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Drivers Share Hilarious Stories About The Worst Cars They Ever Owned

Cameron EittreimJune 13, 2022

Owning a car is a memory many drivers will never forget. We all remember our first car, our best car, and of course, the worst car we’ve ever owned. Maybe it was a lemon or just a car that spent more time in the shop than on the road. Maybe you were unfortunate and got a car recalled for a deadly safety issue. Whatever the case, there are just some cars that are downright horrible to own.

So we decided to chronicle several real drivers who revealed the most brutal stories about the worst cars they ever owned. Looking at how bad these vehicles were might make you feel a little better about yours. You might think your car is a bad ride or a lemon, but some drivers have had it much worse. You never know when a car forces you to be stuck on the side of the road, and these drivers experienced the worst of these situations. Enjoy the stories of their worst-ever cars below.

Photo Credit: Twitter

50: Sea Foam Green Chevy Monte Carlo

The third generation of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo was slightly different than the previous two models. With the fuel embargo that was going on at the time, the car had to be more fuel-efficient than before. The car was still quite large, and as this Twitter user illustrated, there was a lot of room between the steering wheel and the driver’s seat. This was back during a time when cars were a lot larger than the vehicles we have today. The Monte Carlo will long be the pinnacle of GM during this decade, but it wasn’t always great for drivers (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

49: The Purple Taurus Skipped Over By The Drug Dog

This Twitter user had quite the story about their used Ford Taurus. The Taurus in the 1990s was not the success that the company had hoped for. The unique look of the car was what consumers were used to at the time. Ford attempted to take a calculated risk with the redesign of the Taurus, and it failed to pay off. Few automotive enthusiasts actually liked this redesign of the Taurus, although there was a rare V8-powered SHO model. The Taurus was discontinued after the failure of this generation, and the brand never recovered from the failed redesign (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

48: Rusted Cavalier Lost In A Drag Race

There is one car that comes to mind when you think of an old junky domestic car, and that’s the Chevy Cavalier. The Cavalier was the cheap econobox everyone had at one point in time. The Cavalier is by far one of the most notable compact cars ever on the market. GM has sold millions of these cars in the entire time it was in production, and there were also other variations. Sadly, the Cavalier is not a great car, it just has the notoriety because there were so many cheap examples like this one built (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

47: $20 Hornet

With all the talk about how high modern car prices are going, it’s nice to look back at a time when used cars were affordable. This Twitter user reminisced about how he got a used 1973 Hornet for minuscule $20 bucks. The car was very basic, there were no seatbelts or radio, but it was a car, and that is what was important. You can’t find a cheap car like this often now, and if you do, it will be a rare experience that you might not remember all that fondly. You get what you pay for (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

46: Cruise Control

The cruise control button on most vehicles is a convenient option, especially if you are commuting often. But if your car has a short in the system, there are times when this won’t work properly. Whoisheith told a story on Twitter where the turn signals on his car would stop the cruise control system from working. This obviously isn’t something drivers want to deal with in the middle of a long commute (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

45: Plywood Floorboard Leads To Cash

If you were a kid in the 1980s or the 1990s, you may know how bad the Chevette was. Quality and reliability issues plagued the car. This Twitter user had a unique story about finding a $5 bill on the road underneath the plywood flooring her father had used in this Chevette. Rusting floor panels were common in vehicles from this era, especially the Chevette. The car had a lot of drawbacks and a cheap design at the time, which only made this worse(via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

44: Speed Bump Shatters Window

Here we have another plywood story, this time involving a Toyota Corolla. There was a time when the Corolla was one of the most popular cars on the road. It was the first choice for parents who wanted affordable transportation for their high schoolers. Older Corolla models were not the most durable, however, so it’s no surprise that the windows on this one would break when the driver hit a speed bump (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

43: Pulling String In The Rain

It seems like windshield wipers go out at the worst times when you’re driving. Replacing a pair of windshield wipers is not cheap when the actual motor fails. That was the case for this driver, who had to resort to using a piece of string to pull on the wipers in the rain. Don’t laugh, because this could happen to anyone with electronic wipers. Windshield wipers are one of the most important things that you have on your car. Without them, you won’t see when the weather conditions outside are adverse (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Reddit

42: Slow Hummer

The Hummer H3 was a highly anticipated model that was unfortunately released at the wrong time. GM released the H3 at the height of the 2008 economic recession. The H3 was a lethargic SUV with a lackluster five-cylinder engine and dated design shared with the Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck. The Hummer H3 is an SUV that should have been released five years before it hit the market. By the time the H3 came around, the economy was on the fritz and the GM couldn’t sustain the large portfolio of brands they had (via Reddit).

