We have owned the car for a number of years and use synthetic oil with Slick 50 as a precaution. We do enjoy Pontiac cars, but our Grand Am SE; though it is a good car, has had it's challenges.
49,000 miles - stereo volume never could determine up or down and was repaired under warranty only to return to the same malfunction within weeks. Replaced with an aftermarket stereo.
60,000 miles - changed front brakes which has been an annual event.
82,000 miles - replaced water pump.
85,000 miles - engine developed a fluttering sound at idle / probably loose valve guides/ normal wear on 2.4L.
85,000 miles - check engine light and traction control light came on and goes off at will with no diagnosed reason.
90,000 miles - horn needed replacing.
97,000 miles - replaces front rotors, rear brakes.
99,000 miles - replaced front seal and checked timing chains.
107,000 miles - diaphragm in transmission went bad and caused transmission fluid to be pumped into the intake manifold which caused large clouds of white smoke and depleted transmission fluid.
117,000 miles - gauge cluster malfunctioned and then the car stalled in traffic - caused by alternator under voltage.
117,000 miles - replaced alternator, battery, and belt.
Pontiac produces a good automobile and has been our families manufacturer of choice. Front brake wear has been one of the largest challenges with this car. We have lubed the pins and shims, but still average about 40,000 miles on brake shoes. I am currently using titanium racing brake pads for longer wear life.
Many people say the 2.4 Liter Quad-4 engine won't last over 80,000 miles, but ours is still running strong after 133,000. We do use synthetic oil regularly. The major complaint about the engine is the fact that it developed a noticeable fluttering sound at idle (due to valve guide wear which is an expensive repair).
As for the electrical system, it has its drifting challenges which are there one day and gone the next.
Overall, it is a good and economic car with great gas mileage and moderate power.