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Pontiac Grand Am

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  • aam1aam1 Posts: 26
    Hi Guys:

    First, thank you all for your help. I just myself a Grand Am GT Sedan today. Originally I was going to get a SE1 but when I saw the GT, well, the rest is history. I do need help in one more area. The dealer is asking me to buy extended warranty on the car for $995 for 6yrs/60K miles. Is it a good idea getting extended warranty on this car. I have financed the car for 5yrs. Also, he is asking me to get a passive alarm on the car. As far as I know, the car already has a theft deterent alarm factory installed. I was told that the factory alarm only protects the steering column. Is that true? Please help as I need to get back to the dealer on Monday.

    Thanks once more for your help. Edmunds, thanks for all the price info. It was a great help.
  • aam1, if you really think you will be keeping this grand am for 6 years I would definitly buy the extended warranty, their is nothing more annoying then having to fix a car you aren't done paying for yet. $995 sounds like a bargin for 6 years of peace of mind to me. See if you can up the mileage part thou, Saturn offers 6years/75k protection for the same price. Good luck
  • jwheatjwheat Posts: 3
    I bought a 99 grand am two weeks ago. It is great so far. I have notices the molding around the gear shift moving some too. (this was mentioned in earlier) Should I be alarmed?
    I would appreciate any response?
  • szerfasszerfas Posts: 53
    jwheat:

    I was the one that had posted about the molding around the gear shifter moving. As much as I hate to say it I am thinking that it might be a design flaw. I have not done anything about mine yet. I was going to wait and see if I saw anything go wrong with my car or maybe closer to the end of the warranty to do something about it. My main concern is that it will become looser with time or even squeak. It just does not give me good strong feeling about the console, and that bothers me the most. Please post if you notice anything new with the molding.
  • My 1999 Grand Am GT actually makes it FUN to drive instead of a chore as with some previous cars I've owned. Sometimes I get in the car late at night and just go for a spin. The only thing I must say seems cheesy in the car are the sun visors. It looks like Pontiac spent $1.99 on each. They are very small, don't block much sun, and the clip they attach to looks like it will break within a few weeks. What's the deal with that? Oh well - you can't have everything I guess.

    Otherwise I am loving the car and have been getting rave reviews from everyone I have shown the car to. The universal response so far has been "This is a Grand Am?"
  • jwheatjwheat Posts: 3
    I am not going to do anything about the molding problem either, unless it begins to squeak, or becomes annoying.

    I am loving my car though. I agree it does make it fun to drive!

    I have noticed that it doesn't get very good gas mileage. I have been filling up a lot. Any other complaints about this...or am I just driving too much?!??!
  • szerfasszerfas Posts: 53
    I know what you mean about just going for a drive. I have done that some and plan to do it more. I will put in some music and just go riding around. I had fun this last weekend when I found some raised manholes. The GrandAm really made it fun to go around and in between them. I would use my GrandAm more but I have to finish selling my old car (insurance had misquoted me and screwed up the original sale of it.)

    I really love the 6 in the GrandAm. I find myself driving faster on the highway just because it goes so easily.

    I have been very happy with my gas mileage. I have gotten between 25 and 30 miles to gallon. I average usually 26 to 27. I have been trying not to rocket away from every stop sign but I do drive it pretty fast on the highway.

    Good to hear some feedback from others.
  • Szerfas - does your car have many miles on it yet? My second tank of gas only got me 21 miles/gallon, but I heard that it improves when the car has been broken in a while.

    At first when you mentioned raised manholes I cringed thinking you were flying over them. Playing slalom around them is much safer (unless you are crossing the double yellow line.

    Also, has anybody noticed that you really have to shut the doors hard or they won't shut completely? I was used to another car where you shut the doors real slowly so this was a change for me.
  • On a recent trip I drove about 1700 kms ( 1020 miles both highway and city) I got an average of 24 m/g. My 99 Grand Am GT has 3000 miles on it now (5000 kms). Not bad but not the best. However I do have a heavy foot and am not afraid to use it.

