Top 20 Used Cars to Avoid: Consumer Reports

20. BMW 7-Series

In the market and shopping for a used car? Consumer Reports has released a list of 20 used vehicles to stay away from as they have a reputation for causing trouble. Listed is a top 20 list of used cars from 2003 to 2012 model year to avoid in alphabetical order. These vehicles had multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability, according to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Survey.

SEE ALSO: Used Car Reviews

The BMW 7-Series may be the German automaker’s luxury flagship, but used models aren’t without their issues. From 2001-2008, the 7-Series featured the good ‘ol “Bangle Butt” and sported some highly controversial styling. Early production of that generation was overwhelmed with issues even causing BMW to purchase back some of the vehicles back in 2002-2003. BMW of North America even extended its warranty on all 2002-2003 model year 7-Series vehicles to six years/100,000 miles from the original four years/50,000 miles.

According to Consumer Reports, the BMW 7-Series ranked “worse” in the categories of Engine Major, Engine Minor, Transmission Major, Transmission Minor, Body Hardware, and Audio System.

86 Comments

MAJOR YURI SMITH says:

Remember, cars are good to the owners as good as the owners are to the cars.
People buy cars, not knowing what type of maintenance and when it should be done. Result = Blame on the brand.
Americans take cars for granted. Go to third world countries, you will see junk cars over 30 years old, still on the road. ( if there is any roads)

djtejas says:

You should never have 100% water in there anytime of the year…that’s on you, not the car. You can completely trash an engine with that kind of (non)maintenance

Ken Chamberlain says:

it was the middle of the summer,you don’t need antifreeze in the coolent bottle until winter.

djtejas says:

Not true…it works as s coolant too. I’m thinking you should have people work on your cars for you. Now we understand why you have problems with cars.

Ken Chamberlain says:

hey,i’ll admit the the blown head gasket was my fault;but the fact that the car had a bad transmission;and motor mount issues when i purchaced it from the dealership is’nt right. i should’ve taken the car directly to have a tranny check;but not being a mechanic,i did’nt think there was an issue with it. the car drove fine for about 5 months before i started noticing problems,so i took the car to have a full diagnostic done;and that’s when i found out about the tranny;and motor mounts. the head gasket happened shortly after the rebuit tranny;because of the cold weather;and the fact that i had put water in the coolent bottle during the summer. leifs did’nt even inform me about water in the coolent bottle after the diagnostic;and the fact that the car needed a new heater core. all in all it’s driving fine now with a new heater core;but i now owe about 5000.00 dollars to my credit card for all the repairs.

djtejas says:

My point is, if someone does not know the basics of engine cooling and coolant/antifreeze, that person should not do their own car maintenance. It should be left to someone with automotive knowledge. 100% water in a combustion engine cooling system will destroy all kinds of things while not benefiting from proper cooling too. The 100% water contributed to your head gasket issue as well as the heater core. 100% will ruin a radiator if it is aluminum and create rust in the engine.

Lyle G. says:

I added some info for you as a reply to your above comment, Ken

Ken Chamberlain says:

thanks for the negative feedback. next time i’ll just drive it off a cliff.

Lyle G. says:

There are additives that can help or cure some tranny problems. If you buy the right one for your vehicle and its symptoms. The additive you need may not be sitting on a shelf at your parts supplier so do your due diligence. Keep in mind that if you really have a internal problem (drum A , the valve body, solenoid) you could just fix the problem ,NOT REBUILD ,or buy a quality used unit and have any wrench turner worth his salt install it.

Lyle G. says:

Ok , so I am going to share more info. lol. Maybe it well help someone.
Transmissions that are running too warm or that behave better in cooler temps can have a robust oil cooler installed (even if you have the rinky dink mini one that is part of radiator) that will add years to that tranny or keep your perfect one from dying during your ownership.

Lyle G. says:

I buy a lot of Jaguar’s . That does not include the fake Jags like X-type and S-type. Real Jags like the XJ and XK and soon to be F’s.
I have only had to replace one head on a engine due to the faulty cam tensioner guides that were revised after my year model and one transmission. The tranny is a ZF model so that is not Jaguars fault but the German trans makers fault as it is across the board for that trans.
Otherwise the Jag’s reward my family over and over , look beautiful years later and cost less to own than friends/family who own Lexus, Infiniti and other “dependable” brands.

lego212 says:

Are you kidding the BMW X5 3.0i is the one to stay away from?? hahaha funny is that why so many still drive the 6 cylinders and all of the 4.4 v8s are at the dealers? Leaking valve seal gaskets on the v8 maybe?

GunnyNinja says:

Why are you showing a photo of the newer models which do NOT represent the years on THIS list?

ReallyReallyBigMan says:

Not only is there no single page option, but I can’t even get to the next page. So goodbye!