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Oldsmobile Alero

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  • So I have been a proud owner of mid-blue Alero and have been very happy with it. It is a blast to drive, handles very well, and I haven't had any problems with it. Until today...I started my car up this morning and let it run for 10 minutes because it was very cold out. When I got back in to leave and closed my door the rear window shattered! It was not a pleasant sight so early in the morning. So luckily I took it to the dealer, they said the warranty would cover it (thank God) and they gave me a rental car for free. Now I don't have the car back yet because they seem to have problems locating a replacement window. But I have yet to lose my faith in Olds as many other have, but I will keep you all up to date if/when things turn upside down. Anyone actually had this happen to them? It wasn't that cold and the rear defrost was not on. Must have been excessive stress on the installation.
  • May I make a suggestion? Modern cars, or any car with fuel injection, do not have to be warmed up using the idle method. That is, you do not have to let the engine idle for a very long time before leaving the drive way. In fact, modern cars warm up when the car is running at highway speeds. You should wait no longer than 30 seconds before leaving the drive way.

    Unless that is, you live in icy cold climates. I don't know about those situations.
  • Let me add my 2 cents. I'm very happy wih my 2000 Alero GL2. As I've posted before, I'm disappointed with the fit and finish. My concern is all teh visible nuts and bolts. What happens when they start to loosen up?? I've also cut myself a few times on sharp edges. I've always had imports and none had the "erector set look" that the alero has.

    The car is a blast to drive and I am pleased with my purchase decision.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Regarding Consumer Reports declaring Fords more reliable than General Motors' cars: That may be true in the first year or two, when it seems as though GM cars are plagued by more annoying, though relatively minor, problems. After the first two years, though, Fords really go downhill. And the problems are major - I mean things that render the vehicle inoperable. Check out the Ford message boards on this site, and you will see a litany of complaints about blown headgaskets and failed transmissions in Fords just after the warranty expires. The Ford 3.8 liter V-6 is the worst engine since the GM diesel. Ford STILL can't make a decent automatic transmission for its front-wheel-drive models. Owners of '98 Windstars and '98 Taurus/Sables are reporting major problems with their automatic transmissions. Even if the transmission works, the shift quality can be charitably described as mediocre.

    I also remember that Consumer Reports initially recommended the 1992-94 Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable twins, a recommendation that the magazine now regrets. The cars literally came apart at the seams at around 50,000 miles. Unfortunate owners experienced blown headgaskets, failed transmissions, faulty air conditioning compressors and defective motor mounts. Consumer Reports readers would have been better off buying a Cutlass Supreme or Regal.
  • Why not just avoid Ford and GM altogether and buy Honda or Toyota. Besides who wants to drive rental favorites like the Cutlass Supreme or Regal.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    We bought a new 2000 Regal GS this fall, and both my wife and I are enjoying drive it. Did you at least test-drive the model, before criticize its owners?

    I have nothing against rental favorites: they must be not expensive, abuse-proof, mechanically sound and reliable, at least initially. Have serious doubts, though, about Regal being a rental favorite.

    Tried to rent a Regal last year, when our car was rear-ended. Turned to be, first, that the National Car Rental have only the Regal LS trim in its fleet, no Regal GS; second, classified them as premium cars (currently they are named full-size on their WEB site); and, the third, all Regal LS in Connecticut and around were rented-out and not available even with a week wait.

    Know nothing about Cutlass Supreme, except that the model is out of production for years.
  • etharmonetharmon Posts: 399
    Because not everyone wants to drive the dull looking, overpriced, and overrated cars from Honda and Toyota. You cannot touch an Accord V6 for what an Alero costs. And what college student wants to drive a Camry. I'm serious, Buick could rebadge them and call it the new Skylark. Those "I'm too sexy" adds for the Camry really crack me up. In all fairness, you for whatever reason are not satisfied with your car and if you are having problems, you should take it to the dealer and have them fixed. Otehrwise, keep the car in good shape and trade it in a year or two when you are out of school and have a little cash for a down payment. The Alero is a decent car, but it is not perfect. But neither are Hondas or Toyotas. Again, find a Honda or Toyota with a V6, four wheel disc ABS brakes, traction control, 16 inch wheels, and the level of equipment the Alero has at a similar price. Being as my brother has one, I have some experience behind the wheel and it is not a bad car. The engine is a bit noisy, but not overly annoying. The handling and braking are great and the overall look of the car is pretty stylish. I do agree with you that I would love to see Olds fit the Intrigue's DOHC V6 in the Alero, but I don't think it will fit. And GM is actually working on a new series of smaller DOHC V6s which will replace the 3100 and 3400 in a few years. A 200 hp DOHC V6 and 5 speed manual would really make the Alero a screamer. Anyway, enjoy your car and if you are actually having problems with it, be sure and get them corrected. And maybe consider a used luxury car next time if your looking for refinement and a smooth quiet ride. I can't decide myself whether I'll get a brand new Intrigue next year(when the lease on my 98 is up) or will go with a 2-3 year old Cadillac Seville or Olds Aurora because I do prefer the feel of a luxury car. But I must say for the price, the Intrigue does offer alot and I also feel the Alero does.
  • etharmonetharmon Posts: 399
    I agree with you on Fords. Their 3.8 liter V6 was a nightmare and I'm still not sure the it is completely fualt proof. Nothing at all like GM's bulletproof 3800 V6. And for all the hoopla, Ford's 3.0 liter DOHC V6 isn't all that powerful and it seems that Jaguar has had some problems with the S-type 3.0 which uses this engine. And Ford's crown jewel, the 4.6 liter V8, has a habit of burning oil as it ages. Ever been behind a mid-90s Town Car, Crown Vic, or Grand Marquis that is getting some mileage on it when they take off at a stop light? Lots of white smoke. And then there are Ford's AXO automatic transmissions. Of the 3 domestic companies, GM is by and far the best when it comes to longevity and mechanical reliability. I put many GM powertrains up against imports in this regard.
  • I was not criticizing Regal owners. I apologize if you took it personally.

