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Pontiac Grand Am

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  • 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.
  • bmarkbmark Posts: 52
    I just orderd a 2000 GA GT 4 door, they said it will probably be in sometime in late October. By the comments I have read, most people love their cars. I orderd it with leather, CD sunroof, invoice price including shipping, 20032,( sticker price, 21970) no rebates right now I paid 20132, wondering if there were any hidden rebates, or if they were going to extend the current ones.
  • Have a '99 SE2 w/10k miles. After a heavy rain (quite often in Pensacola Fl) there is a large amount of water under the front passenger seat. I can not determine where this water is leaking in from. Also have the problem of the door trim pulling way from the door frame near the window (only on the rear passenger side behind the driver). I have an appointment tomorrow to fix the trim and hopefully the water problem. Other than that, the car runs great and is fun to drive.
  • jwheatjwheat Posts: 3
    Hi guys! Thanks for all the great advise. I just wanted to comment on the whole gas milage thing. I have not noticed an improvement. I am still getting only about 22 miles per gallon. I drive a lot so this is proving to be a problem. Also I have 2500 miles on the car and have not had the oil changed yet. Is this a problem, my dealer told me 4,000 miles. Any comment? Thanks
  • Just wanted to thank you and midlifecrisis for your advice on pushing up the shaft of the rear view mirror, I didn't realize it moved. It seems to have helped. Thanks again.
  • I just got a fillup in my 99 GT last night. This is about my 5th tank (1300 miles so far). I got 24 mpg in mixed driving (1/3 city, 2/3 highway). I think that is somewhat respectable considering the size of the engine and the power of the vehicle. I expect the mpg to go up slightly but probably not much higher.

    Over the weekend I performed my first car wash (in NJ we are on water restictions due to the drought). I was told to wash the car with a sheepskin mitt instead of a sponge so as not to scratch the paint. When I was done, the bright red paint almost hurt my eyes it was so brilliant. This car is definitely a head-turner. It is however hard to keep the wheels clean due to the brake dust and dirt that accumulates on the five-spokes. Oh well, guess I'll have to wash it more often. I better get a new pair of sunglasses so I don't damage my eyes looking at the bright red paint. See ya.
  • Hi. Just wanted to say that this Town Hall is a great thing. Its very helpful reading about other people's experiences with their cars.

    I have a 1996 Grand Am SE with about 78,000 miles on it, and I'm debating about trading in before it hits 80,000 miles (at which point I'm told makes the value drop considerably), or keep it for another year or more. I've had the car for just a little over 3 years, so I obviously put a ton of miles on it. I haven't had any major problems, and for the most part, I'm very happy with it. I had to get new rotors/brake pads around 22,000 miles, and also replace them around 60,000 miles. They're starting to get a little soft again. I've also needed new tires, of course, and will probably have to replace them again within the next few months.

    Back in the spring, the "Low Coolant" light would come on every few weeks. In the owner's manual, it says to pull off the road immediately and not to drive the car. The coolant was obviously leaking somewhere, but it wasn't going on the ground. I took it to the dealer and they couldn't find the leak, but said if it continued to happen, to come back again. (At that point I also had to have the air conditioner re-charged and they replaced the fuel filter.) I wound up buying a couple of gallons of the orange Dex-Cool coolant the car takes and filled it up with a 50/50 mixture of that and water (which is what the manual calls for) on a fairly regular basis. Luckily the light always seemed to come on when I was close to home, and I kept the jug of coolant and some water in my trunk just in case. I was really getting annoyed at having to check the coolant level every other day, so I made an appointment to take it back to the dealer. (My air conditioner that was supposedly "re-charged" was also not working well at all - I would drive the half-hour home from work and it wouldn't cool down at all.)

    Well, the evening before I was due to take my car back to the dealer for them to check the coolant leak and A/C, I was stopped at a stop sign about 2 blocks from my house. When I hit the gas to go, the car was VERY sluggish and would barely move. I made it home. The following morning, I figured I'd try to make it to the dealer (about 15-20 miles away), but only got a mile before I had to turn around and go back. Same problem as the evening before - no pick-up. So I wound up having the car towed to the dealer. I was thinking, "Great! A new transmission!" and figured I'd have to shell out some big bucks. Well, the dealer had my car for almost a week, and by some stroke of luck, I didn't need a new transmission - they flushed out the old transmission fluid and put in new and it seems to be running fine (knock on wood!). (This was the first time I had the fluid replaced.) They did however, have to take half of the engine apart to get to the coolant leak, and they also said that there was a hole in one of the tubes for the A/C. (They didn't charge me labor to fix the A/C, because they didn't find the problem the first time.) The total bill wound up being about $420. So now I'm wondering - (1) Do I keep the car for another year or two until it dies (and figure I'll have to throw some more money into it)?, or (2) Do I just get rid of it now before something major happens? I'm really kind of stuck and can't seem to make a decision. Any comments/suggestions would be a great help.

    Sorry that this is so long, but I figured I'd tell some of the newer Grand Am owners some of my experiences with the car. Thanks!
  • I guess your decision should be based partially on what kind of money you still owe on the car (if any). If you owe more than your trade value is worth it might make sense to keep the vehicle until you can pay it off. Otherwise you will have negative cash flow with a new car purchase.

    Personally I would trade the car in on a new Grand Am (or other car) if you can do so financially. It's a good time of year to be purchasing a car, especially with incentives and rebates at the end of the 1999 model year. You may have just been lucky with the $420 repair bill with more expensive repairs lurking around the corner, but you never know for sure.

    I have bought used cars twice in the last 10 or so years and been burned big time both times (lemon cars). So personally I don't trust cars with higher mileage, even if I was the one who maintained them. I put about 20K miles a year on my car and then trade it in every 3 years or so, depending on how well they hold up. I can't imagine ever having over 100,000 miles on a car because the repair costs always seem to exceed the car payments. Car payments can be expected and budgeted for, large repair bills cannot. One transmission job can cost close to $2000, and then you are likely stuck with an inferior rebuilt transmission.

    This is just my 2 cents, for what it's worth. I'm sure most others will wholeheartily disagree with my methods.
  • Matty,

    I have a 97 Grand Am GT that is great. It rides smooth as can be at high speeds. Just to let you know the 97 I have is difinitely limited at 105mph.
  • smtssmts Posts: 1
    I have a 6 month old Grand Am GT. I have had it back to the dealer 3 times for water leaking in the passenger door. Is this a common problem on the 99 models. I am really upset that I have owned it for that short amount of time and have had it back to the dealers so many times. Now I don;t even care to drive a pontiac (any model)
  • smts:
    I have a 99 and it has been in thunder, hail and some of the worst rains I have driven in an it has not leaked a drop. It has been parked, on the highway and around during these rains and it still has not leaked a drop. They must have got the weather stripping wrong. That really is too bad. That is really a poor dealership.

    Sorry to hear,
    Stephen
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