The Car Curse refers to the pattern where no Survivor contestant who obtained a car after winning a Reward Challenge has gone on to the win the game. It was most popularized after the events of Survivor: Fiji.
- In Survivor: The Australian Outback, Colby Donaldson won a Pontiac Aztek after he won the Reward Challenge on Day 37. He subsequently finished in 2nd place.
- In Survivor: Africa, Lex van den Berghe won the Reward Challenge on Day 35, winning a brand new Chevrolet Avalanche. He finished in 3rd place.
- In Survivor: Marquesas, at the Reward Challenge on Day 34, Sean Rector won a new Saturn VUE. He finished in 5th place.
- In Survivor: Thailand, Ted Rogers, Jr. won the Reward Challenge on Day 34 after Brian Heidik gave him the answer to the challenge, winning a Chevrolet Trailblazer. Ted finished in 5th place, and Brian ended up winning the season.
- In Survivor: The Amazon, Matthew von Ertfelda won a Saturn Ion at the Reward Challenge on Day 34. He finished in 2nd place.
- In Survivor: Pearl Islands, Burton Roberts won a brand new GMC Envoy XUV at the Reward Challenge on Day 34. He finished in 5th place.
- In Survivor: All-Stars, a Chevrolet Colorado was given as reward to Rob Mariano on Day 34. He finished in 2nd place.
- In Survivor: Vanuatu, Eliza Orlins won the Reward Challenge on Day 32, winning a brand new Pontiac G6. She finished in 4th place.
- In Survivor: Palau, a Chevrolet Corvette was won by Ian Rosenberger at the Reward Challenge on Day 34. He finished in 3rd place.
- In Survivor: Guatemala, on Day 34, Cindy Hall was informed of the Car Curse before she accepted her reward, but she still chose to keep the 2006 Pontiac Torrent she had won, rather than give 4 away to the other remaining castaways. She finished in 5th place.
- In Survivor: Panama, Courtney Marit, Danielle DiLorenzo, and Terry Deitz, won the Reward Challenge on Day 28, and fought for a GMC Yukon. Terry defeated Courtney and Danielle and won the car. He finished in 3rd place. In addition, Cirie Fields, who had finished in 4th place, would later receive a GMC Yukon as prize for winning the Fan Favorite Award.
- In Survivor: Cook Islands, there was no actual challenge for a car, however, Ozzy Lusth, who had finished in 2nd place, won the Fan Favorite Award against Yul Kwon, the winner of Cook Islands, and received a Mercury Mariner as prize.
- In Survivor: Fiji, Yau-Man Chan won a 2008 Ford Super Duty after winning the second part of the Reward Challenge on Day 34, but used it to make a deal with Dreamz Herd to trade the car for the Immunity Necklace if Dreamz were to win immunity at the final four. Dreamz later broke the deal, resulting in Yau-Man's elimination in 4th place. Dreamz finished as co-runner-up.
- Some assume that cars are no longer offered as rewards because of the deal made between Yau-Man Chan and Dreamz Herd in Fiji, due to the use of the car as a way to bargain.
- Another possible reason for the lack of a car reward in later seasons is that according to U.S. law, the winner of the car reward has to pay taxes on the car by April 15 of the next calendar year, despite the castaways not receiving their winnings until the season finale airs, which is in May for even-numbered seasons. In Fiji, Dreamz received the car reward from Yau-Man, but was unable to pay taxes on it, resulting in the truck being repossessed.
- Amber Brkich, the winner of All-Stars, was rewarded with a Chevrolet Malibu after being picked to go on the reward by Rob Mariano. However, she did not win the car herself, and the one she received was not the same one shown at the Reward Challenge.
- Rob Mariano is the only contestant to win the car and also win the title of Sole Survivor, although he won Survivor in a different season than when he won the car.
- The car curse has also made an appearance in Australian Survivor.
- In Australian Survivor (2002), Sylvan Dorney won a Ford Escape as a reward via random draw in the final thirteen Reward/Immunity Challenge. He would be voted out in the final eleven.
- In Australian Survivor (2017), Michelle Dougan won a Holden Trailblazer as a reward for winning the final five Immunity Challenge. She would be eliminated in the final four.
- In Australian Survivor: Champions v Contenders (2018), Brian Lake won a Holden Commodore Tourer in the final five Reward Challenge. He would later be voted out at the final three.
- In Australian Survivor: Champions v Contenders (2019), Abbey Holmes won an MG GS at the second post-merge Reward Challenge. She would later be voted out at the final five.
- In Australian Survivor: Brains v Brawn, Dani Beale won an Isuzu D-Max in the final eight Reward Challenge. She would later be voted out at the final six.