1989 Lada Samara 1.3 petrol


Solid, but not best quality


Normal wear and tear: battery, timing belt, oil, filters, brake bads, exhaust.


93000 km: low carburettor CO level, fixed.

99000: sudden fuel leak near carburettor, fire, almost all plastic under bonnet components including electrical installation replaced.

102000: rear brakes and handbrake completely refitted.

105000: engine doesn't start in wet weather-since then extremely bad starting in wet weather. Never fixed appropriately.

109000: left wheel ball joint replaced.

Thermostat replaced.

Rear brakes-problems again.

Windscreen washer system stopped working, fixed, but soon broke down again.

Emergency lights broke down.

116000: alternator started to fail. Replaced.

119000: right direction indicator and right headlight don't work appropriately. Fault somewhere in extremely badly built electrical system. Fixed, but not for a long time.

Problems with cabin ventilator. When turned on, alternator doesn't work appropriately. Mystery.

Heating system doesn't work appropriately.

120000: mysterious leak from the cooling system. Radiator OK. Stopped without intervention.

124000: mysterious leak again. Radiator bottom hose replaced.

124500: direction indicators don't function anymore. Fixed.

Left drive shaft bellows torn. Replaced.

125000: strange noises from the right wheel when turning left, strange noises from the steering system when turning right. Mystery.

Leak from the cooling system again.

Water pump suspected. Not replaced. Magic "top shop" fluid put in.

126000: the car sold for 150 euro.

General Comments:

I can't understand how the quality can be so low. I got the car regularly serviced at least every 10000 km, I maintained it extremely well and took care of it. The first owner was my grandfather and the car was garaged for 11 years, regularly serviced and nicely driven. But still... I'm sure I forgot at least some faults above, oh yes - drivers seat, left side door handle, leaking to the boot, window opener broken, problems with lights, fuse and relay unit replaced... but almost NO RUST! I suspect that my grandpa, deceased, had the car additionally protected, as lada cars were known from very bad metal body. This car was not bad to drive, good engine, although not very economic, although comfort and interior material quality were extremely low. Also quite spacious (interior, boot) for its size. But the faults were simply too frequent.

Technology, quality and materials are simple of too low level for a decent car. I liked the car very much in spite of all, but as I nearly bankrupted because of so many faults the only reasonable decision was to get rid of it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th June, 2004

12th Sep 2010, 01:55

Well, I'm always amazed by the fact people complain about rust. In the Soviet Union we know for sure that the only cars that don't rust are the ones made before '91, after - everything (maybe with a very little exception, Volgas and Nivas), but everything was made junk.

I live now in Alaska, but still miss Soviet made "tractors". They not were allowed in US, for safety reasons, what a joke...