By on October 29, 2009

%^&(*^)(*&*&JO:WJEFOJOWEJ!! (courtesy

I hate my *^%%! Mercedes. A year-and-a-half ago , I bought a 2002 S500 for $12,600 at a public auction. $300 of a/c work and a detail later, it looked like a million dollars. But it drove like a big fat Camry with a big fat engine. My mechanic swooned at all the gizmoids. I groaned and drove everything but that car. Everyone likes it. No one can afford it. I’m getting tired of looking at it. So . . .

Time to put it in a car salon and dump the bitch. I’ll be changing the wheels to AMGs. A few dings and dents will be botoxed. The little cracked piece of crap called the lower driver’s seat cover will be replaced… again. Even then I think that it won’t move until tax time when folks get their refund checks. My question for the proverbial choir is this. Have you ever had a vehicle that you just couldn’t wait to unload? An Iacocca Lemon. A Fukkengruesome ride. A Korean claptrap with toaster like charisma. Discuss…

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61 Comments on “Hammer Time: Barnacle Bitch...”

  • avatar

    My very first car, an old RWD Pontiac Lemans which I bought as a kid. Paid over $3,000, and over a two-year period doubled that “investment” with a new engine, gas tank, and just about everything in-between. Life-threatening brake failures and no-starts were common. Sold it to a coworker for $500, who drove it two years without a problem before selling it to some kid for – of course – $500.

    Sometime one person’s Barnacle Bitch is another’s treasure.

  • avatar
    buzz phillips

    Yeah! An 05 Buick Terraza. Had to wait till the lease was up last year! What a joyous occasion!

  • avatar

    My late mother’s final bit of revenge on me: A nearly new 1986 Buick Century Estate Wagon, 9-passenger, fake wood, burgundy velour interior, fake wire wheel covers. She left it to me in her will, dad made sure I took it, and my well liked ’83 Escort GT (modified) had to go to make room. No, I couldn’t sell it off, not without actually owning it for a reasonable amount of time.

    Now the kicker: It was one of the best (mechanically) most reliable cars I ever owned. But it was so far from what I wanted to be seen driving that I was embarrassed to go anywhere. My wife was happy, however. I wasn’t the most faithful guy back then, and this car sure didn’t get me any points with the college girls.

    It was four years before I could afford to trade it in on something else.

  • avatar

    No. All five of mine have served me well.

  • avatar

    My last car was an ’03 ML 500, I recently dumped. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. Never had a problem, but the anticipation of what was going to go tits up gave me heartburn. That and the terrible mileage.

    I had taken it into the dealer, as it had a transfer case light, and wouldn’t shift into 4 low. The service adviser explained that they didn’t crack the transfer case, but just replaced them as a unit. For $5000. It wasn’t bad, but needed to be reset. But the thought of a $5K repair, for naught (I didn’t exactly take that car offroad), stressed me out.

    • 0 avatar

      That service writer didn’t know what he was talking about. For that light, there was just a button sequence you have to push and it re-learns the position for low range. They should have quoted you a half hour tops, and I even feel sorry for the people who pay that. It’s takes about 30 secs. There is an bulletin about this. When we got into a car with the T-case light on we would usually just do it for the customer no charge.

  • avatar
    new caledonia

    My wife’s current car, an ’06 Grand Prix GXP, bought used last December. Uses a quart of oil every 1,000 miles. Forged aluminum wheel developed a crack, cost several hundred to replace (refurb.) One key fob dead, other one iffy. Battery died young, front sway bar bushings failed. Tires are expensive (I knew that.) Ponderous handling and brittle ride (no one to blame but me for a hasty test drive.)

    It’s fast, sounds great, and the HUD is perfect for my wife’s astigmatism, but it’s becoming a money pit.

  • avatar

    OMG, my first new car, purchased as a college graduation gift to myself – a 1981 Dodge Omni 024. I thought I was buying the US equivalent to a Rabbit. How totally wrong I was! Started off by getting bent over on the interest rate on the loan (19.5% IIRC). Only had the car for 9 months when my girlfriend (now wife) spun out on an icy overpass and demolished 3 sides of the car. Insurance company wouldn’t total it, had it rebuilt by a less than stellar body shop, never ran right again. Final straw was a transmission failure after the thing got cherry red – some kind of blockage. Sold 3 years after I bought it for $2500. What a total POS.

  • avatar

    61 Thunderbird hardtop. I bought in in the late 80s as a project. I did not choose carefully enough. The old 390 was tired, the interior was ok and the body seemed pretty good for its age and having lived in the rustbelt. And I was young, single (meaning no kids and extra money) and had time on my hands.