    I don't seem to have any trouble closing the doors.
  • meatmanmeatman Posts: 1
    great car now have 25,000 miles on my 99 grand am had a off centered rim and out of line rotor other than that its been great i also have a 91 and it has 120,000 miles on all i have done to it is change the alternater other than the basics now iam thinking about getting another grand am
  • szerfasszerfas Posts: 53
    Hey midlifecrisis,

    My GrandAm has about 2000 miles on it and quite a few tanks of gas. I think on its first tank it got around 24 mpg. I had been driving it pretty easy until it got its first oil change. I now drive it harder, these BFGoodrich's are not going to have the longest life expectancy.

    I deffinetly did not go over the man holes covers, I just went around them. I also did not cross the yellow line. Only once when I had to straddle two of them did I nick a tire. It was fun.

    Doors work really well. They have not been hard to close at all. Short of closing with a very light touch they always close. My friends seem to slam my doors rather then go easy with them. The only time have seen really hard to close doors was on a Camry that my brother had for a little while, it was when the current generation had been out for only a short time.

    I am still bummed at having my dealership change the oil they did just about everything wrong on it. They must have spilled some oil on the einge somewhere because I get a burning oil smell when I am idling at lights. I don't think the engine is burning since the level of oil stays the same and there is now smoke coming out the tail pipe. It really make me angry since this my first brand new car. Oh well I will do most the rest of the work myself.
  • My experience in the past 4 years has been that NOBODY can change oil without spilling it everywhere. I've been to several dealers, Monro, Jiffy Lube, etc. and they all spill oil somewhere on the engine. It takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months for the smell of burning oil to go away when stopped at a traffic light. This makes me so angry, but I don't have the equipment to do it myself (it is very difficult to get to the oil filter on some cars).

    Does anybody else have similar experience and/or advice on how to avoid this syndrome?

    Also, does anybody have an idea on how long the low-profile tires on the GT will last before replacement (during normal usage, not burning rubber)? 20K, 30K, 40K miles?
  • dunn3dunn3 Posts: 29
    Does anybody have bad or good comments about a '94 Grand Am with ~64K miles. I am considering buying one used that seems in great condition, but I'm not sure. Please respond. thanks guys (it has te 4 cy. engine and is a 5 speed coupe)
  • aam1aam1 Posts: 26
    Hi Guys:

    Finally got my 1999 Grand Am GT last Saturday. It is a real fun car to drive. Just a couple of comments and a questions.

    1. The gas consumption is pretty horrendous at this point. I got the car with 12 mile and a full tank of gas. Right now, it is 175 mile and 3/4 empty. I have not been driving the car hard at all. A mix of city and highway driving. I am putting the bad gas consumption on the 6 and city driving. Will keep all posted on how it goes in the future.

    2. I was looking at the maintenance book and read that the first scheduled oil change is at 5K miles. Is that correct or should I have it looked after sooner?

    3. I have also noticed that when brake is half-applied on an incline, there is a grating sound. I read in the owner's manual that it takes sometime for the brakes to adjust. Any comments?

    Other than the above, eveything is awesome. The car flies and without much ado, it is in the 70s. The sound, air and all the other amenities are also working OK. I did notice though that the GT is slightly lower than the SE sedans and if the steering wheel is tilted down, getting in and out can be slightly difficult. Anyways, that is it for the moment. Will keep y'all posted. Happy and safe driving everyone.
  • szerfasszerfas Posts: 53
    Hey aam1,

    That is deffinetly not good gas mileage. I will be curious to hear what you get out of future tanks.

    I got my first oil change at right around 1500 miles. I had mine done early since the engine is in break-in. I have heard some say with modern manufacturing that it is no longer necessary to worry about the early oil change. My thoughts are cheap insurance on an expensive piece of equipment. I just wish I did it myself instead of the dealership is all.

    I haven't heard the break grind noise on an incline. I will listen harder. Being around 2000 miles I would guess my brake brake-in period is done.