Photo Credit: Reddit

41: Smart Transmission

The Smart ForTwo was a car that received a lot of media attention when it first hit the market. The main reason the Smart Car is so universally panned is because of the questionable transmission. The build quality of the Smart Car could have been better in the long run, although the car is still sold. The Smart Car is perhaps one of the most overrated cars in the last decade. The cheap design and overrated attributes just made the car a failure in the eyes of consumers (via Reddit).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

40: Hot Chevy Malibu

The 1990s Chevy Malibu was a notoriously basic passenger car that GM pitted against the likes of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Unfortunately, the Malibu was nowhere near the same quality as those two vehicles. On top of the rampant reliability issues, the car was also plagued with many recalls. The Malibu from this generation was not the car that GM marketed it as. The competition was a lot better in every way, and these cars were relegated to the used car lots and the rental car fleet (via Reddit).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

39: Fiero On Fire

The Pontiac Fiero was by far one of the most controversial sports cars released in the 1980s. It was notorious for engine compartment fire and several recalls were issued. The Fiero has become a collector’s item in recent years, and the value of the car is slowly continuing to rise. The original Fiero had a lot of potential because of the mid-engine design. This car was capable of doing everything that the Toyota MR2 could do. The design of both cars was quite similar, but GM missed the boat with the engine compartment design (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

38: The Silver Bullet

In the 1990s it was not uncommon to find a car from the 1970s on the used market. Honda Accord and Civic models were increasingly popular with young drivers who needed cheap transportation. This driver recounted how the Accord they owned routinely backfired. The Accord Hatchback is one of the most underrated variations of the popular car model. Honda has continued to improve this line every year since the car was originally released. (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

37: Leaky Windshield

Nothing is worse than having a leaking windshield, and it happens often on older models. The Twitter user in this post decided to comment on how there was a lack of weather protection on their windshield. The 1979 Datsun would get so flooded that the passenger would have to hold a bucket to stop all the leaking water. It is important to ensure your windshield is leakproof and that the rest of the weather stripping on your car is in working order (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

36: Honk The Horn Hack

The 1980s model Volkswagen Jetta was a surprise hit for the German automaker, although there were some build quality issues. These early Volkswagen models were not the most reliable or well built. Here a driver illustrated the quirky issue she’d have with her steering column while driving. Surprisingly enough the Jetta has become one of the most popular nameplates for Volkswagen in recent years (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

35: Beach Car

The original Volkswagen Beetles were honest cars, and by the 1980s these were cheap used cars that many teenagers received. The Beetle was not the sturdiest car to drive on the road, though. The air-cooled engine was not the most efficient or powerful, and many teenage girls who received these cars were underwhelmed by the lack of performance. Nowadays, these Volkswagen models can be upgraded with all kinds of unique performance features. But back in the day, these were slow economy cars that just about anyone could obtain(via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

34: Mistaken For A Cop Car

Remember back in the ’90s when cars had those annoying sounding alarm systems? Even if you don’t, this owner distinctly remembers that time in the auto world. The sound of that alarm was nothing short of annoying, and that’s how it was for many car owners. Interestingly enough, these alarms didn’t do a lot to prevent theft. Modern car alarm systems connect straight to your smartphone. But back in the ’90s, it was quite different and these alarms could get annoying after hearing that sound (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Reddit

33: No Acceleration

The original Jeep Compass was one of the most universally panned vehicles ever graced the Jeep lineup. The lethargic little car was based on the Dodge Caliber design and was one of the only Jeeps, not Trail Rated. The Compass would be relegated to the rental car fleets as is evident by the story from this Reddit user. The Compass has been improved over the past couple of decades. The car has continued to get better with age, although the first-generation models were questionable at best and some of the worst Jeep models in a while (via Reddit).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

