1998 Buick LeSabre Custom 3.8L from North America


Don't buy these cars


Plastic intake manifold cracked on the highway at 50 miles per hour and flooded the engine with coolant. The engine seized before I could get onto the shoulder of the road. $1500 repair.

Two power window regulators needed replacing - $400 each.

Engine belt tensioner seized while driving on the highway, and left the car without power steering or power brakes. $500.

The whole dash rattles in numerous places.

Transmission started banging into gear about 10,000 miles ago. The tranny shop says that it's slipping and the computer compensates for that by hard shifting it. He says I better save up $2500 to replace it because its only a matter of time.

The seats are terrible, with lumps and bumps in awkward locations.

General Comments:

I'm 55 years old and have owned many cars, but this thing is without a doubt, the worst car I have owned. I bought it from a retired fire chief who babied it. I baby it with mostly highway driving and I religiously maintain it, but it falls apart as you drive it down the road. It's so unreliable I won't let my wife drive it out of town. She drives my Mercury Grand Marquis, which is the most reliable car I've ever owned.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st July, 2009

1998 Buick LeSabre Limited 3.8 from North America


It's well built and comfortable


My brake lines broke.

The heat only blows on the passenger side.

The front tie end rods needed to be replaced.

General Comments:

I had to replace my previous vehicle quickly and didn't have a lot of cash. Typical of my image of Buick, the car was owned by an older gentleman who purchased it new in 1997. The car was clean and fully loaded (everything works).

My impression of Buick has greatly changed. The car has held up very well over the past 3 years I've had it. When the economy improves, I'll consider another one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th January, 2009

1998 Buick LeSabre Limited 3.8 from North America


Definitely worth buying


The fan on the air conditioner and heater starts to squeak after a few minutes when the fan is on high.

Also, the air comes out of the floor, vents, and windshield all the same time, something is wrong and it won't go to one area when selected.

A front end alignment and new struts are needed, but is normal for a car with so many miles.

General Comments:

This car is perfect on a long trip or just a quick trip to town.

The engine has been through almost 200,000 miles and still runs like new.

It is reliable, I have had no serious problems with it since I purchased it a year ago.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th December, 2008

1998 Buick LeSabre Limited 3.2 from North America


Not happy with it


My mother's 1998 Buick LeSabre just blew the intake manifold with 64,000 miles. I'm getting quotes to replace the mass airflow sensor too.

The problem began with the car hesitating, then it died. I'm glad it happened while I was driving it, and not my 81 year old mother.

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

Review Date: 17th September, 2008

1998 Buick LeSabre from North America


Intake manifold melted (aka plenum) as with the other comments. My engine did not blow up, and the problem actually showed up already in 2002 (bought used in 2001) - 1998 LeSabre. But in 2002 or thereabouts, when car was stopping dead on me on I-75 between Toledo and Detroit, the dealers apparently had not yet been notified of the problem. They couldn't find anything wrong (I have all my paperwork from that time plus all the repair receipts). They would drive it brief distances and nothing happened. It was when it was driven for an hour or more that either the engine light would come on or it would stop. I discovered if I waited for about 20 minutes or so, I could get it started again.

Most of my anger is, as with all others, that GM put plastic near the engine when an eighth grade idiot would not to do that. And that they apparently did not notify their dealers about the problem (which had to be appearing all over the place by 1999). In 2004 when my plastic plenum melted, it was a Belle Tire employee who told me what the problem was.

My mechanic and other mechanics in this area (Lucas Co. Ohio) were getting these GM plastic plenum cars in for repairs at the rate of 4 to 6 per week per mechanic. They all told us to save our paperwork. I held off contacting GM for various reasons - for one thing, they know very well how much this has cost customers, as well as how dangerous it is. My car stopped dead on I-75 at least 3 times. Well, so far, no recall, and now the dealership where I bought it in 2001 was recently honest enough to say the plenum replacements being done in 2004 are also plastic, so they will not last a long time either.

So GM will be hearing from me. I'm a legal secretary - what you have to do is be persistent. Don't take the first 15 "no's". Individually might be the best way to approach them, but with all the evidence posted here - I believe persistence will pay off. They have no right to do this to people. Lemon doesn't describe adequately what owners of these pieces of junk now own.

My mechanic says my engine is still good, however. And he only charged me $800 for everything (spark plugs & starter also had to be replaced, as others have posted), but GM has to step up to the plate on this - too many years and car models are involved, not to mention people's lives put in danger.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th July, 2008

26th Jul 2008, 13:44

I have to correct my own entry here. I put latest mileage was 180,000. I just looked at my odometer - it reads 120,000. The only years I did distance driving from Toledo to Detroit were in 2002 - when it kept stopping on me on the interstate, and then again in 2004 when it suddenly started leaking antifreeze (into the engine & unbeknownst to me) and then broke down entirely about a week later.

The insidious thing about this plastic plenum failure & leak - especially for women who do not know a lot about engines - is that it doesn't leak onto the ground, so you don't see it. There is effectively no warning system in the vehicle for the problem until the damage is done. Having had lots of old cars, I check the ground under my car and the tires daily.

When I got this car used I thought, wow, I was getting a real quality vehicle - a Buick LeSabre Custom - wow. It had just over 30,000 miles on it. Only to discover I was driving a rolling time bomb. One of the times it stopped on the expressway in 2002, I barely made it to the shoulder, with semi trucks roaring past me. (I75 is the official NAFTA thruway, and has thousands of semis every hour of every day.) That was the year the dealership just couldn't find any problems.

I bought a Chevy Nova brand new in 1968 and it ran for 18 years. No engine repairs, no struts replaced, just normal repairs as it got older. That little blue Nova ran and ran and ran. (I sold it for $140, still running.) I'm 60 & don't know if it's my generation of managers who ran this once great company into the ground, but this is not the General Motors of 40 years ago. There is a prediction out there that within 5 years they may be filing for bankruptcy. This Buick dissaster is a bigger disaster for the company than they are letting on, coupled with the price of gas.

26th Jun 2009, 00:13

Previous comment: There is a prediction out there that within 5 years they may be filing for bankruptcy.

Well, looks like it took less than a year.