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Buick Century

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  • First of all, I need to let you know that I am DEFINITELY not an experienced car buyer, unfortunately. I have no family around to confer with & my friends all contradict each other in giving me advice !!!
    Yesterday, at a used car lot, I saw a 1999 Buick Regal w/ 83,500 miles that had just been acquired at an Auto Auction. It is Silver w/ gray interior.(Exactly the color scheme that I have been looking for) I loved the interior & exterior of the car.It looked almost new. I was also impressed by the way it drove. Very smooth & it handled quite well...The used car dealer wants $9,500 and says that the high mileage is most likely from highway miles???
    He said that it is better to get a Newer car w/ high mileage than an older car with high mileage??
    I don't see the difference...it's still the same wear & tear, isn't it?? I'm really at a standstill here & have no idea what to do???
    After I got the Pin #, I did a Carfax Vehicle History Report & it showed that the car wasn't a lemon, but it showed that it was registered for "Commercial" & "Lease" use. Obviously the prior dealership leased the car to someone who really packed on the miles in 2 years time!!
    I know that I will ask for the maintenance records & have a reliable mechanic look at the car before I commit myself. Am I crazy in thinking of buying a car with so many miles in just 2 years?? Am I letting the fact that it looks like the perfect car I was seeking, getting in the way of good common sense?? Should I be Really concerned by the Very High Mileage in such a short time??
    If there is anyone out there that can give me advice in other steps that I should take before I decide to buy this car, please let me know...Or if you have any advice about even buying this car at all, PLEASE do so...HELP!!!!

    Thank You So Much,

    Amanda.............
  • Concerning the 1999 Buick Century w/ 83,500K...Is it also possible that the high mileage on the car, should not be a deterrent in considering it?
    I've read many entries going on about how their Centurys did quite well with High Mileage & so on...

    People, Please help me...Again, I thank you and appreciate everyones output & input :-)

    Amanda.........
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    I am not a Buick owner, but Century is in my list, I am shopping too. Personally, I would not pay 9.5K for that car. Have you checked/run bokk value? It sounds expensive to me. Good luck.
  • yes, I checked the value on the car. According to this year & mileage...
    VMR, whole sale is around $8000 & retail is $9900.. According to NADA, trade in value is 8,650 & Retail is 10,750. & according to KELLEY, trade in is $7,490 & retail is $10,840

    So, $9,500 is a GOOD Price & below regular Retail on this 1999 Century w/ 83,500 K miles...I even called around other dealers & they all said that it was a GOOD Price...

    My only real concern is whether I should consider an extended warranty since it does have such high mileage. I'm pretty sure that most of the miles were Highway miles...

    People, please let me know what you think...
    Thanks
  • I taking the car to get looked at on Friday...This mechanic was referred to me by a good friend. He is gonna give it a thorough look over. Should I still get an extended warranty if I het a clean Bill Of Health ???. The dealer said something like $300 for transmission & engine...He also said that he would personally take care of car while I had it(U know I'm gonna have him put THAT in writing !!!)

    I just can't believe the stress I am under !!I have read all the enties about everyones experiences & the neagtive ones always stick in your brain !!! I guess the bad is what everyone always remembers?? lol I just wish I was more experienced in dealing w/ car buying & all...I guess its live & learn , huh?
    Then I think about the car & how beautiful it looks...like new...& so spacious inside.......

    Please give me ur input, everyone...I;ll be checking every day...Thanks
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    I am glad they are not asking higher than what it does worth. How about certified Centuries. I am looking at them closely in the internet. Price is around 12K-14K, mileage is around 25K and the year is 2000. That can be an option you might wanna consider.
  • Amanda,

    I agree that 83,000 miles is very high for a 1999 automobile. Chances are that it was a sales person's car, and could have been well taken care of. Although the Century is a great car, and I hope to keep mine well beyond 83,000 miles, I think that I would shy away from purchasing one with that many miles already. I actually sold cars for about a year when I was in college and just after college graduation. Let me tell you, high mileage vehicles have NO resale value at all. Once a car hits 100,000 miles, you might as well just keep driving it until it falls apart. A dealer is not going to give you much for it as a trade, and it is hard to sell them yourself.

    I do not know what your driving style is, but I drive between 20-25,000 miles per year. In less than a year I would have over 100,000 miles on that car. If I was financing even $9000, after a year I would probably still owe $7500 on a car that was now worth $5000. Again, I do not know how you will be financing this, so this may not be a concern.