    I started underneath. Rear suspension and brakes. New springs, rebuilt the shackles (the 61 had these oddball shackles where both the front and rear of the leaf spring was movable. Must not have been a great idea, because the 62s went back to a conventional setup). That’s when I found the rust in the frame rail. OK, not so bad. then I took out the front inner fenders. More rust in the inner fender supports.

    By this time, all my time and money was invested in necessary but invisible stuff. In this time, I had also acquired a 29 Model A rumbleseat coupe, a wife, a 64 Imperial Crown Coupe, and a kid. The Bird needed to go. OK, it wasn’t really a TBird as much as a TBird Kit.

    Tried to sell it, no takers. I finally had a client whose kid was in a bodyshop program at the local high school, and was looking for a project. I cut a deal with him to do a cosmetic bodywork and paint job. This at least turned it into a 20 footer (it had previously been a 50 yarder).

    Nice fresh coat of Colonial White paint (really nice with the red interior) and some new fender skirts (to replace the missing ones) and I tried again.

    Actually, I put all 3 of the old cars up for sale. The other two were really nice, and sold quickly. I was still stuck with that miserable Tbird. I finally had a guy show up who was a dealer in a small town an hour away. I gave him an honest description and told him that it needed a lot of work, but it looked decent. He bought it and trailered it home. He did not pay much.

    I learned a lot of lessons on that car. I learned that my bad habit of seeing what can be instead of what is really there can be very, very expensive. But when I am having a bad car day, all I need to do is think about life with that Tbird taking up space in the garage. Then I feel better.

  • avatar

    1995 Eldorado ETC:
    used a quart of oil every 750 miles, When it rained I got wet even though the sunroof had no problems and the drains were clear. The power antenna had to be pulled up by hand, the transmission made a REALLY bad sound when in park. The passenger side window would work randomly.

    Only thing it had that I liked was a 300 HP Northstar that pulled like a Clydsdale… but that was after the traction control (which didnt have a cencel button until 1996) fouled all 8 spark plugs and both O2 sensors in a snow storm.

  • avatar

    If you bought a 2002 S55 it would be a totally different story. I could not wait to dump my 1997 Subaru Outback — did great in Colorado winters but I could not stand the noisy “VW” engine up front.


  • avatar

    I have sold a few of these high-dollar white elephants as used cars at our dealership. The first one sat on the lot for about 8 months, and of course the driver’s seat trim was broken beyond repair. The colour was the problem… It was medium metallic green with tan interior. Ugh. The second one (silver on gray, yay!) belonged to the owner of the dealership, and it actually just left the lot yesterday. It was back in exactly 12 minutes with its first problem. I foresee a long and fruitless relationship… I don’t think there is a more complicated car on the road than the early 2000s S-Class. So easy to hate…

  • avatar

    Oh Lord where do I start???

    91 Lumina Z34 – fast and fun, but the alignment was never right, until the front wheel fell off in traffic on the way to the dealer to address this very problem for the 10th time.
    94 Cougar – rattletrap
    99 Montana – 3.4 v6, ’nuff said

    Would love to hear from an Aztek owner!

  • avatar

    2 cars: 1984 Volvo 760, 2002 E430 4matic.

    The Volvo, from my lovely wife, was great until the turbo took a dump just a month or so ago. Still deciding what to do with that one…it actually is a great car except for the leaks and hesitation in the AM (probably just a vacuum leak). And the interior plastics have cracked a bit.

    The Mercedes, my parents gave to us since the market value is as much as a 2002 Accord (about $8k). It’s fine for driving on the highway but around town it isn’t much different than the S-class described above. Maintenance, at 102k miles, was taken care of by my dad but it is still expensive. It’ll get us around for now, and the 4matic will be nice for the upcoming winter.
    I’ll use it (and cash) to buy us a new(er) family vehicle…maybe in the early spring. Probably get a tax return on the Volvo (donation) too.

    So, two Euros and people wonder why I’m not a fan. I have no use for all the extra stuff. It was 25 F this morning; the heater and heated seats function very well in the Mazda.

    The vehicles that I’ve bought, 2 Fords and 1 Mazda, have been great.

  • avatar

    First generation Saab 9-3 automatic. Took it off the hands of a relative in the deal of a lifetime. There was not a single thing I liked about it. Horrible handling, so-so engine, blah looks, no personality. Worst 1.5 years of my automotive history.

  • avatar

    <i.Started off by getting bent over on the interest rate on the loan (19.5% IIRC).

    Huh? That was a prime loan back in 1981. The Prime Rate as on January 2, 1981 was 20.5%. 30 year US Treasury Bonds were paying 15%!

