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Buick Century

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Comments

  • usaf52usaf52 Posts: 70
    Hey, you guys are scaring me away with your talk of coolant leaks. I've been scoping out 2001 Centurys, most coming off one year leases with mileage in the teens. Prices about $14900. Went on Autotrader and searched in a 200 mile radius and found 253 2001 Buick Centurys for sale. I'm told that dealers buy these at auctions, most from Florida, and most in service for a year. Warranty still there for 2 years more, but now I'm concerned about this coolant leak. There are many options for me to take in a car search, so I'd rather eliminate possible problems beforehand. Comments/thoughts/advice Please.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I would not be scared about the Century. I have a few friends, as well as many fellow church goers that have Century's that have been trouble free. I am a fan of the car, and almost bought one last month (before you stereotype me, I am 34).

    I asked all of the owners I could find and not one had a problem (one lady had a service light on, but didn't know why) I prefer to buy new...to me used cars are another world. I like knowing how the car was cared for, plus the factory warranty for insurance, since I keep my cars for awhile.

    That century ride really pampers you...good luck picking one!
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    $14,900 doesn't sound too bad for a used 2001 standard Century custom but we just bought a new 2002 with the special edition package and the UPO radio update for $18640 plus TTL (that's $1705 off msrp + $2002 rebate). The year old car is probably a rental and if you can do it I'd go with a new one. If you buy a year old one why not buy an extended warranty to ease your mind about the cost of future repairs? There are GM dealers on the web which sell extended warranties at discount.
    Art
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Why scare? Just inform.

    The GM V-6 engines are some of the best: very good low-end torque (pushrod design), reliable, and proven: in one form or another they are in production for tens years. Most of bugs were eliminated years ago. The engine uses the chain, not a belt, and chains do not need the expensive service every 60k miles or so.

    On a flip side, a fair share of the engines may develop the leak. But at least it is a well known problem. Every mechanic worth his salt will diagnose it easy and fix reasonable fast. You also will know what to look for. Furthermore, this leak is not a kind of catastrophic failure: if it developing, it is developing slow, and you have months, even years to fix it when it is more convenient.

    Yes, a buyer of Century and other cars sharing the 3.1l engine and its 3.4l sister (Malibu, some trims of Alero, Grand Am, Grand Prix, Impala, Monte Carlo, the new Actek / Randevoux, and several minivans) have a chance to spend $550 on the leak repair after warranty will expire. I'd say, 10-15% chance. So what?

    Car repairs is the way of life. All cars have one problem or another. Plus the specific problem is only mildly important. Not something like head gasket blowing up. You definitely will pay several times more for gas, oil, insurance, property taxes. Add to this brake service, new tires, transmission service, coolant service...
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    jpelder and yurakm are correct about the Century and the V6 engines. I wouldn't let them dissuade you from buying the vehicle esp. if you enjoy driving the car. I also own a Malibu and love the engine. I knew about the leaks before i bought it but I also looked at how they improved th eMalibu from the 1997 model year until now and it improve reliability wise each year. The Century has always been a reliable car. If oyu like the ride and handling, buy it. You can get some sweet deals on them right now.
  • usaf52usaf52 Posts: 70
    Thanks for your advice on Century/coolant leaks. I did price a new Custom with just cruise control the only option for a price of $17,986. That included the rebate. But I'm an old retired guy (just right for a Century) and 3 grand eases my budget buying the one year old leaser. I'm going from a pick-up truck to the Buick to soothe my old bones. One I'm looking at now has 10K miles and went into service April 2001. That gives me over 2 years of warranty and 26K miles for $14,900. Got a Carfax report; is a lease from Florida, sold at auction to Buick Dealer, as most of them seem to be. Everything else clean.
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    We had a 1995 Lumina LS with the 3.1 and no leak. Also 1999 Venture with 3.4 engine which had the leak at 12k but never put a drop on the floor. They caught it when changing the oil etc. Fixed under factory warranty. Just had the intake manifold gasket start leaking on my 1997 Silverado with 5.7 liter engine at 55k. It would leak 3 drops overnight when it was really cold out. Paid for by extended warranty. Did it turn me off on GM? No way! As I posted above we just purchased a new Century. As you look through the forums here notice that Buick Centuries have very few posts about problems compared to other vehicles. The reliability of the 3.1 engine is hard to beat. Just take care of them with regular maintenance. As yurakm said if you do get the leak it's not catastrophic. It probably won't happen and IF it does its not really that large an expense to fix when you can figure not much else will probably ever go wrong with that 3.1 engine
    Art
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    Only 10k miles and 10 months old, BUY IT! Sounds like a good deal to me!
    Art
  • usaf52usaf52 Posts: 70
    If it helps. Since I have allergies, I figured this car would fit the bill, since I like it, the price is right and the air filtration system might help allergies. I see the replacement filter for the cabin filter is about 50 bucks so it should be a quality set up. According to Buick it should filter out pollen and road dust. Any thoughts on this?
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    We had one on the 95 Lumina but don't think we ever changed it. Should help some for those who have allergies. The darn things are awful expensive though. I have a huge micron filter on our furnace and it only costs $25. We're not taking delivery on our Century til next week but I'll look then to see how hard it is to change. Maybe someplace like www.gmpartsdirect.com may have them cheaper.
    Art
  • johnlwjohnlw Posts: 28
    The Century I inherited has a great sounding stereo. I think there are six speakers, tweeters, it sounds great.

