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Buick Century



  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I don't like putting stop-leak in a car. It's a temporary patch at best. This stuff can clog up your heater core as well.
  • I have a '91 buick century. I need to replace the tranny. Is there any other model interchangeable with this one, or must i use only the '91 model tranny?
  • dumasdumas Posts: 1
    For the past week, the gas gauge has been working only at times. Mostly it stays on "Full"...........has anyone else had this problem? Is there a solution other than spending over $300 at my car dealership?
  • mjh1978mjh1978 Posts: 1

    I was wanting to know if the buick century for a 1994 would work in a 1995 buick century. Same eng size V6.

    Thanks for your help...
  • starsky209starsky209 Posts: 2
    I have to say these boards are great and I have learned alot today reading them. I have a 99 Buick Century Custom. I had noticed a engine overheat issue a while back had the water pump replaced and it ocassionally when idling or in stop and go traffic would heat up. No biggie it always cooled down when the fan kicked in. Well the last week I noticed it heating up while driving. Last night on the way home fromt he airport it started going up, the temp did. It went up and up. Turned on the heat to try to cool it down to make it home, heater blew cold air. Finally it went to the red line turned off the car and pulled over immediately. Called AAA and got towed the last 16 miles home.

    THis morning went out the radiator was dry as a bone. Put in coolant and it started to leak in two places underneath. Rear side on drives side and about the same side on the left.

    Two questions: My friend says I probably blew the intake manifold and after reading the boards I can see that as an issue. From what I am describing above is that the issue? Is there a way to check the intake manifold to see if it is the culprit?

    If it is not intake how would I tell if it is the head gasket?

    Thanks again and I know have this place bookmarked.

    Thank you all.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Testing intake manifold gasket costs about $20-$30. Simple pressure test, at any dealership, or Firestone, or most other places. The test finds small leaks.

    However, it looks as your car is way beyond pressure test. Car mechanic will see where it leaks from with with naked eye.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    Just to add on to what yurakm says, it might be a good idea to call around and get estimates. I've read where a typical gasket replacement might cost in the neighborhood of $800-$850, but you might be able to do much better. Best of luck.
  • gitmangitman Posts: 2
    I am in need of a second car for my wife. I looked at a very decent looking and
    which sure appeared to mechanically sound 1994 Buick Century w/high mileage
    162,000 miles. I keep thinking that a car with that high of mileage has got to
    be facing something in repairs and yet reviews I've read on the car have been
    favorable. The owner knows the high mileage is a drawback to selling the car
    but insist that the recent inspection and emissions test clearly show the car
    to be in good shape. The transmission doesn't skip the engine sounds good.
    Should I risk considering the purchase of this car? The owner is asking 1,200.

    I would appreciate some feed back from anyone who may know something about
    high mileage cars and the risks involved.

    Thanks, Gitman
  • gitmangitman Posts: 2
    On my last post I made a typo on the year of the car. It is a 1994 Buick Century
    with high mileage. I know that $1,200 doesn't seem like much to spend but if I
    was facing something high in the cost of any repairs that goes up quickly. Please
    someone out there give me some feed back on what risk is involved with buying
    something that's approaching the 200,000 mark in a couple of years.


  • starsky209starsky209 Posts: 2
    Just got the call from the mechanic.....pressure tested and the intake manifold is out. Repair est. 650 to 675.

    As to your post gitman. I have a 99 buick century with 160k miles. I use it for work and drive 50k a year in it. I love the car the mileage and I would buy another one again.

    I would say check kelly blue book and if blue book is around that mark offer 1000 as I think he wants to sell it and you have the upper hand on this one.
  • hgmhgm Posts: 1
    Hi Folks: Have same issue as starsky209. Have had it since purchased new. Runs great on road, at halfway on gauge. When sitting in traffic or straining a bit on hill, runs hotter. Has reached 3/4 mark on gauge but no hotter than that. Have replaced water pump and intake manifold gasket as a result of having car checked by mechanics for leaks or other problem. Have also had radiator flushed and fluids checked an replaced. It has 70,000 in it.

    Should I replace radiator?
  • gsaurabhgsaurabh Posts: 1

    I am offered to buy a Century 1998 - 150K on it. The KBB values it at 3000, i can get it for 2.5k.... Please let me know if I should go in for it ? The car is in good condition.I need something that will last me for 2 years with 700 miles driving per month.

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hi Saurabh.

    While you are waiting for a response here, you might also hop over to the Real-World Trade-In Values discussion and ask Terry. Be sure to read the posting guidelines (in red) so you can give him all the info he'll need to tell you what it's worth.

