1993 Pontiac Grand Am LE OHC Quad-4 from North America
A really great driving machine, wouldn't trade it for the world despite being temperamental.
Generally normal wear on parts you'd expect to go out (motor mounts, shocks, brakes, etc...)
Coolant reservoir sensor.
Oil pressure sensor.
Neutral Start Safety Switch.
Right front axle.
Driver Side Window Guide Rail.
My car drives like a driving machine, and looks it as well. I've previously owned a used car, which had seen better days, and it had a regular 4-cylinder engine. It was underpowered, and I continuously was passed on the streets and highways. This car, and the four door model I owned before it, has a Quad-4 engine, and it can smoke most anything on the road. On the highways it does 70 easy, and on long distance road trips it'll do 100 without a sweat. I've gotten more tickets in this car then any other.
However, it also has a temper and demands to be taken care of. When it wants to be good to me, it can be very good. But when it wants to be bad, things fail like dominos. To further add to my problems, I found out that for the 1993 - 1995 model years GM changed some key equipment designs and then decided to go back to the old designs used in '92. So as a result my equipment can sometimes be more expensive to replace.
Like for example, when my sensor in my coolant bottle went out. That's normally a $6.00 part no bigger then your finger. You pop it out, pop it off the wire and put in a new one. But GM in their infinite wisdom, made it and the bottle one piece. So I had to replace a $40.00 bottle to replace a $6.00 sensor. And same for my ignition switch. The guy I was using at the time thought it'd cost $40.00 bucks parts/labor. But thought he was being scammed when the dealer told him $75.00 just for the part. He tried other deals and they all told him for that model year, cause of design changes to that part, it'd be $75.00.
The Head Gasket on the first engine failed while I was in rush hour traffic. Very fun. And no sooner than four months after having that repaired, then I took it to the place I've used for years for routine maintenance and an oil change and they failed to put oil back into the engine. I started the car, and within a block the engine promptly destroyed itself. The silver lining to this cloud however, is that now I don't have a rebuilt engine with 110,000 (at the time) miles on it. The maintenance center being I'm a longtime client sprang for a brand new engine from GM. So I've got a '93 with 122,000 miles, but a new engine with as of this writing only 12,000 miles on it and a warranty to boot.
Seems to like going through front brake pads quickly. That and it burns through the fog lamps at least once a year. "Side Window Defrosters" are a joke.
The cassette player broke a long time ago. Still plays, but will quickly eat your tape. Doesn't matter however, cause with everything moving to CD, I got a great deal on a 6 disk changer that I had mounted in the trunk. Using an FM modulator it plays right through the factory radio which still looks outstanding (didn't like any of the after market models I was seeing).
What's really bad about this car, other than things that fail seemingly in tandem and she can be temperamental.
Is that this car is unfortunately so old, that it still uses the older style refrigerant in the AC. When they were putting in the new engine, they crimped/bumped/whatever the main hose and it lost its coolant. We struck a deal on the price, because to my knowledge in ten years the AC had never been maintained, and they got me a really good deal with an AC guy they use. But it still uses R134 or whatever at $110.00 per pound as of this writing (12/17/02), while the new refrigerant is only $30.00 a pound. And the dealer that I DO use for dealer only repairs say Quad-4 engines are harder to work on because they're more compact that say a larger V-8.
And for a while she spontaneously wouldn't start to save her life. But move her around a little (i.e.-on the wrecker) and she'd start no problem. The dealer and my mechanic for the longest time couldn't solve this problem. She'd run fine for a few weeks, and then refuse to start at the worst possible times. We started replacing likely parts to be the problem, but it appears to finally be solved by replacing the Neutral Start Safety Switch. It's a hold over from older cars with their gear selector on the steering column. But when you go to start your car, it reads what gear the transmission is in. If it's in Park or Neutral then it'll let your car start. But if your car is in drive or reverse it won't let it start lest you go leaping off and injure somebody or damage something (apparently that was becoming a problem years ago). But when this part goes out, it'll start to misread your transmission and spontaneously not let your car start. It proved a very hard problem to diagnosis and an expensive part to replace.
What's really cool about my car however is that, it rides like a driving machine. It'll go 110/115 before it even begins to vibrate. It's dark red, and seemingly changes color at night under different types of lights. And it rides on special Pontiac rims and extra wide racing tires rated to 80+ mph. And 23city/32hwy mileage is a dream over an '86 V-8 I used to own. This car will go all the way from Dallas to near Lubbock, TX on one tank of gas. The four door model I used to own before it was sideswiped and totaled went from Dallas all the way to near Kansas on a tank of gas.
Has really good rear window defroster. I'll never buy another car without a rear window defroster. And an incredible front defroster, that once it gets warmed up after a few minutes, it'll work that ice over so much you can slide it off your windshield with your finger.
If you have scrap yard near you, would highly recommend going and pulling surplus parts that you're likely to damage or wear out and store them somewhere. My car's designer rims can only be obtained from the dealer for about $400.00 per rim last check. But the scrap yard has them with tire for $25.00 a rim. And the tail lamp lens covers last time I had to replace one were $99.00 per plastic lens cover. The scrap yard has hundreds of them, just pull it and undoubtedly save. I busted a fog lamp somewhere, and it's a sealed lamp so I couldn't just replace the lens, but had to replace the whole lamp. My dealer wanted $100.00 +/- for it; I saw his diagram that it was held on by only two bolts that were easy to get to. Went to scrap yard and I got one for $10.00 bucks. It's definitely worth pulling and keeping up with parts you're likely to go through if appearances matter to you and you've got the time, room and money. Cause your car'll only get more expensive to maintain as time goes on.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th December, 2002