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Buick Century



  • I have a '99 Century Custom with a little under 36,000 miles. Recently I've noticed (with the cold weather & all) that when I start the car & turn on the defrost I hear a moderately loud knock. It appears to be coming from the dashboard region. I'm taking it in tomorrow morning, still have a little over 100 miles til the warranty wears out. Has anyone else come across this problem...if it is indeed a problem. By the way, I'm in my early twenties and love the Century, it's a smooth car for a reasonable price:)
  • Leased a 98 Century without a great deal of shopping or researching. I travel alot and have sampled many rental cars - Camrys, Accords, Taurus, etc. I was pleasantly surprised when I drove the Century. In my opinion it stacks up very well against all of the above cars... and the price is considerably less for similarly equipped cars.
    I've put on 48K over the past three ears with NO problems. I'm returning the leased car in January and will pick up a new 2001 Century Special Edition lease. I really love the Century.
  • jdinstljdinstl Posts: 10 bushel.

    I recently purchased a 2000 Regal, that had to go into the body shop for a bumper scrape, courtesy of someone in my apartment complex. During the two days in the shop, I had a 2001 Century to cruise around in.

    Why would anyone want to buy, say a Ford Taurus when Century is available? I was really inmpressed with this car. The 3.1 motivated the car admirably, the ride was absolutely wonderful.

    I understand that Century and Regal are basically the same car, but this Century felt larger than my Regal -- probably due to my Regal's sunroof and console.

    This was an excellent car, I was extremely impressed. With a vehicle like this on the road, Buick should have more market share!!!

  • We plan to purchase a Buick Century, 1995, with 47K miles. It is offered by a dealer in central Ohio. The original owner bought it from the dealer and traded in at same dealer for a new Buick. We have a copy of the maintenance records for the car. The car looks immaculate and runs well.

    Is $8500 a fair price, with 30 day warranty and no other maintenance agreement?

    I heard that Buick 3.1 Liter engines at that time had a really horrible engine and then later a re-designed that was okay. Any comments on this??
  • Where did you hear that the 3.1 liter engine is so bad? I have heard the opposite. I have a 96 Chevy Lumina with the 3.1 and 111k miles and it is still tight and does not use any oil. If you are worried about the car, have a mechanic check it out.
  • The earlier 3.1 was an updated version of the 2.8 that was on the X-cars (Citation, Skylark, Omega) back in 1980. It was not a great engine. The newer 3.1 debuted in the Lumina in 1995. I don't think there's much connection between the two engines except their size. The Century's 3.1 has since been upgraded to 175 hp in 2000 (up from 160). You can find other technical information at this link:
  • I purchased my Buick April on '99. I have driven 23,000 miles with mileage averaging between 19 and 28. No service calls other than one minor anti lock recall for a grounding strap. My low tire light came on, I stopped and looked and all looked fine so, reset light. Next morning had a flat. When light comes on get tire shop to look at reason. I was 80 miles from home and drove on freeway with a large arrowhead shaped rock in tire. When light came on I was by a tire shop. Learned a lesson. One guy I talked to at the bowling alley said his tire light has been on for 1 year. Had tires taken off and checked etc. I forgot to offer to reset light for him. Any other problems with EM tires?
    I had an '87 Century Limited 3.8 for 5 years. The repairs cost me more than making payments for the '99. Was a lemon. Only 85 for speed limit. '99 is 120 +. Been to 100 and it drives like 60. Great handling car. More later.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Hard to believe the Century, as sold in USA, will make 120 mph. At least, the top speed of Regal (LS and GS) is governed at about 108-115 mph.

    Century and Regal could run faster, but with higher rated tires, different programming and, possible, other slight modifications.
  • We have had a problem with the wipers stopping in the up position. it is the second time it has happened and our dealer wants to charge us 600$ we were outraged since it was not the first time. Since it has happened twice, we feel it should be repaired free. they charged us 81.00 just to look at it!!!!
  • turbov6turbov6 Posts: 2
    Also had lifter noise at cold startup on 2000 century,going to the shop tomorrow to check it out,had a problem with a Regal before it was the Brake rotors warped at 15,000mi.Posted on the main Buick page,but they didn't have a response for the problem.
  • turbov6turbov6 Posts: 2
    Just got back from the shop,listen people, there is a Buick bulletin #01-06-01-005 that indicating the skirt on the piston needs teflon. Seems the skirt of the piston is causing the slapping or knocking noise we here on start-up! Shop is repacing the pistons in my 2000 Century.
    Good luck,Everyone :)
  • I have a 99 Century Custom, loaded up, that I love. The car is very comfortable and has very low operating costs. I sometimes get teased that I drive a "grandmother's car," being that I am only 25, and I gave traded a 97 Legacy GT for the Century. Actually, my gram does currently have two Centuries, an 86 and a 94. She has not had any major problems with either, other than a bad transmission on the 86 at 90000 miles. I think that the new Century is a great deal for the price. My friends were are all buying little Civics and Corollas for not much less than I paid for my Century. The Concert Sound III is AMAZING and sounds much better than my 16 year old cousin's $1000 custom system.

