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Colin Merrill owns the On-Kaul Auto Salvage yard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In the 1,000+ cars he’s purchased to part out or scrap, he’s noticed some makes and models over and over. In fact, there are four SUV models that he’ll warn his friends about if he hears they are planning to purchase one.

Chevy Equinox (2005-2015)

Used crossover SUVs stacked up in a junkyard
Salvage yard | Djedzura via iStockPhoto

These little crossovers love stopping by our yard with their pile of junk blown up 2.4 or 3.6 motors.  I don’t think a week has gone by where I haven’t gotten a call for a 2.4 motor from someone with one of these suvs.  Just stay away from them.”

Colin Merrill, On-Kaul Auto Salvage

The Equinox is a midsize crossover SUV, mechanically identical to the GMC Terrain and the Pontiac Torrent. A second generation debuted for 2010. For the 2018 model year it became a compact, but its still around with an EV version available too.

To add a little data to Colin’s experience, I went to, which compiles owner complaints. 2006 was by far the most problematic Equinox model year, followed by 2010, 2011, and 2012. The worst problem is excessive oil consumption, with 97 complaints for 2013 model year Equinoxes alone.

Ford Escape (All Years)

From the old ones rusting out and having bad motors to the new ones with transmission issues, we get these in all years.  We actually just bought a 2016 with a bad transmission from a ford dealership.  We get one of these in about every other week or so.

Colin Merrill, On-Kaul Auto Salvage

The Ford Escape is a compact crossover Ford made from 2001, right up until now. The first generation Escape was based on the Mazda Tribute. The second generation debuted for 2008. Then the third came along in 2013.

Car Complaints agrees that transmission failure is one of the Escape’s biggest problems, with the most complaints logged for the 2006 model year (86 complaints). But 2005, 2008, and 2013 all got their fair share of problems reported–for various issues.

GMC Terrain (2010-2015 )

These are all around clunkers, we usually get them with a blown motor or transmission, all around just avoid, maybe the newer generations are better, we’ll see.

Colin Merrill, On-Kaul Auto Salvage

Because the GMC Terrain is mechanically identical to the Chevrolet Equinox, the two crossover SUVs suffer similar issues. But let’s take a look at the Car Complaints data. The year with the highest number of issues reported thus far is 2011, followed by 2010, and 2012. The most commonly reported issue was excessive oil consumption in a 2011 model (45 complaints). But there are also 20 complaints for excessive oil consumption in a 2012. Transmission failure is another common problem, with the worst year being 2010 (21 complaints).

Jeep Patriots and Compasses (All Years)

Just no, unless you like replacing transmissions and driving plastic junk please avoid these.  They were jeeps cheapest offerings for a reason.

Colin Merrill, On-Kaul Auto Salvage

It’s tough to tell what exactly went wrong: Perhaps people bought Patriots and Compasses but expected Wrangler levels of durability. Or maybe people who couldn’t really afford to properly maintain a Jeep bought one and abused it. But whatever the reason, On-Kaul sees a lot of these.

Jeep Patriot: Car Complaints has the most reports of problems with 2008 model year Patriots, but 2009 is close behind, and 2014 is up there too. The most common problem is the engine stalling while driving in a 2015 model (14 complaints). Second place goes to water leaking into the interior of a 2015 model (22 complaints). And third place is the transmission of a 2011 Patriot overheating (13 complaints).

Jeep Compass: It is actually the 2018 model year of the Compass that has the most issues reported already. Of the 64 reports, 25 are engine related and 14 are electrical. But 2014, 2011, and 2012 are all above average. The most commonly reported problem is a control arm/bushing failure on a 2007 model (17 complaints). Also beware of TIPM failure in the 2007 model (12 complaints). And finally, four folks reported their CVT transmission overheating in their 2011 Compass.

Related Exclusive: 2 Cars a Salvage Yard Owner Warns His Friends About

Exclusive: 2 Cars a Salvage Yard Owner Warns His Friends About