Japanese cars are known throughout the world for their quality, reliability, and value, regardless of how much you’re willing to shell out to buy one. Even though that’s a highly-regarded truth, there’s some myth in that statement. Not EVERY Japanese car is impeccable. Even among the big companies like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, there are some hiccups every now and again.
Japanese automakers have also earned the trust of customers around the world by expanding their factories to countries outside of Japan. They’ve shown that their quality isn’t limited just to Japan—it can be transferred to other countries. Even so, after a certain age, many Japanese cars start to wear down and show serious signs of malfunctioning.
Sports and performance cars usually require a lot of maintenance just because of what they are and how they’re driven—but when you start to see sedans and hatchbacks and SUVs that have quality issues, it raises some serious causes for concern. And while most of these cars have been produced for 10 years or more, sometimes many more, it’s usually just a few bad apples that ruin the reputation for the rest.
But there’s still hope. For every problematic Japanese car out there, there are 10 more that are excellent automotive machines. So, here are 10 Japanese cars that you should avoid, and then 10 more than you should definitely check out.
20 1996-2003 Honda Accord – Avoid
It’s well known that Honda releases some of the safest and most dependable cars on the market. Hondas frequently rank as some of the best automobiles in terms of dependability, resale value, and safety. And if you’re looking to get a new Accord, you should be fine. But not all cars are created equal.
Simply put, you shouldn’t buy an Accord that was made between 1996 and 2003.
These late fifth- and all of the sixth-generation models are plagued with transmission failures. Usually, the failure shows up after the 90,000-mile mark, and it can be devastating and expensive. Replacements can cost close to $2,000. After a class action lawsuit because of these problems, Accords in the 2000 to 2001 range were given extended warranties, but many of those warranties have now expired.