    My only complaint about the car is the fact that the front end seems to scrape on every driveway there is. Does anyone else have this problem? I took it do the dealer, and the trimmed the lower spoiler, but it still does it. Also, I have 29000 miles on the car, and the original General Ameri G4S tires are almost bald. I was thinking on bumping the replacement tires to a 215/70/15 instead of the standard 205/70/15. They put the 215's on the Regal, on the same width wheel, and I thought that it might make the ride even smoother and help the car corner a little better. Any thoughts???
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345

    The scrapping is common problem with W-body GM cars. Read complaints on Impala board, and somewhere else.

    My Regal also is scrapping sidewalks. I am trying to entering / leaving driveways slow, and at about 45 degree angle to road. Not always possible, but in 90% of cases this helps.

    Though, it looks as this does not hurt the cars. Read that the "crapping" part is to deflect the air from under the car nose to engine intake. Made from a durable plastic. And, in the worse case, it does not costs much to replace.

    Though, I did not verify the information myself.


    The 215/70-R15 tires would be more tall than the original ones. 215/65-R15 lower and more close to the original diameter. I would rather prefer the last ones.

    As the rough approximation you can use the chart:

    but better to do your own calculations, as explained here:

    The OEM 205/70-R15 tires have diameter (15*25.4=381) + (2*0.7*205=287) = 668 mm.

    The diameter for 215/70-R15 is 381+(2*0.7*215=301) = 682mm. 2% taller.

    With 215/65-R15 it would be 381+(2*0.65*215=279) = 660 mm. 1.1% lower.

    Last year replaced tires (with 98 Malibu, not Century) by Firehawk SH-30. Generally, Firestone have not the best reputation, but the SH-30 are real gems!

  • Hi, I too had to have my engine over hauled to have the knocking noise fixed. As previously stated, it came from the (lack of) scirting on the pistons. What I want to know is, does anyone engine out there still have a faint knocking noise when started up cold? It goes away as the engine warms up. Is that noise normal? I have a mechanically inclined friend that seems to think the engine sounds dry at first start up. That worries me about dry engines. I thought modern engines were always kept coated with oil when not in use. Also in colder weather, does anyone belt squeal at first start up? I also have had that problem, but only when the temp dips down into the 30's or lower. One other problem, has anyone smelled oil with the engine heater on? When I first had the engine over hauled, (that was NERVE WRECKING!!!!) for over a month afterwards, the heater smelled like burning oil. It since has stopped. Other than the problems listed above, I LOVE MY CAR!!!!! I am 27 and my family has had Buicks since the 1930's. Any further comments would be interesting!
  • shnavshnav Posts: 2
    I just purchased 2001 century. I am expeirenceing a vibration between 40 and 60 miles in the steering column. Is this normal? I am very happy with car so far except for this little problem.
  • vinneyvinney Posts: 43
    shnav: the vibration you are experiencing is probably your tires out of balance. The dealer should start with balancing the tires first to see if problem goes away and if not then proceed with maybe a bent wheel or rim and finally to the suspension and steering as the very last resort.
  • I just recently purchased a used 2000 Buick Century. So far it's been great, a very quiet engine, an extremely smooth ride. The only problem I've had was that the low tire gauge came on the first week, and a few subsequent times. Finally found the small leak, so it works. (What a surprising feature.) I am wondering if there have been any problems to look out for so that I can have them checked out before my warranty expires? I heard something about a head gasket problem?
    Also, in reviewing other postings I thought I should comment. I was given a 1991 Century from grandfather when I was in college. I wasn't too pleased driving it, but it was free transportation. A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car, because I didn't want to risk any car problems on the highways by myself. I figured it was time to get my sportier dream car since I am 24, employed, and was purchasing my first car on my own. When I realized I really wanted a 4 Dr, Safe, 6 cylinder car that would keep my insurance reasonable (TX insurance is high), I decided on a Century. I thought the Alero had a really cheap looking interior, the Malibu was overpriced I thought and the road noise was loud, and I wanted a GM since I had the GM credit card, which I didn't use when I got a great deal on a used one. It's perfect for the younger generation; I can fit 6 friends in the car when I need to, a large trunk for weekend trips, dual climate control for mixed opinions, comfortable seats, and I still have money for a trip to Australia this year. Hopefully the Century will catch on with others my age.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Congratulations with the new Century!