    Yeah, the Alero is a decent car. And yes, Camry and Accords are more expensive. But the premium is worth it. Besides, you can buy a Galant V6 for the same price of an Alero V6.

    And all the hot chics in college campuses in Southern California are seen in, if not Camrys, other Toyotas, Hondas, Volkswagens, some Fords, but definitely not Oldsmobiles.

    And thank you for your suggestions as to do what to do with the car. I will give the Alero to my mother next year and I will buy myself an Audi A4 or BMW 3 series. Wish me luck.
  • I will agree wtih etharmons opinion on GMs drivetrain. I believe GM makes the best pushrod powertrains and automatic transmissions on the planet. But the rest of the car, I am not sure.

    I myself took ownership of my parents 1990 Taurus with the 3.0 Vulcan. I was among many who suffered Fords transmission debacle. I went through two transmissions before my uncle visiting us from out of town, borrowed my car and crashed it. That is why I bought the Alero.

    By the way, I don't see why GM can put in a 3.0L or 2.8L version of the Northstar.
  • You see “chics” in VW’s and the like because they’re chic cars. Seriously, how many guys do you see driving a Jetta or Beetle? And what college student wants to drive a Camry, Accord, or even a Galant? Personally I, as a male college student, would rather been seen in my black GLS coupe (especially by the chics) than in a big sedan. Don’t get me wrong, foreign cars are excellent, and they have earned their reputation (BMW’s are the most amazing cars ever created). But Oldsmobile has done a remarkable job in setting a new standard for GM, and even all domestic cars at that. They are sleek, solid, and very attractive. The interior materials and design are a huge leap forward. Yeah, they do have some aspects to work on, but supporting American products is important, especially ones that are headed in the right direction.
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    You cannot afford a V6 Honda or Camry.

    There is nothing wrong with the Alero. Please reconcile your purchase decision. I hope you can own that Audi or BMW in the future.

    The cars the hot college chic have (Toyotas, Hondas, Volkwagens), their Daddies bought them.
  • Does anyone know how to access the maintenance records of a vehicle by using the VIN # on the internet somewhere? I once traded in a car and a potential buyer told me that he found all the maintenance records for the vehicle this way, and had some questions to ask me. I would like to track this information on the Alero that I have, because it did have a brief, previous owner. Any thoughts on this? I know how to check for lemons, but not the regular maintenance records. Thanks
  • Hi and thanks for this suggestion - I have called two dealers who refuse to give out this information. Is there any other way to get it? Does anyone out there have a rep's name and number for Vermont? Thanks again.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    If you're looking for reliability, I'd avoid any Audi (or VW, for that matter). Seems as though everyone I know who owns them has experienced both major and minor problems. BMWs are more reliable, and more exciting to drive as well. I test drove both an Audi and BMW 3-series at the Edmunds test drive in Englishtown, N.J., this September. There was no comparison.

    I also didn't mean to get long-winded with my last post, but if someone is unhappy with GM quality, the last place I'd send them is to the Ford dealer!

    Believe me, I also wish GM would tighten up its quality control. As a Honda Civic owner, I appreciate its reliability. Unfortunately, I'm getting tired of Honda's dull styling, and the cost of manufacturer-recommended maintenance is becoming annoying. (If anything, Toyotas look even more bland, and the Toyota driving experience is nothing to get exciting about.) I really like the styling of the Alero GLS coupe, but I want an OHC V-6 (miniShortstar?) and tighter quality control. GM makes great V-6 and V-8 drivetrains - now it must put its attention (and dollars) toward improving the rest of the car.

