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Buick Century



  • 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: 2,918
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    Just took a trip with the wifes 2002 Century. MPG on last tank was 34.7 mpg. All interstate with 70+ mph speeds. I don't think it will ever do better than that!
  • valpojimvalpojim Posts: 1
    In post #240, johnlw mentioned that the first time he used the air conditioner of his new Century there was an odor. I test drove a Century and also smelled an odor when I turned on the A/C. It quickly disappeared, but I am concerned. Has anyone else noticed this? Is this a first time use thing or does the smell return? Does anyone know what the cause might be? Thanks!
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    I've always owned GM vehicles. My 01 Regal LS (3.8) gets 23 mpg in town only driving and I'm thrilled. I occasionally rent a GMC Savana van (305 V8) and it gets 23 mpg on the highway with a 500-800lb payload. My dad's 99 Venture (3.4) gets 26-29 mpg on the highway consistently. My neighbor won't discuss gas mileage... he owns a Ford.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I agree about the GM gas mileage. People like to carp about the old pushrod design, but they get better torque and mileage than the competition. I have especially been impressed with recent Century's and Impalas.

    Regarding the Air Conditioning smell upon startup, I have experienced the smell upon startup with virtually all makes of car I have driven...especially if it has not been used for awhile. It goes away very quickly and never indicated a problem.
  • johnlwjohnlw Posts: 28
    The car was new, and the smell is gone now. I like the way the car rides. My only problem is that the fabric on the passenger seat has two small holes. It has not been used roughly. Would this be a warranty item, or will the dealer blame it on wear and tear?
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    Hi, I purchased a 2002 Buick Century and I have the concert sound II system with a cassette player am/fm when I use the radio it seems that i'm not hearing anything from anywhere but the front speakers, is there a button to get the rear speakers on? i checked the manual though it didn't seem to helpful. Also I didn't see many postings about the Buick Century, I take that as it must be a long lasting stable car.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    You are right about the Century being a stable car. They are a very well kept secret, mostly because they are dismissed as an old person's car. I am 35 and almost bought one this year.

    It seems that they changed the radio knobs on the 2002, but the Fader control should still be labeled.

    I really miss the quiet buick ride. Let us know how you make out.
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    I actually test drove the Ford Taurus, Chevy Impala, Chevy Malibu's and by far the Buick Century had the quietest ride and handled better, the Chevy Impala was nice though a much higher price than I wanted to spend. I'm 34 and bought one, so I guess its just not for the old folks anymore. :)
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    Has anyone had rear brake squeals come and go on their Century? I've had my dealership adjust the rear brakes and road test and they still say the brakes are operating to specs, however I notice when I use the pedal lightly I get a rear screech/squeal noise, anyone have the same issue or problem? any solutions?
  • bsappbsapp Posts: 21
    I purchased a 1999 Century Limited new in Feb of 99 that had every factory option, leather,sunroof,dual power seats,electronic climate control, cd/cassette, concert 111, Onstar,self dimming rear view mirror and outside left mirror, well, everything and it was a major disappointment. The dashboard squeaked and rattled as well as the sunroof. One day going to work another car pulled in front of me and I braked hard enough to engage the ABS and from that day forward, the rear brakes made a clicking noise at low speeds. I could never use the passenger side windows on both right side doors because either they wouldn't work at all at times, or would go down and not come back up. I never took the car back to the dealer to repair the windows because I didn't want my pristine leather upholstery and door panels possibly damaged during the repair. I finally became fed up with the car when it started leaking oil quite heavily. The dealership told me the head would have to come off and it was a major repair. The car had 19,000 miles on it and was almost at the end of its 3 year warranty. Not wanting to be stuck with a car with problems, I traded it for a new 2002 Impala LS. So far, I'm very pleased with the Impala. A little disappointed in the Century, it was a beautiful car, gray with light gray leather. It always stayed garaged, the cd/cassette player had hardly been used and nobody had ever sat in the back seat and the right front seat didn't even have 2 hours of riding time. This was MY car and no one else rode in it if I could help it. Seeing it on the used car lot, somebody must have thought they were getting a very nice car.......................

    Bill Sapp
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    That was just silly to not fix something that annoyed you throughout the ownership of the car. Nothing worse then to have power equipment you are afraid to use. You should have just had the dealer fix it. If they damaged the leather, they would have been liable to replace it. Is your pristine leather and door panels really worth more to you then having to deal with an aggravating and disappointing ownership experience? Next time you have problems, at least use your warranty. That's what it's for! I hope the Impala serves you better.
  • bsappbsapp Posts: 21
    I suppose it was more important to have a "pristine" interior since I didn't take the car in for repairs. I let it ride mainly because I never lowered those windows anyhow. If it had of been the drivers side then I definitely would have done so. I understood with the sunroof that to repair it the headliner and most of the assembly would have to come out and there would always be the chance of leaking. I've been that route before with the dealership damaging something and trying to get them to repair it. I'm not someone who allows themself to be taken advantage of, just didn't want the bother of going back to the dealer possibly time and time again in case something went wrong. Now, I will say that I didn't like the tone of your message (not that you care) and it is no sillier than other statements/actions of others I've read in this forum. I would have been a little more restrained and not have said that to you.

