The 6 Biggest Lemons of All Time

by Chris Martin

Have you ever purchased a vehicle, but soon found out that it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be? It seems that almost everyone has heard a sad “lemon” story about a car or truck that just couldn’t stay out of the shop.

So for everyone who has ever been frustrated by a vehicle that kept screwing up, breaking down, or falling apart (which, of course, auto insurance doesn’t pay for), we offer a reminder that your situation could be much, much worse. Check out the top six lemons in U.S. history. We hope that this list will make you feel a tiny bit better.

1. 1980 Chevy Citation

This vehicle was the most problematic of the GM “X-Cars,” released in the early eighties. In fact, this model-year Citation was recalled an astonishing nine times by the NHTSA for everything from defective fuel lines to steering gear and front suspension coil springs that slipped out of position.


2. 1965-69 GM cars with V-8 engines

Some 6.7 million of these vehicles were recalled because the engine mounts would give way and cause the engine to come free – which would open the throttle and even disable braking assistance. You might see the obvious problems this could cause; but GM’s CEO inexplicably declared that faulty engine mounts were no more worrisome than flat tires.


3. 1971-76 Ford Pinto

You might remember the famous defect in the placement of these Pintos’ fuel tanks, which made them vulnerable to being pierced by differential bolts in rear-end collisions, thus causing fiery explosions. What you may not know is that fixing the problem would have only cost about $11 per car. You may also not know that Ford knew about the problem but chose not to address it.


4. 2006 Dodge Ram

Pickup trucks are supposed to be tough, right? Well, this Ram had so many chinks in its armor that the government had to recall it seven different times. Issues included defects in the front suspension and rearview mirrors, anti-lock brake units that didn’t work properly, and 4-wheel drive transfer cases that sometimes slipped into neutral on their own.


5. 1970-80 Ford vehicles

Ford’s cars and trucks that were built in the 70s had an even more finicky transmission problem. It seems that vehicles which appeared to be in “park” could accidentally slip into “reverse.” Had all of these 21 million vehicles been recalled (as they probably should have been), it would have been the largest recall in U.S. history.


6. 1976 Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare

These twin models signified everything that was wrong with Chrysler Corporation before it almost went bankrupt in 1979. Though the two cars were designed to be simple, they managed to rack up an astounding eight recalls for everything from faulty seatbelt retractors and a propensity for rusting parts to substandard fuel and emission control systems.

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