    Concerning the known problems with the model:

    1. Some 3.1l engines have bad pistons. In this case engine needs a major repair, almost rebuilding. Better to do it while under warranty.

    The engine is generally very good, and very well tested. GM is using them for years, and, moreover, it is based on the 2.8l engine used in 80-ths. Though, a bad batch of the engines was produced somehow in the year 2000.

    2. Another weak point of the engine is the intake manifold gasket. Some of them are developing a leak. Very few, but it happens.

    Depending on if it leaks outside or inside, the leak can be hard to find. Any case, it is expensive to fix. So it is better to pay attention to the engine coolant level. If car is losing coolant, it can be just evaporation through a bad $5 cap - or the leak.

    I am checking the coolant level about once a month with my Chevrolet Malibu. Malibu have the same 3.1l engine as your Century, and the both engine problems were discussed on the Malibu board. Symptoms, and what to do.

    Another car / trim with the same engine is Pontiac GranPrix SE.
  • Just to update you all on the tire upgrade that I had asked about a few weeks ago. Last Sunday I went to the Wal-Mart Tire and Lube and purchased four Michelin Symmetry tires, and kept the stock 205/70/15 size. With the tire protection plan, my bill was $396. Let me tell you, this is the best $396 that I have ever spent!!! I immediately noticed that the car has much improved steering feel in corners, absorbs bumps much softer, and is quieter on concrete roads. However, I still was getting an annoying vibration when accelerating through turns and while accelerating above 65 MPH. I took it back to Wal-Mart Wednesday, and they rebalanced all of the tires. They told me that one was off 1/2 an ounce, and the tech that had done it the first time put the weights on the inside of the wheel, which they normally do not do. This still did not cure the vibration.

    Thursday morning I stopped at the Buick dealer, and a service advisor took my car for a drive, and said that something was definitely wrong. They put the car up on the lift, and within two minutes they found that one of the rubber boots on the left drive axle had come off. Water and dirt got in there and ruined the joint. I told them that I was going out of town Friday morning, and since the repair was under warranty, they got me a rental (2000 Bonneville--sweet car too!!!) to drive. I got a phone call at about 3:30, saying that they had the parts that they had needed delivered from a dealer that is 70 miles away, and my car was ready to go. This is a wonderful dealer!!

    Well, my car now rides soooo smooth!!! I drove from State College, PA to Atlantic City (I didn't win I cannot get the Limited that I want!!) and back on Friday, with four people in the car, at 70-75 MPH, and averaged over 30 MPG!!! My rear-seat passengers, both ladies over 70 who drive Chrysler Concords and LHS's, remarked how nice my car was!! This just all confirms what we all know about the Century...that it is a wonderful automobile!!!

    PS: This is a wonderful I check it daily for new postings!! I wish that even more owners would post to it!!!
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    Buick Century is in my list along with impala and intrepid. I am planning to buy used 2000 from the dealer. I read the entire topic, could not find major sickness for this car. I will be willing to pay 13K-14K for 25K miles car. These are my expectations, I have not contacted the dealers yet. If you let me know your experience on certaion items like drive train components, AC, suspension parts etc that I should pay attention during test drive.
    Thank you.
  • stanorstanor Posts: 6
    I had my tires rotated during an oil change and the ASE Mechanic, performing his 29 point safety check, discovered that I had a leaking wheel cylinder. Wanted to charge me $200 to replace. I said it should be a warrantee item, so I called the local Buick Dealer to make an appointment. Guess what? Was repaired under warranty. There are no recalls or TSB's related to rear wheel cylinders. The service manager said I just got a defective one and sent me on my way. I am happy with the service.
    I advise all of you to check for leaks to see if this is a trend.
    Car has 25,000 miles in 24 months.
    I am still happy with my '99 white Century Custom.
    Heading up to Seattle this weekend. Hope no earthquakes.
  • aolson1aolson1 Posts: 4
    Has anyone had any problems with an engine smell when the heater is turned on? I have a 2001 Century and this has just started to occur this week. I took my car in for its first oil change on Tuesday. Any help would be appreciated!
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    What do you mean by engine smell? Is it antifreeze smell, or burning oil smell, or what?