  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    The problem with these forums is you can't tell the actual tone of a message too well. My tone was not meant to be rude. I guess what I was trying to say was maybe your ownership wouldn't have been quite so disappointing if you had simply trusted the dealer to fix a factory defect and give it a chance to work properly instead of dealing with a problem for however long it didn't work. If it had been fixed, you probably would have forgotten all about it. But sitting on the problem over a period of time just keeps bringing back up that there is a problem and annoys you more and more. Listing that problem as a major reason why you were disappointed was the silly part to me since you wouldn't take the time and instill trust in the warranty that is there to fix those kind of problems. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you are dumb. I'm just suggesting the car could have been more enjoyable to you if you fixed one of the main problems you had with it. However, taking apart the engine at 19,000 miles is uncalled for and a good reason for you to get rid of it since the warranty was almost up. Don't take offense to this either, but I can tell you are of an older generation which tends to be less trusting. I had to have the transmission taken off my car at 21k to replace a noisy bearing and the dealer also replaced the clutch. I could have dealt with the noise and I didn't like the idea of taking my tranny off, but since it was a new car under warranty, I expected it to work right and not annoy me, therefore I put my trust in the dealer to fix it. They did the repair just fine with no repercussions and I was much happier with the car working properly. What was potentially a problem that would have led me to hating the car was quickly forgotten. Do you follow what I was trying to get across better now?
  • I thought I would add my experience with brakes while not on the buick in question it was a buick. I had a squeal that would not go away. Everything was replaced with factory parts both front and back. It was still there. Finally one brake mechanic had me use the e brake to stop and asked if I could still hear the problem, I said yes but not as loud. He miked the rotors and low and behold one was out slightly even though they were factory fresh. Well once this was corrected my annoying squeak went away. He couldn't explain it but it worked. Just my two cents.
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    What exactly is Miked the rotors? i've had my Buick Century in the dealership several times for brake noises and they tell me its normal and that if I wanted brakes without noise I should buy some ceramic ones?
  • Miked is slang for micrometer a measurement tool.
  • jiaminjiamin Posts: 556
    I never bought a new Buick or any new domestic cars. I got a retal Century today and found it very quiet compared to my previous 96 Maxima and current 02 Infiniti QX4. Century's ride is very soft, a little too soft to my taste. No idea what reliability is.
  • johnlwjohnlw Posts: 28
    I have an 02 Century, and we have had no problems. I am a fan of GM cars, I have had good luck with them. My '93 olds has 121,000 miles, and few problems.

    To me, the Buick offers good power, handling, safety, and features at a fair price. If you want to have some fun, test drive a Buick Regal with the supercharged engine. It might kick your Infinity's you know what.
  • car manual says you don,to need to change radiator fluid for 5yrs. or 150,000 m.-- my car has 60,ooo miles
    and now I have a small leak from engine gasket because of the type of long lasting fluid gm uses plus I have to have radiator taken out and cleaned thoroughly and blue anti-freeze put in all these repairs are going to cost me$800 my car is a 99 century. Has anyone else had this problem?
  • Anybody else here have an '88 or the same model? Anyway, I just got a simple question right now; I'll save the harder queries for another day. What's the "Oil Choke" light mean? What, me novice? Thanks:)
  • jiaminjiamin Posts: 556
    Have had this rental 03 Century for about a month and will return it today. The more I drive it the less I like it basically because of its attention to details.
    1. Generally it's a quiet car. But from A pillar there is a very obvious wind noise at 45 MPH and above.
    2. 12V socket is in a pull-out drawer in the front. When I plug an accessory in, the drawer slides in, not the plug. Have to use another hand to hold it.
    3. The rear two doors close with a loose sound.
    4. Doors have very strong spring action. Very easy to hit the adjacent car, even myself sometimes.
    5. Overall interior look and touch are cheap.

    Other than those I don't have much to compain.
    For a rental car it's good enough. For a car to own, no.
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    I visited this Century discussion in researching a reliable & cheap-to-insure vehicle as a used second car that will have a teenager added as an occasional driver. Considering a '96 Century wagon for cheap transportation.

