1996 Pontiac Bonneville SE 3.8L


A comfortable, reliable, and safe vehicle


Transmission filter clogged up, causing weird shifting.

O2 sensor went out.

General Comments:

This was the best car I ever owned. It was very reliable and a very comfortable ride; it pretty much floated down the road. I loved the way it looked with the gold spoked wheels and spoiler.

It is also a really safe car; after only having this beauty for 2 months, I lost control on some black ice and put it into a hillside at about 45mph, and walked away without a scratch. The car even drove home after that, even with the radiator being broken in 2, and didn't overheat.

If you're thinking about one of these cars, seriously consider buying one. It was the best car I ever owned, even if it was only for a few months.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st May, 2012

17th Nov 2012, 12:09

I'd like to know how you found out about the transmission problem. What did you do about it? What was it doing before? I have a 96 Bonneville and the tranny is acting up.

1996 Pontiac Bonneville SSEI series II 3.8L V6 premium gas only


Very nice interior and sleek exterior with its spoiler and low profile tires and rims


The HOT to COLD motor switch has a clip which broke, so I have to take out glove box to manually switch it back and forth every winter and summer.

Both perform ride and touring ride light are on. Does this mean it needs to be taken in for maintenance?

ERG valve I suspect is messed up, cuz it lugs as it is accelerated from 80km/h to 100 km/h.

Bearing filings were deposited in the oil pan when I took that off, so I figure the bearings on all the crankshafts are worn out.

General Comments:

Flat out performs better off the line and in a 1/4 mile than any car that has tasted her grit.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 28th February, 2010

1996 Pontiac Bonneville SE 3.8L V6


I like the car, though it needs this level of maintenance


We knew this car had problems when purchased, but we could not resist buying the car with a bad motor for $200.00.

We bought a used motor, and it ran great til one day we parked it, and it wouldn't crank. The motor turned over after a couple tries and finally fired, but just stopped with a bad engine noise.

We noticed the antifreeze was low, and thought the head gaskets were leaking in the cylinder. Saw this web site about leaking plenum gaskets allowing antifreeze into the cylinder. I knew it had to seize cause of antifreeze in the cylinder, so I tried to take off the gasket to see. It did leak. I also noticed the bolts were very loose on the plenum. This must have caused the leak. I wished I would have thought to check their torque when I installed the motor, or some time or another.

I cleaned and replaced it, enforcing seals at the coolant ports with sealant. Tried to crank it again; it was seized up from internal damage to the piston, rod, crank, wall, or all of them. The motor is ruined by something so simple. Why does the throttle body need antifreeze?

General Comments:

The car is very nice still, and runs very well with power. There is an A/C problem though. It is worth getting rid of so we will start over with another motor, but will know better this time about the plenum coolant ports. We can at least prevent this problem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 20th February, 2010

1996 Pontiac Bonneville SE 3.8




I bought the car as-is for $2000.

It blew a head gasket; I fixed it.

Then the heater core went out, the power steering went out, and the sway bar broke in half.

Then it blew a intake manifold gasket, and the tranny went out.

It had a lot of problems for the mileage,

General Comments:

The car had a lot of power when it was running, and I loved the seats, but that's it.

Well I did like the looks.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 15th February, 2010