Used cars in Las Vegas, whats the most reliable?

used cars in las vegas
It’s hard to know which car can stand up to the Vegas heat.


Finding reliable used cars in Las Vegas isn’t as easy as other parts of the country. Our cars have a hard life, especially out here. The heat, traffic, dust, and brutal sun age and wear out cars faster than in other states.

If you look at any cars owners manual there is a recommendation for oil changes. Some cars have recommendations to change the oil every 10,000 miles now! There is usually a small (*) next to that though. The asterisk says “3,000 miles with extreme duty.” Living in Las Vegas means your car qualifies as “extreme duty”.

Even the manufacturers know this part of the country is…. different. Most manufacturers actually do their hot weather testing on new cars between Las Vegas and Phoenix. They drive cars, nonstop, over and over to simulate years of driving in this weather. It is rough on cars and shows any early weaknesses

hot weather testing audi in las vegas
from – A 2020 Audi A5 doing warm weather testing between Arizona and Nevada


People assume a quality new car makes for a great used car, but this is just not true. While a quality car usually fares better, some have real issues after years of the Vegas car hell.

People assume a car, is a car, but Vegas chews cars up. Its sometimes hard to find quality used cars in Las Vegas – Tina, Owner – Queen MotorCars

Certain cars are made in such a way that the heat is rougher on them. Suspension components and oil pans closer to the 200 degree asphalt. CVT transmissions that are very heat sensitive. Cheaper quality paints that deteriorate in the sun. Cheaper plastic that cracks… you name it, Vegas can kill it.


Based on decades of buying and reselling used cars in Las Vegas, we have compiled the list of the cars that have the hardest time standing up to southern Nevada’s unique challenges

  • Nissan Versa and Sentra and Altima
  • Chevy sedans
  • Volkswagen Jetta
  • BMW

The Nissan lineup has always had issues. The pain consistantly fades, the cvt transmissions despise heat and the interior doesn’t hold up well. A hard pass.

Best used cars in las vegas
The famous “Vegas Fade” on a vehicle in Las Vegas

Chevy’s overall do very well. But we have noticed an issue with the sedans for some reason. The interiors are hardest hit. Blend door motors, steering wheel deterioration, and cracked dashes are the worst of it.

Volkswagens have always had hit and miss long term reliability. But the Las Vegas heat really rubs them the wrong way. We rarely will buy used Volkswagen Jettas, and when we do they are from out of state. Suspension, transmissions and engines are common issues.

It’s hard to dismiss an entire brand, but we rarely see a well preserved used BMW in Las Vegas. The interior, exterior, suspension, drivetrain… all take a huge beating and cannot take the heat. We highly recommend avoiding BMW’s unless they come from out of state, even then take them to your mechanic first.


Now for what you’ve been looking for. The best used cars for Las Vegas. These are obviously just our opinions, but after buying 10,000 plus used cars, we have seen some consistencies. Below is the list of our top picks,

  • Hyundai
  • Kia
  • Toyota
  • Lexus
  • Dodge Trucks

The Korean brands do well in Las Vegas. The paint holds up, the mechanical and suspension components and the interior all hold up well. We have seen 15 year old Hyundai’s that look brand new. This is our number 1 pick for a great used car that can handle the unique environment we live in.

Toyota and Lexus are always at the top of any quality report, here is no different. We have few issues with these brands. So why do they get the number 2 billing? Simple, cost. The Toyota’s and Lexus’s have always held their value well, but if your looking to buy the Korean brands are the deal.

And finally Dodge trucks, or Ram trucks now if you will. Of all the full size trucks that are for sale, for some reason the Dodge/Ram’s hold up the best. Which is odd because their cars are not at the top of our list.


Quite a bit of reliability in used cars is determined by the previous owner. That is why one owner vehicles are usually so prized. Getting any car inspected first is a good idea or buying from a well reviewed, reputable dealership.

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