    Only problem I have is that the car came with a cassette player, and I want a CD player.

    Anyone have any idea what it would cost to switch the unit to one with a CD player? Also, would I be better going to the dealer or to a car stereo shop? Any input is appreciated.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    Do you want a CD player or CD Cassette? The reason I am asking is because I believe the factory CD/Cassette models are prewired for 8 speakers. I'm sure you could do some splicing if you had to, but it's nice to be able to just connect a plug. If you don't need the cassette, I'm sure it's easy to swap for a CD only unit.

    I was looking to do the same thing on my Alero, and the dealer said it was not as simple as swapping the radio. I have my doubts about this, but that was his "enlightened" opinion.

    Maybe it's the acoustics of the Century, but the 6 speaker system sounds awesome. In my opinion it is superior in sound to most other 8 speaker systems, unless you really need 200+ watts.

    You may want to check Ebay, they usually have relatively new units for sale from people who upgrade. THey may be able to answer some questions too.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    You should be able to get a lower price then the $14,900 they are offering. Try offerign $12,000.

    Reason why I say that is there are tons of buicks availbale on the used car market. They are a popular fleet and rental vehicle so there are tons of 1 year old Buicks around.
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    I know in some GM cars the radio head is part of the computer system and is used to control things other than the radio, cassette, cd etc. That is why they can't just be swapped out. I believe the Impala, Lesabre and others are this way. Go to a radio seller and ask some questions. They will know if it is an easy swap on the century or if it can't be done. Depends on the model of GM car.
    Art
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    My 2000 Regal have CD + cassette combo with 6 speakers. So, most probably the combo is compatible with 6 speakers for Century.

    However, GM replacement radio must be expensive.
  • usaf52usaf52 Posts: 70
    You're right, there are many Centurys on the used car market. I went on Autotrader, and searched 2001 only in a 200 mile radius. I came up with 253 Centurys. I randomly checked VIN's and found every one I checked was a lease. But the difference is very few had mileage in the low teens. The average mileage for the 2001 Century was about 20+K.
  • BTW, the name "Century" dates back to the thirties and was in reference to the fact that the car could achieve the then magical speed of 100 mph.

    Just bought a 2001 Century Custom today for $11,999; 27,000 miles; rental return. Beautiful automobile. I'm a little concerned about earlier posts about the defective pistons from the 2000 model year run, this 2001 has what sounds to me like a noisy lifter when started cold (15 deg F outside), but it quieted down within 30 seconds.
    The car is nicely equipped, I especially like the driver's side power seat's range of adjustment. My wife is only 5'0" and she can raise and move forward the seat to just where she needs it.
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    My 95 Lumina with the 3.1 and 99 venture with the 3.4 had the lifter sounding noise. In warm weather you may not hear it at all but I only noticed it in cold Wisconsin weather and like you said it goes away in 15-30 seconds.I believe GM has a bulletin on this and maybe you can have a dealer pull it up for you. By the way we just bought a 2002 Century and it doesn't have the noise but I won't worry if it does start.
    Art
  • My father bought a 2002 Century about 3 weeks ago. He just noticed there are some scratches in the paint. They are very deep and extremely fine. It's hard to tell if its a defect in the paint or not. Has anyone had this problem or knows of paint issues with the Buick's.
    Thanks
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Concerning the paint issue. Have one, but it is different.

