1989 Pontiac Bonneville LE 3.8 from North America


Best of both worlds: Sport and Luxury


The belt squeaks, but I think that could be the alternator bearings. It's also rusty.

General Comments:

Its a great car. Besides the rust and bad tires, its great. Its also very sporty yet luxurious.

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

Review Date: 13th October, 2004

1989 Pontiac Bonneville SSE 3.8 from North America


Very reliable but not presentable


Not running when purchased due to electrical drain caused by electric door locks. I diagnosed & repaired, zero problems since then.

Water pump was frozen when I got it due to sitting for 4 years. Easy fix.

2 of 4 door handles not working. Anyone who owns one of these knows of the horrible design of the door buttons. Inferior/weak metals in production that should have never been used, even plastic would be more durable. Anything to cut production costs I suppose! The good thing is that the handle assembly is relatively easy to replace & the same type of handles are used on many GM vehicles of this era. Taking a trip to the junkyard & finding 4 good ones should be mandatory if you own one of these!

Windshield leaks horrible when raining. I purchased the car from the original owner, she said shes had 6 windshields replaced under warranty trying to fix the problem and its still there. She eventually gave up on it. I have tried everything & still can't locate exactly where the water is coming in at, if anyone has this problem & has cured it please let me know! Sometimes when driving in a hard rain, water will drip on the steering wheel radio controls causing the radio to "freak out."

Low gas mileage. I expected a little more out of this car, it got about 16mpg when I got it. I keep my vehicles in top shape mechanically, this is all it will get. I've added a ram air intake system along with a large K&N cone air filter, this has jumped mileage up to 19mpg. Overall investment was under $40, so its been very worthwile. Every 3rd tank of gas I add Lucas oil "top end fuel stabilizer" to the fuel, this is good for 1-2 extra mpg also. Short of towing it, that's all this car will ever get.

Clearcoat is coming off badly, as with all GM vehicles from the 1989 year.

Bad in the snow. I thought FWD was supposed to be good in the snow, I've never had something this bad in the snow! It won't stop, start or turn in the snow! The overly aggressive ABS is a pain slowing down on ice, I think it makes it actually worse. This winter I will put thinner front tires on it, perhaps that will help.

General Comments:

Considering this car has 241K on it, its dead reliable. I would not hesitate to drive it anywhere on a moments notice. It does not smoke, burn oil, it shifts fine & all the basic equiptment still works flawlessly. It has enough power that it doesn't feel like a slug. The 3.8 (231ci) is GM's toughest engine, this one will run well over 300K with no major problems.

I would sell it due to the very annoying winshield leaks, bad mileage & poor winter handling, but the most I could probably get out of it is $400-$500 due to all the cosmetic problems (paint, water leaks). Its worth more to me just keeping it around as a backup car than that, so here it stays till the body rots off it!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th October, 2004

4th Jan 2006, 20:32

Concerning your windshield leak, mine has the same problem and the dealer told me both front and rear windshields leaked. I removed the headliner to get good look at shields from the inside and checked with a water hose. It was actually the sunroof that was leaking.

15th Dec 2010, 02:14

Personally, I love this vehicle. I purchased mine from a woman who had left it sitting in a sheetmetal carport for 5 years with over 257,000 miles on the engine.

Replaced the coil pack, ignition control module, cam sensor, fuel pump, spark plugs and battery, total cost = $150.00, mostly because I found that the fuel pump was still under warranty, and I had a battery under warranty that was the proper size.

After replacing those parts, I got in, turned the key, and it's been purring like a mountain lion ever since.

Also, mine so far gets about 350 to 400 miles to the tank in town. I don't know about you, but for a 1989 that is awesome mileage.

I still need to replace the CV joint on the passenger side, but other than that, I have nothing but good things to say about it.