  • avatar

    My 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix was a financial albatross around my neck from all the repairs. I bought it in late 2001, unloaded it in early 2003. Between the cost of repairs, and the difference between my purchase price, loan interest, and what I got back when I sold it, I ate over thirteen thousand dollars in 1.5 years.

    And I was somehow still relieved when it drove away.

  • avatar

    I went from a Porsche 944S2 to a Mazda3 (long story)…though the 3 is a relatively fun car I was in FWD, elevated seating position hell. I stuck it out for a year and then rolled my negative equity on the 3 into an RX-8.

  • avatar

    It was first new, personal vehicle. I saved up OT for a few years and payed cash. An 89 S15 4/4 long box. Two tone paint 15 inch wheels raised white letters.I was so proud of it. Somwhere around month three I started to dislike it. By the time 1993 came around it was outright hate.

    It was uncomfortble,it burned oil,torsion bar bushings were good for about a year. Two tone paint became three tone,if you counted the “paint delaimination” Ball joints, CV joints,Co2 sensors,
    a transmission. I could write a book. If it could break it broke. I might also add,I’m known to baby my vehicles.

    Nine long fu–en years I kept it, while I paid for two university educations,and two weddings. Where it not for the GM logo on my paycheck,I swear I would of switched to Ford.

    On a snowy day in late 1997 I handed the keys to the salesman,and stepped into a brand new 1997 Chevy long box. It felt real good leaving that nightmare at the back of the lot watching the snow bury its now rusting carrcas. My new big Chevy had a 4.3 music,heat and four black feet.I drove it for six years,never had a problem.

    Go figure.

  • avatar

    1988 Cadillac Allante

    I basically gave it away at the end. GM eventually orphaned the bitch and unless you have Jay Leno’s shop to make parts, god help you.

  • avatar

    I HATED THE S500. I perferred the BMW 745 but the iDrive andd the crazy electronic transmission switches made it ddamn near undriveable.

    The S class from this generation was probably the worst car Benz has EVER made. My barber went out to buy one used after I bought my S550 . Sure enough, he got it used, and sure enough he ended up getting rid of it just 3 months later.


    The S550 however is an apology well accepted. Beautiful car…fantastic ride and excellent interior feel.

    I tend to use my Chrysler 300 as a work car or my Expedition 2002 to haul stuff from Home Depot…but when I want to relax I pick my 550. I love everything about it.

    The S500 however should be DAMNED STRAIGHT TO HELL.

  • avatar

    A 1980 Buick Skylark. After approximately one year of relatively trouble free driving it turned into an absolute POS. To say it spent more time in the shop than on the road is an exaggeration. It was the only automobile I owned that had the bolts attaching the started to the block break four (4) times. That was the last GM car I ever owned.

  • avatar

    1995 Dodge Stratus

    What a disaster. I recall my father questioning my sanity for purchasing a Chrysler product, but it looked “cool” at the time (at least to the 14 year olds living on the block!)

    Owned it for 3 miserable years. Chewed through brakes annually. Transmission was replaced twice. Engine computer replaced once. Unusually fragile suspension bits. Paint peeled off the rear bumper each spring.

    My favourite failure related to the wipers. They would work randomly (ususally not when it was raining). My thought? Must be the switch. Dealer’s thought? The body controller. This was replaced, which didn’t fix the problem (it was the switch), but it did stop the power windows from working and did knock off 20,000 miles from the odometer.

    A couple of months later, we had twins, so I bid this problem adieu for a Windstar, which performed admirably and trouble free.

  • avatar

    If anyone wants an S550 used with 80,000 miles on it, my cousin is selling his (in NYC) for just $42,000

    It has DIstronic Plus but does not have the driver dynamic seats. I think everything works fine.

    He is planning to buy the 2010 S550.

    If anyone else is interested, my S550 is silver, I’ve got 20’s chrome and Distronic plus, driver dynamic seats, parktronic and I’m interested to sell for just $60,000. 23,000 miles on the odometer.


    I want to buy an S63 AMG 2010.

  • avatar

    whynotaztec :

    Would love to hear from an Aztek owner!

    My sister adores hers, as she did even before we gave her the tent attachment. She bought it used – massive depreciation on the world’s ugliest car is a friend of the JuniorMint family! Still has it, still loves it.

    My dad loved his Aztek, too, and held on to it until The Man came back and got it.

  • avatar

    ’92 Corolla… what a soulless car. We got it from my mother-in-law (who bought it new in ’91) and it only had 140K km on it (about 85,000 miles). It ran like a top. Some new struts and it handled like it did when it was new (probably better since I used aftermarket Monroes). It was still the most boring car I have ever driven. We got full asking price for it a year ago and now my wife drives a Fit.