    At this year's SEMA show, Olds showed an Alero powered by the Intrigue 3.5 V-6. That would be nice...
  • Dealers, through their database can (at least Ford can do this), find history of warranty repairs done on a car, no matter what dealer performed the work. Unless you knew which dealer performed a maintenance, (not warranty repairs), you would not be able to find maintenance history of the vehicle.

    If the dealer won't give the district office number, contact GM or Oldsmobile directly and ask them for the district office number.

    Come on down to Southern California and see what guys and girls are driving on college campuses, or anywhere else for that matter. Very few, Aleros or even F-body cars (Camaro, Trans-AM) can be seen here. There are lot of Mustangs, Foucs, Jettas, Beetles, Passats, Accords, Maximas, Integras, Civics, Explorers, RAV4s, Pathfinders, Passports, and Grand Cherokees. Of course, if your daddy is loaded you would be driving Land Rovers, Bimmers, and Audis.
  • I think Oldsmobile and all of Chrysler have the best styling. Quality is improving a lot at Chrysler. But thanks to Stuggart and Schremp, Chrysler is losing morale and going downhill.

    Actually, now that I think of it, I think Volkswagen and Audi have the best styling. No wonder, they both share design studios.
  • My mom's '99 Alero was re-purchased by GM due to a defect that nobody could trace down. They gave her credit for the original MSRP minus .15 cents per mile for her odometer reading at that time (19,000), plus the difference in cost between the '99 model and anything new that she chose, in this case a 2001 model. So, it cost her about $3,000 out-of-pocket to get the new one.
  • Thanks for the good info.
  • etharmonetharmon Posts: 399
    Good point about styling. I am 26 years old and was still in college back in 98 when I leased my Intrigue. While it is true that Oldsmobiles were a bit rare around campus, I did see some Intrigue and particularly more Aleros once it went on sale. My previous car was an 89 Olds Toronado and I will say that prior to the "new" generation of Oldsmobiles which started with the 95 Aurora, I would not even consider any previous Olds model other than the Toronado. Today, I think Oldsmobile has an excellent line-up and the Alero seems the be gaining popularity with young buyers. In fact, the entire Oldsmobile line has lowered it's average buyer age considerably in the last 3 years. Has anyone seen the 2002 Bravada yet? It is very impressive for an SUV. You may not see many young girls in cars like the Intrigue and Alero because women typically don't base their automotive purchase decision on how the car drives. Instead, they look at factors such as "cuteness" and what their friends drive. I know this is a stereotype, but it is rather true. Otherwise, why are their so many mediocre cars like Cavaliers, Escorts, Civics, and Corollas on the road. Most of them driven by young girls. My ex-girlfriend has a Taurus SHO which was basically a hand me down from her parents and she had no idea what that Yamaha DOHC V6 was capable of. I scared the wits out of her once when I drove the car and I "let her rip" at a green light. Now not all women are this way of course and even some men are the same when they buy a car, but overall women will place more value on the "chic factor" than the performance of a car.
  • i have had my '99 alero in the shop 4 times for the same chirping noise coming from engine when idling or driving without acceleration under 20 mph. it started at 20,000 - continues now @ 54,000. they have changed belts twice - no fix. this last time they put in a new carrier and front hub kit - said noise was coming from transmission. got car back and next day - same noise but louder. sound familiar to anyone? any ideas?
  • I was going to guess that your problem is in the belt pulley. But you mentioned a carrier, and I have no idea what that is. Usually if a belt does not cure the chirping, it is usually the belt pulley. Perhaps the mechanics did not correctly isolate the source of the noise. The noise could be coming from the alternator/accessory belt, if not the fan belt. Good luck.

    By the way. How in the world can a transmission make a whistling or chirping noise?
  • I love these discussion threads. I'd just like to throw a few points into the mix.

    1. Buying a new car is most likely the third most expensive investment you will ever make (kids and a house being first and second).

    2. The choices we make require time and we need to set priorities on what results we are looking for from our choices.

    3. As far as the Alero goes, I have a 2000 GLS sedan. I may just be lucky since I haven't had the transmission gremlins, water leaks, brake problems, or any other problems that have shown up in this conference. But in reference to my points above, you have priorities to set when buying a car. True enough, if it's reliability you're after, buy a Japanese car. But, they are generally more costly for given equipment levels, and usually have generally generic styling. If you are looking for reliability plus a higher fun quotient, look towards a German vehicle. Like the Japanese, however, they can get expensive in a hurry, in both initial cost and to maintain.

