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Buick Century



  • Sorry about the TYPO in the above post..It wasn't really a Freudian Slip..I did not die, but I very well could have...I crashed into some trees...SO, If you are choosing a Buick Century for your next car, I do wish you well...and I hope you are not driving on particulary well-traveled roads or those with lots of trees near the highway..Maybe mine was the only one like this, I honestly hope this is the case.
  • george5george5 Posts: 23
    You are not giving us the reason why this happened! A car dying on you on the freeway is not necessarily a lemon. My Toyota died on me while driving 65mph - at night - exactly three years after I bought it. The same thing happened -no power steering, no power brakes, no lights, nothing! I thank God I was able to pull it over safely! I thought I had a lemon too, but it only turned out to be the Delco battery which had died. You probably just have a bad battery! People! Please have your battery checked every few months! Also, if you see any white crusty corrosion on the battery terminals, please have it checked. It is so important to have your battery checked because a bad battery can leave you stranded!
  • I had a key replaced for my 2000 Buick Century from a dealer and they charged me $22.00. What the heck do you do when if you lose a key? I know it's because of the computer chip that's in it but are there any other ways of working around this.

    By the way, I'm glad I found you guys. Thanks in advance and thanks for the forum.
  • More questions coming:

    It seems like there should be a coffee cup holder in this car but we can't find one. Our Century is used so maybe it broke off, anyone know where it's supposed to be?
  • My used 2000 Century has a lifter noise. The car has 27K on it and it seems like it shouldn't be doing that but I don't know if it's the nature of the beast or not. Any thoughts.

    Thanks, Ferne
  • My used 2000 Century has a lifter noise. The car has 27K on it and it seems like it shouldn't be doing that but I don't know if it's the nature of the beast or not. Any thoughts.

    Thanks, Ferne
  • When we put down the rear windows only, there is such a boom in percussion that it hurts our ear drums. We have to put them back up, hence we can't drive with the rear windows down. If, however, we at the same time open a front window the booming is lessoned to almost the point of extinction. Hubby would like to know why this happens? I imagine it's the design and the aerodynamics?
  • On the front doors there is a red plastic strip that looks like it's supposed to light up when you open the door. They don't light up so what are they for? I had assumed they'd light if you opened the door and you still had the car in park with the motor running, but I can't figure it out.

    Thanks again.
  • We just purchased a 2000 Century a few weeks ago. Let me tell you, my other car is a 1997 Camry. I like the feel of the Century better. It's more responsive in the steering wheel, it's certainly more plushy and I like the way it handles. It will go 80 before I know it and it corners nicely.

    I have had the Camry for over a year but I feel fancier in the Century, and barring any unforeseen events that aren't expected, I would hope to buy another one.

    My previous car was a Buick Regal, 1989. That felt ritzy too and just died at 120K on it. Buicks seem feel heavier and they coast going up hill! Which is speaking from experience with both of them. I always want a 6 cyclinder and the Camry has a 4, but still has pretty good power. But if some of you think the Buick is a plain jane then you haven't driven or ridden in a Camry. To me the Buick is plush!

    The Century has now become the car that goes to important places because it looks and feels so nice. We also tested a Lumina, and that was chintzy feeling, driving and sounding compared to the Century.

    Thanks for all your help out there.

  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    I presently drive an old (1990) Grand Marquis - and am hoping to buy a new ride next year. The Grand Marquis is in great shape and I hope to continue adding commuter miles (134K now) for several years. Our 95 Suburban, purchased last year, is used now for the family trips and boat towing, so the new ride is for a more invigorating driving experience on my monthly biz trips from Maine to Pa and for a switch from the reliable and comfy but dated Merc.

    I see some of you have experience in the Grand Marquis (hi there WWCJR) and wonder how the Century compares. Also - what's the difference in feel between the Century and Regal? I've monitored the GS postings and think I'd stay away from premium gas requirements - but the Regal LS is certainly an alternative. How did you folks decide on Century vs Regal LS?