    The Corolla would have been better with a stick… but it still wouldn’t have been good.

  • avatar

    Trying to sell your car on the very same article that says what a POS it is, I bet your shit smells like a dozen roses, eh?

  • avatar

    @Steven Lang

    Hmmmm, this time there really is something wrong with that picture. Is that your actual car ?. If it is, i know why you seem to hate it’s driving dynamics so much. You bought, without realizing it, an armored S500 Guard. :-)

  • avatar

    1977 Pontiac Catalina with 220K on the still functioning odo (it just rolled over 100K twice or so the gas station dude told me) that I bought with $800 in 1991. It was the first year for the model so it had the square headlights within one of the last GM fully chrome grills. It was rust red with oxydation and I spent an entire weekend with some No.7 paste wax and a bottle of Nu-Finish and brought her back to her original fire engine red color. Interior was crushed blue velvet mouse fur with enough room for seven people and a trunk large enough to swallow Kansas.

    One weekend I gave her a tuneup. Took me and my neighbor nearly two hours to remove the #8 sparkplug conviently housed behind the A/C condenser. When we got it out, we discovered it was a nubbin of the first set of A/C Delco that the factory had installed way back in ’77. Had no idea how long it had been running on 7 cylinders, but she sure purred after that.

    I took that beautiful pig to the beach, the mountains, Dead shows, anywhere interesting with as many people as I could fit in her. Got horrifying gas mileage for the time, but with enough people, it paid out. Sold her while I was in basic training in ’93 for $800. My mother said as soon as the guy backed her out of the driveway, she locked her brakes up and the tranny fell out. Guess she was pissed.

  • avatar

    ’96 Lexus SC300. Bought it 5 years old with 70K miles for $17K. Got tired of it after about two years, and then grew to hate it. The 4-speed auto sucked, it would hunt continually between 3rd and 4th on any kind of hill. The I6 which Supra fans are so in love with for some reason droned like sewing machine, and would not deliver any real power unless the transmission was in PWR, the traction control was off, and you booted the throttle to the floor. Otherwise it would loaf about in a futile attempt to conserve fuel.

    Like most Lexus seats, support was totally lacking, as was comfort on a drive more than two hours long. Most of the interior trim cracked, and the weather sealing on the windows and headlights failed, allowing water in the cabin when it rained, and water into the headlamps, ruining both. The LCD displays faded, the starter failed, and the car burned through O2 sensors every six months. Most pathetic of all, I managed to rip the entire door panel off by simply trying to close the door. At 115K miles, the car was pretty much ready to die. Audi gave me $1800 for it.

  • avatar

    @ YZS: The S500 and S550 are vastly different S-classes, seperated by a generation and a newfound interest in quality by Daimler.

  • avatar

    The cars I really hated never got a chance to sell: I totalled em in wrecks. It’s a wonder I survived high school.

    Actually my wife’s (then girlfriend) 73 Ford Van, a total F** Truck, complete with a blown transmission, engine that sounded like kittens being mangled in a garbage disposal but a great paint job: that one we desperately wanted to sell.

  • avatar

    A Subaru Forester
    A horrible driving position for anyone over 5’3, crappy materials, HVAC/Radio controls that always seemed to fritz out, a garbage transmission, bad wheel bearings, and horrible dealer service.

  • avatar


    It was a left over that I bought early in 1982.

  • avatar

    Brand New 1972 Chevy Nova. Suffered with it for one year then dumped it. POS.

  • avatar

    1980 VW Rabbit. Apparently, VW’s legendary build quality didn’t make the transition from Wolfsburg to their new Pennsylvania plant. Toward the end, so much was wrong with the car that I’d park it with the driver’s window open and the keys in the ignition — yet even thieves were too car-savvy to steal it. I would up selling it to a VW mechanic for $800, because he said he thought he could get that much for the alloy wheels.

  • avatar

    An ’05 Subaru Legacy i wagon, bought CPO w/ under 25k miles. The thing was slow and had an awful 4-speed auto box. But it was roomy, handled well and was decently thrifty with gas for an AWD car. Too bad it had a shaking problem at highway speeds that no amount of dealer visits and replaced parts could to fix (new wheels, realignments, etc., etc.). Then the interior parts started coming undone – console trim snapped out of alignment, finish on the door handles flaked off, silver painted finish on the dash and doors started flaking off, etc., etc. I ditched the thing after 9 months and did what I should’ve done in the first place – bought a new GTI.

