1986 Buick LeSabre Limited 3.8 Litre V6 from North America


My Mechanic's Best Friend


How should I begin?

When we first got the car, the locks never worked right, the driver's side would never unlock with the key, and the passenger side would only work after a struggle. This led to us never locking the car, and keeping any sort of valuables in the trunk - as you cannot pop the trunk without the keys in the ignition.

After we first got the car, the dome light burnt out, power locks stopped working, and the power windows had to be fixed on several occasions. We found that clear plastic works well as a temporary window.

But these problems were only plutonic, eventually we had to replace several mechanical parts.

First the alternator, on my way to school one morning all the electricals just died, and we had to push the beast into a parking lot.

Then we had to replace a water pump.

Next the ball joints and brakes needed replacing.

Rust was always a problem, and by the end of it's life the bottoms of the doors were completely eaten through.

Finally, the transmission began to slip at about 250,000 KMs. A week later it stranded us in the north end of the city, every gear destroyed except reverse, so we did our best to reverse it home.

Stupidly we replaced the transmission with one from the wreckers, and then drove the car around town for another week. That's when we hit a 1995 Eagle Vision who was running a stop-sign, only minor front end damage to the car itself. But that night we gave a jump to one of our friends. As we were starting the car, it gave quite a whine then a whimper. The cam-shaft had cracked, and a few days later we heard the insurance company had written it off from the accident anyway.

Good riddance.

General Comments:

The car was decent enough when it was working, the engine's power is nothing to scoff at, and handling is what you'd expect from a big 80s car. The main problem lies in faulty electrics and poor mechanicals that don't go the extra mile the way sturdy imports do.

One of the plusses was good winter handling for an old car, it didn't have ABS or traction control, but the shear weight, and front-wheel drive allowed it to handle effectively enough.

We, as a family, are now fed up with American cars and are going to stick to imports from now on. That way our mechanic won't have to see us so often.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th April, 2002

6th May 2002, 22:45

Of all the hundreds of car reviews I have read on this web site. This one floors me the most. I can't believe what I just read. You Had a sixteen year old car with 250,000 kms on it and you expect it to operate like a brand new car. It wouldn't have mattered if it was foreign or domestic, both would have had similar problems with that age & mileage of the vehicle. Only the imports would have cost you a lot more to be repaired on average. (parts) being more expensive. A lot of old Japanese cars I see driving down the road have blue smoke belching from the tailpipe because of their aluminium engines. They blow head gaskets because of electrolysis.

How much did you pay for the car? & why buy one with such high mileage? Who knows how the previous owner (s) treated the car. If you would have been the original owner of the car and it lasted this long you would probably have been happy with it. "IT WAS AN OLD CAR"!!!

19th Jan 2004, 16:55

I have to agree with the person making the second comment. I owned a 1986 Buick Lesabre coupe for eight years until it almost met it's demise with a two deer collision. It was a very comfortable car that handled well and still got 28 mpg. The car at the time had over 150,000 miles and still looked and ran great. I always received comments on how good looking the car was, especially since it was the fairly rare coupe model. For a car that is eighteen years old, the body looks great with very little rust and I even live in the rust belt. If this would have been a Honda, the body would have been shot years ago. (Honda's have good engines, but terrible bodies). We are currently looking for a grille and fender and get her back on the road.

29th Aug 2004, 22:38

This is, quite possibly the most absurd and foolish review I've read on here yet.

17th May 2009, 10:52

"so we did our best to reverse it home"

Please tell me how you managed that? Unless you live in a rural area I imagine that would be quite a feat!