    Enjoy your new wheels.
    Stephen
  • aam1aam1 Posts: 26
    Stephen:

    Thanks for your message. Will keep everyone posted on the gas mileage in the future. I did call up my dealer this morning to tell him about the brake noise. I was told that it is the roaders and they need to be broken in. Will see how that goes.

    One thing that I did read in your posts, was about poor oil change by your dealer. Why did that happen? I assume that all an oil change would require is opening the engine oil container and putting a new bottle in it. Am I missing anything here?

    Catch ya later!!!!!!
  • I got 21 mpg on my first tank and 23 mpg on the second tank. This is with about 1/3 city and 2/3 highway driving. I think it will continue to improve.

    Mechanics spill oil when they are not careful removing the old oil filter. I drips onto engine parts and begins to smell when the engine heats up. Some oil filters are in a difficult position to access and thus the spills.

    Haven't noticed any brake noise except in the morning after a rain. I goes away after a few miles. I do notice that you realy have to get on the brakes to stop hard, something I was not used to in my previous car.

    Also, the GT is slightly lower because of the low-profile tires. It really adds to the sporty look. But it does make it a little harder to get in and out.
  • I'm serious about a 99 grand am se2 former rental, that's loaded and a good price. I've been warned these cars don't do well in snow. With good tires and a litle weight in the back I wonder why it wouldn't handle as well as anything else. any input or experiences? I'm putting in an offer this afternoon.
  • I have not had my Grand Am in the snow yet, but I've never heard that the car has problems in snow. Front wheel drive works wonders and with traction control standard there shouldn't be too many problems.
  • thanks midlife, I'm really excited. I've used alot of everyone's experiences here in my dealing and Edmund's really helped me do my homework. Actually impressed my husband with my knowledge of certain cars I've been researching here. He was open-jawed. Keep you posted
  • dparksdparks Posts: 1
    Got my 99 Grand Am in August 1998. So far, I have 32,500 miles on it (I use it for business). A friend of mine also got hers about a month before and puts just as many miles on it as I do. Just a few notes on long-term use:

    1. My battery died at about 10,000 miles and I had to use Roadside to tow it to the dealer, who kept it overnight to put in a new battery.

    2. Two of four doors have had the lifting of the interior covering, which I have had replaced. This may be because I'm in the deep southeast U.S. and interior heat is rought on it.

    3. At 29,200 miles, while driving down the highway, my transmission went out, leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere. Roadside tried to get me a tow, but after 2 1/2 hours of waiting, I got my own in 5 minutes. GM did pay for the tow. After begging my dealer for a loaner car, I spent the next 11 days in a rental while the dealer rebuilt the entire transmission. It had no third or fourth gears at all, and parts were ordered three times to get it all right (I hope).

    My friend with the Grand Am has also had all these problems, only her transmission went out at 37,000 miles, just outside of warranty, and she had to fork over a HUGE check to fix hers. Guess I was "lucky" mine was still under warranty.

    Although this car is fun to drive, I'm dumping it ASAP because of this major problem. Longevity doesn't seem to be its strong suit.

    GET THE EXTENDED WARRANTY!!

    Anyone else have these problems? Got any suggestions? Thanks!!
  • Sorry to hear you had so much trouble. I ended up buying the care yesterday. Because it's a former rental and already has 25k on it I got a very good deal and had the car completely looked over buy my mechanic. Still have 11k under warranty and can decide within that time whether to buy and extended or not. Haven't heard to many bad things locally but like anything else, if it's humanly made and not devine, it's a crap shoot to some degree.
  • This is the first I have heard of so many things going wrong with the Grand Am. I guess there aren't that many 1999 cars with 37K mileage already, so the good things I hear are for low-mile cars. I too will consider getting an extended warranty before the 36K is up.