  • avatar

    My very first car was a 1975 Chevy Monza with the 262 V8. It broke about once a week; the guys at the salvage yard knew me by name. Awful brakes, weak cooling system, and not very quick for a small car with a V8. Finally wrecked it and moved on. Five VW’s, two Nissans, a Mazda and a Benz have all been better cars; all purchased used.

  • avatar

    2002 Saturn Vue. My first new car and biggest mistake. My wife convinced me to sell my somewhat tired 93 240sx and buy this new SUV that her brother told her about. We got the “employee discount” (her brother works for Delphi), and I admit that I liked some aspects of it. Within 3 months, I hated the piece of s—. Following several trips to the dealer for warrantee work and oen obvious problem that the dealer said he couldn’t duplicate, I was finally able to get my wife’s approval to dump the POS on a drive through the Mayacamas to Santa Rosa, CA. The creaking as we went through the corners combined with the forthcoming recall (as soon as they had a solution and parts for the dealers) that we had rtead about helped me convince her that it was a safety issue not just that the car was a soul draining, immasculating, gutless, useless, lemon.

    Conversely, I am quite happy with my Mazda6.

  • avatar

    85 1/2 Mitsu Starion EFI. (bought new)
    It would eat air dams because of Brake Dive. 2 manual transmission rebuilds, 3 turbos, a bunch of electrical problems and a bad ABS computer. (ABS on the rear wheels only!)

    Spent 13hours trading it on a Mirage Turbo Hatchback. NOW THAT WAS A FUN TROUBLE FREE POCKET ROCKET!

  • avatar

    1994 F-150 4×4:

    Gutless 5.0 that also got terrible gas mileage
    Self-destructing rear axle
    Triple self-destructing “heavy duty” E4OD transmission
    Plastic brake caliper pistons
    Standard Ford power steering pump noise
    “Twin Traction Beam” vague and wandering front suspension
    Bucking and bouncing over California concrete freeway slabs

  • avatar

    1966 Rover 2000SC, bought used in 1967 with 60000 miles. Beautiful car, wonderful-smelling leather interior. When it was running it would outrun Volvos and Mercedes without difficulty, and had great cornering ability. But: It used a quart of oil every 500 miles and didn’t burn a drop of it, but sprayed most of it all over the engine compartment. The dealer didn’t stock any parts for it but cam cover gaskets, a good thing since they failed every month or two. It had four or five little molded right-angle rubber hoses to convey coolant from one place to another on the engine. These and the radiator and heater hoses were all made of natural rubber, and each of them failed within a time span of two or three months. The best thing the car did was break a halfshaft just before I left on a trip from Tacoma to Ohio. Can you imagine in 1968 trying to get that fixed on a Rover 2000 in Wyoming? Used the 1958 Plymouth convertible instead and had a trouble-free trip. It took about a month to get the parts in and the Rover back on the road again, so we could sell it.

    I saw it on a car lot 3 or 4 years later; told the guy I used to own it; he asked if I’d like to drive it. Heh.

  • avatar

    94 Hyundai Elantra. It actually belonged to my ex, but she hated to drive and I had free parking in my neighborhood, so basically I took care of the car in exchange for being her chauffeur (a good deal, no complaints there). But that car! I tried to talk her out of buying it, but she was swayed by the warranty. I wanted to crash it every time I drove it. It was trying pretty hard to crash itself it handled so poorly. Somehow I resisted the urge. Oh and it was gold. Fucking gold! Who drives a gold car? I’m getting disturbed just remembering it.

  • avatar

    1997 Acura Integra –

    I’d already bought 3 Integras when I bought this one – 87 ,90, & 93. Loved them all. Then lived out of the country from 93 to 97 and whenI got back I had to get off the plane and buy a car. Didn’t make sense to pay for a rental and shop around for a month – so I essentially (but not literally) took a taxi from the airport to the dealership. Test drove the car around the block, but didn’t pay any attention. The salesman cut me a good enough deal – no complaints with the dealership, but man! That car sucked in every way in comparison to its older brothers.

    Two things had happened to Acura. Old man Sochiro Honda, the racer, had died in 93, and been replaced with a ‘green car guy’. The value of the yen had gone through the roof.

    So, performance was not a factor in the design, and Honda, having to choose between raising prices or decontenting, stripped that sucker bare. (Lexus raised prices instead and retained quality).

    The driving dynamics sucked – weak handling and down on power. The car was noisy. Seats were made from bricks. Tons of little details showed where they’d saved the money. Door panels were just sheets of plastic. Instead of two horns, this car had one puny peeper. The upholstry was showing wear after 10K miles. The reception on the radio was seriously poor. Even the digital clock in the dash was cheap – it lost a minute a week.
    Not to mention the whole “Mr. Toad” styling thing.