    Have you had your radiator repaired? We had the same problem with a '95 Chev. conversion van and the first generation Dex-Cool fluid. The service people refer to this problem as Dex-Cool gelling. Unfortunately, by the time it appears, you (and we) are out of warranty. We replaced all clogged hoses & had the radiator flushed several times at 40 to 41,000 miles, and the problem continued. Lots of solid brown chunks in the coolant. If we had kept that van, we would have taken it to a radiator shop and had the cooling system acid-washed. I have a 2001 Chevy Silverado now, and although the dealer tells me the "new" Dex-Cool is improved, I'll be flushing it out, maybe acid washing the cooling system at a radiator shop, as soon as the warranty ends and relacing it with non-Dex-Cool coolant. The 5 year/150,000 mile stuff is just sales hype.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I drove a new Century for about a week and would not recommend this vehicle unless you like soft, unsupportive seats. I weigh 165 lbs. and was not comfortable on trips, so I don't see how a larger person could tolerate this vehicle. I found the bucket seats in the Impala LS much more comfortable and supportive.

    The 3.1 motor in the Century is a good motor. I would change the Dex-Cool every three years regardless of mileage to avoid problems.
  • Does anybody know when they redesign the regal are they going to drop the century
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    The century is to be dropped after the regal redesign...a mistake in my book since the Century vastly outsells the regal. If the redesign is good, then maybe they don't need them both.

    Regarding the soft seats, I prefer them for long trips than firm seats, and I only weigh 155. I had a Taurus last week and the seats were flat and firm..I wish I had the Buick. For around town, I kinda like firm buckets like in my Alero, but a little cush for the tush is pampering on a long trip. The buick is much quieter than most of the other cars in its class/price range.

    By the way, why should you change the Dex Cool every three years?
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    You want to change the Dex-Cool at least every 3 yrs. to get rid of it before it turns to Jello. (Some people say two years.) Once it clogs your cooling system you will regret not having spent $12 at Walmart
  • rukusrukus Posts: 1
    Hey Pluto, I just bought my first ever Buick, a 2002 program car with 17,000 on it. Need more details about this dex cool stuff. Why if it is so bad can we not change it before the 3 yr warranty? How is the ac in the summer with this new coolant? Drop me an e-mail as I don't do forums much. ([email protected])
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    The type of coolant has no effect on the AC.

    The Dex-cool clogs the radiator passages when it deteriorates and causes overheating. (That could have a negative effect on AC, LOL.

    GM says Dex-cool is good for 5 yrs. so I draw the line at 3. I also put a little extra in the overflow tank cause it's so hard to see the level in that narrow tank near the firewall.
  • hobasilhobasil Posts: 7
    Hello everybody,

    I came across a 1999 ex-opp white Lumina for 5 thousand Canadian. It has the 3800II, 4t65e transmission, recaro seats, stiff suspension, H rated tires(max speed 130mph) and the odometer says 147k km (92k miles). After taking it for a drive last week I found no apparent flaws such as pulling to one side, engine whine or rough shift points. To my surprise when I check the dipstick for the automatic transmission fluid, it is showing bright pink fluids which indicates the fluid is fairly new.

    What do you have to say about this folks? The price is right and the car is in relatively good shape, I know it would be hard pressed to find a late model vehicle in the 5000 dollar (CDN) price range, and this one has the 3800II in it which is a big plus. I have always enjoy the power the 3800II outputs, and its smoothness and reliability. Anyways, I would like to take the car home next week unless somebody comes with a convincing reason for me not to.

    This is my first time car shopping, I would appreciate any suggestions and comments. Thanks in advance.

  • druedrue Posts: 3
    I wanted to see if anyone can help me with some minor damage with a 2002 Buick Century. Essentially, the car was being driven in reverse and the right front door and mirror clipped a pine tree. The heated mirror shattered and the door sustained some minor cosmetic damage.

    Heres my questions:

    1) The dealer wants to replace the whole heated power mirror assembly at $131, but only the mirror itself was damaged. The way these mirrors are assembled, the glass (and heating element) is just glued to a plastic frame in the color-keyed housing. Does anybody know of anywhere to get just the mirror (and probably heater element) to re-attach (website, part #, anything)? It's got to be a cheaper than replacing the whole unit.

    2) The damage on the door is fairly minor, just a small, smooth depression. It's unfortunately on the lower accent line (bend/crease) on the door. The paint has minor scratches. Again, the dealer seems to want to go crazy with the body work and bang it out from the inside and repaint most of the door... at a cost of about $350. It seems that if it can be pulled out smoothly no repainting would be necessary. Anyone have any experience with this type of work know if this would be possible?

    For pictures of the damage, please go to:

    Thanks in advance.
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