    If this is a oil smell, then probably some oil was spilled on engine when changing oil and filter. The smell can continue for as long as 500 miles, even 1000 miles.

    The antifreeze leak probably means the heater core have a leak. Your car is new and the leak hardly had time to develop - but anything can happen, defective part or what.

    I had the leak with a 13-year old Ford. Started as a light fog, and barely perceptible "artificial" smell. It was hard to say, antifreeze or what. In about a month developed to very serious fog, impossible to drive, and very strong smell, hard to breath.

    The heater core is a cheap part, but changing it is a major work. Something like $20 for part, $500 for labor. Any case, your car is still under warranty.
  • aolson1aolson1 Posts: 4
    The smell isn't very strong but after having the heater on for a while, I start to get a mild headache and throat irritation (they go away after being out of the car 1/2 hour). The "smell" gets worse the more you have the heater turned up.

    I drove it to work today without turning the heater on and it wasn't too bad. Thanks for the info!

    PS - If I do have to get it serviced, does anyone know any reliable Buick dealers in MN? I got it from Walser Buick(Burnsville, MN) but its my company fleet car and I know nothing about GM (I have owned Dodge and Ford prior). I wasn't thrilled when told I was getting a Century, but it rides great, the sound system rocks and it reaches 70 mph before you know it(pleasant surprise!)
  • aolson1aolson1 Posts: 4
    Well, its off to the Buick dealer on Monday to get the antifreeze problem fixed. Thanks again yurakm for your knowledge and advice! (I'll post next week to what they tell me is the problem)
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Headache and throat irritation looks as antifreeze to me. And in substantial quantity. The stuff is poisonous. Better not drive the car, and drive it to dealer with open windows.

    To the best of my understanding, the repair is not complicated, just takes a lot of work. The whole dash must be removed to get to the heater. But this does not require special instruments or exceptional skills. A tree shade mechanic can do it. At least it was so with my 88 Taurus.

    So I am pretty sure that an average GM dealership will cope with the task.

    After repair, check if there is still smell from air condition (as opposed to the "vent" mode): traces of antifreeze can stay here.
  • HI. I just bought a 2000 Buick Century with 17,500 miles. Two months later, everything still seems to be going well. I bought the car with a tire leak, but that was an easy fix once we found it. It's a great car and I'm happy that I still have a good bit of my warranty left. Just for reference: I traded in a 1991 Buick Century with 102K miles ($1300) and I walked out the door with everything paid at a price of $12,600 (tags, title and license included). I thought this was a good deal. That's about all I can share, the others who write are a lot more educated than I am. My only suspicions are that my speakers may be blown and a faulty horn that has now been fixed.
  • aolson1aolson1 Posts: 4
    Picked up the Century today and was told that an o-ring on the oil pump went bad (or melted). It was causing fumes to enter the driver's compartment (loads of fun). They fixed the problem ($2.00 part) and so far, so good. Pretty disappointing for a car with only 3600 miles on it.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    According to J.P.Power, in average, there is about 150 factory defects per 100 new cars. So it is only reasonable to expect 1-2 defects.

    Very happy it turned to be not the antifreeze. Though, it is interesting, why the oil pump leak happened immediately after oil change?
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 412
    Mine...88 Custom 4-door 4-cylinder, just hit 230K
    Sister...92 Special 4-door 4-cylinder, 200K
    Dad...95 Special 4-door 4-cylinder, 165K

    My Dad's mechanic picked up his car and it got wrecked on the way back to the shop...some lady t-boned it on the left side...thousands of repair dollars but he can't total it because he is still paying on it. Hopefully it will be the same. That car may be my next car if I need one when Dad gets his new(er) Century. He wants a 2000-2001 Custom and he wants one for less than $12,000, so it might be awhile before he finds one he likes that he can also afford.

    My car just got its long-needed alternator and battery and it my current daily driver. The air still works, but it is cool, not cold, so I will have it charged soon. It still drives great, especially for a 230K $275 clunker from rust-belt Ohio.
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