The Ultimate Lemon Car List: An Expert’s Guide to Avoid Problematic Vehicles

Nov 7, 2023

Have you recently been searching phrases like “List of the most common lemon cars in California” or “What is the list of most common lemon car in the world” to avoid buying the wrong vehicle? If so, you aren’t alone.

No one wants to unwittingly buy a “lemon” when purchasing a new (or used) vehicle. Unfortunately, hundreds of people end up with defective or poorly running cars every year.

Even worse, many consumers aren’t familiar with their state’s lemon laws, meaning they often get saddled with thousands in repair bills. Sometimes, well-meaning consumers must live with significant mechanical issues that render their vehicles unsafe or inoperable.

So, “what does the lemon car list mean” and what should savvy consumers keep top-of-mind? The good news is you can make an informed purchasing decision with the help of our lemon car list.

Below, you’ll find detailed information about what makes a vehicle a lemon, your rights as a consumer, and a list of manufacturers that produce an above-average number of junk vehicles. If you’ve already purchased one, we even provide a rundown of how you can seek professional legal support.


Lemon Cars List Guide: Understanding Lemon Cars

Before we reveal which models are most likely to be lemons, we must first explore the common question, “What does a lemon car list mean?”

Our lemon cars list guide highlights vehicles with a relatively high likelihood of being a lemon based on factors like the automaker’s recent recall history and the model’s reputation.

All 50 states have lemon laws designed to protect consumers and prevent manufacturers or dealers from engaging in unscrupulous or dishonest activities when something goes wrong with a vehicle they sell.

That said, each state’s lemon laws are unique. For instance, some states’ laws only apply to new vehicles, whereas others apply to new, used, and leased vehicles. Our lemon car list will focus on the broader definition of the term “lemon” and outline some common characteristics.

Suppose you want to learn more about the specific regulations in your state and the level of protection they provide. In that case, we recommend connecting with a legal professional like Timothy Abeel & Associates, specializing in lemon law litigation.

Defining Lemon Cars and Their Characteristics

A vehicle is classified as a “lemon” if it has a significant malfunction or defect that renders it inoperable or unsafe to drive. Examples include engine failure, transmission malfunctions, faulty brakes, or any other major defect hindering regular operation.

Remember, each state sets its definition of a lemon car. As such, a specific type of malfunction may count as a lemon car characteristic in one state but not another.

All states consider major engine or transmission malfunctions signs that a car is a lemon. But lights, electronics, and specific other components can get a bit hazy.

Lemon Car List: Legal Implications and Consumer Rights

In most instances, lemon laws only apply when a vehicle malfunction occurs during the original manufacturer warranty period. That is true even if your state offers protection for used vehicle purchases.

Suppose you purchase a used 2021 vehicle with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty period. Once you exceed the mileage or year threshold on the warranty, any malfunctions you experience won’t be covered under lemon laws.

If you buy a used vehicle no longer under the original factory warranty, you have no lemon law protection. As such, if you’re shopping for a used car, it’s generally a good idea to buy a vehicle with at least a couple of years left on its factory warranty.

If your vehicle is under warranty, the manufacturer is required to repair it. You may be entitled to compensation under your state’s lemon laws if they can’t do so after multiple attempts. Generally, states offer two remedies under lemon laws: a refund or a replacement.

In a lemon law case, consumers who are awarded a reimbursement will receive their:

  • Down payment
  • Loan or lease payments
  • Sales tax
  • Attorney’s fees, court costs, and expert fees

If the consumer opts for a vehicle replacement, they’ll receive:

  • A brand-new vehicle in good working order (same make, model, year, and trim level)
  • A loan or lease continuation at the current unpaid balance (the loan or lease isn’t extended)
  • Compensation for expert fees, court costs, and attorneys’ fees

Additionally, any prior payments are counted toward the loan or lease. For instance, if a consumer made 12 payments toward a 72-month loan, they’d receive a new vehicle and only have 60 months of payments remaining.


List of Lemon Car Manufacturers

Before we get into specific lemon car models, let’s highlight some manufacturers known for producing problematic vehicles. To create our list of lemon car manufacturers, we considered how many recalls each automaker issued in 2022. While recalls can be issued for numerous reasons, a high number of recalls should always be regarded as a red flag.

With that in mind, here are the five automakers with the most recalls in 2022:

  1. Ford: 67 recalls, over 8.6 million vehicles affected
  2. Volkswagen Group: 45 recalls, 1.04 million vehicles affected
  3. Fiat-Chrysler/Stellantis: 38 recalls, 3.04 million vehicles affected
  4. Mercedes-Benz: 33 recalls, 969,993 vehicles affected
  5. General Motors: 32 recalls, 3.37 million vehicles affected

Keep in mind that these manufacturers are also some of the largest in the world. As such, they produce and sell millions of vehicles, which inevitably translates to more recalls.