    Perhaps I wouldn’t have been so bitter if the previous Integras had not been such great cars. They were nice performance oriented entry level luxury. This thing was an econobox that wasn’t as nice as a Civic.

    I stuck it out 12K miles, hating it every !#$%^#$ minute, and then dumped it for a 328i. An over-reaction perhaps, but I needed a decent car to regain my soul.

    Acura had been making a come-back in my book until their recent WTF (WWF?) cosmetic crisis.

  • avatar

    I have 2: One bought new the other bought used.

    1989 Volkswagen Golf GL Coupe. Bought new. This car was either hand assembled at gunpoint by Rudolph Hess in Spandau Prison as some bizarre form of punishment/skill rehabilitation, or it was slapped together for $.05 an hour at a special factory staffed by blind, mittened, mental patients. The first day, DAY, I owned it it the front seat lever snapped off in my hand. By the end of 12 months when I’d returned it to the bank for voluntary repossession, I was spending more than the cost of the payments in repairs every month. Cataloging my misery as such:

    Seat lever, snapped off.

    Driver’s side windshield wiper arm, flung off in rainstorm while on highway. Had to use lock washers on subsequent arms, and retighten the mounting nuts after every single rainstorm.

    Rear view mirror, fall off in my lap. No glue known to man would reaffix this to my window, not even dealership Fahrverglugen glue. In the end they just gave the mirror back to me, shrugged, and billed me $200 for diagnosis.

    Ate brake pads like they were made out of graham crackers and rotors like they were made out of clay.

    Bad, undiagnosed, engine ground that caused carbon buildup and scoring of my cylinder heads (and backfires through the fuel injector). Top end replaced twice for this problem. Fuel injector replaced once for this problem (clogged with carbon).

    Carbon collected in oil pan and baked into something resembling prehistoric shale, which caused horrific back pressure in the engine that blew out the head gasket.

    CV joints replaced, 3 on the driver, 3 on the passenger, $200 each time.

    Emergency brake cable, snapped on second week of ownership. Not covered under warranty.

    Door handles, 4 driver, 2 passenger, 1 hatch. Eventually I stopped using the doors altogether and jut climbed in through the hatch and kept the back seats down… until the hatch handle broke too.

    Car alarm, broke. Went off ALL THE TIME at the slightest perceived threat. Eventually I had to shut it off with an under dash kill switch or my neighbors would have killed me. That week the stereo was stolen from it.

    Stereo was a pioneer, a dealership option, one of the early slide out units. Mounted in the dash right below the heating ducts so that the cassette unit got so hot it melted tapes.

    Stereo was stolen. Theives also dismantled entire dash with a hammer. Nice of them.

    Driver’s seat ripped along seams showing foam padding.

    Black plastic cladding covered with wax swirl marks. The dealership first suggested I clean them using a toothbrush and elbow grease, then acetone, then they told me to leave. The swirls were there from the day I waxed and washed it for the first time until I turned it in to the bank.

    What a piece of shit. Whoever let that car off the line should be set on fire.

    1989 Jeep Wrangler. Safari Edition. Bought used with 80k on the clock.

    Day 1 (ONE!), clutch master cylinder let go.
    Noticed tiny drips of antifreeze on ground. Dealer assured me that the radiator was brand new.
    Dealer had clutch master cylinder fixed at no cost to me.

    Day 2. Noticed more radiator fluid.
    Day 5. On the way home from 100 mile road trip, the clutch slave cylinder lets go. Clutch pedal dead on the floor, and me stuck in 5th all the way from New Bedford to New Hampshire. Also, turned on heat which yanked all the duct work out of the dashboard in pieces.

    Awesome. Now I have no heat!

    Wife drove the car on another 100 mile trip with her brother and left the emergency brake on the whole time.

    Rear rotors and shoes destroyed. (this was obviously user error).

    Second gear failed, then 4th.

    Gas guage was never even close to accurate. Ran out of gas once a week in the thing.

    Week 10. Have to put water in radiator every 5 miles. Added radiator stop leak after assurance that it was just a pinhole, some miniscule defect in the new radiator that it had.

    Week 11. Buy new radiator and take rotten pieces of old radiator out of the engine bay. The whole thing was rotted down one site so that when I disconnected the bolts holding it in, it crumbled to rusty nothing. The dealer had repainted the top housing to disguise that the radiator was probably older than the actual jeep it was in.

    Broken into because the doors never closed right and therefore the locks didn’t hold if you tugged on the doorframe. Stereo stolen.