    My 2000 Regal bumpers, or at least the rear bumper, is of a bit different shade. The car is maroon, with a bit purple shade on the bumper(s).

    We bought the car new, but is was built some 11 months before sale. Probably, the plastic bumper discolored somewhat different from the sheet metal, while parked on dealer lot.

    I can see it under bright light only, like a good sunny day. Noticed some 9 months after buying. Our son have much better vision, and he told us he knew this from the very beginning.

    It does not bother us, though. Even my wife, who pays more attention to appearence.
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    with our new 2002 Century paint. Go to the dealer he bought it from and see how they prepare the cars for delivery. Those scratches may have come from being buffed with an electric buffer. The guys that get the cars ready for delivery don't seem like the sharpest needles in the pack in my opinion.
    Art
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I was considering a Century last fall and took it for a test ride. I liked it, but noticed the rep put the magnetic license plate on the top of the trunk. When re removed it, it dragged it, creating som long, fine scratches. You could only see it in the bright light, but it turned me off that he could be so careless.
  • gmusic7gmusic7 Posts: 42
    I originally wanted to rent an Impala but the rental place didn't have one. I decided to settle with what they had available which was a Century with 5700 miles.

    I drove down to L.A. with my wife and my dad. Some positives: Very quiet and comfortable interior, decent space for 4 people, smooth ride, good power from the quiet engine and incredible fuel mileage...33 miles per gallon driving at a steady 70 mph.

    Some negatives: No tachometer (only because the other cars I drive have tachs), the volume is weird when playing a cassette. At a certain point of the volume knob, one notch (detent?) louder and suddenly it's too loud. And the gaps in the steering wheel where the upper and lower sections meet the center part are just too large as if it didn't fit.

    Overall, we were very happy with the car. I'm only 30 yrs old so I'm really curious as to how Buick Regal might be compared to the Century.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    You wrote: I'm really curious as to how Buick Regal might be compared to the Century.

    It is easy to do. Just test drive one :-).

    However, it can be addictive. We bought Regal GS after test driving. Took 5 minutes for cooling, and put our deposit.

    There is substantial difference between LS and GS, though. GS accelerates much faster.

    By the way, GM used to send $40 or $50 cash cards just for visiting dealership and test-driving.
  • goatmealgoatmeal Posts: 11
    I have a 2000 Century and notice a ticking in the engine when it is cold. I went to the dealer and looked at tsb 010601010A on his computer.
    It is for engines with the J designation. [the eighth digit in the VIN ]
    It says that the ticking starts 15 or 20 seconds after starting a cold engine. It says to replace the pistons on the affected engines.
    It also states that this is a customer satisfaction issue and will not affect the longevity of the engine. I am to drop off the car tommorow night so that they can listen to it in the morning when it is cold. The car runs good and uses no oil. I cannot hear the ticking from inside of the car so maybe it is not worth pursuing. Anybody have any ideas on this?
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    Are you sure it's the engine that is ticking? Could it be the stainless steel exhaust system?
  • goatmealgoatmeal Posts: 11
    I am sure it is the engine and from what I read it is a common problem.
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    The ticking is common on the 3.1 and 3.4 engines. Our 95 Lumina and also our 99 Venture did the ticking thing. The wife just bought a 2002 Century and it doesn't tick yet but it probably will. The ticking should only be there for a few seconds when the weather is cold. The colder the weather the longer the tick but in no case have any of our vehicles ticked for more that 45 seconds and that's in real cold weather. Don't worry about the ticking! I don't think any dealer will replace the pistons and if they do it still ticks according to a couple of posts I read some time ago. The wifes new Buick is so quiet inside I doubt if we will even hear it if it does start the tick thing.
  • goatmealgoatmeal Posts: 11
    I agree with you. The car is very quiet and a great ride. I cannot hear the ticking inside the car. I decided not to pursue the issue unless it gets worse. From what I read it is more of a problem in GMs V 8s.
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    We just went over the 2000 mile mark with the wifes Century SE. Last fill up showed 32.9 mpg. It should do even better when the weather warms up. This is a NICE car and with the rebates is less than a stripped Camry. Can't believe all the standard features on this car and then with the low priced SE package it's even better equiped. I see why there's not many posts on this particular forum, most everyone likes their Century!
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