A great car if you can afford to maintain it
Fuel system is disappointing. The fuel rail has been replaced, but to my knowledge there is no recall on this model year, as with other years. The fuel rail is nylon or some other plastic/polymer. On other model years, there are two recall replacement types; stainless and "other". The fuel pressure regulator had to be changed. A $75 part from NAPA, but the labor is interesting. You will know when it is time to replace it, when you experience acceleration that you are not commanding. It is interesting to apply the brakes, nearly come to a rest in traffic and then experience a surge of power. As for the rail (or the pipes to the rail), you will know its time for a replacement after you smell lots and lots of gas, or (Heaven forbid) an engine fire.
Exhaust gas system only had one problem. The car would drop RPM and stall. To its credit, it would restart immediately, but this is a very dangerous event in heavy stop and go traffic. Whoever designed-out the ability to start the car in Neutral, while rolling, did not do any of us any favors. You will know when its time for the replacement of the exhaust gas regulator, when you are feathering the gas just slightly, while braking for a light or traffic.
Traction control was great when it worked. I was quoted $800 for repair. What no one shares with you though, is that when the traction control is not working, NEITHER is your ABS! You will still have functional brakes, but not the braking system you paid for.
Power windows are a disappointment. I have been quoted $200 to $300 for this repair. I removed the driver's door panel to find the problem. The connector and plug for the windows is prey to condensation, and the electrical spade connectors are corroded. A quick scrape of the connectors (of what I could reach) and the windows worked fine. However I cannot fully reach or remove this assembly, for a thorough cleaning, and as an old Army tech, I do not care to apply a spray-on cleaner.
Engine oil leaks. Prepare for lots of these. The sources are front and rear seals, or the oil pan gaskets, or the oil pan drain plug gasket. I recently applied an additive in lieu of about $3000 in repairs, and for the past week have not seen any spots on the driveway.
Loss of engine oil pressure. Very disappointing. I need a minimum of 6 PSIG or the engine will shut-off. On the highway, I can only reach about 28 PSIG, which is about 20 PSIG less than normal, yet the car drives and handles well. There are only three sources for this problem which are 1) Low oil level. 2) A bearing replacement is needed or, 3) The oil pump (the most lubricated part of the car, and the least stressed fluid mechanical part) needs to be replaced. There is good news, however. The engine oil additive that worked on the leaks has also increased the pressure, to a minimum of 8 PSIG, so I no longer need to feather the gas when sitting idle.
Cooling system is disappointing. Keep your eye on the water pump belt; it's about a $250 replacement. You will know when its time for a replacement when your display alerts you to high engine temperature. The car will ignore some of its cylinders (your V-8 will become a 4 or 6 banger, to help you get home, but home had better be pretty close, say less than 5 miles). The radiator has an aluminum core with plastic caps, and JB Weld will help you until you get this serviced. In lieu of a $600 radiator replacement, I had my repair shop, drain the system, remove the reservoir and add "GM Pellets". Good bye coolant leaks! I know this is only temporary, but for $60, it's worth it. I was curious to learn why GM had their own brand of leak repair.
The air conditioning just failed, but I have not yet had it diagnosed.
Fog lamps that look so cool, constantly need replaced. Headlamps are beginning to last only about 6 to 8 months, and cheers to you if you can replace those bulbs yourself.
Headlamps flickering? Headlamps come on for no apparent reason? Battery constantly needs jumped and you have not yet linked this annoyance to your headlamps? It's not the sentinel, unless your dash is extremely filthy. Its not that the chip in your ignition key has failed. It's not the roller switches for sentinel or interior lights. It's not the instrument lamp fuse. It's not the headlamps' circuit breaker. Do you hear relay chatter under the dash? Have your $300 lighting control module diagnosed by your dealer; $75 for the diagnosis, $150 for the module (that has to be ordered), and $75 to install it once it arrives. Until then remove the rear seat, remove the aforementioned fuse and circuit breaker, replace the seat and drive, AND be home before dark. You will save the battery this way, until you can get the repair done. Do keep the fuse and circuit breaker in the car, in case you cannot get home before dark (unless you want to hold your high beam switch all the way home).
Purchased the car at 25,000 miles, and it now has 126,000 miles. For the most part it has been reliable, and you should consider this: Auroras are high performance automobiles, and have had the honor of pacing at Indy THREE times. With this of course is the dependability tied to high repair costs when needed. Our Aurora is very fast.
Handling is 10:10. Comfort is 10:10. Braking is 10:10. Cornering is 10:10. Acceleration is 10:10. Heated seats are 10:10. I have not had transmission problems or repairs. If I had the resources to maintain this car I would garage it and keep it and treat it as a classic.
I wish I had about $6000 for engine repairs, or about the same amount of money for a replacement engine. And yes this is more economical than purchasing a new car, but who do you really, really trust to install and Warranty a replacement engine. If you cannot get a good warranty, then do not buy a replacement engine. Also, this is the first car that I have owned, which caused me to research the cost of my own hand-held plug-in diagnostic tool. A friend of mine has one, plugged it in, and we then downloaded the information to his laptop PC. Going to your dealer's service bay with this kind of information will save you some cash! If you do not know by now, Aurora's are picky about fuel. We exclusively use Shell and Marathon, at 92 or 93 octane. STP has a fuel injector cleaner, that is advertised as having a small percentage of jet aircraft fuel in it. Adding this three or four times a year, to a 50% full tank, or completely full tank, has made a difference.
Time to reveal the additive: LUCAS Hi-Performance Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer. I recently added one bottle to an oil change, and I am impressed. Drive for about an hour after adding the Lucas. I intend to add this at my next oil change. The additive is about $7 at AutoZone.
I trust you have found my comments as useful, as I have found most of your comments as well.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 4th August, 2004