1996 Pontiac Grand Am GT 3.1 Six from North America


Replaced front brake rotors twice; once at 20,000 miles, and once at about 50,000 miles; the last set seems to be of a higher quality.

Replaced alternator twice; once at 70,000 miles, and once at 138,000 miles.

Air conditioner has a very slow leak; started at about 50,000 miles.

General Comments:

Though I've had some problems, I've also gotten a lot of miles out of this car without any major engine problems. It's pretty quick with the 3.1 liter Six, and handles well. Traction on ice is great, I suppose because of having all the weight on the driving wheels, having a low center of gravity, as well as ABS brakes and traction control. About all I've done to the engine/transmission in 144,000 miles is change the oil, and it still runs fine; which is surprising since I drive it pretty hard.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th December, 2002

1996 Pontiac Grand Am SE 1.8L from North America


A real lemon


I have had to replace my water pump at 50,000 miles, which seems to be the complaint of half the people I have read reviews about.

I have also had to replace the battery, and then the dealership messed up my recall and they had to replace my alternator and battery (initially told me that my battery went bad, and when I refused to pay for a new battery, they came back with the real story; they messed up the recall and fried my alternator and battery).

Finally, my ignition system has had problems twice in less than 50,000 miles.

General Comments:

I am looking for people who have had similar problems in order to begin communicating these problems to Pontiac in a more concerted effort (i.e. possible law suit). If you have had similar problems, especially with your water pump being replaced and/or problems with ignition system, I would be interested in hearing from you. Please e-mail me at jgalecke@hotmail.com.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th December, 2002

3rd Jan 2003, 12:47

I own a 96 Pontiac Grand AM. I too had to have the water pump replaced at around 90,000 and now I have 119,000 and was told there was a new leak. Clanky and bumpy to drive. Not pleased. American craftsmanship for sure. Just bought a Mitsubishi Eclipse and I am in the process of trying to sell the Grand AM.

1996 Pontiac Grand Am LE 2.0L from North America


It's well worth it!


I have had repeated problems with the brake system. I replaced the brake pads a total of three times. I replace the front rotors, then within six months, I had to have the rear rotors turned.

I also had to have the water pump replaced. But, at that time, it was still under the dealer warranty.

My air conditioning compressor went out, but again, it was under warranty.

Other than that, I love my car!

General Comments:

Although, I have had a few problems with my car, the driving ability and comfort can't be matched.

It handles extremely well.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st December, 2002

1996 Pontiac Grand Am SE 2.4L from North America


Good intermediate transportation


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.

General Comments:

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.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th November, 2002

3rd Dec 2005, 19:56

I would like to know how you fixed the alternator under voltage problem. I have a problem with my car stalling for no reason. I have had it checked out numerous times and they say nothing is wrong with my car. I had the alternator replace about 20k ago. Could the alternator be the problem again.