1999 Oldsmobile Alero GLS 3.4 liter from North America
Repairs to date:
- Lower intake manifold gasket (2x) and heads $50.00 /$550 second repair out of pocket.
- Radiator (was clogged from Dexcool and started leaking after flushing the system) $200.00.
- Water pump 2x (second because flushing Dexcool out ate through seals), $50 deductible under extended warranty/ $100 second repair out of pocket.
- Heater blower resistor (2x's), $25 (x2) for parts.
- Cruise control switch $25.00.
- Rear defogger relay (it's in the "sail panel"); fixed with solder, quick connectors and hot glue (FREE!)
- Power steering pump return hose, $175.00.
- Throttle position sensor, $35.00.
- Driver's door windows switch (disassembled cleaned contacts) FREE!
On 3rd set of tires, always seem to be about $500 a set for the 50 series 16 inch. Not a complaint, just a note.
Since I do my own work, the parts are minimal compared to the cost of the labor. The only repair I had my local shop do is the radiator, water pump and p/s return hose. All these needed to be done from the bottom of the car, and I don't have a lift. I source out the parts from the cheapest source, knowing the repair will need to be done, and my mechanic charges labor @ 50.00 an hour.
Unless you can do the same, the repairs I've listed above will cost much more. The LIM job is $800.00 alone.
An important note, the pads need to be checked every 10,000 miles, otherwise the rotor replacement gets pricey if they get eaten into.
I have owned this car since new, and have done oil changes anywhere between 4000 and 6500 miles. My wife had it as a lease, and for the first 36,000 miles, nothing but an alternator and battery were done for repairs.
At the 45,000 mile mark, the dealership (when there were Olds dealers) did the lower intake manifold gasket under the extended warranty; it only cost me $50.00 deductible. Using the same crappy GM OEM parts, it lasted until 75,000 miles when I had to do it myself.
I had the heads rebuilt the second time, and did a full top end job. Using the aftermarket upgraded head and l.i.m. gasket set by Felpro, I can confidently say this will last longer than the rest of the car will.
Overall, not a bad car considering I beat it daily and do minimal maintenance. Lesser vehicles would have failed before 100K miles, and I am surprised the drive train has lasted as long as it has.
It handled like a sports car until recently, good grip and minimal body roll. I am now over 100K miles, and the suspension parts will need to be replaced soon; it's rolling around like a 69 caddy.
Really thinking about it, I WOULD buy another GM product. Not because of quality, as the poorly designed gasket issue and Dexcool problems, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. Repairs I have done I would not attempt on Japanese or German cars, I can do these on US manufactured cars, because they are easier to work on and parts are much cheaper.
A side note, my recent purchase is a 2006 Chrysler Town and Country with 40,000 miles; it also appears to be "as good" (or bad) as the GM products. Looks like I'll be honing my repair skills on this too!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th September, 2010