    Comments appreciated

    Turnpike Ken
  • My car has been checked...but nothing found....but I know the reality of the matter...Nothing teaches like experience....The battery must have been ok, if everything was checked..I have loved Buick in the past....I had a great LeSabre..that got great mileage...Maybe this is a fluke car..I hope so...but I know how my car was/is...
  • wwcjrwwcjr Posts: 4
    First, on the comparison of the Buick Century and the Mercury Grand Marquis, in my case I have them both for different reasons and needs. I tow a boat that weighs around 2500 pounds and do not want a truck or SUV for normal driving. So looked for something that is suitable for the task. Due to steep ramps (always wet) front wheel drive vehicles are not a good choice as they do not have the traction required in that case that the rear wheel drive vehicles have. For that reason about the only choices out there within reason are made by Ford. I choose the Mercury Grand Marquis with the performance and handling package for this use. Without the performance and handling package these cars tend to drift around on the highway with a disconnected feel for the road. That is all solved with the performance and handling package. I handles great and on twisting roads feels like it is on railroad tracks, much better handling than both of our Buick Centurys. I have had this car for not quite a year and a half and have driven it almost 36,000 miles. It has not had any problems so the quality of build has to be rated as excellent.

    With that said I do not feel that the quality of the materials for the interior trim that Ford uses in these cars is up to the same standards as that used in the Buick Century. The Buick Century is a very good value and gets great gas mileage. My wife drives a lot with her work. She drove the first one 70,000 miles in two years, we still have it and my son in college now drives it. It has not had any problems other than a power window that has stuck at times, and a windshield wiper motor replace under warranty.

    It is to early to say how our new Century will be as we have only had it two weeks but have driven it 1,000 miles. So far the only thing that we have found is a minor rattle in the dash and it is the plastic trim around the instrument panel. We will have that fixed when we take it in for the first oil change in a couple of weeks.

    I consider both the Grand Marquis and the Buick Century to be good cars on the highway. The Grand Marquis has more room inside and in the trunk. The Buick Century gets better gas mileage (Our mileage has been: Grand Marquis around 17-18 in town, 22-23 on the highway; Century 25 in town and 29-30 on the highway).

    If you need a car for towing then I would recommend the Mercury Grand Marquis with the anti-lock brakes and traction control option in addition to the performance and handling package.

    If you do not need a car for trailer towing I would go with the Buick Century, as evidenced by the cars we have bought. If you want or need a car with more room than the Century then you should consider the Buick LeSabre. It has more room, more power, and still gets about the same gas mileage as the Century.

    It just all depends on your needs as to which is better. They are both cars that I would buy again, but still for the reasons that they were both bought for in the beginning. It is sort of like comparing apples and oranges. Neither is a replacement for the other and they both fill different needs. I hope that this gives you some help.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Sounds like you and I have a lot of commonality in uses/preferences. I used to use the Merc for towing my boat - about 2000 lbs - and now use the Suburban. I love the ride and comfort of my Merc even though it is the old body style. That P&H suspension is another intriguing feature that I need to test out someday - a lot of Grand Marquis & Crown Vic owners seem to love it. I see that Ford is planning new sheetmetal for those cars (2003 I think?) Can't wait to see some spy shots of what they'll look like.

    Did you happen to check out the Regal LS before buying the Century? If so - what's your take on the comparison of those two cars? I drove a 97 GS recently - very impressive - but that premium fuel requirement is disqualifier for me. One of the reasons for getting another vehicle is to add something to the stable that gets 30 mpg on trips - and can still seat the 3 kids if needed.

    BTW - where do you live? South Coastal Maine here.