Regardless, many recalls are cause for concern, especially if a manufacturer has to issue multiple notices for a particular vehicle year and model.

Most Common Lemon Car Model List

In the automotive world, some makes and models are iconic. The Ford F-150 and Dodge Challenger are two ubiquitous examples.

On the other end of the spectrum are makes and models that are perennial lemons. Despite being around for years, some vehicles simply have a reputation for needing to be more reliable and more prone to malfunctions. Examples include:

  • Fiat 500
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • GMC Equinox and Terrain

These vehicles seem to be the subject of recalls every model year and are known for being lemons.

Lemon Cars to Avoid

When compiling our lemon car model list, we chose vehicles based on various factors, including how many recalls their manufacturers made last year, the general reputation of the model itself, and past trends.

While vehicle manufacturers strive to improve each vehicle model yearly, some designs must be revised, making them more prone to serious safety and performance issues.

Our list of lemon cars to avoid includes the following makes and models:

  • Fiat 500
  • Cadillac sedans
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • GMC Equinox and Terrain
  • Volkswagen Atlas SUVs

These makes and models made our list due to significant safety issues.

Volkswagen, for instance, recently recalled more than 246,000 Atlas SUVs because of braking and electrical issues. Similarly, GM recalled nearly 700,000 compact SUVs for significant safety issues. Jeep had to recall over 350,000 Grand Cherokees because the rear coil springs could detach while driving.

Lemon Car Price List

There’s a common misconception that “cheap” cars are more prone to being lemons than higher-end vehicles, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Here are some recent Kelley Blue Book new car pricing data on a few of the vehicles featured on the above lemon car list:

As you can see, lemon cars can be found at all price points. Therefore, it’s essential to know your rights as a consumer to take action should you find yourself stuck with one.

Why Are So Many Lemon Cars in California?

Consumers in California buy vehicles from the same manufacturers as drivers nationwide. So why do there seem to be so many lemons in The Golden State?

While there are many potential reasons for California’s high number of lemon cars (and lemon law claims), it’s likely because the state has some of the most consumer-friendly laws on the books. California has gone above and beyond to protect car buyers and hold manufacturers accountable for selling subpar vehicles.


Is Your Vehicle on the Lemon Car List: Timothy Abeel Can Help

If you’ve ever purchased a car that seems to have more issues than it’s worth, you may be dealing with a “lemon car.” A lemon car has recurring defects that significantly impair its use, safety, or value. Lemon laws exist in many jurisdictions to help protect consumers from such unfortunate purchases.

If you suspect you have a lemon car, check the Lemon Car List, a compilation of reported defective vehicles. Understanding your lemon car rights, documenting complaints, and seeking legal representation can aid in navigating the process to obtain compensation, a buyback, or a replacement. Remember, knowledge is your best ally when dealing with lemon cars.

Did your vehicle appear on the dreaded list of old lemon cars? If so, you can take legal action against the manufacturer and dealer.

Lemon laws can be complex, and manufacturers often contest lemon law claims. For this reason, you need an experienced lemon law attorney that will fight for your rights.

Timothy Abeel & Associates has handled hundreds of lemon law cases involving many vehicles. We serve clients throughout the United States, including those located in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • West Virginia

Whether you’ve purchased a luxury vehicle, compact car, truck, or RV, the lemon law experts at Timothy Abeel & Associates will seek justice on your behalf. We accept cases involving:

Lemon Law Claims

If a dealer has attempted to fix the same issue multiple times as part of a warranty-related repair, you may have a strong case for a lemon law claim. The Timothy Abeel & Associates team will let you know how does lemon law work and will evaluate your case and determine whether you’re eligible for a refund or replacement vehicle under your state’s lemon laws.

Don’t take on the dealer and manufacturer alone. Get our talented attorneys in your corner and make sure you receive justice.

Warranty Breaches

Warranty breaches occur when the dealer or manufacturer fails to honor the warranty agreement. For instance, you may have a claim if your vehicle encounters a transmission or engine issue while the powertrain warranty is still in effect and the dealer refuses to cover the repair costs.

Warranty breach cases can be complicated, but the Timothy Abeel & Associates team has the necessary experience and fortitude to stand up to dishonest dealers and manufacturers.

Get Help from the Experts at Timothy Abeel

If you suspect your vehicle might be a lemon, Timothy Abeel & Associates can help. They will work on your behalf to get you a new car, a full refund, or cash settlement — with no out-of-pocket expenses to you, win or lose.

For assistance with your dealer fraud, warranty breach, or lemon law case, contact our expert team today for a free case evaluation.

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