    Wife assured me that I was just sour on the car because of the radiator “thing”. I told her we’d switch cars for the day. That afternoon she called me from work and said “we’re trading this heap of shit, tonight.” The next time I saw it was to take my little box of CDs and stuff out of the back.

    I hated, HATED, HAATTEEDDD both of these pieces of shit and curse all who designed, assembled, and sold them.

  • avatar

    I’ll take “A Korean claptrap with toaster like charisma” for $1200 Alex…

    …which is about what I got for it. Nothing was wrong with it (that a new transmission and a personality upgrade couldn’t fix) really, but the damn thing was just NO FUN to drive.

  • avatar

    How many miles did your MErc have, and what options (nav etc?) when you bought it? It looks much nicer than the new E class I saw parked yesterday.

    To answer your Q, I never had any car I could not wait to unload. But I never sold any car I owned, they either were sold for scrap or donated to charity if they were still running.

    I drive them to the ground, till death do us part. their death, not mine. I want to get my $s worth.

    I hate when I have to pay taxes and all the other god damned fees every time I buy and sell a car.

  • avatar

    I’ve been driving my wife’s ’04 Buick Barnacle Rendezvous for the past five months. We bought it new five years ago this month.

    I’ve been driving it since we discovered that my wife likes our Volvo C30 a lot more than I do.

    I’m not sure that the Buick counts as a barnacle, but it is the one car I’ve ever owned that I cannot wait to get rid of.

    62,000 miles and nothing has ever gone wrong with the car.


    And the maintenance is cheap and easy.

    Even with those five years of perfect (-ly boring) service, though, I still hate it.

    However, since I cannot make up my mind what to replace it with I keep driving it.

    So the barnacle Buick keeps dragging me around.

    And I, unfairly, hate it.




  • avatar

    I’ve owned several cars I couldn’t wait to unload, namely a ’83 Mustang GLX and a ’88 Chevy Caviler, both were major POS but I will not bore you with the details of various things that were wrong or broken with them. Truthfully there was only ONE vehicle I couldn’t stand to the point were I ditched it after only 8 payments: a ’96 Iszuz Rodeo.

    It was a typical SUV, crap handling and terrible gas mileage. The dash board design looked like someone 3 year old’s drawing, there were funky buttons all over the place, even the radio was hard to use. The V6 was under-powered for the vehicle’s weight. It was too high for the wife to get into because of the 4X4 tires, thus she refused to drive it at all. Accessing the back was a pain since you had to lift the glass, swing the spare away and drop the tail gate, plus you had to remember which way the spare swung so you were clear on that side of the truck to actually load it. This defeated the whole purpose of having an SUV: carrying your stuff and at the time I did alot of fishing and mountain biking so I needed the space (or so I thought). There was nothing “wrong” with it mechanically, but just driving it was like nails on a chalkboard, I couldn’t wait to get out. After a near accident in which I felt like the captain of the Titanic (turn! turn! oh god please make it turn!) I traded it the very next day fearing for my life due to the horrible handling.

    To this day I don’t understand the whole SUV “thing”, I’ve own two pickups since and they are much better if have alot of stuff to move around all the time.

    For reference the vehicle I owned before the Rodeo was a Honda Prelude Si, so in the end I guess the contrast between the two extremes of vehicle design and engineering was too much for my system to take.

  • avatar

    1981 Corvette, bought brand new. Where to begin, seals on removable roof panel leaked from day one, got those replaced on the second day of ownership. By far the worst was the C3 module (computer control command) this along with throttle body fuel injection was new for ’81, excellent brakes, awful everything else. I turned it in with 9000 miles and bought a brand new 1982 Datsun 280ZX, now that compared to the Vette was a nice car.

  • avatar

    In my case, a 2003 Saturn ION. The first one had an engine that would not start. Its Saturn-authorized replacement was soon declared a lemon thanks to its interior being unbelievable rattle fest, and service from hell whose three-stooges-class repair effort tore up its inside and rear window.

    Second place was an ’82 Honda Accord, whose engine boiled the gas out of the carburetor every chance it got. Honda said behavior was normal – I said “goodbye Accord”, and have never considered Honda seriously since.

  • avatar
    Bruce from DC

    1980 Audi 5000S diesel, purchased new. Partly my fault, partly the car’s fault. Diesel purchased because I believed all the smart guys’ predictions of $100 bbl oil in the next few years. The car was a very nice car; good seats, very comfortable for 4 persons; o.k. for 5; big trunk. Nice looking. My fault for not more thoroughly exploring the limitations of the 67 HP diesel engine — a dieselized version of the 5-cylinder 2.3 liter gas engine that was in this car, to wit: that it would not maintain 60 mph on moderate grades with a couple of passengers and some luggage (i.e. half loaded). The observed absolute top speed of this car was 72 mph, and that might have been with a slight downhill. I installed a a floor-mounted a/c compressor cut-off switch that disconnected the compressor whenever you floored the throttle (essential).

