Mitsubishi Montero Years To Avoid (Best and Worst)

Mitsubishi Montero Years To Avoid – If you’re an avid fan of off-road classic SUVs and are drawn to a blend of modern capability and rugged charm, the Mitsubishi Montero, affectionately known as the Pajero, deserves a spot on your radar. With its roots tracing back to the 90s, these Mitsubishi gems are steadily gaining popularity among SUV enthusiasts.

For those in the US who might be struggling to locate one, the good news is that a treasure trove of these vehicles awaits importation at prices that won’t break the bank.

While the highly anticipated homologation racer, the Pajero Evolution, might still be a few years away from reaching our shores, the existing Montero models hold their own allure.

Just as even the most dependable SUVs, like the renowned Toyota 4Runner, encounter their fair share of challenges, the Mitsubishi Montero is no exception.

Mitsubishi Montero Years To Avoid

Amidst its illustrious lineup, there’s one specific model year that warrants cautious consideration.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the captivating world of Mitsubishi Montero SUVs, highlighting the golden years and unveiling the year you’d be wise to avoid.

Exploring the Mitsubishi Montero’s Glorious Run

From conquering rugged terrains to offering a comfortable on-road experience, the Mitsubishi Montero has etched its legacy as a versatile and enduring SUV.

The 90s era witnessed the birth of this automotive masterpiece, capturing the hearts of adventure seekers with its powerful performance and distinctive design.

As its popularity surges, enthusiasts are discovering the charm of these classics, leading to a surge in demand.

For those who find themselves pining for the allure of the Mitsubishi Montero in the US, the prospect of importing one is a viable and exciting option.

With reasonable prices beckoning, these imported gems provide a chance to own a slice of automotive history that’s both functional and nostalgic.

Identifying the Bumps in the Road: Mitsubishi Montero Years to Avoid

Even in the realm of steadfast SUVs, there lies a cautionary tale. While the Mitsubishi Montero boasts a reputation for resilience, there’s a solitary model year that stands as an exception.

A prudent SUV enthusiast should tread carefully around this specific year to evade potential pitfalls.

As we navigate through the following sections, we’ll shed light on the years that shine brightest and those that warrant extra scrutiny.

The allure of off-road adventures and the enduring charm of classic SUVs often lead enthusiasts to the realm of the Mitsubishi Montero.

Read Also: Mitsubishi Most Expensive Car

This iconic vehicle, also known as the Pajero, has cemented its legacy as a capable and versatile choice for those who seek both ruggedness and comfort.

Intrigued to discover the best and avoidable years of the Mitsubishi Montero? Stay tuned as we dive deeper into the SUV’s history, uncovering the peaks and pitfalls that await.

2002 Mitsubishi Montero: A Year to Approach with Caution, a reliable source for automotive issue tracking, rated the 2002 Mitsubishi Montero as the worst model year. Among the notable problems that marred the ’02 Montero’s reputation, a prominent issue revolved around a rattling noise stemming from the V6 engine.

This disconcerting noise was attributed to a dropped rod within the engine, necessitating a complete engine replacement.

The severity of this issue left owners grappling with unexpected and substantial repair costs, turning the ownership experience sour.

Another pressing concern with the 2002 Montero involved its braking system. CarComplaints documented instances where the brakes became stiff, triggering the ABS system, but failing to bring the SUV to a halt.

Some owners were forced to rely on the hand brake to slow down the vehicle.

Mitsubishi did initiate a voluntary recall for 2001 and 2002 Monteros due to malfunctioning hydraulic brake boosters.

Despite this, the NHTSA did not identify any significant safety defects, though numerous complaints were registered.

Transmission troubles further compounded the issues faced by the 2002 Montero. Owners reported difficulties in engaging gears, a problem attributed to transmission leaks caused by excessive heat.

Read Also: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Years To Avoid

These leaks likely contributed to the shifting problems, making driving this model year a frustrating experience.

Additionally, the 2002 Montero suffered from engine issues that became a point of concern for owners.

Mitsubishi Montero enthusiast forums echoed the sentiment that the 3.5-liter V6 engine frequently experienced oil leaks from the cylinder heads.

Although repairing this issue is relatively straightforward and cost-effective – involving the installation of new O-rings – the recurrence of such problems casts a shadow on the ownership experience.