32: Getting Wet Thanks To Pinto Rust

Before cars and trucks had the advanced HVAC systems they have nowadays, things were harsh. This was especially true in the wintertime if you lived in a particularly cold region. The Twitter user in this post reminisced about having to use a blanket in their Ford Pinto wagon. Nothing is worse than being stuck in a cold car early in the morning. If you live in a cold climate, it can be awful to try and get the car warmed up in a decent amount of time. Needless to say, this person was not the happiest when they had to go to work every day (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

31: Stuck Doors

Chrysler vehicles from the ’80s were not of the highest quality and Plymouth models were especially cheap. Here we have a Twitter user telling the story of her Plymouth’s faulty door handles. This was commonplace in the ’80s, and many of these cars were known for having subpar build quality. Chrysler would slowly improve in terms of quality over the years, but this generation was undoubtedly the worst for the company (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

30: Parking Brake On Fire

Here we have a PhD candidate talking about the worse car she ever had. Her car’s parking brake actually caught fire in a Taco Bell drive-thru. Nowadays vehicle fires are less common, but when cars were cheaply built, it was more common. Taco Bell is a fond memory for many of us, and the fact that this experience happened to this driver is unique. As a driver, few things are worse than breaking down in the drive-thru window with everyone watching behind you (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

29: Mr. Potato Car

What do you do with an ugly car? You give it a nickname, as was the case with this Twitter user. Her friends dated Toyota station wagon, which got quite the moniker in school. It was all too common to see these old wagons driving around at one point, so we aren’t surprised to see this story. The brown automotive paint colors from this time were not the most aesthetically pleasing. Nevertheless, the car had a lot of history, and everyone has a story of a certain car they drove in their youth (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

28: Buying A Stolen Car

There are inherent issues with purchasing a car online, even with all these advances today. In the early days of Craigslist, it was extremely risky to buy a car because of all the scams. In the case of this Twitter user, the car was reported stolen and the person lost some money. The worst part? Her father’s best friend sold the car. What happens when you accidentally purchase a stolen car? Well, there is a good chance that you will have to do jail time, even if you get bailed out. This is something that needs to be figured out in the court system. So it’s crucial that you fully vet someone trying to sell a car online (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Reddit

27: Iron Duke

The Iron Duke is undoubtedly one of the most infamous engines to come out from General Motors. The horrendously underpowered four-cylinder engine was dropped in many cars, including the Camaro. Most consumers couldn’t believe GM would put such a lackluster engine into their well-known vehicles, but they did. GM had a good intention with the Iron Duke motor, and with the rising fuel costs, it made sense. But when it came to the engine, in reality, the thing was criminally underpowered and the Camaro became the laughingstock of the pony car world (via Reddit).

Photo Credit: Twitter

26: No Need To Go In Reverse

The Chevrolet Corvair was another well-known blunder by GM, even commissioning the best-selling book “unsafe at any speed”. The Corvair was supposed to be the future of performance at GM, but instead, the automotive press mocked the car. This Twitter user told the story of being offered a Corvair lacking the reverse gear. There were many other issues with the Corvair but reliability was the biggest problem. Nowadays, the car has become a sort of collector’s item with a storied past, so it is rare (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

25: Rusted Hood

There was something about cars built in the 1980s and 1990s that made them prone to rusting. Especially the old Ford models on the lower end of the spectrum, case in point the Tempo. This Twitter user told the story about their 1994 Ford Tempo rusting right through the hood. Ford vehicles from this era had many quality issues that would pop up from time to time. The common complaints aside from heavy rusting were also related to the cheap interior materials and even worse reliability (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

24: Purple AMC Gremlin

Some cars are so horrible that you don’t even need to tell a story about them; just a picture will suffice. That was the case with this Twitter user, who decided to show off the worst car she ever owned. If you’ve seen the picture, then you know there is no argument here. The AMC Gremlin is a car still universally panned to this day. The design never held up. AMC was in a bad place at the time this car hit the market. There was no true inspiration behind the design and the Gremlin stood out like a sore thumb (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