    Thanks for the note

    Turnpike Ken
  • wwcjrwwcjr Posts: 4
    Yes, we do seen to share a lot of common needs and preferences. I live in Houston, Texas, much different driving conditions than you face. We do have a lot of wet roads to deal with. We do travel a fair amount as you can tell from the miles we put on cars. When we were looking to buy the Grand Marquis we rented one and did not like the way it handled on the road. Even my wife didn't like it and she usually doesn't know when a car does not drive good. We then test drove one with the P&H package and could tell very fast that it made a BIG difference in the handling. It also help the performance and has the air suspension so the car does not sag in the rear even when loaded down and with a trailer on it to. Mine does not have the antilock brakes or traction control but I now feel that both would be good to have. It does have great performance and is not hard to break the tires loose even on dry roads. This car car open peoples eyes with it performance as mine is equipped. It will scream but when it does the gas mileage goes straight down. I have heard that Ford going to start using the Mustang heads on the 4.6l engines in the Crown Vics and Grand Marquis which will increase the HP. If you have not already checked out topic 3207 you may want to go check it out.

    When we bought our Centurys we did look at the Regals, but did not drive them as we were not really interested in them. They cost a bit more and the main differences are the engine, and the seats.

    The Century would make a very good addition as a car that drives great on the highway and gets about 30 mpg on the highway. While we have usually than the Grand Marquis on the longer trips the Century is quite comfortable on the highway. We have used it for numerous 500 mile trips in a day and have been very pleased with it.

    My thinking is that if you do not plan to use the car for trailer towing since you do that with your Suburban then go with a Century or LeSabre and get better gas mileage while still having a comfortable highway car.

  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 412
    The red strip on the door is merely a reflector. It does not light up on Centurys, some other Buicks have the door courtesy lamps but not the Century.

    The battery thing, well, regardless of the performance of the battery, the car should continue to run on the alternator. I have driven GM products off a jumpstart without any battery hooked up at all let alone a dead one or one with a dead cell.

    My father's 1992 Century and my mother's 1995 Century both have the four-cylinder engine and the only time the car lost power was when the sepentine belt broke. That cuts energy to the power steering, water pump, alternator, AC, everything, but the car would continue to run until it overheats, of course, every warning light on the dash came on!

    I have owned a few Dodge Dynastys and I like them because when my serpentine belt broke, the water pump continued to circulate and I drove the car ALL the way home before changing the belt. Of course I had no power steering and AC but the car ran safely.

    Keys...the pass-key is about $20. All you can do is have another one made, and taking it to the dealer is cheaper than a locksmith. At least it isn't $300-something like a Lexus or what have you.

    The percussion noise happens in many cars, including my 1988 Century. Roll down a back window and boom. In fact I can't think of a car I have ridden in or driven that doesn't pop when you crack open a window.
  • I am new to Edmunds and while reviewing topics I saw alot of comments about the Century that I totally disagree with.
    Granted every has different likes and dislikes and every vehicle made is not always the same even if they are the same model.
    I just purchased my Father-in-laws 1996 Buick Century (a deal I could not refuse). It is in perfect shape with only 55K miles. He wanted a van!
    This is my third Buick Century. The first was a 1985 and I sold it in 1994 with 136K miles. The only maintenance I did was replaced the tires, brakes and muffler. It ran great when I sold it but really needed a paint job.
    In 1994 I bought 1993 Century that was used as a rental car by Avis. The A/C had to be repaired and refilled because a line rubbed through and let the freon out. Buick picked up the tab. I also had an exhaust gasket(donut)replaced by Buick at their cost, which was caught by their mechanic. Again the only maintenance I paid for was the tires, brakes and muffler. It now has 113K miles and runs great. The body and interior are in great shape with no rust or dents, the paint still shines.
    I would like to tell you it is because I take such good care of my cars but I won't lie. I buy my cars for use and comfort. I should have a truck but don't like the comfort. I don't always change the oil or rotate the tires when I should but it gets done eventually.
    When I wear out this 1996 Century, I will buy another. That is as long as they don't make too many changes. I am not crazy about the look of the 2000.
  • Regarding the percussion noise...It doesn't just happen when I open the windows, it happens all the time the back windows are open. It sounds like there are 2 flat back tires and it hurts your ears, that's why I said I can't ever drive with the back windows open unless I am able to open a front window too, which seems to lesson the noise.

