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The 10 Worst Used Cars You Can Buy

The only thing worse than buying a lemon, is buying a used lemon. But with the state of the economy today, few have the money to shell out $20,000 or more on a brand new car. As a result, more and more people are purchasing used cars. A used car can be a great investment if you do your homework before hand.

Longtime car dealer and auto auctioneer Steve Lang did this for us. Lang decided to gather data on trade-ins sent to wholesale auctions by large used-car retailers and other regional used-car retailers that don’t cater to a single automaker. He also hired Nick Lariviere; a statistician who created visuals that will allow for an easier understanding of all this real-world used car data.
One year and nearly 300,000 vehicles later, they have developed a new quality index that contains data and analysis based on trade-in vehicles from across the country, in an attempt to provide objective, quantifiable information about the used car market.

For now, Lang is only focusing on brands and models. They’ll gradually introduce specific model year data, and even powertrain combinations, so that used car buyers can figure out where to find that older used vehicle that has truly earned its quality reputation.

For the thousands who prefer spending money on a used car than to buy a new one, Lang has compiled a list of ten used cars with the highest defect level at trade-in time.

10. Volkswagen New Beetle (automatic transmission issues and cheap interior components)
9. Mazda 626 (automatic transmission issues, all models)
8. Lincoln Aviator (unique sensor and software issues which negatively impacted the overall powertrain and electronics)
7. Jaguar S-Type (extensive transmission and engine issues on all V-6 and V-8 models)
6. Lincoln LS (same basic powertrain as the Jaguar S-Type with nearly identical results)
5. Mazda Millenia (engine issues, transmission issues and cheap interiors)
4. Land Rover Discovery (expensive parts and expensive powertrains)
3. Mini Cooper (bad transmissions that are unusually expensive to replace, cheap interior parts, cheap hydraulics)
2. Land Rover Freelander (a cost-cutting exercise that went way past the bone)
And here is the single worst used vehicle at the wholesale auctions when it comes to overall defect rate at trade-in time:
1. Mazda CX-7 (nearly a third of these vehicles sold with “Engine needs service” announcements at the auctions)

Choosing a safe make and model when purchasing a used vehicle is an obvious-sounding point. But you might be surprised at how important a particular vehicle’s history can be in terms of influencing an insurers’ evaluation of your “riskiness.” Take a detailed look at any prospective car’s history. Find out if the car has ever been in an accident? Was it rebuilt or where there any repairs done? Has the car recently been inspected for damage, wear and tear, and other problems? Note any issues before you get auto insurance coverage, because your insurer certainly will pay attention to these facts.

Assuming you haven’t yet finalized your deal, shop for your pre-owned vehicle with the above tips in mind to optimize your rates before getting an auto insurance quote online.

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