1996 Pontiac Grand Am SE 4.0 from North America


Too high maintenance


I own a 96 Pontiac Grand Am SE, 4 cylinder and it has 81,000 miles on it right now. I have had to replace numerous parts on my car since I became the owner two years ago, including constant brake problems. Luckily my husband has been able to locate and fix most of these problems. The most annoying problems are the ones that no one can seem to fix. For example, I have a grinding noise whenever I make a right turn and the brakes pulsate when I come to a stop or slow down. Also, when I'm backing up it makes a clunking noise when I stop to put it in drive. And I've noticed that the car will bang into drive or reverse if I try to put it in gear right away, without letting it run for a second or two after starting it up. I have also had problems with my radio. The volume knob doesn't work properly and the CD player stopped working all together.

General Comments:

If anyone has experienced any of these problems and has successfully fixed them, please let me know what is wrong with my car. I'm afraid to wait till it brakes and leaves me stranded in order to find out what is wrong with it.

Frustrated Pontiac owner.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th October, 2003

3rd Mar 2004, 10:58

The transmission problem, jerking forward or back if you put it into gear without letting it run for a moment, is common. Unfortunately so is the volume knob problem.

I owned a 96 Grand Am SE and had the same problems. The sorry part is that these are design flaws with the vehicle and can't be fixed. Also the longer I owned the car the more stuff started to go, coil packs, A/C went twice, key sticking in ignition.

There is only one fix for these cars, trade them in!

8th Apr 2005, 10:16

I had a grinding whining noise when I would take right turns. It ended up being the wheel hub, which I was told is quite common in Grand Am's to go out. The part is around $50-$90. It's the labor that gets you. I called around and found a deal $120.00 labor and brand new part. The other service stations wanted to charge me $400.

15th Feb 2006, 12:48

The reason why you have a jerk when you switch gears from reverse to drive or vise versa is because you have a broken motor mount. They are about 60 $ dollars new, and you can have someone fix it for free. It is right on top, on the left side of your engine. I have the same problem, it won't hurt anything.

1996 Pontiac Grand Am V6 from North America


Problem child


The alternator was replaced at 40,000 miles because it was making a whining noise.

107,000 - Replaced the manifold gasket.

117,000 - Replaced the alternator again.

I had to have the rear brakes adjusted many times.

The driver side seat lever is broken, along with the gas cover, which does not close all the way.

The glove box broken, and now I have water leaking from somewhere, and everytime it rains my driver's side floor get wet (had the window sealed), still having problems???

General Comments:

Paid for.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th October, 2003

20th Dec 2003, 13:12

I just wanted to let you know I had the same problem with the leak. It's actually not a big deal. Mine was in the same spot, on the drivers side floor and come to find out the leak is under the hood, near the windshield wiper. I got it fixed and it didn't cost all that much, and hasn't leaked since.

22nd Apr 2004, 08:21

You're an Idiot!!! Take care of your car.

13th May 2004, 14:46

I have most of the similair problems with my 1996 grand am SE 3.1L V6. the drivers side floor is almost always wet and the glove box is broken. I bought the car used with 123000 miles on it. the first night I had it, the alternator went, soon after the radiator cracked, then the water pump went, then the head got warped because it ran hot. soon after this, at about 127000 miles the transmission went as well. I love the look of the car, but the maintenance has just drilled my pocket. anyone know what might be next, or how to fix the leak?