    Thanks for your reponses.

    >>The percussion noise happens in many cars,
    including my 1988 Century. Roll down a back window and boom. In fact I can't think of a car I have ridden in or driven that doesn't pop when you crack open a window.>>
  • I don't seem to have much heat coming into the drivers side of the cabin. If I have the blower up all the way I might get a little more but I am wondering what's going to happen when it's below zero outside. I'll never warm up. Any one know what that might be? Could it be the wrong thermostat in it?


    By the way, we're getting 26 mpg country, city and highway driving. That's okay to me.
  • I am interested a Century,1999. But the miliage
    is nearly 71K. The price is about $8500. Since
    the miliage is so high, I don't know if it is worth to buy it. Is there some comments?

  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 412
    A 1999 Century with 71K is worth about $7500 to me, but I don't go by the book. Also, the condition of the car is more important than the mileage. If the seats are all worn out and the cupholder and all the plastic pieces are broken, it wouldn't be worth it to me. Everything inside in my 1988 Century is perfect and working only because I replaced anything that wasn't by literally spending whole days in junkyards finding perfect parts. If you have the time But good luck finding a 1997-2000 Century for parts. Some pieces may interchange with older models or other GM cars like the Grand Prix/Lumina/Intrigue but the GM cars aren't as heavily badge-engineered as they were in 1988.

    I think if the car is in nice condition, with good paint, with clean interior, and with good tires and maintenance records, it is worth the $8500 if you can afford it. A 1999 Century from Budget Car Sales will run you $11,999 and will have about 30K on it. You might want to spend the $60-$80 to have a mechanic check it out.
  • Check the front end of the center armrest for the cupholder. Also some flip out from the top front of the center arm rest..
    Why are folks comparing the Grand Marquis and the Century. The Buick LeSabre is the direct comparison for the Grand Marquis. Shorter by 13 inches, 4 inches narrower and exactly the same interior space. Okay you give up 2 cubic feet of trunk space but the Grand Marquis has a big tire cut out in the trunk giving it an unhandy shape.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    I have posted some inquiries regarding the Century comparison to Grand Marquis because that is what I drive now and am interested in getting a new ride next year - smaller and more fuel efficient but retaining the great highway cruising ride of the big Merc. Assuming you have a Century - how do you like yours for long road trips? Have you an opinion of the Century vs Regal LS? I am aware of the LeSabre and would consider that also - no choice made as yet.

    Turnpike Ken
  • I bought a new 2000 LeSabre in Jan of 2000. I have had no trouble with it whatsoever. I get 22mpg rural/city and an astounding 31mpg on straight interstate driving at 70-75mph. It is a very nice car.
    I drove both the Century and the Regal. They are on the same chassis and the big main differences with the century are bench seats only and a smaller 175hp 3.1 V/6. I was impressed with everything and thought the Limited with standard leather was a great value. The Regal is a Century with different front end, 3800 V/6 and bucket seats only. Other than that you can get pretty near the same options on either one. I did prefer the grunt of the 3800 V/6 in the Regal.
    Then we deceided to kick it up a notch and compared the LeSabre with the Grand Marquis. We deceided on the LeSabre after 3 back to back drives of both cars. If I had to pick between the Century and Regal I'd go with the Regal cause I like the power of the 3800 engine----the rest is cosmetics, you may like one front end better than the other. Good luck and test drive the heck out of them before you buy. Study consumer guides. I got $3000 off sticker (no trade in) because I knew the dealers cost.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Buick does have some interesting cars to look at. I think the LeSabre is a terrific car and certainly most closely matches the GM. The 3800 has been tried and true and if I go with the General this time, that's the motor I want. Leaves me to Regal or LeSabre then since Park is out of question now - too expensive and not the image I want. The GS is more to my liking this time out but the premim gas is out of the question. Regal LS looks good. Another viable option is a used low mile Riv - 98 or 99 for the depowered airbag. Not so crazy about a supercharger from the long-term reliability perspective but that is one classy ride - a shame they dropped it. I wonder if that superharged engine requires premium gas too.