    Also, I would be willing to bet that the dealer will sell the car "as-is." I never sold a car that had over 70,000 miles on it with even a 30 day warranty. The extended warranty sounds good, but negotiate the price. Most people do not know this... but dealers make huge profits on these extended warranties--often they double the cost! They also make TONS of money on financing. The bank gives them a minimum rate to charge on a loan, and the dealer will mark it up. Always say you can get a better rate through your bank, and they will usually come down.

    I know that I am going on here... just do not want you to make a mistake. I would keep looking to see what else is out there. I know our local Buick dealer (Central PA) has a 97 Century with mileage in the 60's for $8000, and it is a local trade--I live down the street from the man who owned it. The regularly have 99's and 00's with mileage in the 20's for $12,000 to $14,000. With these you would even have some remaining factory warranty, or at least a 30 day warranty.

    It is easy to let the emotions of finding the car that "looks perfect" cloud your judgement when making a purchase. I did the same thing with a 2000 Impala and a 2000 Subaru cutback before coming to my senses and buying the Century. I know now that I made the right choice, and have not regretted my decision for even a day. I hope this helps! If you need anything else, just let me know.
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    See my post #181 and also I just purchased a 1989 Century with the 3.3V6 off eBay for $250. It has over 200K also. A 1999 Regal for $9500 is a good deal, but not great. A 1999 Regal with 32K sells for $12995 at Hertz Auto Sales. It's a rental, but that also means commercial and lease usage. I figure this way, will I get my money back out of it? A $9500 car getting an average of 25mpg, driven 20K per year, requiring minimal repairs, and one set of good tires, would have to resell for $6200 to cost less than 10 cents a mile, not including insurance. Will you be able to get $6200 for it with 143K 3 years from now? Maybe. Depends on how well it is treated, how many plastic things break, etc. If it's nice now and you take care of it, it'll do fine. But I just don't think a bank will loan $9500 on a 2-year old domestic sedan with 83K on it. You might have to put about a third down because with those miles the loan value will be much lower.
  • bill_1bill_1 Posts: 97
    Hi, My Mom owns a 1999 Century and in general likes it. However there is a noise that comes from the rear of the car when we pass over any bumps... even real small ones. It doesn't seem to impact the ride of the car but the Dealer cannot seem to find out what the problem is (It just came back from almost 2 weeks in the Dealers). Has anyone encountered a similar problem and if so do you know the solution?

    Oh it appears to come most prominently from the right rear wheel...
  • ep0001ep0001 Posts: 1
    Have a oil leak on front passenger side. Preliminary diagnosis is 'cracked lower manifold'. Anyone have a similar problem?

    Car has 34,000 miles
  • Greetings to all,

    A few weeks ago, I posted a message about my 99 Century having a problem with a vibration in the front end. The dealer found a bad drive axle. The car only had a little over 30,000 miles when I took it to the dealer, so the repair was to be made under warranty, and they even got me a rental to drive while the car was in the shop. Well, about a week ago I got a call from the dealer telling me that GM has refused the warranty repair, and that I owed them for the repair and the rental! They claim that the repair should have been made under an insurance claim. Well, my car was in a minor parking lot collision, and the only repair needed was a new left headlight and the left fender needed painted. I am sorry, but an accident like this could not damage a drive axle! I was not happy about this, but I paid the dealer $216. (This dealer really is a wonderful dealership, and does a good deal of business with my Dad's business, so I did not want to create hard feelings there! Besides, they cannot help it that GM is being difficult.) I need to duke this one out with Buick... but unfortunately, but warranty book has disappeared from my glove compartment! I think that the garage where I normally get the car serviced took it out to mark in it what they did to the car, and then lost it. Would someone out there be willing to make a copy of the warranty book to their '99 and either e-mail, fax, or mail it to me? I am willing to pay for the cost of the copying and for your troubles, and would greatly appreciate it. I just want to have a copy of this right in front of me when I call the customer service hotline. Thanks!!
  • stanorstanor Posts: 6
    Just got out of the local Buick Dealer. I was having concerns with the cruise control dropping out every 100 miles or so, and I panicked deep in 4 lanes of freeway traffic thinking my engine quit.
    Dealer found failed servo assembly and replaced on warranty.
    My radiator overflow tank was dry so they checked that and found a weak radiator cap and replaced with a new one on warranty. No intake manifold leak showed up in pressure testing.
    I am back on the road again at 25,644 miles in 24 months.
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    Drive axles will not fail as a result of an accident if no forces were placed on the wheel. GM is being difficult and you should keep your receipts and tell them to reimburse you immediately or find themselves in court. $216 is a small amount of money but the more little people they screw over for little repairs, the more money they make that they don't need. Your drive axle could have bent due to a pothole or maybe a defective axle shaft. Better get ready to fight. I made a u-turn in a Ford Aspire I owned once, and the axle failed on the u-turn, no bumps, no hard acceleration or braking, I simply made a mid-block u-turn in a residential area and upon returning the steering wheel to the straight position, the axle slipped out of the transmission. They're funny things, and when they fail it is a result of the part failing. It's hard to damage a drive axle without a sledgehammer or a big curb drop.
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    I just checked out the sticker on a new 2001 Century and realized there is no longer a Special model. From 1992 to 1996 it was a basic Century, about $1000 cheaper than a Custom, with more limited options. They could take the Century Custom, lose power windows and locks, give it a plain AM-FM radio, use thinner carpet, cheaper tires, maybe the 2.4L 4-cylinder, and have a $17,000 Century to sell. It would be $2,000 cheaper than an equivalent Accord or Camry and would be more in the price range of an Impala. It would also put it that much closer to me being able to afford to finance one. But I'm happy with my 1988 sedan. I recently bought another Century on eBay for $275, a 1989 Custom sedan with 3.3V6 and 3-speed automatic and I think 205K miles. I can't wait to go pick it up in Erie, PA. I hope the air works well.
  • ham_merham_mer Posts: 2
    Hi Mates, I bought a 98 Buick Century with 30K on it about a month or so ago. I just had some observations I wanted to pass along and to see if anyone has experienced some of things that I have.

