1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme SL 3.1L V6 from North America


A good 'bang for the buck' sporty coupe


Rear dome light on passenger side works only half the time. Short?

Also the right hand directional indicator light, in the instrument cluster, comes on and off intermittently when I drive with the headlights on. To my knowledge, it is only the indicator light on the dash that does this, not the actual directional outside the car. Directional lights work when I am signalling to turn right, but dash light indicator appears to have a mind of its own. Anybody else have this problem? I have replaced all bulbs inside and outside of car for this directional.

The stereo, factory original with CD and tape and AM / FM capabilities, notes a popping noise in the speakers at low volume? Anyone have any ideas?

Changed the original battery at 74,000 miles. Not an easy task. Requires the removal of the top left uni-strut, washer bottle, and air box just to gain access to the tie bar removal which holds the battery in place.

General Comments:

Impressive power from this 3.1L V6, strong enough to stave off an aggressive 1988 IROC-Z. The only addition / modification made to the original engine and components was a K&N filter charger kit installed by myself. Notable increase in power, especially when passing and initial take off.

Nice tight ride when it is needed in the corners. Smooth comfortable ride on those long interstate drives. With all the extras included, like power seats, locks and windows, and tape/CD AM/FM stereo, and dual climate control, leather, this car is truly a luxurious head turner.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th July, 2001

1st Apr 2003, 12:32

I am a 16 year old junior in High School. I have been looking for a reliable yet fun car to purchase for about a year now, and this is the only car that I was able to find. This car was not my first choice, but now that I own it, I do enjoy this car.

Mine is a 1996, bright red, SL coupe, and it is a very nice ride. It has the 3.1L V6, which for the money, delivers some serious power. I have been able to beat GT Mustangs with my OLDS.

The car has a few problems that need to be taken care of, most of which are not under the hood. For example, the rear dome lights are not of the greatest quality and need to be changed. The stereo system is very nice, but every now and then there are very slight popping noises coming from the speakers. There are a few knobs missing from the stereo unit and the seek button tends to turn the stereo on or off, rather than seek for stations. The gas gauge needle moves up and down all of the time, when I press on the gas and when I press on the brake, which does not give me a very accurate reading of the level of gas in my car.

I bought it on March 13th, 2003, and have since put 680 miles on the engine, which came with 95,000 original miles.

Other than these minor things, I have not had any major problems with the car.

It does however, deliver a very smooth and comfortable ride which all of my passengers enjoy. The braking is excellent and the power delivery is great.

I will own this car forever.

It is an over all great vehicle and I recommend that you find one and purchase it.

1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass SL-IV 3.1L V-6 from North America


A typically American pile of garbage that will burn your money and drive you insane


The brakes wear too fast (every 20,000 miles). The rotors warp terribly.

The interior lighting completely failed. All lighting repaired by the dealer under warranty.

Every item of interior trim comes loose, rattles, and eventually breaks or falls off. Dealer reluctantly "quick-fixed" some items under the warranty. Problems continued throughout my ownership of the car.

Vehicle speed sensor failed. Dealer replaced under the warranty.

Alternator failed, 1000 miles out of warranty. Cost $200 to replace.

Front and rear sway bar bushings failed. Dealer failed to locate and fix the problem, then broke other parts of the car. Independent mechanic quickly (and cheaply) replaced and lubricated the bushings.

Oil starts to leak from the cheaply made, poorly designed plug on the oil pump drive shaft. Cost $5 parts, $400 labor. Dealer causes a vacuum leak while fixing the oil leak. Dealer refused to repair until threatened with a lawsuit.

Trunk lock broke off of inside of the trunk.

Fuel pump begins to fail. Gas gauge "jittery" and grossly inaccurate; car refuses to start at times; sometimes stalls while driving; gas fumes increasingly evident when starting.

General Comments:

This has to be one of the worst mistakes of my life. After this car, and the Bonneville, I won't ever buy American again.

The engine is pathetically weak, made even more so by the automatic (no manual available, of course) transmission. It's very poorly designed, with the sluggishness (and fuel inefficiency) of a pushrod motor, and the high RPM for peak torque and HP of a DOHC motor.

The brakes are too small and soft to stop a ten-speed bicycle, let alone a car, let alone a big American boat. Pray that you never need to "panic-stop".

The turning radius is equivalently boat-like. Don't try any U- or 3-point- turns if there's even a hint of oncoming traffic. Even if you can complete the turn, you won't have enough power to safely accelerate away.

The underhood layout is baffling. The battery is located under the washer fluid reservoir, the latter of which must be removed to access the former. Expect to spend $20 for additional labor to change it. The rear three spark plugs are as good as inaccessible.

The interior couldn't be made more cheaply in a Third World Country. The plastic is thin and flimsy. The fasteners to hold down that plastic are themselves thin, flimsy plastic, and there are too few of them. If you dislike squeaks and rattles, and still buy this car, keep velcro, duct tape, epoxy, and some type of soundproofing foam handy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th May, 2001

22nd Jun 2001, 20:50

Its seems that you had bad service along with a 'bad seed' The car is as dependable for me as no other vehicle.

Good luck.

27th Jul 2001, 17:59

Don't give up on Oldsmobile products. It's true the Oldsmobile division of GM is going to be phased out at the end of the 2002 model year, but they will still be available as used cars for many years to come. The "phase out" is due to a drop in profits because the market changed so drastically earlier this year. I've has two Oldsmobiles and they were both reliable as rocks and I've driven them through harsh winters, long road trips, and very hot summers. They lasted well past 200,000 miles. You just must have picked up a lemon, in every model line of cars there are a few that are bad, but in oldsmobiles, most are good. If you are thinking about buying an Olds don't worry about the availability of parts and service, GM said they will still have the parts and service for Oldsmobiles for many years to come.