    The Alero, I think, was the best balance between other competing cars. True, it doesn't have the rock-solid dependability of a Honda or Toyota, or the highly-polished edges of a BMW or Audi/VW, but GM cars are at the very least acceptable in these categories. I do like the styling much better than anything from Japan, but it's not quite as sexy as an A4 or a 3-series. You can't get a comparably-equipped Honda, Toyota, or Mitsu for the price of an Alero. At 20K, you can't get a six in a Toyota or a Honda. The Galant ES can be had with a V6 for around 20K, but it doesn't come with leather, 16" alloys, or traction control. For my money the Alero was the best balance of features I wanted for the price I was willing to pay. Sure, I wish it was bolted together like a drum-tight Honda and had the road-holding of a 325i, but I'm happy with what I have. You do get what you pay for. I just tried to set my priorities. I'll deal with the little niggles as they appear; when the rotors go bad I'll probably upgrade to aftermarket performance rotors. When problems arise, as they do in all new cars, especially new designs like the Alero, there are other solutions than running back to the dealer. Now, if your car is still under warranty, you should go to the dealer. But take a proactive stance and try to see the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives. I look at it this way: The Alero has some problems; I can fix them and improve the car beyond what it was originally. Feel free to check out owners comments at www.alero.org (yeah, that's a plug).
    Seems that we all similar priorities when we bought our Alero's.
    I'm not in any way suggesting that anyone else is ignorant or needs my advice (who the heck am I to say?) but I think we all focus on the negative outcomes of the choices we make far too much. Thanks for reading and letting me rant.
  • My 2000 GL@ is appraoching 2900 miles. When do you recommend the first servicing. I normally do it at 3000 miles but everythign I've read talks about 7500 between oil changes. Any recommendations????

    I fully agree with mfuller1's assessment about how Alero stacks up against the competition. Car has a couple of nuisances but I'm much better pleased tahn I thought i would be.

    A friend of mine bought a Saturn LS at the same time I ppurchasaed my ALero. His car is a larger, and has a bit of a European feel when driving but he's been palgued with small problems liek door handles falling off, a leaky sun roof and a weird feel to the leather seats. He tried to talk me into the Saturn but now I'm happier withj my choice.
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    I like to do the 1st oil change at about 2000 miles. Its about when the engine is freeing up (breaking in). That's when you expect the most wear product in the oil. In fact one of my new cars has a magnetic oil plug and it had metal slivers on the 1st oil change!

    After that its about every 4000-5000 miles for me. My driving situation is mostly light suburban so your driving and oil change intervals may differ. I tried to go with the GM oil monitor which indicated to change oil at ~5800 miles but it was too sludgy for me. So I went back to my tried and true 4000 miles or so.

    I've owned many cars most of which I've kept past 100,000 miles with no engine problems so I stick to my routine.
  • I have a 2000 top of the line alero---leather, moon roof, spoiler, the whole 9. It has 6000 miles on it and I have had it to the dealer 3 times just for the breaks. The first time they replaced the rotors, the second time it was the power booster and the thid time they say there's nothing wrong. Additionally I have already had the driver side window fixed twice and the gear shaft button replaced since it sprung off one day. I purchased the car in May--downpayment no trade in. I am now having a problem with starting the car- it runs extremely loud and ticks but only for a few minutes. The dealer cannot locate a problem. Anyway does anyone know what I can do? I would be willing to trade it in and buy something else but the dealer is not interested in doing this. Also, PA lemon law requires that the same thing be repaired by the dealer 3 times and that it break a fourth! With breaks being the problem I am not comfortable waiting for them to go again- the power booster was enough of a scare. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks
  • Contact the GM/Oldsmobile zone manager or the district manager in your area. Be assertive and press on your case. Even if your case does not exactly meet the lemon law requirements, GM may act to help you to make sure you are satisfied as a customer. In fact, in an Los Angeles Times article about lemon laws, it was reported that manufacturers bought back problem vehicles from customers under the guise of customer satisfaction, when in fact those cars should have been labeled as lemons.
  • For you mileage conscious people here is the latest with my 2000 Alero, V-6(9,000+ miles). In 20 to 34 degree weather, conservative suburbia driving yields an MPG of about 18-19 MPG.
  • I am a new member and have not read all the fine print as it would make me late for thanksgiving dinner. My question is- would it be smart to pay $2000. more for a v-6 over the 4 cyl available in the Special Edition GL 4? The difference in price is primarily due to the options reduction on the GL4 of approx. $1500. I can buy either the GLS or GL4 at Dealer Invoice. Both rebates apply to either car. I can also buy the Honda Accord with similar equipment for $5000. more than the GLS. I guess I would like to hear from people who have had experience with the 4 cyl with respect to overall performance and expected longevity. I usually keep my cars for more than 5 years.
  • etharmonetharmon Posts: 399
    Go for the V6. The four is okay, but the V6 will make the Alero much more fun to drive. And it costs little more at the pump than the four does. Also, I think the V6 will be more durable over the long haul.
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