1990 Oldsmobile Ciera Cutlass S 3.3 from North America


I love my Olds Cutlass; GM made one hell of a car when they made this one


Have replaced the oil pump, filter (regularly), water pump (1x), A/C condensor, blower motor, radiator, alternator, starter, transmission was replaced around 200,000 miles, head gasket, A/C compressor, and TPS sensor, and thinking O2 sensor is about to be replaced.

Last, the air filter is changed every time I change the oil, or around every 50k miles.

General Comments:

It has been a great car since it was given to me back in 2000 right before my 11th grade yr. of high school. Although the seats are starting to tear a little, and the rubber door moldings need to be replaced, but still have use.

The car is great, and I wouldn't trade it for nothing, and have turned down a couple offers for purchase of it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th May, 2010

13th May 2010, 10:56

I agree these - and their siblings the Buick Century - are just about the cheapest, best value, reliable/durable used car deals out there. But I have to ask - how much does a transmission for one of these cost? Because even as much as I value and respect this type of car, I have to admit I would hesitate to spend much in a major repair for one with 200,000 miles on it.

13th Aug 2010, 13:14

A quick search on a junkyard aggregating website has told me that the TH125 3-speed automatics can be bought used with 30-day to 6-month warranties for anywhere from $75 to $400. The TH440 4-speed automatics can be bought used with the same warranties for $150-$450. They are not expensive transmissions used, and they will go a long time before failure if treated reasonably.

But because these cars are front wheel drive, you can figure another $400-$800 for labor to install, depending on how greedy mechanics in your area are.

My 1990 Ciera has the 3300 engine and the TH125 transmission with 135K, and leaks ATF out the side cover. I plan to fix that, but the way the car drives, I do not expect to need transmission work until well past 200K miles. It does not shift any differently than these cars did new.

1990 Oldsmobile Ciera Interational 3.3 litre from North America


Dependable, good gas mileage, a little rust


Brake job front and rear, windshield replaced 1 year later. Exhaust job.Air conditioner needed charge at 90000 miles. Routine maintenance.

General Comments:

I had very good reliability with my Ci-era, people. My heater also had the "crunchy" sounds when the blower was on. Mine was a blue car with blue interior & some options like rear view mirror lights, a 16 way power driver seat with manual recline, power passenger seat, cloth seats. I have heard some horror stories from Ciera owners, but I had good luck with this one and my 1987.Though the 87 had a couple more problems. And I also tend to trade my domestic cars before they reach 100000 miles. The one problem I can remember reading about 1990 Ci-eras was, that the windshield could pop out during a front end collision. And the door mounted shoulder straps (hated those) might break in a high speed crash.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th October, 2005

30th Aug 2009, 03:33

My dad had one (90 Cutlass Ciera International) for a few months as a company car until they ordered him a new Dodge Caravan. It had the FE3 package and it handled well for a front wheel drive car. It was the strongest front driver I had driven, and it had a lot of torque steer. There was 100K km's on it and there wasn't a rev limiter or a top speed limiter. I wonder if since it was a fleet order if it might have had the police chip? Cops used them from 90 to 95. If you're searching for junkyard parts, look for old government cars and take the PROM chip. The Chevy 2.8 and 3.1 V6's I have driven weren't nearly as fast. And the 86 Gutless Cutlass with the 2.5L Tech 4 engine was the slowest car my mother ever owned. The FE3 and Chevy Eurosport suspension parts are basically the same and they really improve the handling.

The throttle bodies on V6's need frequent cleaning to cure rough idle, and don't forget to clean out the IAC port. Buy some sand paper, rust converter, and a fiberglass body repair kit and it's easy to fix all the rust and holes on older cars.

It makes better sense to buy a mechanically fit car with low miles and full service records than to buy a rust free fixer upper. I did all the body work on my mothers 86 Ciera on a Saturday and a spray bomb paint job on Sunday. There were a few holes in the doors, around the gas filler door, and the lower edge of the rear quarter panel near the plastic bumper so the fibreglass was required. You can sand the fiberglass resin so smooth that you don't need body filler, just a tube of spot glazing putty.

Always check the subframes for rust on these cars; if they're solid, the engine is strong with no coolant or oil leaks, and the transmission shifts without slipping, then they make good beaters to drive for cheap.