1989 Pontiac Bonneville SSE 3.8 from North America


Fun good looking car


Mass air flow sensor.

Oil pressure sending unit.

O2 sensor.

Clogged catalytic converter.

Broken antenna.

Speedometer broken.

Compass / vehicle info doesn't work.

Sunroof doesn't properly seal.

Power windows slow.

Power locks barely work.

Stock speakers all were garbage.

Doesn't like to start in cold weather.

Cigarette lighter plug broken.

Wipe blade function sucks.

Air ride leaks.

Passenger CV joint.

Poor on fuel.

Headlights break from being glass.

Hood has brutal cracked paint.

A/C doesn't work.

Headlight spray container broken.


Hood latch doesn't open well.

Doors are hard to open.

General Comments:

My first was a black 88 SSE and both back doors wouldn't open and the air ride was broken.

Engine went around 360km.

2019 and my red SSE is officially 30 years old with only 178000km. The car always has problems, but it's like no other vehicle. So much style.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th March, 2019

1989 Pontiac Bonneville LE 3.8 from North America


More reliable than a Volvo


The speedometer and odometer only work about half the time. I don't mind: it's less distracting.

It's been repainted.

Some rust around the edges.

The passenger power window became untracked once. I got a new plastic clip from a GM dealer, and it now sorta works.

I replaced the rusted out radiator (don't use tap water) with a still-new-looking one from a newer similar car in a junkyard.

It leaked some oil from the intake manifold, but stopped since I've used high-mileage oil.

General Comments:

The odometer reads 250,000 km (150,000 miles), but it only rolls half the time.

I've driven this car almost every day, summer and winter, for the last three years. The only thing I've had to change is a battery, radiator, and brake pads.

Parts are cheap and plentiful from the junkyard.

Passengers ride in comfort. It's roomy. It has lots of power AND gets great gas mileage. It's very aerodynamic.

It's 22 years old. The interior still looks like new! The AC blows cold! It handles tight! I'm glad I got this car instead of the Volvos I was considering.

I upgraded the ignition coil pack to one from the next-generation 3800. Ten bucks, two bolts, ten minutes, and now I get more power.

This was my first car and it showed me how reliable cars should be if you maintain them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th May, 2011

8th May 2011, 23:13

Volvos do not have a great repair record. I dislike Swedish cars because they are harder to maintain and less reliable right from the get-go. The Bonneville is a better car, largely because parts are cheaper and they are less complex. Once a Volvo develops a problem, you either need a lot of money saved up to fix it, or prepare to start riding a bus. My mom has a Volvo. It's falling to crap mechanically. The Saab my dad had was high maintenance and unsettling to drive. Money pits they are, and resale value is terrible. Pontiacs don't have the image of sophistication or upscale coolness as a Volvo, but at least it's cheaper to keep one driving.

1989 Pontiac Bonneville SSE 3.8 from North America


Well built American luxury cruiser


My transmission has stopped shifting. I only have 1st gear and was wondering why?

I just spent $400.00 on a new vacuum module and mini vacuum piston; we installed this and still no shift. What is our option here as far as doing it ourselves?

Otherwise this car is awesome, but I fear our transmission has failed and we don't know if it is just a small thing that went wrong.

General Comments:

A great engine, lots of power, wonderful feeling of solid engineering with leather seats and smooth handling.

Reliable and economical for a large car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 22nd June, 2009

1989 Pontiac Bonneville SE 3.8 FI from North America


One of the best cars ever built


Power door locks don't work anymore.

Clear coat peeling off.

Power windows slow.

Headliner fell apart.

New ball joints and tie rods at about 300,000 kms.

Transmission started to slip at about 350,000 kms. Lucas Transmission Fix fixed that problem.

Cam positioning sensor at 350,000 kms.

And it has gone through 2 alternators so far.

Muffler fell off at about 200,000 kms (don't know how that happened).

General Comments:

This car still has it's original engine and transmission, and it's still going strong. It's very reliable too.

It's still great on gas.

Everything still works, except for the power door locks not working, and the power windows being a little slow.

Has always started no matter what temperature it is.

I will never get rid of the car, as it's one of the best cars ever built and I will never trade it for another.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th November, 2008