    Good luck!
  • berfordberford Posts: 1
    My GG died completely. I use the trip odometer. At 300 miles, I fill up and reset it to zero. You also get to figure gas mileage every time.
  • dumbkiddumbkid Posts: 2
    hey people, i'm having problems with my 91 buick century 3.3L V6. When idling, it is erratic. When cold, my car runs pretty well, but when accelerating it misses sometimes. I would describe it as it "falling", and I'm not exactly sure why it is doing this. We changed the fuel filter, and it ran pretty well for about 5 minutes. I suspect that there is some residue in the gas tank, or that my fuel pump is not working correctly. Does anybody have any suggestions to help me out? I'd appreciate any input. Thanks -Chris
  • dumbkiddumbkid Posts: 2
    Also, when the air conditioning is activated, the car runs worse than it does when the A/C is off. In my haynes manual, in the troubleshooting section, it has the section for engine loping, and it says something about vacuum hoses. I have checked and the hoses aren't bad nor loose. my best guess is that there are problems with my fuel pump/gas tank. any ideas?
  • I've had "4" fuel pumps put on my car in the last 2 months. Just aweek ago today was the 4th one. Today it won't start again. Doing the same thing as it always does.. It won't start. It wants to start but it's like its not getting gas .. Does anyone on here know what my problem might be. Rather than getting someone else to work on it .. Sure would like some help with this .. I know it has to be something making the fuel pump go out but what is the question .. So please anyone with a answer sure would be a help to me ..
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    Hi Just-a-Girl. Fuel pumps just don't fail like that on their own. If the fuel pump really does need replacing, the question becomes: what is the underlying problem causing it to go bad in the first place?

    My guess is there's something else going on here. You wouldn't by any chance have an ex-someone who might be having fun with you by pouring salt or sugar in your gas tank, would you?! I mean, it almost sounds like something is fouling up the fuel filter.

    Sometimes the act of replacing a fuel pump can stir up whatever is in the tank to let the car run for a while before it clogs things up again. First, I'd have the fuel filter replaced. It is located under the passenger side ahead of the rear wheel. Second, I'd consider buying a locking gas cap. And third, yes, I would definitely take it somewhere else for a second opinion. Dealers are expensive, but maybe you can find a repair shop that has the tool they can plug into your car to get the diagnostic codes. That should pinpoint the problem.

    Anyone else have any other specific ideas that might help her? In the meantime, good luck. Hope things work out okay for you.
  • kfdmedkfdmed Posts: 130
    My dad is considering a 2003 century with 34k. Is 9600.00 to much to pay?
  • Perhaps someone can help me. I Bought a remote of the internet and it came with instructions for programing. One of the first steps is to remove the "BCM PRGRM" Fuse. I looked through the manual, and at the fuse box and there is no "BCM PRGRM" fuse. There are a number of other BCM fuses and I tried them one by one with no success. Any Ideas? Thanks.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    Not sure about the fuse, but I didn't need to remove any when I also bought a fob off the Internet for one of my son's Buicks.

    Here are programming instructions that worked for us:

    1) Sit in the driver's seat
    2) Remove the ignition key from the ignition lock cylinder
    3) Close all the doors
    4) Press and hold unlock on the door lock switch (on the door)
    5) While holding the door lock switch in the unlock position, insert and remove the ignition key twice. DO NOT ROTATE THE KEY.. JUST SLIDE IT IN AND BACK OUT.
    6) Insert the ignition key the third time, leaving the key in the ignition cylinder. DO NO TURN KEY
    7) Release the door lock switch. You will hear 3 chimes indicating the transmitter programming is active.
    8) Press and hold the lock and unlock buttons on the keyless entry remote at the same time (on remote) for 12 seconds. You will hear two chimes. This indicates the transmitter has been programmed.
    9) Repeat step 8 for all additional transmitters to be programmed
    10) Exit programming by removing the key from the ignition cylinder.

    Hope this helps.
  • I am trying to find a replacement cup holder that fits the front arm rest of a 2000 buick century. Problem is, this is for someone else's vehicle which is 300 miles away. I saw it once and thought it was like the one in my Park Avenue. Can one of you fine folks tell me the width of the cup holder attachment in your 2000 century? Also is it a single holder or a double? A photo would be nice, but not necessary. I got the part number from dealership, but they had no photo and said the 2000 only fit the 2000. Thanks in advance for your help.
  • I have a 1995 Buick Century (3.1L) and it turns out that one of the 3 ignition coil packs is on it's way out. I can pull the plug wire off one of the terminals while it's running and there's no spark - the other terminal sparks intermittently. The other 2 coil packs will give me a nice steady ZAP, as expected.