    Is there any chance that some of the problems could be related to a car that was built during the GM strike period? Maybe some parts were installed improperly? Probably not, but I have to give myself hope since I want my Grand Am GT to last a very long time. The last few American cars I've had have been real losers and this may be my last try with a GM (or American) car.
  • I have a 99 Grand am se1 and find visability out the rear view mirror is not good due to the spoiler on the trunk. I find I must rely on my side view mirrors or raise the drivers seat to see better. I only have the car 2 months and don't due that much driving, so its taking me longer to adjust.
  • I can only see the very top of the spoiler in my rear view mirror, even with the seat all the way down. Of course I am 6 feet tall so that probably makes a difference. For all those who say the rear view mirror blocks your front view:

    The mirror is attached to the windshield by an adjustable shaft about 1" in length. Push your mirror all the way to the top (as far as the shaft will rotate) and then adjust the mirror itself. This will raise the mirror and give you more visibility.

    Anybody else have 20K-30K mileage on their Grand Am and would like to talk about the reliability of the vehicle?
  • szerfasszerfas Posts: 53
    susan222:

    To help compensate for the spoiler you might also want to try and raise the arm of the rear view mirror like midlife crisis described. With mirror sitting up higher it should be a little better angle over the spoiler. You can redirect the mirror so you can still see it even with the mirror arm raised. I have noticed a little cutoff with mine but nothing really serious. One nice thing is that it blocks some of the bright light of cars waiting at a traffic light behind you. I think that visibility problem with spoilers has plagued quite a few cars. Good Luck.
  • moebilmoebil Posts: 1
    I have 1994 pontiac grand am se with 75,000 miles.
    The service engine soon light keeps coming on. It only comes on when I drive on the highway. I had it to the mechanic many times and he said everytime he puts on the computer he gets something different. Could it be the oxogen sensor? If anybody has had this problem please let me know what you did to repair it.
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    I had the Service Engine soon light come on in my 99 Silverado. Right away the service guys figured out it was a bad O2 sensor. No problems since.

    I change the oil last night on our 99 Grand Am SE1. You have to remove a plastic covering on the bottom front of the engine with a couple of wing nuts to get to the filter, but its pretty easy. The only complaint that I had was that with the filter being mounted on an angle, some oil was bound to spill on the engine. Not much, though. Just make sure you drain the oil at the plug before you remove the filter.
  • szerfasszerfas Posts: 53
    Thanks for the advice on the oil change mdw1000. I have looked quickly at how I was going to change mine. I did not even notice any wing nuts but I did not look too closely. I will take another look. Prior to seeing your message I was thinking of trying just pulling the filter out from behind the shield. That angle you talk about must be just the thing that the garage did when they changed my oil and hence the burning smell I have had since then. My first time changing it probably about 2 months away.

    Thanks again.
    Stephen
  • Just interested to note what kind of long term problems the Grand Am gives people. I am generally satisified with my '91 with 114,000 miles on it. My long term problems:

    Biggest: ALTERNATOR!! I don't know what it is about this car, but that blasted alternator has been replaced 6 times. My last two were new ones, and not rebuilt, and the most recent one has lasted 3 years.. So yea for that. Maybe becuase the alternator is right there on the top of the engine so it heats up real easily???

    Transmission. Went out around 50,000 and again at over 100,000. Not huge, but not cheap.

    Air Conditioner: The blower motors, even new ones, always wear out or die. Don't know that this is typical of the make/model or not though.

    Muffler: Thanks goodness for Midas lifetime warranties. Already used that TWICE.

    Dealer paint job sucks. Just peeled really nastily after about 6 years.

    BUT, the good points:

    Just now replaced the starter for the first time ever. Easily done and not expensive.

    Engine as maintained, runs well and has another 4-5 years life to it MINIMUM. It sounds very good.

    The repairs haven't been all that much, considering the car is almost 9 years old. Replaced the alternator a few times, the transmission, the heater core once (in the past 10,000 miles), the air conditioner blower 3 times, no timing belt to worry about, brake cables only once so far. The car will drive probably a long time, without needing a major motor job. So, aside from the occasional alternator and a/c problem, repairs haven't been too bad. A lot more than is relevant, but just thought I'd add a comment for the heck of it.

    Not that I'd recommed the Grand Am, but it seems like there are plenty of people who like later models, so there ya go.
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