been issues related to the 4WD system, and these are among the most expensive to fix.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

14: Nissan Maxima

The Maxima is often referred to as one of the most popular Nissan models of all time. This was the first sedan with a talking interior but was even a thing. But the modern Maxima models have started to wane in popularity (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

One of the reasons for this has been the expensive repair costs associated with the car. The Maxima is not cheap to repair, and the most common problem has been associated with the CVT transmission. The head gasket is also an expensive repair that tends to happen on the older Maxima models.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

13: Acura TL

The TL is by far one of the most underrated cars on this list, as it has been a staple of the Acura lineup. With that being said, the car still has its fair share of expensive repairs that tend to cost drivers a lot of money (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

What exactly goes wrong when you own a TL? Well, there are a few things that tend to happen with this car. More recently, these issues have been related to the CVT transmission, and there have also been timing chain issues reported.

Photo Credit: Honda

12: Honda Pilot

For years, the Honda Passport was the only SUV sold in the Honda lineup, or at least the only authentic SUV because there was the CR-V. The passport was sadly nothing more than an Isuzu Rodeo with a different badge on it. When the pilot hit the market, it was an authentic Honda model in every sense of the word (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Honda

The Pilot has had issues with the transmission, rear-end, and even overheating as the mileage gets higher. Many of these issues Honda has rectified with service bulletins, but the warranty doesn’t cover used models, unfortunately.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

11: Jaguar F-Pace

The last couple of decades hasn’t been too pleasant for the Jaguar brand. The F-Pace was designed and built to fix the incredibly tarnished reputation. The crossover has a great driving presence and interior design but there have been costly issues (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

There have been coolant leaks reported, and this repair is costly, and there have also been gearbox issues reported. Given the price tag is upwards of $47k, these are just issues that drivers just don’t want to run into.

Photo Credit: Car Gurus

10: Porsche Cayenne

The Cayenne has been on the market for a long time, and with every year, the SUV gets a little better. But that doesn’t mean there have been hiccups along the way, as the SUV has had its faults (via Motor 1).

Photo Credit: Car Gurus

The Cayenne has had issues with the turbocharger leaking oil as well as the transmission solenoid going out. These are costly repairs on any car, but especially on a Porsche SUV.

Range Rover
Photo Credit: CarDomain

9: Land Rover Range Rover

There was a time when Land Rover was the be-all and end-all of off-road capability. But in recent years, the brand has become more of a status symbol. That doesn’t change the fact that the Range Rover is still one of the most problematic SUVs on the road (via Motor 1).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The reliability of the model is questionable at best, and if you get a used model, it will be even worse. The head gasket failures are rampant on these vehicles, and the price to perform that repair will set you back thousands of dollars.

Photo Credit: BMW Life

8: BMW X-Series

When BMW introduced its first SUV model in the early 2000s, it was one of the innovators. There weren’t many luxury SUVs on the market at this time, much less a German offering. However, as is the case with most German luxury vehicles, the repair costs are obscenely high (via Motor 1).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

You won’t get away cheap when you take your BMW X-Series in for servicing. Most of the repairs that these vehicles tend to need center around transmission and electrical issues, none of which are cheap to fix.

Foto Credit: GM

7: Chevrolet Impala

The Impala is a noteworthy sedan and one of the longest-running GM nameplates of all time. But there have been many issues with this car in recent years. GM build quality isn’t what it once was, and this is the case with the Impala (via Motor 1).

Impala
Photo Credit: Car Domain

The overheating issues that plague these cars are just one of the most common issues you’ll encounter. There are also issues with the transmission, and more recently a faulty brake system was covered under a recall.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

6: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

The Sprinter was a surprise for Mercedes-Benz in the United States, completely changing the delivery van segment as we know it. These big diesel vans aren’t cheap to maintain, and when it comes time to repair, you will spend a large amount of cash (via Motor 1).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The most recent incarnations of the Sprinter have suffered from many transmission issues, as well as a fair share of overheating problems. Because this is a Mercedes-Benz product, you will feel that when the repair bill comes.

Photo Credit: Ford

5: Ford Focus

Ford tried for years to stake a claim in the compact car segment, and in 2000 the company finally made some headway with the Focus. The car was incredibly popular, and there was even a rare sport model called the Focus SVT (via Motor 1).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

But all that success wasn’t enough to deter the fact that the car still has many reliability problems. The head gaskets would routinely fail in the first-generation models and the timing chain has also been a problem.

Photo Credit: Acura

4: Acura MDX

The MDX was the first official Acura SUV to hit the market since the previous SLX was just a badge-engineered Isuzu Trooper. The MDX brought a lot of great features to the table and the styling was a lot better than you’d expect (via Motor 1).

Photo Credit: Acura

As the SUV ages, however, there have been many reliability issues. The timing chain tends to go out early, and the engine has also suffered from head gasket issues. The transmission is also problematic and repairing it is not cheap, as the MDX is a luxury vehicle. It’s one that also breaks drivers’ budgets to maintain.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

3: Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Grand Cherokee has been marketed as a luxury SUV since the day it hit the market. With that type of recognition comes a luxury SUV price tag and also expensive repairs (via Motor 1).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The Grand Cherokee had an especially tough time during the Daimer years, as these vehicles shared many components with Mercedes-Benz. Transmission failure was all too common, and head gasket failure was equally frustrating to owners of these SUVs.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

2: Chevrolet Cobalt

When the Cobalt hit the market, it was the replacement for the long-running Cavalier compact car. The Cavalier had been a great seller for GM and one of the most well-known cars on the road at the time. The Cobalt had some big shoes to fill and for the most part, the car was a decent offering (via Motor 1).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

But there were reliability issues with the Cobalt, which makes it an expensive car to own. The coolant system has a lot of faults and it tends to be an expensive repair. The AC system is yet another expensive repair on the Cobalt, making this Chevy model one that wrecks drivers’ budgets to keep on the road.

Photo Credit: Ford

1: Ford Explorer

There is no denying that the Explorer is one of the most influential SUV models that has hit the market. There are millions of them on the road right now and it continues to be a sales success as time goes on (via Motor 1).

Photo Credit: Motor Authority

However, numerous issues happen to the Explorer models as time goes on, and many of these are very expensive to repair. The main issues that happen to the older Explorer models are the suspension going out and the transmission starting to slip. These repairs are crucial to the driving quality of the vehicle.

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