23: AC Button

There was a time when Toyota and Honda cars were considered quality and affordable. The Prelude was one of these cars that were fun to drive and cheap to own. Unfortunately, as with this Prelude owner, the AC button was faulty, and she had to use an interesting method to keep the AC going (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

22: Gas Leak

It appears the horror stories about the Ford Tempo are almost endless, and that’s the case with this Twitter user’s story. The story we encountered this time is another one that had to do with rust. Apparently, the Tempo in this story had a gas tank so badly rusted it was leaking gas out onto the road (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

21: Fixed Blinker

Getting a loaner car is never fun, and this Twitter user was given one from the body shop that had an issue with the blinker. When the driver was hit from behind in a crash the blinker started to work. The car was returned to the body shop with a note from the driver. Not a bad way to bounce back from a car accident (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

20: Only Drives In Reverse

Renault is one of the most famous automakers in the world, and the LeCar is a well-known budget-minded pair of wheels. As is the case with most budget rides, the LeCar is not immune to failure. This Twitter user wrote about how the car had failed him by only driving in reverse and ultimately got towed at the bottom of a hill (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

19: The Wind On His Arm

The speedometer is supposed to be one of the most important parts of a vehicle, it shows the driver how fast they are going. This driver had an interesting story about using his arm to calculate his speed. He’d simply reach his arm out of the window while driving, claiming to know exactly how fast he was going based on the feeling of the wind. Results may vary (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

18: Mercury Cougar Impedes Baby’s Birth

The early Mercury Cougar models were popular at first but ended up being plagued by reliability issues. This Twitter user told the story about having to be pushed out of the driveway to drive to the hospital to have a baby. Not the most ideal way to deliver a baby, but when the transmission isn’t working, it’s the best you can do (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

17: Clearly Haunted Car

Back before there were infotainment centers, there were old-school radio dials. Many of these old-school radio dials were not the best quality, and thus the car radios of yesteryear were not the best quality. This Twitter user talked about how the radio would blast loud music every time the car was started (via Twitter). This lead them to believe it was clearly haunted. Maybe they were joking, or maybe they weren’t.

Photo Credit: Twitter

16: Locking Problems

There are several homemade anti-theft devices that you might have run into throughout your driving life. This Twitter user talked about how his car wouldn’t start without them doing several things first. The things that we do for the cars that we drive are fascinating. This is definitely taking car ownership to the next level and adding some homemade theft deterrent into the mix (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

15: Barney Purple

The Geo Tracker was a surprisingly popular compact SUV for GM when it was first released. The Tracker shared a platform with the Suzuki Sidekick and it had a removable top. Perhaps the most iconic thing about the Tracker was the bright paint colors that were available with it when it was first released (via Twitter). This driver had quite the story about those so-called ‘unique’ colors when they received a ‘Barney Purple’ version that rusted out on them from their grandparents.

Photo Credit: Twitter

14: Death Trap

One of the worst things about a used car is that the suspension can be faulty. That was the case with a car gifted to this Twitter user, and the vehicle would routinely lose control. Afterward, her father would drive the car and discover that it was indeed a death trap and she never saw the car again (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

13: The Condom

The 1980s Chevrolet Caprice was a big and odd-shaped vehicle, and the reliability was questionable as GM dealt with more emissions regulations. This Twitter chronicled what it was like to own one of these land yachts for a first-time driver. Needless to say, the Caprice wasn’t the friendliest car to own (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

12: Electric Doors

The more cars get electrified, the more issues owners will have. This Twitter user details her son’s plight with the electronic doors on his vehicle. When these motors start to malfunction, the repairs can cost thousands of dollars to fix, and most vehicle owners don’t have the funds to deal with this (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

11: $300 Car

Although some would be opposed to receiving a $300 car, there are some benefits to a cheap ride. This Twitter user talked about the $300 ride her grandpa had purchased for her. The car was not the prettiest thing on the road, but it managed to last for five years, which is a long time to own a vehicle for such a low cost (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

