1997 Pontiac Grand Am SE 3.1 from North America


Keeps you busy


Over seven years and 120k miles that I've put on it (165k total), the following things have needed attention:

2 water pumps, $20 each installed myself, very simple.

2 alternators, around $80 each, installed myself, very simple.

New Bendix semi-metallic brake pads every two years at $60 a pair, but with every pair you get one free so it's really $30 each.

New economy rotors every year at $19 each.

Replaced both power window motors myself. $50 each versus $325 each price quote form an auto shop.

Same volume problem as virtually every other Grand Am owner.

Nice puddle of water under the driver's floor mat. I keep a chamois there 24/7. I suspect the leak is in the fire wall but I don't want to deal with it.

Both muffler hangers needed to be replaced. Needed to be welded so I had to take it in.

Starter replaced at about $80.

Recently have been having a power steering problem. I replaced the pump ($65) and pressure hose ($25) and still have the same problem. Don't know what to do now. It whines when turning the wheel at slow speeds.

Belt tensioner went out, got that replaced at the shop.

Original transmission, hoses, radiator. A/C is still pumping cold 53 degree air and it's never been charged. I'm getting 26-28 mpg with I'd say 75% of the miles on the highway.

General Comments:

All in all, this car has been very good to me. If I hadn't been able to do a lot of the work myself, I'd hate this car. It keeps me busy on the weekends. It's never left me stranded (until tomorrow probably). Good power, good mpg's and it's easy on the eyes.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th May, 2008

13th Oct 2010, 16:32

This maybe too little too late, but have a look at the steering rack. Mine was bad when I bought the car used. Leaked power steering fluid, and whined when turning; just drove it until I could find a decent priced re-manufactured one. I think it cost me about 170 (CAD). That was 2.5 years ago, and it looks to be going again as I am seeing moisture around and below the rack again (could be something else, but I'm not too concerned as the car is being parted out in the next 6 to 8 months).

Be prepared, as you sound to know your way around a car, but the easiest way to do the rack is to roll the entire engine forward, and pull it out from the top.

1997 Pontiac Grand Am GT 3.1 from North America


I too have had to replace a lot of parts but I've done all the work myself -- head gaskets, water pump, alternators, starters, fuel pump assemblies, ball joints, window motors, heater core, radiator, you name it.

General Comments:

Although I have dumped a small fortune into my car, I love the final product, and I have improved the overall look and feel of it, and I wouldn't change it for anything (body kit, rims intake strut tower bar).

I went above and beyond fixing, and moved straight on to ridiculous amounts of money, but I like the stupid thing, so why not.

As with all cars, there are some good ones and some bad -- everyone used to tell me I had a Monday or Friday car, because the guys at the factory were in a rush to get home on Mondays or Fridays -- well I made it a Wednesday car dammit.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th May, 2008

1997 Pontiac Grand Am from North America


Pretty reliable, small repairs cause it's 10 years old!


Fixed Alternator a few years back.

Just got the Crank Sensor replaced.

Replaced Fuel pump and fuel filter couple of months ago.

General Comments:

Any used car you get, especially one that is ten years old is going to need repairs.

I've had this car for four years and have only had two major breakdowns. Sure there have been a few small things wrong with it but not enough to where I can recall what they even were.

My car has been mostly reliable and for as many miles that I've put on it has been running smoothly.

My only complaint would be I it has electric windows which are a pain because the motors in all of them have died and I can't afford to fix them.

Also the CD player has never worked and I'm not sure why, it accepts the CD for a second and then it pops back out? I don't know, not really a major problem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th April, 2008