1986 Buick Century Reviews - Page 4 of 5

1986 Buick Century Limited 2.5L (151 C.I.) from North America

Model year1986
Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 2.5L (151 C.I.) Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10
Distance when acquired88000 miles
Most recent distance138000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Impala


Slow, but very reliable!


Occasional cooling fan relay.

Occasional cooling fan sensor.

Ball Joint on one side.

Ignition module.

C.V. Joint boots

Transmission lockup solenoid (I dissconnected it)

Valve Cover Gaskets.



Engine Stabilizers (dogbones)



Spark Plugs and Wires

Distributor Caps.

General Comments:

I bought a 1986 Buick Century Limited with a 2.5L (151 C.I.) four cylinder engine in 1997 with 88,000 miles on it. After the floor collapsed, I sold it in 2001 with 138,000 miles on it. This car was not a speed machine, but solid running. When I sold it, the engine ran the same as the day I bought it. Only needed a quart of oil every 1,800 miles. I remember I always had problems with cooling fan sensors and relays. The relays would sometimes not work, or not turn the fan off. The sensors would not either work, or be out of temperature range. If G. M was still making a car with this engine, I would buy a brand new one in a second!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th July, 2005

1986 Buick Century Limited 3.8 V6 from North America

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 3.8 V6 Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.6 / 10
Distance when acquired92040 miles
Most recent distance92700 miles


An awesome reliable gem


The most costly repair was the alternator. It burned up and killed the battery, and needed to be rebuilt at $100.

I had to buy a few cosmetic items, such as a hood ornament, tail light lens, right front turn signal, and a hood strut.

I replaced the tires when I bought it.

The water pump is weeping and needs to be replaced.

General Comments:

The car sat in a lot for a few years undriven before I bought it, so I had to clean it out and replace a few things that were worn. All the parts are the original 18 year old parts except for the rebuilt alternator, so I expect to replace some parts such as the starter, etc. before too long, but right now everything works great! This car is very comfortable, and it has a great stock stereo system. The power is impressive for an 18 year old car. It can really get going. The car has about every bell a whistle you can think of. It has power everything, cruise control, tilt steering, air/climate control, and a great heater. It's pretty good at cornering, too. Being front wheel drive, it's handling isn't too bad.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th March, 2004

1986 Buick Century type T 3.8L from North America

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 3.8L Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired177125 kilometres
Most recent distance242525 kilometres
Previous carChevrolet Blazer


This is the best car I've owned... good gas mileage and reliable!!!


In the five years I have owned this car I have only had to replace the rotors and brakes. One thing that I also had to replace was a fan belt.

General Comments:

This is the first four door car I have owned, but I really like this car.

It's still in perfect shape all around.

The car is very comfortable in my opinion.

The windows are all easy to see out of.

The power in this car is excellent for a sporty family car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st October, 2003

1986 Buick Century T-type 3.8 from North America

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership1993
Most recent year of ownership1994
Engine and transmission 3.8 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.4 / 10
Distance when acquired92000 miles
Most recent distance118000 miles
Previous carMazda GLC


A major lemon; most problematic car I have ever owned


Right off the bat: catalytic converter and radiator.

Timing chain sprocket went at around 112,000.

Starter went at 114,000.

Left CV joint started making noise around 116,000.

General Comments:

After my GLC's transmission failed & repair parts were no longer available, I thought it was time to upgrade to a REAL car. What a mistake!

I bought the Buick from one of those little used car lots. It was in almost immaculate condition, except one tire was pretty much toast & it was lacking in power.

The lack of power was due to a plugged cat converter. Then it started overheating and I learned that the radiator was beyond repair. So just like that, almost $300 went into the thing.

The 3.8 V-6 had very good power and average fuel economy (around 20 mpg.)

Seats were comfortable and "creature comforts" were within easy reach. A/C was more than adequate, & the cruise control performed flawlessly.

However, the engine had some "features" which left a lot to be desired, especially for a Do-It-Yourself mechanic.

Starter & rear bank of spark plugs were virtually inaccessible.

The kicker -- Timing chain sprockets were made of PLASTIC, and their failure cost me over $1500 in repairs.

I first took the car to a Buick dealer in Ontario, Cal. for repairs -- it was after hours so I had to authorize repair expenditures on an envelope - I entered "don't spend more than $300", thinking it wasn't too serious, & they charged me $280 to open it up & tell me what I had already suspected -- the timing chain sprocket had failed. Estimate for repairs - $1500. So, disgusted, I took it to a third-party mechanic who had to do a complete upper-end job (valves bent due to small valve-piston clearance) & charged me $1200. The $1500 Buick was going to charge me was for replacing the chain alone!

Not too long after that the starter wore out, & I bought one at Chief, thinking I could just slap it in. WRONG! The starter could not be removed without discharging the A/C system & removing some A/C tubing first. I had to pay some garage $120 to have it installed.

When I finally unloaded this heap, the engine was starting to make strange knocking noises. Plus, the paint on the roof was peeling off in large sheets. I'm glad I was able to get $1500 for it -- small consolation for the almost $2500 in repairs I had to make after the initial purchase price of $2999.

I know Buicks have a long reputation for building decent cars but this lemon trashed all faith in the brand for me. It was really a wolf in sheep's clothing for me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 31st May, 2003

24th Mar 2004, 12:37

This post kinda bothered me. The car was purchased at a little used car lot. What can you expect from a gypsy lot? The previous owner probably didn't take care of the car at all, just kept it looking nice. That doesn't mean Buicks are bad cars. I bought a '86 Century Limited @ 92,040 miles. I've replaced the tires, turn signal in front, tail light lens, hood strut, and alternator. I need to also replace the water pump and washer pump. Other than that, these cars are great! Just because someone beat up that particular car doesn't mean it was a bad car. It was just abused beyond what it could take.

Average review marks: 7.3 / 10, based on 16 reviews