2001 Mitsubishi Montero: Another Year to Exercise Caution’s analysis also highlighted the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero as a model year to approach with caution. In addition to the aforementioned transmission, braking, and engine problems, owners of the 2001 Montero reported issues with fluctuating temperature gauges.

Furthermore, there were complaints of a leaking fuel pump, compounding the list of concerns associated with this year.

Read Also: Mitsubishi Mirage Years to Avoid

1997-1999 Monteros: Considerations and Potential Pitfalls

While CarComplaints did not have extensive reports of issues for the 1997-1999 Montero model years, Mitsubishi did recall these vehicles due to loose crankshaft pulley bolts.

These bolts posed a risk of causing a loss of power steering if the pulley were to fail.

Although the overall reliability of the Montero is acknowledged, it’s important to note that these model years aren’t entirely exempt from potential troubles.

Montero enthusiasts also emphasize the significance of maintaining the vehicle’s timing belt.

For owners of various Montero model years, replacing the timing belt every 60,000 miles is crucial. Neglecting this maintenance task could result in severe engine damage, necessitating major repairs.

Mitsubishi Montero Best Years

When it comes to off-road adventure coupled with reliability, the Mitsubishi Montero has undoubtedly carved its niche in the realm of SUVs.

Mitsubishi Montero Best Years

As enthusiasts seek the perfect blend of capability and dependability, pinpointing the best years of the Mitsubishi Montero becomes a crucial task.

We’ll delve into the prime years of the Mitsubishi Montero, highlighting the models that offer a seamless fusion of off-road prowess and steadfast reliability.

Exploring the Second-Gen Marvel: 1992-2000 Mitsubishi Montero

According to the discerning eyes at Jalopnik, the second-generation Mitsubishi Montero, spanning model years 1992 to 2000, emerges as a beacon of desirability in the realm of off-road features.

Mitsubishi Montero Best Years

This era of Monteros exudes an array of attributes that make it a hot favorite among adventure seekers.

However, the Expedition Portal forum users have a more specific preference, claiming that the 1995-1999 models within this second-gen lineup stand out as the cream of the crop.

Read Also: Mitsubishi Outlander Years to Avoid

The Undisputed Stars: 1992-1996 Mitsubishi Montero

Considering the data from previous reports, the most enticing Mitsubishi Montero models from the 90s materialize within the 1992-1996 range.

Mitsubishi Montero Best Years

These models encapsulate the essence of what makes a Montero truly exceptional, delivering an unrivaled blend of performance, ruggedness, and reliability.

If you’re on the hunt for a Montero that exemplifies the very best of the era, these years should be your prime focus.

However, if securing one from this specific range proves challenging, fear not; the Mitsubishi Pajeros emerge as worthy alternatives.

Essentially sharing mechanical DNA, Pajeros from 1995 and earlier are eligible for import and carry the torch of dependable performance.

Embracing the Modern Era: 2004-2006 Mitsubishi Monteros

Transitioning into the more contemporary landscape, CarComplaints injects a ray of hope for those eyeing the 2004 and later Monteros. Remarkably, CarComplaints doesn’t hold any records of issues plaguing these models, instilling confidence in their reliability.

Mitsubishi Montero Best Years

While the Montero Sport bowed out after the 2004 iteration, other Montero variants continued to grace the US market until 2006.

Expedition Portal forum users further enhance the appeal of the 2004-2006 3rd-gen Monteros, highlighting their suitability for daily driving.

This generation boasted a myriad of improvements, including expanded rear cargo space, a quieter and more comfortable ride, the adoption of independent rear suspension, and even the integration of traction control in some variants.

Read Also: Mitsubishi Eclipse Years to Avoid

Mitsubishi Montero Problems

The world of SUVs is vast and varied, and within this landscape, the Mitsubishi Montero has etched its presence as a capable and rugged contender. However, like any vehicle, the Montero has not been immune to certain challenges that owners might encounter during their ownership journey.

We will delve into the common problems associated with the Mitsubishi Montero, shedding light on the issues that have occasionally surfaced and helping you make an informed decision if you’re considering one for yourself.

Mitsubishi Montero Problems

As with any vehicle, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the potential issues that might arise during ownership.

