The Worst Engines You Should Avoid, According to Consumer Reports

Purchasing a brand new vehicle is an experience that a person generally feels good about. But, as a vehicle ages, there is a growing need for repairs and maintenance. Even a new vehicle with a warranty is going to need to be in the shop sooner or later. Well, Consumer Reports recently found complaints about cars with certain engines that tend to be in the shop more often than others, and have serious, costly engine concerns.

2010 Chevrolet Equinox engine
2010 Chevrolet Equinox engine | General Motors

A person looking for a new car typically wants to feel like the vehicle that they are about to buy will last them a good while. So, inevitably, the conversation about the car will turn to the quality of the vehicle. The better the reputation for the quality of a vehicle or brand, the more peace of mind a person will have about making their purchase. After all, nobody wants to buy a vehicle that feels like it is going to fall apart when they drive off the dealership lot. 

Components age regardless of warranty coverage

A potential purchaser will also feel more secure in a decision to purchase a vehicle if the car has a good warranty as well. A warranty with a new vehicle will cover almost anything during the first few years of ownership, But, cars get old, mechanical components get fatigued. So, as a vehicle ages, time spent at a shop and complaints about a car’s failures grow, regardless of warranty coverage.

That is where Consumer Reports comes in. They recently published a report based on a survey of older vehicles. This data shows which models have the highest problem rates related to major, expensive system components. The most severe problems, as determined by severity and cost, were compiled. 

A red Audi sedan sits on a road by hedges
2010 Audi A4 | Audi

Audi A4 2.0T

First on the list is the Audi A4. Model years 2009 and 2010 of the Audi A4 came in at the top of the list. According to the sampling of data, between 107,000 to 153,000 miles, this car will have major problems requiring an engine rebuild. High oil consumption has been attributed to problems with the cylinder head. 

2008 Ford F-350 Super Duty
2008 Ford F-350 Super Duty dually pickup truck | Ford Motor Company

Ford F-350 6.4-liter diesel

Next on the list is the Ford F-350. The 2008 model year with this engine had major problems once it reaches between 65,000 and 119,000 miles. Numerous radiator failures with this model have led to engine failures.

A PT Cruiser with a woody package sits by the water
Chrysler PT Cruiser | FCA

PT Cruiser 2.4-liter

The PT Cruiser for 2001 made the list. If a buyer is looking to purchase one out of nostalgia for something almost twenty years old, they should be aware that a faulty engine cooling system led to many of these cars needing an engine rebuild at anywhere from 102,500 to 133,000 miles. 

A white Mini Clubman drives down an urban street at night
2009 Mini Clubman | Mini

Mini Cooper/Clubman 1.6-liter

The 2008 to 2009 Mini Cooper/Clubman models had their share of trouble. According to the report, the Mini’s problems were diverse. They ranged from the ECU having to be reprogramed to electrical gremlins, to oil leaks, to the valves being warped. The problems tend to show up at 122,000 to 129,500 miles.

A charcoal colored Equinox crossover
2010 Chevrolet Equinox | General Motors

The Most Common Audi A4 Problems Owners Run Into

Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain 2.4-liter

Problems leading to engine rebuilds on the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain show up between 84,500 and 108,500 miles. Specifically, concerns with the cylinder head, head gasket, and the timing chain made frequent appearances.

An engine rebuild is no fun. It is costly and time-consuming, as well. Based on the data that Consumer Reports gathered, the vehicles on this list seemed to have higher occurrences of engine rebuilds becoming necessary. So buyer beware. Due diligence is important. Research before purchasing a used vehicle. Add the list of vehicles above to the research file.