1997 Pontiac Grand Am SE V6-3.1 3.1L VIN M SFI from North America


Very reliable speedster


I had to get a new battery at 60,000 miles.

I needed new shocks at 55,000.

General Comments:

This car is seriously quick.

This is the best car I have seen that was made in 1997.

It is very reliable with little maintenance.

Could out race any car in it's class.

Can out race new 2002 Pontiac Grand Am.

Very slick look to exterior.

Can easily be used for a "cruise car."

Car handles very well in snow and rain conditions.

Car never overheats.

Car is extremely good going up hills and canyons.

Car has a lot of power.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th July, 2002

1997 Pontiac Grand Am GT 2.3 from North America


A death trap that no one should purchase


The water pump went out at 37000 miles. The alternator went out a week later. Those two problems alone cost me a total of $1100.00. The paint started peeling off the mirrors at 39000 miles. Both sides of power windows stopped working at 40000 miles. The air conditioner died at 53000 miles. Periodically throughout the ownership of the car it would just die out of the blue. This went on from 39000 miles till I got rid of the car. The dealership said it was the fuel pump and after replacing the fuel pump 3 times in 18 months I decided they were wrong. A non-partisan ASE mechanic told me that the computer had a defect in it and that it would be cheaper to replace the car than the computer. After hearing this I decided he was right and did so. This spiratic dying of the engine has almost gotten my wife and I killed on over 12 different occasions. The car has died in the middle of busy intersections with traffic moving. It has died with 18 wheel trucks tail gating us which made us drive off into the ditch to avoid them.

General Comments:

I would not recommend this car to an enemy much less someone I cared about.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th July, 2002

31st Jul 2002, 10:17

I had the same problem with my truck awhile back - a 1995 ford ranger. At around 190,000 miles, it started dying for no apparent reason, and at the worst times, often on intersections, or even while it was in motion, one time at 65 mph! Fuel pump, coil pack, spark plugs were all replaced. After three weeks at the ford dealership, it turned out to be a relay under the hood whose contact points had rusted. This relay was tied into most of the electrical system, so naturally it made the car die. Once it was replaced, the car ran fine until I traded it in with 230,000 miles on it. Not to say that it's the same part, of course, coming from different manufacturers and all, but it could give an idea of what to look for.

1997 Pontiac Grand Am 2.4 liter, 4 cylinder from North America


High maintenance, but good to drive and nice-looking


Volume control on radio almost unusable.

One (yes, just one out of two) of the front brake shoes wore through almost immediately; my brake shop said it had to be caused by something else and sent me to the dealer for warranty work. Dealer refused to fix anything under warranty and said the uneven wearing "just happens sometimes." I paid my brake guys to fix the calipers and have had no more uneven wearing. Have just had back and front brakes replaced again, but that's not unexpected for 80,000 miles.

Transmission was acting funny after about 35,000 miles, but no one could diagnose. Eventually it blew up and had to be rebuilt, at less than 50,000 miles.

The ignition switch failed at about 60,000 miles.

Good tires on this car are a must as this model is somewhat lightweight. Michelin and Sumitomo have both been good.

A huge problem is the placement of the water pump. Mine had a component fail at about 50,000 miles. Because of its placement (behind the manifold and the timing chain housing) about half the engine has to come off and typically the timing chain will need to be replaced. The chain was a nightmare to adjust -- it took 2 trips back.

Now there's something going on with the traction control system that we're still trying to figure out.

General Comments:

The dealer service is horrible, but it was also horrible at Ford.

This is my first 4-cylinder car and I have been very pleased with the performance; it's quick and it does well in heat, cold, mountains, and cities.

I have been upset at the extent of the repairs. Very little on this car is a do-it-yourself job. Not only that, I finally had to start taking it to the older, first-rate, expensive shops in town because no one else could seem to handle the repairs correctly. However, cars in this price range ($10-20,000 dollars) seem to be prone to these things so I'll probably keep it.

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

Review Date: 4th June, 2002

10th Jan 2010, 11:56

EVERYTHING on this car is "do it yourself". You just have to be willing to do it.