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Common Vehicle Manufacturers with Defects

Which Auto Makers Are Most Notorious for Defects? Find Out Here.

At Cali Lemon Lawyers, we are dedicated to providing consumers who have purchased a lemon the legal help they need to get a refund or a new, working vehicle. Our legal team understands the ins and outs of California lemon law and claims to help you obtain fair and just compensation to cover your losses.

While most automobile manufacturers have encountered some problems with their products over the years, there are certain makes and models that are infamous for their many complaints. Vehicles with the most issues should probably be avoided if you’re on the market for a new and used car. Below, we highlight some of the most problematic vehicles known to the American consumer market.

Read on to learn more or give us a call at (310) 627-2665 to discuss your case.

What Defects Make a Car a Lemon?

Before we look at some of the most well-known lemons, it can help to understand what exactly a lemon is. A lemon is a vehicle or other product that is defective due to a manufacturing error. Both state and federal law allows consumers to receive a refund or a replacement in the event their vehicle cannot be repaired.

Common defects found in vehicle lemons include:

  • Braking defects
  • Doors that won’t lock or close properly
  • Engine failure
  • Malfunctioning headlights, brake lights, check engine lights, etc.
  • Stalling
  • Steering problems

There are far more problems that can make a car a lemon, but the above gives you an idea of the scope of the potential issues. So, what vehicles are among the most notorious lemons? Read on to find out.

Makes & Models that Get the Most Complaints

The following makes and models have had numerous customer complaints over the last couple of decades:

  • Chevrolet Cruze: This vehicle is especially problematic in the years 2009 to 2011 primarily due to issues involving the steering wheel.
  • Chevrolet Silverado: The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado was recalled due to a serious airbag malfunction. This model has received numerous complaints over the years, especially in the 2000s.
  • Dodge Challenger: The 2012 Challenger has electrical problems, and the 2015 model was recalled due to an instrument failure that could potentially lead to a crash.
  • Ford Escape: Between 2008 and 2013, the Escape received many complaints regarding engine stalling, suspension and brake problems, air conditioning issues, and many more.
  • Ford Explorer: According to, the 2002 Ford Explorer is the worst vehicle sold in the U.S. based on the number of complaints. However, since 2004, this make and model has performed far better.
  • Ford Focus: 2008-2013 models often include problems such as losing power, hard-starts, engine stalling, “check engine” lights not going off, and many more.
  • Jeep Cherokee: The 2014 and 2015 Cherokees had numerous issues, primarily related to engine stalls.
  • Jeep Wrangler: Between 2007 and 2014, the Jeep Wrangler received complaints regarding TIPM failure, leaks through the doors and other openings, and the “death wobble.”

You may be surprised to notice some household names on this list. This is why you must be extra careful when purchasing a new car—not all the best-known ones are of the highest quality. Even brands such as Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen, Nissan, and Mercedes-Benz have produced their share of lemons.

It should be noted, however, that car complaints and recalls often only apply to a particular year or series of a certain vehicle. For example, while the 2004 Chevrolet Silverado has earned numerous customer complaints, the 2010 model has very few by comparison. Also, just because one make and model of a vehicle has problems does not mean they all will, even if manufactured in the same year. Though we do recommend doing your research before buying to avoid known lemons, it is possible to own a “problematic” vehicle without suffering any serious trouble yourself.

You can view all vehicle recalls on the Kelley Blue Book website here or at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website on this page.

Contact Us Today to Learn More

Think you may have bought a lemon? We have your back. Our California lemon lawyers understand the challenges presented in lemon law cases and will do whatever it takes to ensure the manufacturer provides you with a full refund or adequate replacement.

Call (310) 627-2665 now or contact us online to request your free consultation today!


Cali Lemon Lawyers by Prestige Legal Solutions, P.C. has experience with all major car manufacturers.

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