    1. There appears to be excessive wind noise on the drivers side, right where the Dash meets the door. I'm not sure if there's anything that can be done about this one ?

    2. The manual says that the car has a 64 Liter tank, every time I fill it up I am only able to put approximately 54-56 Liters in the tank, is the gauge that poorly calibrated or is it that they have intentionally made it that way so that fewer people would run out of gas?

    3. The trunk leaks terribly when lifted during rain or when washing the car.

    4. The brakes have been squealing ever since I got the car, the pads are new. Do they have to be a certain type of pads or will just any do?

    5. There is quite a bit of glare coming of the front window, it definitely impairs the drivers vision ? I believe it is the sun being deflected off the dash onto the window.

    6. Otherwise, I'm happy with this car, it is very nice to drive and has a very smooth ride, the gas mileage is very good as well.

    Thanks to all who respond.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    1. Check if door closes tight, and check the rubber. If the car is still under warranty, let the dealer check.

    2. This is normal with all modern GM cars. They remind to refuel with about 4 gallons left. Looks as you are refueling a bit too late, risking an expensive repair: the cars need about 2 gallons of fuel in tank to cool the fuel pump.

    3. Do not wash it with lid open.

    4. No idea.

    5. There is reflection of the upper surface of dash. In my experience with Regal, the same dash/windsheld, this does not interfere with driving, vision.
  • ham_merham_mer Posts: 2
    Thanks for your reply.

    2. Thanks for the info on the fuel pump, I had no idea. This is my first GM Car.

    3. Did you REALLY think I washed my car and drove it in the rain with the trunk lid up. Maybe I should have been more clear. After drying the car, I lift the trunk lid and water drips from the trunk lid into the trunk compartment. No need to reply to this one Mate.

    5. It doesn't really interfere with driving, it is somewhat of a distraction though.

    Again, thanks for the insight.

    Regards,

    Ham_mer
  • salamysalamy Posts: 2
    I'm considering buying a new or used Century, (1999-2001). Is there anyone who has had problems or been unhappy with their car?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Just recently, about April 15, I washed my Malibu with the not closed trunk lid. Not wide-open, but not closed tight. Either the wash employee did not close the lid tight after vacuuming the trunk, or he opened the lid when trying to disengage the parking brake.

    Any case, the trunk carpet turned wet. I had to remove something like a gallon of the soapy water from the spare tire well, and it took a whole week to dry the soft felt-like undercarpet.

    Never thought it is possible to get so much water through so small opening.