    The local mechanic is willing to do the work, but warned me that the price for these were rather high and suggested that if I were to either find them some place cheaper than he could get them or even used from a junk yard, he'd swap them out for just an hour's worth of labor. (can you believe that there are still honest mechanics out there?!)

    So does anybody have the part number(s) for the ignition coil packs and know of what other cars were sold using this same part(s)? If I'm going to a junk yard, I'd like to know which cars I can pull these things from.

  • Hi everyone. I'm considering buying a used Century, in the 2002 - 2005 range. Any recommendations as to what things to look for, or avoid?

    Also, I wonder if I could get some feedback regarding reliability and durability (long-term) of the 3.1 engine. I know that the 3.8 in the Regal is a solid, workhorse Buick engine, but I'm not really familiar with the 3.1. Isn't the 3.1 a Chevy design, the same not-so-great motor they put in cars like the Corsica?

    I've heard that these engines had a number of problems...main bearing oil leaks, melting heads etc. but haven't been able to back this up with any solid research. From what I've found on internet-based sources it seems to be regarded as an "OK" engine, but nothing spectacular.

    If anyone can offer any long-term, anecdotal experiences & recommendations, I'd appreciate it. I'd get a Regal with a 3.8, but the Century can be had so much cheaper, and would suit my purposes as long as I can be reasonably confident it would give solid long-term service.

  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    We have both the Century and the Regal in my family (I've got the Regal, of course!). The Regal is sportier and has more standard equipment, but if you find a Century Limited you'll have the same stuff with a softer ride.

    The Century is a solid car, no doubt about it. Be advised, however, that Buick has been "de-contenting" their cars over the last few years, so things you thought were standard are now options. The best example of this is anti-lock brakes. They were standard on Century up to 2002, but then optional in 2003 and beyond. My youngest son bought a used 2003, and it took forever to find one with anti-locks. Every time we saw one advertised, it was sold by the time we called.

    As far as the 3100 engine is concerned, the trick is to keep it well maintained. Sure, one can say that for all cars, but the 3100 does have a track record of failing head gaskets. One theory I've read a lot about concerns Dex-Cool. The owner's manual says you can go 5 years or 150,000 miles before doing routine cooling system maintenance, but many people think that means you can just ignore it entirely for 5 years. Not so. Dex-Cool still evaporates over time, and when air gets into the cooling system, the Dex-Cool turns into a foul brownish gel. So, always check the coolant level, and don't wait 5 years to have it changed out.

    Otherwise, these cars are great, and a terrific bang for the buck.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    The engine family (GM 2.8, 3.1, and 3.4) had a long history of problems with intake manifold gaskets. Not with head gaskets.

    The bad gasket costs only $40 to $50, but replacing it requires a lot of labor and costs $550 to $800. $550 or so at independent mechanics, $800 at dealers. On the other hand, some dealers replace it for free if the gasket leaks again.

    The manifold is made of aluminum, engine is steel. Different coefficient of thermal expansion. A couple of years ago GM changed the part number for the gasket; I had read that the new gasket is made from a better material and does not leak as often.

    I changed the DexCool before 5 years, and added it religiously. Still had the leak at 37k miles with my 98 Malibu with 3.1l engine, and again at 68k or 69k miles. After the second leak I trade the car in for a second Buick Regal GS.

    By the way, some naturally aspirated 3.8l GM engines also had problems with a similar leaks. Their intake manifolds are made from plastic. However, supercharged 3.8l engines have steel manifolds and are free of the problem.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    Thanks Yurakm for the correction. Yes, I meant to say intake manifold, not cylinder head gasket.

    There was once a website that showed what Dex-Cool had done to intake manifold gaskets on engines that had been disassembled. Unfortunately, I can't find it, but the point of the article was that the author believed it was the chemical reaction of Dex-Cool and air that was allowed into the system that was causing the fluid to change to a brownish gel, and the pictures clearly showed the erosion of the gaskets. You could actually see how gasket material was being chemically etched away. Yes, I understand GM has beefed up their gaskets, but they have also made changes to their radiator caps, and in some cars have eliminated the radiator cap entirely, presumably to prevent the possibility of air leaking into the cooling system inadvertently.

    But your last posting was most interesting in that it sounds as if you did a more than honorable job in maintaining your car's cooling system.