    Actually, I kind of like the Olds Intrigue - great looking and the new V6 is doing fairly well. Too bad they have so many other ancillary problems as evidenced by the forum posters here. I'll be watching to see how the more recent buyers (2000 models) fare.

    Hope to wind up with a car that looks classy and rides smoothly with decent handling and economy for the many highway miles I drive without screaming AARP - after two Grand MArquis I'm ready for something a little less stodgy.

    Thanks for the response.

  • Thank you very much,occupant1.
    The price of this 99 Century is a good deal..
    I am just worry about its high miliage,
    71000 miles for about one and half year.
    It just looks like a man, keeping working
    every day and hardly taking a rest. Maybe
    one day this man will die. Anyway,thanks
  • Make sure you have the temperature set up for the passenger side as well as the driver side , if not you are dumping cold air into the passenger side of the car. My 99' century has a great heater so I'd bet your experience is not normal.
  • duraflexduraflex Posts: 358
    Have you considered a Chevy Impala???
    Definitely NOT stodgy - a little radical even in styling.

    We have an LS and I kind of like it. LS does not ride as smooth as a Regal OR Century - both of which I have test driven a few times.
    LS suspension is stiffer - like a sports car.

    Base model Impala is supposed to be softer riding.

    The Century is very nimble and attractive - quiet,
    comfortable and smooth. Although my Impala is quicker, the Century moved just fine. I actually like it better than the Regal LS. GS with 91 octane gas was out of the question - overkill.

    Although I like the look and all the bells and whistles of the Impala LS a little better, the slightly smaller Century was cushier and easier to drive and park in tight situations - much like a Camry - only better. On the open highway though, the Impala LS is super and its crash test ratings are better. LS MSRP fully loaded: just over $25K.

    Both are good cars. Just a matter of personal preference.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    back in the summer - wonderful drive - firm but comfortable. The styling of the rear is a bit over the top IMO but the front is better and the car looks great in that navy blue color with tan leather. Interior was great with exception of OBNOXIOUS plastic door handles that have hard edges and looked CHEAP. I love the elegant look of the Accord's chrome treatment there.

    My first car was a then 8 yr old 65 Impala hardtop so this car brings back many great college memories (except for a certain flat tire on the Cross Bronx Expressway with fully loaded trunk - never changed a tire so fast in my life!)

    I'll have to reaquaint myself with this car though, for as you say, it is a great bang for the buck - and comes with the 3800 engine that can't be beat. Looking at cars is always fun for me - glad to be taking my time in this process.

    Thanks for the post

    Turnpike Ken
  • I worked for a GM dealership for 4 years as a light duty mechanic in the early 90s'. All the time that I was there I never saw a Buick Century in for any major repairs. Are the 2001 Buick Centurys as reliable- I want a car that I can drive for a long time. I like the newer styling and do not think the body style is "stodgy" by any means.
  • my mother's 1995 Century 2.2 liter finally developed a head gasket leak at 142,000 miles. Those 2.2 engines leak externally so her car doesn't get hot but it does leak coolant down the side of the block. If the car was under 100K the repair would be free but Bob Daniels Buick of Columbus Ohio was kind enough to not charge for the parts. Of course the labor was almost $400 but it was a nice gesture. She still loves her car. Dad still loves his 1992 Century now at 161,000 miles and it has the 2.5 engine. My 1988 Century is still awaiting a parking brake cable so I can pass inspection and buy plates.
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