    So things happens. Did not intend at all to insult you.
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    If it wasn't for the hesitation under full throttle, this car would be a beast. It's got the 3.3 liter V6, the last Buick engine to go into a Century. The 3.1's are a Chevy design. The 2.5 is a Pontiac, and the 2.2 is another Chevy. I like the intake sucking sound at full throttle in second at 45mph. Almost sounds like a four-barrel. Oh yeah, half you people probably have no idea what a four-barrel is. Heeheehee. Everything works but the two right power windows and the cruise. And the tape player only plays in one direction. Big deal, take it out, flip it over, like you used to have to do. Only major problem (other than the flat spot in WOT) is the body damage to the driver's door. But the door opens and shuts and the window rolls up and down, so I don't care. Besides, the car cost me $250, so why spend $600 (the Earl of Scheib) to $1650 (real body shop) to get the bodywork done? And it does not have 205,000 miles as I previously stated. That was the mileage on the previous title. This car had 231,600 at purchase and I turned 234,000 tonight (had to drive from PA to TX, a nice 2-day speed-racer-wannabe-hurry-up-festival so I could get to work last Thursday). So those of you who say GM cars are crap, well, they must be Scotsmen, because GM cars are one of the few non-Scottish things that aren't crap.
  • gtpvlxgtpvlx Posts: 1
    I have a 94' Century that just went over a 100,000 miles. Pretty reliable car! The only maintenance thus far on this vehicle was brakes, alternator, and regular fluid changes. I even took this car to the Republic of Panama for three years.
  • joe237joe237 Posts: 1
    Hi! I bought a 1996 Buick Century awhile back. Had 77,000 miles on it when I purchased it. Has a 3.1L V6 in it, and it's got most all the options you could get (less leather seats/cd player/aluminum wheels) This being the first front wheel drive, fuel injected car I've ever owned, I'm very pleased with this car. It rides good, handles well and that V6 churns out more ponies than the 2barrelled V8 I had in my first buick century (vintage 1973) Have had no problems with it whatsoever. Was much cheaper than most of hte cars I was looking at and was more economical. And given Buick's reputation as a reliable car and it being of quality, I bought it. So anyone who challenges the quality/reliability/reputation of a Buick, they obviously haven't owned one or driven one before. They're great cars!
  • lmtoddlmtodd Posts: 3
    I have a 1996 Century that idles very eratic for the first 30 to sixty seconds. The car has 72,000 miles on it. The idle speed varies from very fast to very slow. After about a minute it smooths out. Can anyone give me advice as to what the problem might be? Other than the poor idling, I like the car very much. It is a car that we inherited from my wife's aunt so I don't know much about the maintenance history of the car. The car rides great and the seats are very comfortable to my back. Can anyone also tell me what the horsepower rating is for the 3.1 liter V6 in the 1996 model year? Thanks!
  • redly_oneredly_one Posts: 122
    Has anyone experienced problems with the power windows in the current generation Buick Century? My parents own a 98 Century w/38K miles on it, and they are having problems with the power windows rolling down, but not coming back up. Sometimes it only takes a few minutes for them to start working again, sometimes hours, one time it took 5 days.

    Anyone know a solution for this?

    I have a 99 Olds Intrigue that has had the same intermitent problem before, but it hasn't happened for at least a 3-4 months.
  • p41457p41457 Posts: 1
    Could anyone suggest a place for past pricing info? My mother passed away & for taxes I need to
    know the PAST value of her 1998 Buick Century 4 door custom sedan (condition is clean) with 33,000
    miles, back on the date of November 6, 2000.
    I would appreciate any help at all.
    thank you
  • redly_oneredly_one Posts: 122
    You might check with your local libraries to see if they keep old issues of the NADA automotive value books.

    If you are not familiar with them, it is a small golden booklet that comes out monthly and is also regional. It is the "blue book", for lack of a better term, that every bank I've ever dealt with has used to determine the value of an auto. NADA is also online, at http://www2.nadaguides.com/ ,you might see if you can get any information from them.

    Good luck!
  • lormarlormar Posts: 3
    My 70 something parents have always driven Ford Crown Vic's but need to downsize and economize. We aren't too sure about a Taurus but have been looking at possibly a '99 Buick Century; for the price. Any thoughts or comments? Reliable? Comfortable for long trips?
  • I rented a 2001 Buick Century and drove it the 140-mile round trip between Tulsa and Stillwater OK on the 75mph Cimerron Turnpike. It’s been a while since I have driven a mid-size GM. I could not believe the amount of bump-steer this vehicle exhibited. For those who have never heard of this phenomena, bump-steer is the tendency of a car to change direction after encountering any bump in the road that causes the suspension to deflect. Typically, it occurs because the car frame itself is temporarily twisted or deflected by the forces encountered in the road bump or dip. This deflection points the wheels in a new direction and the car takes off on a new course. You must immediately correct with steering wheel input to keep the car on the desired track.