    So the discussion, and perhaps the confusion, continues... ;)
  • Thanks TSU670 and Yurakm for your feedback. Have done a bit more research and it seems the 3.1 and 3.4 (and to a certain extent the 3.8) engines have a long history of both intake manifold gasket and head gasket failures. Yurakm's experience was especially revealing, two intake manifold gasket leaks despite religious (better than manufacturer recommended) maintenance....leading to trading the vehicle at only 69K.

    Too bad because the Century seems like otherwise a pretty good car. Sealed for life automatic (Dextron III fill), stainless steel exhaust, double galvanized steel body etc. And they can be had at a very reasonable price on the used market (maybe this is why?).

    Thanks again.
    Barnee :cry:
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    Gosh, Yuriy, I think we scared him away! Maybe I should have emphasized that not every 3.1L or 3.4L engine has gasket problems. -- Ken
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I traded my 98 Malibu at 69k not because of the gasket, but because it had many problems during the two previous years. New transmission, two big repairs of A/C (two halves of it separately), alternator, coolant tank that fell to pieces during a routine pressure test, and several smaller items, like weather stripping that had to be glued back to car.

    The gasket was just the last straw. When our service adviser told that that the car needs a new rack and pinion AND the intake manifold gasket (the second time), my wife decided that enough is enough. Did not like to spend $2000-$2,500 per year on the car.

    We would no trade it because of the gasket only, though.

    Early Malibu had a lot of problems. Century are much more reliable.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
  • Heh heh. Yes, I'm aware the problems don't occur with all 3.1 and 3.4 engines, or all Centurys. But they affect enough to make it a significant concern...a costly and aggravating repair to encounter.

    What really bothers me is how The General responds (or does not respond) to these type of issues. How long have they been making these engines? How long have they been aware of the problem and allowed it to continue (the "improved gasket" semi-fix's a design problem that should be properly corrected).

    I'm not a GM basher (I'll always have a soft spot for my 76 Camaro LT Sport Coupe...I loved my 99 S-10 pickup...and my 2002 Blazer is a pretty good truck, although not especially sophisticated...the 4.3 "Vortec" is basically the ancient small block Chevy 350 with a couple cylinders lopped off). BUT...a responsible manufacturer who actually cares about quality deals with this type of thing quickly, and definitively. They don't allow it to be a nagging concern for years and place the engine in a multitude of vehicles.

    GM (and Ford and Chrysler) still have a lot of lessons to learn from companies that I'll refrain from naming here (however they rhyme with "Royota" & "Konda").

    Barn :P
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    Barney, I think you hit the nail on the head. I've owned vehicles from all of the Big Three and can honestly say that I'm convinced more than ever that while their engineers might have their hearts in the right place, it appears they are quickly overruled by the bean counters. But it isn't just American makes. From what I've read (and heard from 2 friends who own them), it sounds like Volkswagen is the same way.

    The East Asians seem to have a better response in fixing problems, but this is said in a general way. Some of the Korean makes still aren't up there with the Japanese yet.

    Nevertheless, I still believe American build quality is improving, enough at least that nowadays I am comfortable at buying used ones. Buicks are my current favorite, but who knows down the road? I tend to keep cars for many years, and saving all that front end depreciation feels wonderful!
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    As I said already, the intake manifold gasket is not a big problem by itself. I believe that something like 20% of 2.8, 3.1, and 3.4 GM engines develop the problem sooner or later. However, if your dealer will fix it for $800 with lifetime warranty, it is OK with me. Just subtract the $800 from what you would pay for the car otherwise.

    My problem was with multitude of problems, not with a single one. As well as I understand, Century is much more reliable than 98 Malibu.
  • Excellent point re build quality. I totally agree, North American manufacturers have made tremendous improvements in initial quality, as JD Powers surveys are showing and my own observations in owning several recent domestics. Now that they've achieved this, they need to concentrate on improving durability and long-term reliability.

    I too have a feeling that it's the bean counters at work, not the engineers. DeLorean outlined this quite well in his book (On a Clear Day you can see General Motors). This is a problem inherent for decades...and they must fix it if they are to survive.

    I am still considering a Century. Both you and Yurkam make good points....get a used one at a fantastic price (because of the depreciation) and build in the $800 1 in 5 chance repair. One question the repair really guaranteed for life? Is this through a goodwill bulletin or secret warranty of some sort? Reason I ask, is that most GM repairs are guaranteed for only 90 days after the fix....can you guys point me to info re this?

    Thanks to both, you've been really helpful and forthcoming with information and your experiences!

