1992 Buick LeSabre Custom 3.8 V6 from North America


This car will take you to hell and back


When I got the car, it had been poorly taken care of. But I only paid $200 for it, so hey.

- It wouldn't run more than fifteen minutes, and would die if you took it over forty. (I had to drive it home on the interstate when I picked it up.)

- Cruise doesn't work.

- Other than expected maintenance, the car doesn't give me problems.

General Comments:

- This car has lived a farm style life most of its years, so the clear coat is peeling something awful. You can't tell in the rain. It also has some of the worst hail damage I've ever seen in a car; the hail damage makes the car rather easy to spot, though.

- The seating area in this car is comfortable and beautiful. It's one of the few cars, I feel, that can be driven 8 hours straight, and you're just as comfortable sitting there driving as you would be at home sitting on the sofa watching television. And the room inside is great since I travel all the time. I have room for everything I'd need right in reach, while my dog has the whole back seat to himself.

- The trunk space in this car is great for large trips to the grocery store, hauling smaller furniture (for example a dresser), or for moving.

- Even though the engine on this car is no where near brand new, it's still got the strong transmission it rolled off the dealership with.

- Gas. Good lord, it was a slap in the face going from a little Oldsmobile that got 23 in town to this beast at only 17! I noticed it gets better mileage though, if I put premium in it instead of regular.

- Other than the huge break down right when I got it, this car has never broken down.

- The motor, for having nearly 180,000 miles, still purrs like a kitten.

- This car doesn't use any oil, other than after a change, same with transmission fluid.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th September, 2008

18th Sep 2008, 13:36

I don't know exactly what mileage you should be getting with a 3.8 in town, but on the highway they usually get around 28 mpg. I think you might have something wrong with your car that is making the mileage worse than it normally is on these LeSabres.

18th Sep 2008, 21:35

At the top listing problems, I meant cruise doesn't work.

1992 Buick LeSabre Limited 3.8L/3.8 cc/231 CID/V6 from North America


Superior comfort and safety


I do all maintenance & repair as a general rule, aside from tire replacement. This is cheaper than paying someone else to do it, it's a good distraction from things like the TV, and it helps me be aware of the condition of my vehicle.

Water pump failed. Normal. Alternator failed. Normal. Should have rebuilt it ahead of time, but was lazy. Starter failed. Normal. Tires replaced. Normal. Might have replaced a bulb or two along the way.

Engine block heater fell out. Unusual? Certainly surprising to me. Replaced, plus am carrying a spare, call me paranoid.

Brake pads replaced. Normal. I measured the rotors & hubs & inspected the shoes, put it all back together. Yes, now I have a nice oscillation when I use the brakes, but what can I say, I'm being cheap.

Battery replaced twice. Normal, considering I didn't take the time to check the electrolyte level or voltage level, and never did an equalization charge.

Preventive maintenance, replaced the coolant lines. If anybody knows how to get at the hoses going to the heater core without removing the engine, please comment.

Car could use a full replacement of struts/shocks, along with all suspension bushings, but that's reasonable for a 15 year old car with 250,000 miles.

Front anti-sway bar is broken on passenger side, not likely to be replaced, not worth the investment.

Car tends to overheat lately under the worst conditions (95F, 95% Hum, A/C on full blast). Suspect impending radiator failure, no evidence of head gasket problem, but maybe...

Transmission occasionally doesn't shift back to first when stopping, such as at a traffic light. Suspect vacuum problem or electronics? Also, car tends to hesitate at a start these days, I suppose that means O2 sensor is likely in need of replacement, at a minimum...

Don't trust fuel gauge, use trip meter. Tends to be 'out of fuel' when gauge indicates 1/3 full. Ask me how I know. :)

Have twice replaced fuel filter. Normal, though I should do it more often. Actually, both times were during high ambient temperatures, when I was getting a starvation indicator (bucking), so I wonder if the root problem wasn't something else. I'd think low fuel pressure, but my fuel mileage numbers don't support that idea.

Air conditioning seals are apparently showing wear. Takes about a can of R-12 annually. Cheaper (and more effective) than a retro-fit to R-134a and virgin R-12 is much, much more dependable and trustworthy than the R-12 'substitutes' on the market.

Check Engine Light is on, and I purchased a tool to pull codes, don't have them handy, but there were several, and they were more than a little cryptic. Need to go to library at some point and check them on AllData (I think that's what it's called).

General Comments:

Car is exceedingly roomy and comfortable, not sporty. Overall MPG has been about 19, over the past 65k miles, for my driving cycle and habits, mostly leadfooted short trips, or stop and go traffic. Recently trend has been downward (again, probably O2 sensor), though car has seen less and less open road miles, I think the past few tanks average of 16MPG is just a little too far out of line.

Silver exterior, medium/dark blue interior, cloth seats.

Most of the wear and tear can be attributed to inattentive owner since 2000. Driver's seat could do with a repadding, though.

Car was purchased new 'in the family', ran 150,000 miles in ND, then 35,000 miles in Florida, with the last 65,000 in MN. Sits outside a fair amount, and has been losing the fight with road salt. Cancer is popping out on the panel below the front passenger side door.

Have been running synthetic (Mobil-1 5w-40), with randomly sourced filters. Change interval every 6 months (spring/fall), mileage typically ~ 6,000 +/-. Occasionally add oil prior to change, usually it doesn't get to the 'must add' line.

Typically replace the transmission filter & fluid annually, comes out pretty much newish/pinkish/reddish. Thumbs up. Tranny is still tight operationally (other than noted above).

Trunk design allows rain/dew to drip into trunk when you open it, so be prepared.

My replacement car is going to be a 1996 Passat diesel, for cheaper operation (more than 2X the fuel economy). I'm already in the process of cleaning it up for use (replaced wheel bearings, etc.). If I wasn't concerned about fuel usage, I'd be looking for this same generation of LeSabre as a replacement.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th November, 2006

23rd Nov 2009, 17:52

As for the overheating issue, that may be related to a failing fuel pump. With my Le-Sabre, it was surging and overheating in traffic. After checking the cooling system and thermostat operation, I replaced the fuel pump and those problems ceased. (It was also running too lean.)

8th Feb 2013, 03:33

Check the O2 sensor. I replaced mine and it turned the check engine light off and increased my fuel mileage 8-10 MPG. The cost of the sensor is around $120.