    The problem with bump-steer is that it is tremendously fatiguing. It requires much more effort, concentration and work to keep the car between the white lines. The higher the speed, the more effort. On long trips, it will wear you down and make you much less effective and safe driver. On my 140-mile trip I found myself exhausted with all the effort I had to use to keep the car on track at 75mph. If you have never driven a car without bump steer, then this all seems normal, but believe me, there is a much better driving experience out there folks. All American cars used to exhibit some amount of bump-steer, but as auto makers improved the stiffness of car bodies, many of today’s American cars are much better in this regard. When you hear a manufacturer say something like “greater rigidity” or “greater frame integrity”, they are referring to the bump-steer problem. So it came as a great surprise to drive the Buick Century which exhibited the most bump-steer I have ever encountered. Even the large cars of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s didn’t have this much bump-steer, maybe because they were made with full steel frame.

    To test your car for bump-steer, just try holding the steering wheel perfectly steady on a straight road when encountering dips or mild bumps and see if it maintains the original track before and after the dip. Of course if the crown or grade of the road changes, the car will tend to follow the new “fall line”, requiring a new hold on the steering wheel, but modern cars should not change direction when encountering mild bumps.

    This bump-steer phenomena is so pervasive that most drivers are unaware of it. As they drive down the road, they are constantly making small steering wheel adjustments to maintain track with out thinking about it. When put into a car with very low or no bump-steer, they continue with this steering wheel adjustment each time they feel the car dip. This starts rocking their passengers back and forth unnecessarily and can even cause carsickness. They are totally unaware they are doing it. It took me a year to break my wife of the habit when we started owning well-engineered cars that exhibited no bump-steer. Our driving conversations would go something like this; “Why did you just move the steering wheel honey? Okay, now at this next bump, try holding the steering wheel perfectly steady and see what happens. There see, the car is still going straight, so you don’t need to move the wheel each time you feel a bump.” That was the nice approach. After a while it would sometimes go like this; “Would you please stop rocking the G.D. steering wheel or let me drive, your making me sick!” Once you have some miles in a car with out the bump-steer, and learn not to rock that steering wheel, you will suddenly find that you can drive much further with out feeling tired. You will never again accept a car with any bump-steer. If you have never experienced it, then you simply don’t know any better and GM can continue to dump flawed cars on an unsophisticated public.

    Anyone considering a new Buick Century or one of its similar cousins should seriously think again if they plan to use it for long trips. You will not be happy unless you rarely drive more than 45mph. It’s unbelievable to me that General Motors would be producing new cars with this much bump-steer. But, most of the customers don’t know any better, they are use to it, and have never driven a car without excessive bump-steer. You see them every day weaving back and forth and drifting out of their lanes when slightly distracted. I hope that by making a few of you aware of the problem it will start to bug you enough not spend your hard-earned money on this junk put out by GM. Quality in design and engineering does not have to equal higher prices for production and sale.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    "Anyone considering a new Buick Century or one of its similar cousins should seriously think again if they plan to use it for long trips. You will not be happy unless you rarely drive more than 45mph. It’s unbelievable to me that General Motors would be producing new cars with this much bump-steer."

    Well, I own a 2001 Chevy Impala LS (W-Body cousing to the Regal/Century) and the car is an absolute pleasure to drive in the highway, even at 110MPH...just point and shoot, plus at high speeds it feels like it is on rails.

    I think it is a blanket statement to say that all GM midsize cars do have a built in problem of Bumper Steer based on a test drive of a RENTED Buick Century. I think the problem you encountered with that car was on that car alone (Perhaps it has frame damage or some other related suspension/front end damage), but I can assure you that in my W-body experiences, I have never encountered the Bumper Steer condition you are referring to.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but GM midsize sedans do not exhibit this condition contrary to what you claim. I will suggest for you to test drive a new GM Midsize sedan, whether it is Impala, Grand Prix, Regal or Intrigue and you won't experience the Bumper Steer condition on those cars, at all.

    Finally if you are implying that GM buyers/owners are a bunch of retarded, unrefined people that don't know any better, again you are wrong. I think you are trying way too hard to prove your points while pushing your agenda of "Look how sophisticated I am, I only drive Mercedes Benz while you lowly idiots drive GMs). So spare your insulting, deceiving and ellitist comments with your MB buddies. While your explanation of what Bumper steer is appreciated, your side, flamming comments are not.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I was very interested in reading about the Bump Steer. Indeed, I will monitor my driving habits to see if I am one of the mind-numbed.

    I remember this condition with old cars I used to drive, but don't seem to notice it in my recent cars. I have driven a century on long trips and thought it to be an exceptional car. Unlike my German co-workers, I prefer a large car ride for long trips. To me, soft and quiet is the definition of luxury. To boot, the century has good power and great fuel economy.
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