The Top 10 Most Complained About Cars

Every year thousands of American car owners file vehicle complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA. While each individual complaint may seem relatively small, the aggregate totals and rankings tell a lot about the quality of a car.

Below are the top ten most complained about cars per the NHTSA records. To get an accurate picture of which cars have the most trouble all of the vehicle rankings are by an index scoring system that takes both sales and the length of time that the car had been on the road into account.

#10 – Volkswagen Passat – Complaint Score: 7,503
The Passat’s complaint record includes multiple mentions of throttle lag when pressing the accelerator pedal in addition to a number of other more isolated complaints.

#9 – Volkswagen Rabbit – Complaint Score: 7,555
The Rabbit has experienced a number of brake related complaints ranging from pads wearing out quickly to loud grinding noises while breaking. There also were a few complaints of early failures in the fuel systems.

#8 – Jeep Wrangler – Complaint Score: 8,082
The Jeep Wrangler is the first of many cars on the list with multiple reports of highway speed stalling issues. The Wrangler also had a number of drivers that mentioned an occasional uncontrollable shimmy that requires the car to be stopped before the shimmy stops.

#7 – Mitsubishi Outlander – Complaint Score: 10,899
Yet another vehicle on the list with reports of sudden stalling while driving. There were also a few mentions on the dashboard lighting being nearly unreadable during the daytime.

#6 – Jeep Commander – Complaint Score: 11,877
The Commander has had multiple complaints about its windshield quality (small chips quickly become large cracks). There was also one report of a Commander that stalled while on the highway and would not restart until placed in Park.

#5 – Toyota Camry – Complaint Score: 13,381
As one of the most popular vehicles in the US it takes a number of complaints to get the Camry on the list. Complaints varied widely but included multiple mentions of the vehicle hesitating on acceleration and also a few complaints regarding the Camry accelerating on its own.

#4 – Hyundai Entourage – Complaint Score: 13,643
The Entourage had complaints of the clutch failing just 240 miles into use, airbags not deploying in a 35mph accident and strong front end vibrations at highway speeds. The Entourage also had one of the more absurd complaints filed against it when an owner said that the shifter was too shiny and made seeing while driving difficult.

#3 – Lexus ES – Complaint Score: 14,567
The Lexus ES350 has had a frightening amount of reports of the vehicle accelerating on its own and the driver needing to take extreme actions in order to bring the vehicle to a stop. Additionally, there have been a few mentions of the air bag off indicator light remaining on with a passenger in the seat.

#2 – Dodge Nitro – Complaint Score: 24,624
Complaints filed ranged from as simple as the dome light turning on while driving to as extreme as claims of the transmission malfunctioning and the car bursting backwards into someone’s house. There also was more than one mention of a loss of power (no power steering or power brakes) while driving on a highway.

#1 – Toyota FJ Cruiser- Complaint Score: 28,955
While topping the list, the FJ Cruiser’s complaints are, thankfully, mostly cosmetic. There have been multiple complaints regarding cracking and bulging of the front fenders in addition to reports of the paint chipping after just one year of use.

If you have a vehicle that is giving you similar problem be sure to file a complaint of your own with the NHTSA.

Thanks to the efforts of the Center for Auto Safety & Jack Gillis, author of the 2008 Ultimate Car Book, we can provide you with the top 10 car complaints on file with the National Highway for Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Images courtesy of: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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