A person's hand on a gear selector.

Drivers naturally become concerned about reliability as a car ages, since the risk of inconvenience and unexpected expenses rises while the miles rack up. Most modern cars can make it to 200,000 miles with little more than routine maintenance and minor repairs for worn components. But Consumer Reports surveys show that some models carry a significantly greater failure rate than their peers.

To understand how often such problems occur, we analyzed data on older models from our Annual Auto Surveys to see which major systems can lead to expensive repairs and identify the models that have a significant risk.

Three problems areas stood out: Engines, head gaskets, and transmissions. With some models, these problems occur with surprising frequency at a certain age and mileage.

“Transmission problems can lead to a range of issues such as overheating, slipping gears, and holding on to a gear for too long,” says John Ibbotson, Consumer Reports’ chief mechanic. “Ultimately, minor concerns can lead to catastrophic failure, leaving the car undrivable. A transmission rebuild or replacement is an expensive project that takes time and not every repair shop will be experienced to tackle this job, adding to the inconvenience.”

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Several Nissans stood out for the frequency that their continuously variable transmission needed to be replaced. Some members reported that the work was covered under warranty or that the transmission was replaced under a special Nissan extended warranty program, the type of customer service support that manufacturers sometimes extend to address common problems. Numerous Nissan cars and SUVs were caught up with transmission problems from the 2012-2015 model years. One owner who didn’t experience a problem until 177,000 miles reported that the work cost him $4,000.

GMC Acadia owners told us about a range of symptoms experienced with their SUV, such as fluid leaks, lurching and hesitation, and holding gears (rather than shifting). The repair experiences varied, depending on when the problem occurred, but it was universally frustrating and the repairs proved costly for most owners.

To help warn both current owners and used-car shoppers, we have collected 10 models that stood out as having the most severe problems, as determined by frequency and cost. We focused on models from the last decade. Looking just a bit further, there are several vehicles that have a disproportionate frequency of transmission issues, including, in rank order: 2001 Honda Odyssey, 2003 Acura TL, 2002 Acura MDX, 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser, 2002 Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute, and 2004 Ford Focus.

The 10 highlighted models are presented below in rank order, starting with the one with the greatest problem rate among CR members.

We spotlight the model year with the greatest problems (and when applicable, list a range of years affected by this problem), the typical mileage range when the problem occurs, and then recommend similar alternative cars without this concern. In cases where there are no alternatives presented, it means there are no similar cars that weren’t found to have the same issue or another significant problem.

The journey to 200,000 miles can be a bumpy one, but it can be smoother if you have a good, reliable car and properly maintain it, per the directions in the owner’s manual.

Consumer Reports always recommends shoppers consult our reliability ratings, based on our large-scale member surveys, to predict the models that have better odds of being trouble free. This detailed data can be found on the car model pages.

2013 Nissan Sentra

The 2013 Nissan Sentra is among the models most likely to need a transmission replacement.

2013 Nissan Sentra

Model years affected: 2013-2014
Typical mileage when problem occurs: 67,500-102,000
Alternatives without this problem: 2012-2015 Toyota Corolla


2014 Nissan Versa Note

The 2014 Nissan Versa Note is among the models most likely to need a transmission replacement.

2014 Nissan Versa Note

Typical mileage:
 55,500-64,500
Alternatives without this problem: 2015 Kia Soul


2008 GMC Acadia

The 2008 GMC Acadia is among the models most likely to need a transmission replacement.

2008 GMC Acadia

Model years affected: 
2008-2010
Typical mileage: 97,000-146,000
Alternatives without this problem: 2006-2010 Lexus RX


2014 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder is among the models most likely to need a transmission replacement.

2014 Nissan Pathfinder

Model years affected: 
2013-2015
Typical mileage: 50,000-75,000
Alternatives without this problem: 2014-2015 Honda Pilot


2010 Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain

The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox is among the models most likely to need a transmission replacement.

2010 Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain

Typical mileage:
 84,000-119,000
Alternatives without this problem: 2008-2010 Toyota RAV4


2014 Ford Focus

The 2014 Ford Focus is among the models most likely to need a transmission replacement.

2014 Ford Focus

Model years affected: 
2012-2015
Typical mileage: 30,000-81,000
Alternatives without this problem: 2012-2015 Toyota Corolla


2010 Jeep Wrangler

The 2010 Jeep Wrangler is among the models most likely to need a transmission replacement.

2010 Jeep Wrangler

Typical mileage:
 97,500-139,000
Alternatives without this problem: 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser


2014 Infiniti QX60

The 2014 Infiniti QX60 is among the models most likely to need a transmission replacement.

2014 Infiniti QX60

Typical mileage:
 56,000-82,000
Alternatives without this problem: 2013-2015 Lexus RX


2012 Nissan Maxima

The 2012 Nissan Maxima is among the models most likely to need a transmission replacement.

2012 Nissan Maxima

Model years affected: 2012-2013
Typical mileage: 66,000-93,500
Alternatives without this problem: 2011-2013 Toyota Avalon


2012 Nissan Rogue

The 2012 Nissan Rogue is among the models most likely to need a transmission replacement.

2012 Nissan Rogue

Typical mileage:
 94,000-115,500
Alternatives without this problem: 2011-2014 Honda CR-V