2001 Buick Century 3.1 V6 from North America


Poor quality, reliability and potentially dangerous


A GM manufacturing defect caused engine failure at 54,000.

Transmission failed.

Power steering rack failed.

Instrument pod failed.

Front seat collapsed.

Constant brake issues.

This was a properly serviced, babied car... worst vehicle I have ever owned in the 70 or so company or private vehicles I have had.

General Comments:

Poor engineering and overall quality, GM takes no responsibility for any defects.

Good cabin ergonomics/comfort and good fuel economy are not reason enough to buy such a poorly engineered and built vehicle. Avoid these vehicles as they are too problematic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th June, 2017

10th Jun 2017, 00:15

I had a 2003 Century and it was an awesome car. Never had any issues with except it came with some dents from the previous owner. Did a ton of road trips with it, it got amazing fuel mileage for a mid size, handled very well, and had ice cold A/C and a decent factory stereo. Sold it to get a truck when it had about 260k. Sounds like you had a bad one, the 3.1 engine has been very reliable in my experience; my dad got 280k from his 97 Lumina, which also has a 3.1 engine.

11th Jun 2017, 03:12

What happened to the engine?

What happened to the transmission?

13th Jun 2017, 18:46

We're talking about a 16 year old car here. Anything that gets to be that old is prone to have issues either due to age or usage.

15th Jun 2017, 19:03

The Buick was 5 years old when the reviewer bought it and only 7 years old, not 16, when the reviewer sold it.

16th Jun 2017, 01:07

This generation Century are hit or miss. With the Skylark gone, this was Buick's entry model. For the most part they are pretty reliable, but the main issue is the intake gaskets on the 3100 V6. This motor was a lot better in the early 90s when it had the multi port injection set-up.

25th Aug 2017, 15:14

GM made approximately 20,000 Buick Centuries in 2001 that left the factory with a factory defect (no oil to #6 cylinder I believe).... mine was one and it suffered a rod failure. These cars had a sound similar to the infamous "piston slap", but it was a lubrication problem. No recall was issued. The transmission constantly slipped/shifted hard and was a common problem with these vehicles.

25th Aug 2017, 15:18

I too have had a number of 3.1 engines and found good service from the early cast iron head versions...my 1998 Skylark with aluminum heads also gave me long service, which is why I bought the newer Century, which was a huge letdown. Truly the worst vehicle I have ever owned.

25th Aug 2017, 15:22

I agree. I have had several 3.1 GM engined vehicles and found the 1994 (iron heads and block) to be the most reliable. My 1998 Skylark (aluminum heads) also gave me reliable/long service. Overall, it seems to me that the newer the version of 3.1, the less durable they are.

2001 Buick Century Custom 3.1 from North America


Very reliable, cheap to repair and comfortable transportation


Automatic windows are a weak spot on this car. I have replaced 4 so far, easy to do and cheap on the net (get the ones with the pulleys, not just the plastic track).

Had to have the transmission rebuilt at 200,000.

Blower motor resistor at 150,000 (need to be a contortionist).

Replaced one O2 sensor.

New fuel sending unit around 200,000. It was a fairly easy and cheap job. It is accessible from the back seat area, no dropping the fuel tank.

One of 3 coils replaced at about 175,000.

Most irritating repair was having to bypass the security system when it gave up the ghost.

General Comments:

A very reliable, cheap to repair car.

Does not show its age as much as some models.

High speed cruising on vacation is great.

Made in Canada, which is kind of nice.

No rust to speak of.

Looking at other Buicks to replace this one in the next 2 or 3 years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th September, 2015