1989 Pontiac Grand Am LE 2.3L quad four from North America


Fun to drive, but expensive to own


New timing gears and water pump at 123,000 miles.

New fuel sending unit at 126,000 miles.

New heater core and radiator hoses at 140,000 miles.

Previous owner replaced the head gasket at 100,000 miles.

Serious rust problems.

General Comments:

When properly fed and maintained, this car is seriously fun to drive.

However, when something breaks, it's usually big and expensive.

All in all the car has been fun to own, but the cost of repairs has been a little high for my taste. I will probably keep it until I reach 200K, or when it dies (whichever comes first).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th April, 2001

3rd Feb 2013, 04:26

You should consider using salvage yard parts. I have several friends that have 88-91 Grand Am's, and all of them have maintained and repaired their cars with parts from salvage yards at a fraction of the price of new parts.

There are a few cases where new might be better, for example when a part has been redesigned to be better than the part that originally came on the vehicle. A good example of that was the re-designed head gasket for the Grand Am.

Otherwise though, older cars like that can be very inexpensive to keep up if you use salvage yard parts instead.

1989 Pontiac Grand Am LE 2.3 quad 4 from North America


Runs forever but with major repairs


Where do I start?

Catalytic converter ($110).

Head and head gasket ($1400).



Water pump.

Oxygen sensor.

Granted, the car has 150,000 miles but according to the odometer which stopped working, it only has 126,500.

General Comments:

If Pontiac knew there was a problem with the heads, why didn't they correct the problem immediately. I will consider buying another Pontiac some day but not a Quad 4.

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

Review Date: 26th September, 2000

3rd Apr 2001, 17:02

Good! I'm glad that you would at least consider another Pontiac. My family has owned about 8 (none quads) and loved every one of them. I hope you're getting the word out about the quad 4's. They are JUNK!

20th Apr 2001, 20:59

I personally own a 1987 Grand Am with the 2.5 Tech engine and a 5 speed stick and the engine will not die! The cheapo Isuzu trany on the other hand has lost fifth gear and needs to be shot! Over all I think that Grand Am's are good cars, if people keep up with the repairs and try not to think of them as Ferraris.

11th Jun 2001, 13:49

I personally have just acquired a 1989 Pontiac Grand Am and I need to replace a valve gasket, brake system (main cylinder), exhaust system, and an O2 sensor, then it will be road worthy.

It hadnt run in 4 years until I decided to tinker with it. I charged up the battery, and cranked it for the first time in 4 years and she started right up.

It has a tech 2.5L 4 cylinder engine with 172000 miles. Pretty good for 12 years old eh?

13th Jun 2001, 13:52

Ha ha ha, I know exactly what you mean by head and head gasket! I own one of those pieces of crap and I have changed the head gasket more time than I have put gas in it! I finally changed it (after 3 head gaskets) for a good old reliable Pontiac 6000! ;)

31st Jul 2001, 18:16

I have a 89 Quad 4 5 speed grand am.. and I love it.. its my 7th car.. I've had everything.. you have to get quality after market Head gaskets and torque them above spec.. they will last... trust me.. mine has many hop up parts from mantapart etc and has dyno'd at 258hp at the wheels! it runs low 13's (if I could hook up 12's for sure).. faster than my 5.0L mustang..