1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 3.1L from North America
Dependable, affordable car that is fairly easy to repair or maintain
Intake manifold gasket leak is common for this model.
Excessive rear brake wear.
Transmissions prone to slippage.
Interior control knobs break.
Interior door handle covers fall off.
Passenger side engine mount is prone to fail.
Air duct louvers break.
Remote jump start post may short out.
Vacuum line under the battery wears a hole, causing interior blowers to stop working under strain.
ABS system light is a common issue.
I have owned 7 of the same exact model since 96. They have common issues, but in general, they deliver a very good, smooth ride with great fuel economy when the car is running well.
The problems I have noted are pretty common - the intake gasket issue being the most bothersome and expensive.
The engine mount on the passenger side is a poor design - it is in an enclosed well that gathers water and oil, which ruins the engine mount, causing the engine to rock when accelerating.
The interior (louvers, knobs, covers, etc.) are very cheaply and poorly made, but can be made to work with some custom rebuilding on your part (wire, JB weld etc. work wonders).
There is an issue with the remote jump start post where a loose nut will cause the vehicle to not start - it took quite a while to figure that out, so if you have electric problems, tighten that nut first.
The firewall spark plugs are very difficult to change without chancing stripping out the threads, and the rear brakes have a strange screw type mechanism. These two maintenance issues are better handled by your mechanic.
A vacuum line runs right underneath the battery, and over time a hole gets worn through it, causing your environmental controls (blower) to stop working, which is annoying when you need the A/C on a trip. Move the vacuum line out of its normal position to avoid this issue.
I stick with this model car, because when something starts acting strange, I usually know what the problem is. I have driven at least 3 of these cars about 250K miles with the minor issues I noted. 2 others have had multiple intake gasket problems, and we are currently driving 2 - both with under 100K miles on them. We retired 1 of them at 250K, and 1 had an engine ruined when my wife drove into some flood water. These two I keep out back for parts cars whenever we need parts or repairs (transmission, body panels, trim, interior details, etc.) They are easy to shade-tree part out or repair if you're so inclined, and we'll keep driving these until we cannot find this model or parts for them any more.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 15th December, 2015