6th Apr 2001, 02:32

Now had the car to the dealer twice! Car just shuts off!!! No warning!!! Also in deep snow the car loses power! Seems that the car has traction control on it, but was confirmed by the dealer that it doesn't!! Now it's going back for the third time!

Never again would I buy another Pontiac!!! Ever!

6th Apr 2001, 02:34

Just had the car to the dealer, is just started to leak anti freeze, intake gasket (upper-lower), estimated at 400.00 to 600.00 to fix. Car only has 58,000 miles!! It just seems to never stop.

25th Jul 2001, 20:11

Bought with 43,000 miles. At 47,000 replaced water pump. 56,000 replaced alternator. 58,000, now the check engine light is on! Other than the back to back mechanical problems, the car drives great with plenty of power and great fuel economy to boot!

24th Oct 2001, 10:07

Pontiac- I recently purchased a 1998 Bonneville SE with only 32,000 miles from Hadwin-White Pontiac in Conway, SC. Being told of Pontiacs reliability and quality, I was excited about the purchase. Further, I was confident in the usability of this low mileage "off-lease" vehicle. Much to my disappointment, this Bonneville has, after less the 2000 miles from purchase, flooded it's own cylinders with coolant. I have been told from my Napa certified mechanic that the upper intake manifold has failed. I have spoken with one of your (Pontiac's) people on the telephone about this situation. The only customer service I have received has been directions to pay my mechanic for the diagnoses, pay a tow truck to take the car to a Pontiac dealer, pay your Pontiac dealer for another diagnoses and then there may be "some" assistance.

I have been a Ford patron since 1986. I now own 2 Ford vehicles and this Pontiac. Both Fords have well over 100,000 miles. The Pontiac has 32,000 miles. The Explorer and the Aerostar are running fine while the Pontiac has coolant in the cylinders and needs tow truck assistance to move.

My whole point is that this problem should not occur in a well built automobile with 32,000 miles. Your (Pontiac's) representative says that the car may not have been well maintained. If that be the case, then I want my money back. The dealer sold me on this car because it is an "off-lease" car and it has been maintained very well.

Most troubling to me, is that the life span of this car is going to be drastically affected by coolant flooding the combustion areas of this engine. Regardless of what your (Pontiac's) telephone operator is scripted to tell me, this is a design and production short coming. Chances are, a deliberate financial decision to use a plastic manifold. I hold GM responsible.

15th Dec 2002, 18:32

This is a common problem on the GM L36 engine. There is a service bulletin out on the issue, but not a recall.

27th Jan 2003, 13:27

I own a 1998 Bonneville. I bought it brand new. What a piece of garbage. I wouldn't buy another Pontiac ever. They do not follow through. I am on the seventh alternator. I paid for a brand new product, but never got a NEW replacement. I have talked to numerous owners and all of the them are 98'. They all tell the same story. LEMON. I have gotten to the point I cannot wait until its paid off. The dealer even sprayed grease on the belt to make the distinctive sound it makes go away. Pretty pathetic. If you drive your car everyday. You know its every sound. Now other garbage is going wrong. Three mechanics tell me its from the extended problems with the alternator. I have never been so disappointed in my life. I wanted to buy American after owning a Honda Accord for 12 years. Stupid on my part. I am going back to the Honda products. Bonneville's look sharp, ride nice, but the engine stinks. Even owners with other years have told me that after the 100,000 mile mark, it just isn't worth the problems the engines have.

9th Jun 2004, 00:49

I have a 1997 Bonneville SE and I have had no problems with it. My parents bought it in January of 98 and I bought it from them in march of 2004. The only problem they had was the back window leaked for a while. We just fixed it and got new carpet. Cost about 115 bucks all together. The car has 70000 miles on it, and still is running like it should. I'm satisfied with GM as my first car was a Buick Skylark, now it had problems, but every one gets one lemon right?

26th Jul 2004, 17:38


I have a 1997 Bonneville. I had zero problems up to now.

I need somebody's experience with this one. When I am going up a hill, any hill, the car loses rpm; It is as if the transmission is skipping... Some days nothing, and other days I think my transmission is going to drop. So anybody with similar experiences, please post on this site for me to review.


18th Sep 2004, 20:20

I recently purchased a 1997 Bonneville SSE with 78,000 miles on it. At 83,000 miles the upper intake manifold failed. Has anyone managed to have GM reimburse them for this failure? My mechanic told me this is a common failure for that engine. Seems like GM should address this as this seems to be a design flaw.

29th Dec 2007, 11:31

Pam from Ontario Canada. In 2005 I purchased my 1997 Bonneville and have loved it ever since. It had 177,000 kms at that time and now at 236,000 kms it still runs great. I have replaced a water pump, number 2 coil and some ac work. Not bad for a high mileage vehicle. I would buy another one tomorrow.

14th Oct 2009, 06:39

My wife and I have had the 3.8 V-6 in our last 4 Buick Park Avenue's. Same motor as the one in Pontiac. The intake gasket has went out on everyone of them. 300.00 to 500.00 every time. If you're lucky it will leak coolant to the outside of the motor and not inside. Also at 100,000 miles, plan on replacing the timing belt as it fails in that general mileage range. If you're going down the highway and the belt breaks, you stand to bend EVERY VALVE in the heads as we did. I love the P.A.'s and have got to the point I just figure the intake gasket and timing belt as reg. maintenance items now. Point being is G.M. has never offered to help with anything on repairs or replacement...