The 5 Most Complained About Cars in America

What's Hot

23 Upgrades Under $50 to Make Your House Look AwesomeAround The House

Trump Worth $10 Billion Less Than If He’d Simply Invested in Index FundsBusiness

Do This or Your iPhone Bill May SkyrocketSave

11 Places in the World Where You Can Afford to Retire in StyleMore

19 Moves That Will Help You Retire Early and in StyleFamily

What You Need to Know for 2017 Obamacare EnrollmentFamily

8 Things Rich People Buy That Make Them Look DumbAround The House

50 Ways to Make a Fast $50 (or Lots More)Grow

32 of the Highest-Paid American SpeakersMake

The 35 Two-Year Colleges That Produce the Highest EarnersCollege

5 DIY Ways to Make Your Car Smell GreatCars

Amazon Prime No Longer Pledges Free 2-Day Shipping on All ItemsMore

More Caffeine Means Less Dementia for WomenFamily

7 Household Hacks That Save You CashAround The House

5 Reasons a Roth IRA Should Be Part of Your Retirement PlanGrow

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

Beware These 10 Retail Sales Tricks That Get You to Spend MoreMore

Wondering which vehicles get the most complaints? We tell you the five models most likely to have their owners swearing on the side of the road.

Some vehicle models seem to be born lemons. Whether it’s through faulty design, poor manufacturing or plain dumb luck, some models experience the same problems over and over again.

It could be a transmission that gives out well before its time. Or maybe the electrical system decides it no longer wants to open doors automatically. Once you start talking to other owners with the same vehicle, you realize that, oh, everyone has this problem.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have that information before buying your next car?

Fortunately, there is a way to figure out the cars with the most complaints. Money Talks News finance expert Stacy Johnson tells you how in the video below. Watch the video and then keep reading for the links you need.

The most complained about cars this year

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the go-to source for car complaint information. The federal agency collects consumer complaints and files them away in a public database. If too many complaints come in about a safety issue, the NHTSA may investigate and require a recall.

Jack Gillis, a consumer advocate, analyzes the NHTSA data each year and assigns vehicles an index score based on the number of complaints compared with the vehicle’s sales. These are the vehicles topping the 2014 Car Complaint Index:

  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Infiniti QX60
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Ford Focus
  • Cadillac ATS

While the top three vehicles had complaint index scores above 20,000 — 29,527, 23,691 and 23,657, respectively – the number drops off significantly between the third and fourth spot, with the Ford Focus having an index score of 13,179. Again, these numbers represent an index score and are not the actual number of complaints.

You can view the rest of the top 20 list here.

Do your homework before buying

While the Car Complaint Index can be helpful in weeding out models with the most complaints, what about when you want to buy that 2009 Chevy Uplander or 2012 VW Jetta? How do you know if those might be a headache waiting to happen?

Before buying a used car, head to the NHTSA website and search for complaints yourself. You’ll find the 2009 Uplander has two complaints, one regarding the electrical system and the other about engine power. Meanwhile, the 2012 Jetta has 102 complaints, one investigation and three recalls.

Of course, it’s not surprising that more popular cars may have more complaints. Rather than looking at the number of complaints, it may be more beneficial to scan them for common themes. Is the same problem occurring again and again? Then, before buying a used car, ask whether that particular problem has already occurred and been fixed.

You can search the NHTSA website here, and if you want to file your own complaint, here’s a direct link to the form.

This new NHTSA site lets you type in a car’s vehicle identification number, or VIN, to see if the car has been recalled but not fixed.

The NHTSA database can be helpful, but it shouldn’t necessarily make or break a car purchase. For more tips and advice, check out our article on Carfax and how else to protect yourself from buying a clunker.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: Can You Trust Carfax? 4 Ways to Avoid Buying a Clunker

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,722 more deals!