WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Consumer Reports engineers find the new BMW 3 Series is great to drive. But, its survey show some older models do not age well.
The BMW 335-I, from 2007 through 2012, tends to have fuel pump and fuel injection troubles.
And, other popular used cars wind up in the shop, too.
Consumer Reports' reliability information on nearly 250 models pinpoints the most likely problems.
"Car problems don't happen randomly. From the millions of car problems our subscribers report each year, we identify key trouble areas," says Jon Linkov.
For instance, the 2003 through 2006 Ford Focus shows problems with the alternator, ignition switch and battery. Dodge Caravan owners, with models from 2003 through 2006, complain about the power steering, tie rods, water pump and air conditioning.
Linkov says, "Even Toyota and Honda, which tend to be the more reliable, have model years that are trouble prone."
Honda's 2003 to 2004 V6 Accords have a high transmission failure rate. Accords from 2008 through 2010 experience brake problems. And, the 2008 4-cylinder Toyota Camry suffers excessive brake wear.
"Of the 17 trouble spots we look at, brakes are the biggest problem with used cars beyond normal wear and tear. Brakes are definitely something you should check carefully before you buy," says Linkov.
Whatever used car you're considering, always get it checked by an independent mechanic.
Now, Consumer Reports also identifies the best used cars for the price.
Their experts say for under $10,000, the 2009 Pontiac Vibe, the 2008 4-cylinder Hyundai Sonata, the 2004 Acura TSX and the 2004 Toyota RAV4 are good choices.