The Mitsubishi Montero, while known for its off-road prowess and dependability, has had its share of common problems that owners and enthusiasts should be aware of.

1. Engine Rattling in 2002 Montero

One of the notable issues that have garnered attention is the engine rattling problem in the 2002 Mitsubishi Montero. This issue stemmed from a dropped rod within the V6 engine, resulting in a distinct rattling noise.

Owners reported that the fix required an entirely new engine, leading to unexpected and substantial repair costs.

2. Brake and ABS Problems

The Montero has also faced challenges related to its braking system. Reports indicate instances where the brakes became stiff, triggering the ABS system, but failing to bring the SUV to a halt effectively.

Some owners resorted to using the hand brake to slow down the vehicle.

Additionally, a recall was issued for 2001 and 2002 Monteros due to failing hydraulic brake boosters. While the NHTSA did not find a significant safety defect, several complaints were registered.

Read Also: Mitsubishi Lancer Years to Avoid

3. Transmission Issues

Transmission problems have also emerged as a concern for some Montero owners. Reports mention difficulties in engaging gears, often attributed to transmission leaks caused by excessive heat.

These leaks could potentially lead to shifting problems, impacting the overall driving experience.

4. Valve Stem Leaks in 3.0-liter V6

Earlier models of the Mitsubishi Montero, specifically those equipped with the 3.0-liter V6 engine, were reported to experience valve stem leaks.

This issue, if left unresolved, could result in oil entering the combustion chamber, leading to burning oil and producing bluish smoke.

It’s important to note that this problem only applies to 12-valve 3.0-liter engines, not the 24-valve versions.

5. Timing Belt Maintenance

Enthusiast forums and experts alike emphasize the importance of timely timing belt replacements for the Mitsubishi Montero.

Neglecting this maintenance task, particularly for the 3.0-liter V6 engines, could result in significant engine damage, requiring extensive and costly repairs.

Is a Mitsubishi Montero a Reliable Car?

Absolutely! Over the past 25+ years, I’ve owned 4 Monteros (not Sports), and they have been nothing short of fantastic. Mitsubishi truly crafted a great SUV with the Montero. It’s reliable, comfortable, and embodies fantastic value and quality.

The build is solid, and the interior features add a touch of luxury. On a rating scale (out of 5), the Montero shines in all aspects.

Read Also: Mitsubishi Galant Years to Avoid

Why Was Montero Discontinued?

Mitsubishi made the tough decision to discontinue the Montero due to changing market trends. As buyers shifted their focus towards crossovers rather than traditional, capable, truck-based SUVs like the Montero, its popularity gradually waned. This shift prompted Mitsubishi to cancel the Montero in the U.S. market after the 2006 model year.

The company chose to redirect its efforts toward the production and sale of crossovers to align with evolving consumer preferences.

Are Mitsubishi Monteros Expensive to Maintain?

The estimated cost to maintain and repair a Mitsubishi Montero spans a range of $95 to $2341, with an average cost of $299. This data suggests that the maintenance expenses associated with the Montero can vary widely based on the specific repairs needed and the vehicle’s condition.

Like any vehicle, regular maintenance and prompt addressing of any issues can help manage overall costs and keep the Montero running smoothly.


The Mitsubishi Montero stands as a versatile and dependable SUV that has left a lasting impression on enthusiasts and drivers alike. While certain model years have faced their fair share of challenges, such as engine rattling, brake issues, and transmission troubles, these issues don’t define the entire Montero lineup.

Instead, they serve as reminders of the importance of diligent research, proactive maintenance, and addressing problems promptly.

Whether you’re drawn to the rugged simplicity of the 1992-1996 Monteros or the refined reliability of the 2004-2006 models, the Mitsubishi Montero has something to offer every SUV enthusiast.

Being aware of both the common issues and the standout years can empower you to make an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and priorities.

The journey of owning a Mitsubishi Montero is a dynamic one, filled with adventures and the satisfaction of driving a capable and reliable vehicle.

By understanding the nuances of Montero’s history, strengths, and potential setbacks, you’re better equipped to embark on this journey with confidence.

So, whether you’re exploring the best years, avoiding problematic models, or simply immersing yourself in the world of SUVs, the Mitsubishi Montero continues to make its mark on the road, offering a blend of performance, dependability, and adventure that’s truly unique.