    Barn :shades:
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    I don't recall that GM had a special campaign to cover this particular problem and warranted their repair for life. It might be best to call a local dealer and ask them first. Many years ago Ford had a "Repairs Guaranteed for the Life of Your Car" program, but the fine print said it was only for certain "authorized" repairs, so if your repair wasn't in that list you might have been in for a cruel surprise.

    I think for the sake of our discussion I would find the part number and insist that the repair be made with the newest upgraded metal version of the intake manifold gasket. That alone would make me feel a lot better.

    Moreover, if I could remember to ask for it, I'd like to get the old gasket back. IIRC, there's a class action lawsuit brewing about this issue. And, as always, save the paperwork.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    To my understanding, GM does not guarantees the repair. However, many dealers do.
  • day9day9 Posts: 57
    I see alot of century 2002, 2003 for sale now. They are typically less than 30000 miles and cost about 10K. Are these good deals? Any suggestions?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    Hi day9,
    You might also check here for some suggestions:
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    Need help navigating? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

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  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    $10k might be a little high. Also, be aware that antilock brakes that were standard on 2002 models were made optional in 2003 and beyond, so if you are looking at 2003+ models be sure to check if they have ABS. If they don't and you don't care, you might be able to wiggle a little more off the price.

    For comparison, a year ago my son bought a 2003 with ABS and factory CD player for $9995 from a dealer. It had 24k miles on it.
  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Mid-westPosts: 255
    My 2000 century started leaking in the trunk when it rains. Last night I got in the trunk and had my kid shine a flood lamp around the lid gasket. I didn't detect anything but the water is getting in some how. Any experience in this matter?
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    A reporter in Southern California is looking to interview a retiree who has been very loyal to the Buick brand over the years, right up to the present. Please send an e-mail to [email protected] no later than Wednesday, March 22, 2006 containing your daytime contact information and a few words about the topic of interest.

    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications
  • baveuxbaveux Posts: 175
    My turn, my Century have a drinking problem !!! Unbelievable how GM can be slow to correct a known problem for the last 15 years.
  • vicmatvicmat Posts: 1
    My 2002 with only 90,000 km (approx. 55,000 miles) lost it's coolant, so I filled it up, but now it's low again...talked to my corner mechanic, who laughed and said it's the intake manifold leaking into the engine... he does 4 or 5 a month (all Buick Centuries with 80-110 km on them)for about $800. This is CRAP! I think GM should take some responsibility...No wonder their stock is plummeting...I'll bet they will be out of business in 10 years (or bought out by Kia...)
  • The issue you had with the Buick Century wiper blades stoppiong straight up is over 5 years old. I was wondering if you ever found the solution to this problem. My mother has a 1998 Buick Century with the very same issue.
  • agiorgioagiorgio Posts: 2
    We just had to have the #6 fuel injector replaced. We had an intermittent "Service Engine Soon" light for a few months, and I could feel the engine "missing" at times. A few weeks ago, the problem suddenly got a lot worse, and the #6 cylinder stopped firing completely. The vibration at idle was very noticeable, and the SES light started flashing.

    We had the faulty injector replaced, and the engine smoothed right out. The SES light is no longer illuminated.
  • I am new to this forum and find all the information very helpful. Here is my problem and maybe I can get a response by YURAKM or any of the other Buick know-it-alls (he!he!he!)

    1. My daughter used the passenger control for her a/c needs this weekend and after sometime we noticed her side of the floor was wet. It didn't smell and it looked like condensation maybe. I lifted the mat and it looked like sweat and the floor under the mat and on top of the mat was damp. Also, every time I made a left turn, the a/c made a noise like a screeching sound. Any suggestions? :confuse:
  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Mid-westPosts: 255
    Any one install a xm radio in a Century before? What's the best way to run the antenna wire?
  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Mid-westPosts: 255
    Another chronic problem buick has is the transmission. My 2000 Century at 56k started shifting hard. From what I read, the valve body is made of softer material than the piston that controls pressure. After a while the piston seal leaks pressure and requires a repair kit with sleeve. Like you said, GM needs to start taking responsibility for poor engineering and do the right thing. Or maybe they plan on merging with Yugo.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    I've read in some places where the rubber tube that directs the condensed water from the evaporator sometimes gets a kink in it or is misdirected into the front passenger foot well. Inasfar as the screeching noise is concerned, does it only happen when the A/C is on? It could be a myriad of things, including a serpentine belt slipping against a sticking pulley on the A/C compressor. Or perhaps it is time to check if the A/C refrigerant needs recharging. The refrigerant acts not only as a cooling agent, but as a lubricant as well. Good luck, and please let us know how it all turns out.
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