Fellow '96 Ciera owner here, and agree with just about all your analysis on the car, it's faithful and ordinary, all day long. Do most of my driving with a thumb at the bottom of the steering wheel, too. A/C compressor and driver's window regulator are bad on mine. Window isn't getting fixed, but I'm wondering about how much I should budget for the compressor, since I won't be doing it myself. Hope your second Ciera is still running true. I just bought my sister a '95 Ciera, even nicer than mine, and she is head over heels with it already.
I just picked up a 1995 Oldsmobile Ciera SL with 75k miles and super clean, I had to replace power window motor on driver side, but other than that I just love this car. Would like to hear comments about this model if anybody has anything to share.
I also have a 96 Oldsmobile Ciera. I have had it for about two years and it runs great all the time. This car has 109,000 miles on it.
The biggest problem I am having is with the control panel on the doors that have the power window and door locks, they are fragile and if touched the plastic cracks and they are pretty much gone now.
I just got it smog-ed today and it still passes. But the A/C isn't cool anymore and I want to recharge the Freon, but I'm not sure where to connect the can. I found a connector on one of the A/C lines, and I am not sure if that is the right one. It is behind the radiator and in plain sight. Does it take r-134a? Should I be worried about the gaskets? It would be awesome if some one could help me out.
January 21, 2011.
I have owned a 1996 Olds Ciera Cutlass for 7 years. She has 91,000 plus miles. The car has the 3.1 Liter GM engine. The engine is noisy, especially in the winter time due to piston slap as I was educated on a youtube website. At first I thought the lifters were making noise and was quite concerned. I thought the engine needed attention, but it didn't. GM intentionally built this engine with loose fitting pistons. It is highly recommended to allow the engine to warm up until the noise diminishes before driving. This allow the pistons to expand and thus stop making noise. Damage to the cylinder walls will result if you just start-up and take off!
Another problem common with the 1996 Olds Ciera is the power window motors. I have replaced every window motor in this car.
Expect to have leaking intake manifold gaskets also. The Dexcool anti-freeze GM used eats intake gaskets up. I flushed the Dexcool anti-freeze and replaced with the green anti-freeze. You need to flush and replace this anti-freeze at least every two years, unlike the Dexcool, every 7 years. I have not had any more anti-freeze leaks on the intake since I changed to regular green anti-freeze.
This car drives great in the SNOW and ICE! I still love the car, runs great!
Good luck, and I highly recommend buying one of these cars!
These are very well built economy cars, you can purchase one used for very cheap as well, usually with low mileage and senior owned, as seniors love these cars.
You still see tons of these on the road every day, as with its sister cars the Buick Century, Pontiac 6000, and Chevy Celebrity.
My family loves these cars, we had a Celebrity that made it to over 250000 miles and was still running when we sold it.
My parents have been debating getting a newer car for years now, but they are still driving a 1995 Cutlass Ciera that just will not quit. It has saved them lots of money owning this car, it cost them $1500 to purchase, and they have had it for over 6 years with no problems.
The car still looks good with the white paint and chrome, and the blue interior has held up well and is very comfortable for long trips, as are all these cars.
The only problem is the power window motors, the best solution is to outfit it with an aftermarket power window motor as opposed to the OEM ones. Apart from that, this is an excellent designed car, very reliable for low cost.
I agree with the above posters - this is one of the best value used cars out there if you can find one. However, I will say I prefer the Buick Centuries from about 88-93 with their smooth and torquey 3.3 liter V6 over the 3.1.
I agree with all the comments previously posted. I have a 1995 Olds Cutlass Ciera, 3.1L V6 that has 193,000. I have owned her for 10 years and she has been a wonderful car. She is an early model 1995 and does not have a noisy engine when cold like some of the other posts have stated.
However, I have replaced the upper intake manifold gasket twice, the head gasket once, and valve cover gaskets once. The power windows are a problem. Right now the only one that works is the passenger front. The driver side has been replaced twice.
Other than that she has been an amazing car and I would recommend buying one to anyone. For the price, you cannot beat the reliability and the cost savings of not having a car payment.
I purchased a 1996 Olds Cutlass Ciera 3.1 V6 in August of 2000 with 30,030 miles on it from an 85 year old man. He had purchased it in 1997 with 25,000 miles on it from a dealer; the car was a rental return from Hertz. So the old man drove it 5,000 miles in 4 years basically.
I paid $7800. Now 11 years later to date, it has 194,697 miles on it. Just brakes, oil and gas, tires, and a few basic maintenance items, rear shocks, lower intake gasket-plastic - but for owning it for 11 years at a cost of 4 cents a mile, it has been a godsend.
Like others say, it drives itself, and I have motored through MN snow storms where 4 wheel drive trucks got stuck or in ditch, and it will push snow up to the bumper and still get you to work.
I am going to hate to see this car go to the bone yard. 11 years, and she has been better to me than most people I know.
Yes, the driver's window control panel and lock panel "goes out", however it is not the panel. It is the wires in the door that go to the car - through the rubber housing. The wires - being plastic coated - wear and get brittle, and that is where they break. I just cut off the black rubber gasket and reattached the wires as they are color coated... got it working in 15 minutes.
The window, driver's side motor is out, not a big deal and not worth fixing.
I have had this car 11 years, and it never left me stranded, never did not start once even, it always gave me a fair warning of a problem and plenty of time to get it repaired.
JUST yesterday it appears I need a power steering pump as the reservoir is low as she was howling a bit. Put some Lucas stop leak in her, but it don't look good... maybe I will have to replace the pump or seals.
And my 96 is in great shape, body and interior, as I always waxed it, washed it 2x's a week in winter, and kept it clean. It was good to me as I was good to it.
Oh, and since day one I ran Mobil 1 synthetic 5W30 in her, and I am not hard on her taking hard corners or beating her, however I rag her out daily since day one and make that 3.1 howl. And it likes it.
She's as good a runner as she was 11 years ago. Hope to get 250,000 out of her. That would be 3 cents a mile to own.