10: Toyota Corona

Although it is not a well-known nameplate nowadays, the Corona was a big part of the Toyota lineup in the 1980s. This was the car that preceded the Camry in the US market until the 1990s. The Twitter user above talked about how the only channel that her Corona would pickup was a PBS TV station. Even though this was not the most beautiful car to look at, the Corona was one of the most reliable vehicles on the road (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

9: Free Car

You can’t beat a free car, at least for the most part, but that was not the case with this old Fiat. The old Fiat models are not the most reliable things on the road. Even though the convertible top was only held onto the vehicle with a single bolt, there are better options for the discerning consumer. There are a few things that you can get in life for free, and a car is one of them. This driver was lucky to get a car for free, even if it was not the best car (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

8: Random Honking

Electrical shorts on a vehicle are the worst, especially when it affects the horn. That is what happened to this Twitter user, who had to deal with a horn that would act up when the battery went low. The problem could have been fixed sooner, but it appears the owner just decided to live with it. These types of electrical problems happen to all types of cars, but the strangest types of occurrences can happen that you’d never expect. Keeping the electrical system in optimal condition in your car is a must if you want to own it long-term (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

7: Geo Tracker

The Geo Tracker has gained popularity over the past few years, and much of that is because the removable top is a great option. But not everyone has a fondness for this SUV. The bright green colored paint scheme is one of the first giveaways of what this SUV was. The Tracker was not the most capable SUV, but it was cheap and had good fuel economy. The Tracker was the type of SUV that made a great first vehicle for a new driver or a great extra SUV for long trips (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

6: Mouse Fell Out Of The Exhaust

Mazda is a car company that has come a long way over the past couple of decades. The 626 was a failure when it came to sales numbers, the car was not that reliable. As is the case with this Twitter user’s description, the 626 has suffered for the most part and become a relic of the 1990s. The funny thing is that it can be common to get a mouse or another type of rodent in the exhaust pipe or under the hood of the vehicle (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

5: Flying Hubcap Nails Bicyclist

Back before alloy wheels and rims were the standard treatment for new cars most vehicles had hub caps. These were stylized wheel covers that went over the steel wheels. It was not uncommon for a hub cap to fly off a vehicle when the car was moving at a high rate of speed. The deep-dish hub caps were the worst for doing this and flying off during a high rate of speed. A lot of vehicles started to move away from hubcaps early on in the 1990s (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

4: Friends Don’t See Their New ‘Vette’

The ’80s Corvette is one of the sports cars from that era that tends to depreciate the most. The car had a lack of quality that the newer models have since rectified. The ’80s model was notoriously unreliable and suffered from many build quality issues that made the car questionable at best. Still, being able to show up somewhere in a Corvette is a big statement no matter what generation the car is from. But this user didn’t have a Corvette (via Twitter). They had a Chevette they had touted to their friends, who pretended not to see them when they pulled up in a car that was not a Corvette.

Photo Credit: Twitter

3: Smoky Mustang

The 1978 Ford Mustang was a stop-gap between the legendary car that came before and the new and improved fox body. With fuel prices soaring Ford had to do something to get the consumers back into the showroom. But the 1978 models were based on the Ford Pinto and were some of the least reliable models on the road. This driver had one that smoked ‘worse than a barbecue’ and clearly provided some danger on hills (via Twitter). However, the Pinto-based Mustang has come back into favor recently as the price of used cars continues to rise.

Photo Credit: Twitter

2: The Bev Mobile

The Oldsmobile 88 is the often forgotten large GM family sedan of the 1980s. These cars had a certain clientele that would purchase them and gave the Oldsmobile brand a certain image. Needless to say, most of these cars have faded off by now, and you’ll seldom see one on the road because of the lack of reliability. The large sedans that were built by GM during this era were not the most economical. This driver got the full experience of driving a 75-year-old woman’s 88 with custom ‘Bev’ license platers – not the best look for a young man at the time (via Twitter).

Photo Credit: Twitter

1: Mario Andretti

The VW GTI is one of the most popular hot hatchbacks of all time. This was the car that introduced the world to a performance-oriented hatchback. The Twitter user that we see above used to take his dad’s GTI out for a ride when it was brand new. Needless to say, he got memories that stayed with him for life up into adulthood. Driving can be an experience like no other (via Twitter).

 

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