1990 Buick Regal Custom 3800 TPI V6 from North America


Solid Buick from the early 90s


Right after purchase the cassette player made a thumping noise in the speakers when a tape was playing. The dealership fixed it right away and it never happened again.

A couple of check engine codes. Can’t remember the reasons.

The computer was replaced.

Water pump right before trade in at 165000 miles.

Yes, tune ups, belts/hoses, brakes and so on.

I consider those things as maintenance that sooner or later any car will need.

General Comments:

As much as I liked the prior G body Regals, these W bodies were pretty good. This car on review was super reliable. This one had the 3800 L27 V6 which was probably the best version of this engine; the series II that followed wasn’t as good, but still rock solid.

Very easy to work on for a FWD car. Performed all maintenance and repairs myself.

This car was a coupe and like all the other W body cars were sort of bland mobiles. Had the dealership dress the car up with the “Presidential“ package with a quarter canvas top and opera lights, giving the car a nice formal look.

The interior was nice with cloth seats and room for six (squeezing).

The dashboard was kind of boring with only a digital speedo and warning lights, no optional gauges. The factory radio was an oddball size, making it impossible to be replaced with a custom aftermarket if you wanted to.

The ride was your average soft Buick traditional.

To sum it up; for a platform that didn’t make GM a lot of money in the many years it was manufactured, this was an excellent car and probably one of our best in the reliability category.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th June, 2021

6th Jun 2021, 02:49

Sounds like you got a good one.

I worked for a Buick dealer from 1990-1994.

The W-Bodies were a radical departure from the GM norm, brought on by the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable. They were rushed to market out of panic.

They had an inherent problems with such things as underhood airflow that manifested itself with subpar A/C performance. 50 Degrees at the center A/C vents was considered acceptable performance which customers did not agree with. It also resulted in limiting top speed for police package W-Bodies.

Aside from performance limitations such as the above, the reliability was very ugly with the initial 1988 models. Transmissions, head gaskets, stalling, rear brake issues (the bulk of the parts were made in... France - EEP !!!) power antennas, remote keyless entry, power windows... etc.

1990 saw the beginning of improvement in reliability, particularly with the addition of the 3800. It didn’t anger its head gaskets or stall. It also had the gear rotor oil pump which fixed the bottom end failures of Buick V6s. It also worked well with the rather wide ratio 4 speed automatic transmission, being much bigger than the Chevy 2.8/3.1 and more mildly tuned. The resulting broad torque curve covered the yawing gaps between the gear ratio designed to game EPA fuel economy and emissions tests.

I will never forget driving my 1st 1991 3800 Regal. What HUGE difference in performance!!!

The W-Bodies have evolved into much more reliable cars with time.

Enjoy your car - it sounds like it has a good home. :)

10th Jun 2021, 16:40

Read the review. Has not "enjoyed" the car since 25 years ago...

12th Jun 2021, 17:35

Reviews are timeless. Unless they are no longer tagged or driven. People actually review cars on here that they have never even owned. I feel qualified to review cars I have owned and driven even if it’s been many decades since. I can vividly remember all issues, mileage, and life history.

13th Jun 2021, 12:25

Reviews are a reflection of people's experience with a vehicle. Regardless of when they owned it.

13th Jun 2021, 15:18

Thanks for the input. Now, please explain how you would "enjoy" a car that you sold 25 years ago.

14th Jun 2021, 21:03

Because it treated you well during your ownership. And being a nice reader and commenter, you enjoy sharing your time behind the wheel. I have bought certain cars back again. If you think of it, any commenter on here is not paid, share good with the bad. My best vehicles I have ever owned were Acura Legends. Not made anymore. My worst was Acura TL; stay away, transmissions fail more than once. That’s sharing input from 30 years ago and 20 years ago. Hope that helps.

1990 Buick Regal Custom Coupe 2 door 3.8L V6 from North America


A quality, comfortable, reliable car that has served me well for over 25 years & still going strong!


First thing that broke (within the first 6 months) was flimsy plastic cup holder that flipped down out of the center console. A very poor design. Otherwise, the interior is in mint condition!

Was rear-ended in '98; had to replace the trunk, quarter panels & gas tank. As a result the gas gauge does not work properly.

ECM replaced at 70,000 miles.

Had to replace the window motor in the driver's door at 80,000 miles.

Cam sensor interrupter magnet dislodged at 90,000 miles, but the car still runs fine.

Factory air conditioner recharged at 90,000 miles.

Alternator and serpentine belt replaced at 50,000 miles.

A couple of negatives (for me) are no airbags and no pass-through opening from the trunk to the back seat as in similar models.

General Comments:

I bought this car new from dealer in '91. Was a demo with 112 miles on the odometer. This Regal has been outstanding and has been my daily driver for over 25 years. And yes it HAS been a dream having NO CAR PAYMENT for 20+ years! Saved a lot of interest.

It is still very comfortable and (knock wood) has not needed any major repairs to the engine or transmission and still runs great. The 3800 V6 engine still has plenty of power and pick-up upon acceleration for passing. With front wheel drive, it gets around fine and handles great in the Midwest winter/snow and ice.

It has been driven across the U.S. from east to west twice and was a comfortable ride. With a tow package and transmission cooler installed, this Regal had no problem at all pulling a 22' boat through the mountains and across several states.

Overall, I truly can't complain about this car. With routine maintenance, it has performed well and lasted better than expected. It has just now gone over 100k miles, and I expect it would be great for another 200-300k+ if properly maintained. The exterior paint on top is just now starting to fade, but that's my fault as it is currently not garaged. The plush (cloth) interior has held up extremely well and shows hardly any wear, and all of the instruments, handles, buttons, locks, belts, etc., still function properly. It really makes a difference if you take care of your vehicle and keep it clean and well maintained.

Honestly I would keep this Regal "until the wheels fall off," but I am currently planning to replace it with a newer subcompact Buick (Encore), only because I need more cargo space. Fingers crossed, the new Buick will be good for the next 25+ years. :-)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th May, 2016

23rd Apr 2017, 04:51

Hi, my odometer stopped in my 1990 Regal. I am in North Jersey. If you know someone who can repair it, let me know as I am going to the Buick meet in Wisconsin the first week of July. I have about 50,000 miles. I have the 3.1, it runs great, very few repairs. No rust and the paint is in good condition. Still has a shine. I keep mine under a car cover. I also bought a 2014 Buick Encore. My Regal was featured in the Buick Bugle magazine in Oct or Nov of 2016.