1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 3.1 litre from North America


They were asleep at the wheel when they put this one together


This car goes through warped rotors and calipers like crazy. The right rear caliper froze up and ended up costing me an entire 4-wheel brake job. A mechanic said that rear brakes shouldn't be replaced every single year. Well, I'm replacing that right rear one about every 6 months now so it doesn't foul up the rest of them.

While I have no proof, I believe the sticking caliper has caused transmission problems at least 3 times since 2001, including replacing the transmission twice. Presently, first gear is all but shot, and I refuse to replace the transmission a third time.

Currently, the car will start and then die when shifting to drive or reverse gear. The fuel pump has been replaced, and it still does the same thing.

It also chews up headlamps too. I replace headlamps twice a year.

I've always kept the engine oil changed regularly, did the tuneups when needed, changed fuel filters, PCV valves, air filters, etc. at least once per year.

The car has been very problematic. Now I know why someone else dumped it off with 96,000, only 5 years old. If I could afford a new one, I would have gotten rid of this one years ago.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th April, 2010

29th Apr 2010, 17:17

Sad thing is, '96 was the last year of that particular model, so GM had plenty of time to get it right, just sloppy typical mid-90's craftsmanship. If you can find one in good shape, you should try out the early to mid-80's models Cutlass Supreme like I have; whole different animal (and that's exactly the point).

1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme SL 3.1 from North America


Great car. Great looks and a great ride


Replaced intake gasket, replaced left rear strut and mounting. Now right rear strut & mount need to be replaced.

General Comments:

We love the car. It runs and drives like a new car, even with all of its miles.

Minor tune up and a set of tires, plus the rear strut issue, is all we've had go wrong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th April, 2010

1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass 3.1 V6 from North America


Some issues, but good value


Rear brake caliper seized up.

Washer fluid tank leaks.

Intake manifold gasket leak.

General Comments:

Overall this car is a good deal. It's comfortable, smooth, quick enough. It is pretty reliable.

The biggest problem has been the intake manifold. GM made a bad choice in using plastic gaskets with their "Dex cool" brand antifreeze. It like to eat the gaskets. If you get one of these cars, take that stuff out and get normal yellow or green antifreeze to prevent this from happening.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th February, 2010

1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 3.1 from North America


Very strong car


Brakes - Needs to have heavy duty brake pads and rotors. Rotors are best if vented.

Tires - needed new tires, heavy vehicle, but with the snow storms here I have not gotten stuck yet (don't use studded tires).

Head lights - Replace all head lights with high priced so it illuminates better about 90% better than what it had. You need a long needle nose to replace the lights - very difficult to remove and replace.

General Comments:

Only 2 thousands miles from me, and I just got back from a 250 mile trip to Philadelphia and back. This car didn't like to slow down once up to 70-75. Thought the cruise control was stuck, but it's just that the car is smooth and doesn't have much drag.

I can see that they alternator is new and there are new plugs and wires.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd February, 2009

1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 3.1L from North America


Economical modestly fast fun, gearhead friendly car


Goes through brakes fast, if cheap parts are used.

Started leaking a bit of oil at 150k.

Shreds cheap tires up fast.

All new ball joints/tie rods at 150k (original were on it), new struts at 95k (needs new struts very badly again).

At 160k miles the engine frame (K member) has completely separated from rust on the passenger side where it mounts to the body/firewall, right behind the lower control arm. Amazingly, the car still drives OK, but you can feel the flex on that side of the front end a lot.

This car goes through spark plug wires fast (hard to route cleanly), original trans, original motor, A/C still work.

In order to keep the rear brakes adjusted, you have to constantly use the emergency brake when parking, very annoying. Also, the rear brakes "drag" way too much due to the poor design of the caliper on that specific vehicle.

For someone who does not work on cars, this could be a costly vehicle to own. A lot of small tinkering is required to keep it running perfect. Lots of tiny problems. For someone who doesn't mind doing the small stuff on their own car, this is the perfect car. Especially for a wrench-happy teenager.

12.13.08 420.

General Comments:

1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 3.1L, 4speed automatic, loaded (no leather). This car has always been driven very hard by the previous owner and myself, ever since it was new.

The Olds is unfortunately limited to 107mph. No fun there. Because of the poorly geared transmission and the converter lockup constantly disengaging and reengaging, to maintain top speed you have to stay heavy on the throttle. It will sail along at 90-100mph all day though!

This has overall been a reliable car. Never once in its 160,000 mile life has ever broken down suddenly. It has traveled around the United States two separate times.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th December, 2008

21st Mar 2009, 12:49

I have a 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 3.1 v6. 160,000 miles. I have almost 100% identical problems as you do. Broken K-member, severe rust issues, all new brake lines, all new rear suspension. All caused by rust. Yes, the car requires nonstop tinkering to keep running perfect. It also requires new brakes every 15,000 miles, and new struts about every 50k.

Many other similar Chevrolet's have similiar problems also. No wonder they stick with rear wheel drives in the Australian division of GM, Holden.