15 Japanese Cars With Most Problems and Common Issues

Patrick Oziegbe
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When you think of Japanese cars, you might picture reliability and high quality. However, like all vehicles, they’re not without their issues.

From Takata’s infamous airbag recall affecting millions globally to less severe but annoying quirks, some models just don’t live up to the stellar reputation.

Subaru Impreza WRX (2002-2005)

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For your 2002-2005 Subaru Impreza WRX, you should be aware of a few notable concerns. Notoriously, the head gaskets may fail, potentially leading to costly repairs. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Head Gasket: Prone to leaks, averaging around $1,900 for repairs (2002 issues).
  • Engine Issues: Stalling and cooling problems, particularly with turbocharged engines.
  • Fuel System: Instances of clogged gas tanks and fuel pumps with the 2002 model.

RELATEDSubaru WRX Best Year: Unveiling the Ultimate Most Reliable Choice for Performance!

Honda CRX Del Sol

CRX Del Sol
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The Honda CRX Del Sol, a successor to the CRX, might charm you with its sporty design and targa top. However, as it ages, you could notice issues such as:

  • Engine problems
  • Transmission hiccups
  • Susceptibility to rust.

Toyota Prius (2004-2009)

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When considering a pre-owned Toyota Prius, keep in mind that certain model years between 2004 and 2009 have been known for specific issues. Here’s what you might encounter:

Common Issues:

  • Battery life: Some models may suffer from reduced battery performance.
  • Oil consumption: High oil usage, notably in the 2011 model.
  • Headlights: Problems with headlight longevity and functionality.

For deeper insight into these concerns, certain websites offer a comprehensive rundown on the common problems and Prius years to avoid.

Honda Civic (2001-2003)

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Recalls: Your 2001-2003 Honda Civic may have experienced recalls, particularly due to transmission failure and airbag issues.

Maintenance Costs: It’s worth noting transmission rebuilds could cost between $2,000 to $2,600. Always verify the maintenance history before purchasing.

Isuzu Rodeo

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Your Isuzu Rodeo may encounter a few common issues, such as:

  • Engine Failure: Notably a concern with higher mileage units.
  • Suspension Corrosion: Strength of rear components may be compromised.
  • Airbag Problems: Some models have reported airbag deployment issues.

Nissan Pathfinder (2005-2010)

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Your research should be cautious with the Nissan Pathfinder models from 2005 to 2010. They are noted for specific issues that might affect your driving experience.

  • 2005-2007 Models: These are particularly problematic.
    • Transmission issues with an average failure at around 90,000 miles.
    • Repair costs can be substantial, averaging about $3,500.

For more detailed information on these issues, have a look at Nissan Pathfinder Problems – Avoid The 2005 Model. Additionally, the 2015 Pathfinder is known for faults in its air conditioning system, which is a concern shared by other models in this range.

Acura RSX

Acura RSX
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Your Acura RSX may face various issues such as:

  • Brake Problems: Less than ideal stopping distance.
  • Interior Quality: Wear and tear over time.
  • Collision Safety: Poor rear impact performance.

Always be aware of potential risks. For more details, learn about the common problems.

Subaru XT

Subaru XT
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Your Subaru XT might have charm, but owners often mention a few quirks. Engine choices include less powerful four-cylinders or a heftier six-cylinder, which provided a bit more pep.

The XT6 model, interestingly, came with 145 horsepower. If you’ve got an XT, keeping an eye on the engine’s performance is wise.

Mitsubishi Outlander (2007-2013)

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You might love the Mitsubishi Outlander’s look, but some years had issues. The 2007 model faced problems like faulty tire pressure sensors and cracked coil springs. From 2007 to 2013, here are key concerns:

  • Transmission Problems: Especially in the 2014-2016 models.
  • Valve Stem Issues: Linked with the 2007 model.
  • Coil Spring Cracks: Also a potential problem in the 2007 Outlander.

Honda CR-Z

Honda CR-Z
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Your Honda CR-Z may face battery lifespan issues. Other common concerns are:

  • Power steering problems
  • Lock actuator failures
  • Cracked fog lights

Remember to check for airbag recalls and ECU software updates.

Nissan Cherry Europe

Nissan Cherry Europe
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You might find the Nissan Cherry Europe GTi intriguing. It’s a hybrid of Japanese and Italian automotive styles from the mid-1980s. Although created with ease of use in mind, the car had some issues.

Its lackluster reputation is discussed in a detailed article on Curbside Classic. Your interest in this vehicle may stem from its quirky heritage or from a keenness on unusual cars with a story.

Toyota Model F Space Cruiser

F Space Cruiser
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When exploring the Toyota FJ Cruiser, you should be cautious of certain models. Especially, the 2007 and 2008 years, which had issues like:

  • Faulty transmission
  • Bad CV joints
  • Slipping clutches

Choose later models for a more reliable experience.

Nissan Sentra (2000-2006)

Nissan Sentra
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Your Nissan Sentra between 2000 and 2006 may have several common issues. Notably:

  • Transmission problems: Often leading to expensive repairs.
  • Brakes and exhaust system issues: Safety and performance can be compromised.
  • Faulty trunk latch: An annoyance that affects usability.

For specific insights and repair costs, refer to 2006 Nissan Sentra complaints or issues reported for Nissan Sentra’s common problems. Remember, informed ownership helps in maintaining your car’s longevity.

Specific Models and Their Challenges

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When you’re in the market for a car, the reliability of your vehicle is a key concern. Japanese brands like Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, and Mitsubishi have built reputations for solid performance but they’ve also had their share of problems. Let’s take a look at some specific models from these makers and the challenges they’ve faced.

Toyota’s Recalled Models

Toyota is known for durability, but even they have encountered issues leading to recalls. Notably, the Toyota 4Runner faced recalls related to its safety equipment and structural integrity. Checking for outstanding recalls should be part of your purchase process.

Honda’s Engineering Hiccups

Honda has maintained a strong reputation with vehicles like the Honda Accord, yet they’ve seen engineering hiccups that resulted in challenges like transmission failures and high oil consumption in some models, which are worth keeping in mind when considering an older Accord.

Nissan’s Problematic Lineup

Nissan offers a range of vehicles, but the Nissan Armada and Nissan 370Z have seen their share of issues. The Armada faced problems ranging from brake concerns to suspension issues, while the 370Z has had reports of clutch problems.

Subaru’s Head Gasket Woes

Subaru’s boxer engines give them a unique place in the market, but have been notorious for head gasket failures. This expensive repair is something to look out for, especially in models from the early to mid-2000s.

Mazda’s Rotary Engine Dilemma

Mazda’s innovation is exemplified by their rotary engines, which equip models like the RX-7 and RX-8. However, these unique engines can face dilemmas such as seal wear and oil leakage, leading to high maintenance costs.

Mitsubishi’s Reliability Dip

Known for their affordability, Mitsubishi cars like the Mitsubishi Mirage have sometimes faced a reliability dip, with some drivers reporting issues like premature wear of components and less refined driving dynamics. It’s worth researching specific model years for potential recalls or known issues.


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