No, it not usual for a car to be as unreliable as your Aurora. It is usual for the Aurora, which is part of reason for the demise of Oldsmobile.
My '98 Aurora has 173000 miles and besides one problem with it (which nobody can figure out) it has been a great car for the 8 years I have owned it. Very reliable even with the sputtering and still powerful. A great car!
NO it's not true. The car you have may not have been taken care of by the first owner, There are so many factors that are involved when purchasing a used car, for one the original owner probably was good to it, but the owner after that might have trashed it. The Aurora is a car that USUALLY lasts for a while I'm an original owner, and now have 110,000 flawless miles, only needed new brake rotors.
Purchased my daughter's Aurora used, when she started college.
She fell in love with it, the ride, the leather heated seats, everything. After her Toy Yodel, it was a wonderful car.
Now has 200,000+ miles, doesn't use a drop of oil. Still starts and runs like new.
Maintaining it is expensive when needed, tho it hasn't been nearly as bad as the supposedly reliable Japanese car she drove previously.
She recently had to replace the alternator. I asked her if she would consider getting a different car. Her answer was a very quick, "NO".
I have driven about 125,000 miles in two Auroras - a 97 and a 98. I replaced an ignition switch and related stuff for almost $1,000, - but everything else was routine. It's just that routine is expensive, especially at the dealer, who is full bore retail. But if you can do it yourself, that $600 spark plug and wire set repair is now about $150. And so on.
The car is great to drive -- powerful, good looking, 30 mpg on the interstate, and just enough exhaust note to hear that twin cam V8. It's a wonderful highway car -- quiet, quick, smooth and responsive.
- I have been driving a 2001 Aurora 4.0 for almost 11 years.
Trouble that has come up in that time:
1. Bad crankshaft position sensors.
2. Broken A/C hose.
3. Leaking P/S hose.
Cost of all that, over more than a decade: under $1000.
This has been the most reliable, trouble free car I have owned in the 51 years that I have been driving.
Used cars are not to blame here, it's the genealogy of the engine. The Aurora 4.0 traces its heritage to the Northstar 4.6L, which for all intents and purposes, was/is junk. Toss in some Olds electronic gadgetry, which was common in the era, and you have a clearer understanding of your problems.
Incidentally, Oldsmobile from at least the 80s onward was traditionally used as a test bed for features, which were intended to one day be in Cadillacs and other lines (the quad-4 was an example of bold new technology which was (poorly) pioneered by Olds). While this was not true for all models, higher end Olds buyers got to help GM engineers through trial and error for their other division's future plans.
The Aurora was a prime example; it was a bold risky car, similar to the Seville STS, which was recently introduced in both powertrain and size. Buick/Pontiac/Chevy at the time were still churning out 3800 powered H-bodies, many of which are still on the road today. Oldsmobile/Cadillac dared big, and as a result, few of these models are left on America's roads.
I have to disagree with you on your points. I don't think that the Northstar engine is a bad engine.
I also must say that there are still lots of Northstar engine cars on the road today. The reason you don't see a lot of Auroras on the road, is because they didn't build a ton of them.
I have read a lot of reviews on these cars with the Northstar, and have known many people that have owned them, and they love the cars. Of course they say you have to drive it hard for proper use. That may just be an excuse to drive hard, but still they say the cars are great.
Some times you just get junk parts in cars. That includes the big expensive imports that you don't hear people talk about, because they don't get on here.
To the poster of 11th Sep 2012, 09:37 who wrote "The reason you don't see a lot of Auroras on the road, is because they didn't build a ton of them."
- According to http://www.wikipedia.org/, exactly 206,722 Auroras were built from the 1995 to the 2003 model years.