1997 Buick Park Avenue Base 3.8 liter V6 from North America


Everything I ever wanted and more


A couple days after I got the car, the CV joint went out, replaced under warranty.

Replaced thermostat.

The coolant temperature sensor needs to be changed.

Recharged A/C, did brakes and oil change. Other than that, nothing, and the things I did were just regular maintenance anyway, so I can't complain.

General Comments:

This is a one year update of the car. I bought my beloved Bertha at the age of 19 after my previous truck of 8 years in the family was recalled and scrapped. I thought after all the years with the Tacoma, and it NEVER ONCE needing anything more than ONE battery, ONE tune up, TWO sets of brakes and oil changes, that I would never find a vehicle to give me that kind of reliability and total happiness.

I seem to have been wrong.

I put about 6,000 miles on it in my first year, since I had a company car to get to work and back, so this was my pleasure ride.

Shortly after I purchased it, the front CV joint went bad and the dealer was a man of his word and picked up the tab to tow it, fix it and get it back to me in 3 days.

In the heat of July, the temperature gauge started acting up last year. At one point hitting 215 degrees (the highest it ever went) when the temperature outside was 101. Gotta love Ohio. And everyone said gotta change the thermostat, gotta do it before winter or you won't have heat. Well winter came. The -12 days came and she started every time on the first try. The heat never went out. Over the winter it didn't act up either. Spring came, I changed the thermostat, and ever since then EVERY TIME I get in it it gets up to operating temperature, but actually goes between 203 and 205, then suddenly it breaks and drops down to 184, then it levels itself out around 196 or 198. Everyone tells me its the coolant temperature sensor. 50 bucks from GM. I keep a close eye on it because of the infamous dex cool fiasco.

That has been the only major issue with it, and even then it's no big deal. I recently recharged the A/C and did the brakes.

I keep her clean, she's white so it's a chore. And wherever I go, people look when they see a young guy covered with tatoos stepping out of such a classy vehicle.

As of the fill up today, she's giving me 21.8 mpg on regular gas all city driving.

I'll be doing a full tune up for my 21st birthday and the symbolic one year since I got her, at which time I'll change out that coolant sensor and then 4 new tires.

With Obama's changes to fuel standards, I've decided after I get Bertha paid off I'm going to keep her. And I'm going to start a TASTEFUL restoration. I'm going to re-paint and re-pinstripe it. The leather is still in amazing condition due to religious conditions and the dash has no cracks, also do to frequent cleanings.

I would ideally like to do a V8 swap. Sounds crazy I know, but I'm thinking either a 5.3 liter or a 350 with duel exhaust. Newer rims from an ultra too. I'll make my grandpa car really sing. After I retire her from the road I may invest in something supremely fuel efficient, but I doubt it. When your first car's a Grand Marquis, small cars don't work.

I hope my review has helped some of you. These cars really are amazing. I get an average of 25-27 on the highway depending on how I'm using the pedal. The outside noise is almost non existent. The stock radio works great. The look of them is also timeless. They really transcend age; I'm proof that you don't have to be a retiree to enjoy all that Buick has to offer.

If you can find one at a good enough price, don't wait.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th June, 2009

9th Jun 2009, 19:12

I bought my first Park Avenue at 20. It was a 1999 with 114,000 miles and I bought it in 2005. I drove it all through college with very few problems. I've loved this model for years so as soon as I graduated from college last August I bought myself a 2005 White Diamond loaded model with less than 17,000 miles. I like it even better than the old one (it rides even softer than my '99). It is a shame Buick quit making them. The Lucerne never grew on me (maybe because I liked the Park Avenue so much) it looks like a full-size Camry to me, ugh. I'll probably trade this one for an Enclave when it's paid for.

1997 Buick Park Avenue from North America


Nice options, but too many little things have gone wrong


Mass air-flow sensor.

Air leveling shocks have gone out.

Transmission kicks hard after an hour of driving, and will not shift correctly afterwards. Apparently a common problem, google buick transmission shifts hard.

Windshield wipers stop in the up position.

Fuel gauge goes crazy when below 1/2 tank. Another common problem.

General Comments:

Supercharged, has lots of power.

The traction control is slow to respond.

Rides very nicely until you hit a bump.

Sound system is nice.

Looks very nice on the inside.

Seats are comfortable.

HUD (head up display) is a very nice option.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th February, 2009

24th May 2009, 19:57

What do you expect from an 11 year old car with over 200,000 miles? None of the problems you mentioned are very serious and even the transmission is a fairly easy fix if you have a good mechanic which can properly diagnose it. Don't let them fool you into getting a new transmission. I have owned two Park Avenues a '99 and currently an '05 and really wish they still made this model. I will probably try an Enclave next.

6th Feb 2010, 10:48

I have a 1997 Park Ave. and find it to be an exceptional vehicle.

I replaced the air shocks at 80,000 miles with Monroe air shocks for a total of less than $200.00.

The oil sending unit went at 79,000 for a cost of $39.00. I do not consider either of these expenses to be out of the ordinary.

This vehicle has road feel, and is comfortable to drive for 8 hour at a time trips. I can cruise at 70+ miles per hour and yet get 34 miles per gallon. A recent trip from Ohio to Virginia was completed with 1 tank of gas and I had 1/4 tank left when I arrived in Richmond, Virginia. Not bad for a full size luxury vehicle.

I do not know why Buick changed this winner!