    However, the biggest collection of mechanical problems ever:
    1. early total hydraulic leak in the steering rack (fixed under warranty)
    2. a/c system fuse failed every winter; had to be replaced annually
    3. central door locking system was vacuum operated. Vacuum pump resided in trunk well in center of spare wheel. Trunklid gasket leak resulted in water collecting in spare tire well; drowning and corroding vacuum pump.
    4. Heater core apparently made of plastic. Failed, dumping several quarts of antifreeze into the cabin, ruining carpets and padding.
    5. removable tail lamp assemblies were single piece aluminum “circuit boards” that made contact with sockets in tail lamp housing. Aluminum corroded (naturally) making connections intermittent. Had to be emery-papered every six months.
    6. Head gasket failed twice in 5 years; had to be replaced.
    7. Clutch was hydraulically actuated. Slave cylinder failed. Fortunately, car was parked in garage at my house. Towed to dealer for repair.
    8. Spring clip in transmission linkage failed; reverse gear would not engage.

    No matter how pretty they are — and they are pretty, no one will ever sell me another Audi again. Oh, yes, the car did average 30 mpg of diesel and never failed to start in the moderately cold weather we have in DC. Although after a cold weather start, the car was enveloped in a cloud of blue smoke until the engine got a little warm. I would not, despite that experience, refuse to buy a diesel again. But I would do so, only if it made economic sense. Given that diesel fuel is priced about the same as premium gasoline around here and the price premium for a diesel engine in most cars, I doubt it makes economic sense for me to buy one.

  • avatar

    sounds like the same experience everyone I know who had an S Classe of that generation went though.

    Personally, I had a B5 Audi A4 that was a nightmare from hell.

  • avatar

    I had your car’s sister: a 2002 E320. I bought it with the full MB preowned warranty in 2005. Within three weeks, it needed $12,500 in repairs!! Every freakin bizarro thing broke; like the dash electronics completely died. I shoved it back down the dealers throat at the 3 week mark. It cost me virtually nothing except a lot of time. It cost MB a future customer.

  • avatar

    My mother had a ’74 Toyota Corolla, and my dad had a ’72 Toyota truck (the Hilux).

    To this day he still complains about those pieces of crap. They were both the worst vehicles he has ever owned to this day (born in ’49, so he had driven many different vehicles). The truck went through clutches like people change their underwear (he had never burned a clutch out on any other vehicle). He had no problem changing it himself, but it always took 2 weeks to get a new clutch, as the parts had to come from Japan. The moment he sold them he swore off Toyotas forever and hasn’t owned one since. Coincidentally the biggest item he has had to replace since then has been an alternator.

    I personally haven’t had a bad vehicle so I substituted my parent’s nightmare cars. :)

  • avatar
    Cole Trickle

    2002 A4 (See September 1 Piston Slap). Bought 2007. Got out from under my 2003 Hemi Ram just before the market really crapped out on trucks and gas got really expensive.

    Was living in a crappy rented house, and making good money, and I wanted an efficient car, under warranty, that would impress people since I was barely spending money on anything else. That’s just what I got.

    Bought CPO, and went to the dealership 10 times in 2 years. I started waiting until at least 2 things were wrong before I took it in to save the $50 they charge you.

    Mercifully didn’t have any major failures out of warranty. I sold it 1/2 way through September, just after I got the motor mounts sorted out.

    That car was beautiful and got great mileage, but man, went to the shop waaaayyy too much. Plus, they wouldn’t give me a loaner.

    I loved that car and hated it all at the same time. I should have held out for an IS300 but I couldn’t find one and wanted out of that truck.

  • avatar

    Lumbergh21 :
    I believe your Saturn suffered from suspension issues.. I believe it was either the left or right rear suspension mounts. Recall had them either falling off.. or breaking through the mount itself.

    Steven Lang:
    I would like to know, as intelligent as you are about buying cars wholesale, and as much as you know about what drops the fastest, why didn’t you figure out that Benzes drop a load faster than tired / worn out pornstars?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The Benz sold for $4000 below rough wholesale… without even accounting for the $2000 wheels. Even at $14,900 (which is a $1500 profit 18 months later) I’m still getting calls on it.

    Hey, we all can dream a happy ending.

  • avatar


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