1999 Pontiac Grand Am SE 3.4 from North America
Fun, but worrying
GEC Valve needed replacement immediately after purchase.
Front driver seat is "loose" i.e. rocks an inch or so due to poor bolting to floor.
Electrical System is a constant source of worry and surprise! Many components will randomly stop working periodically, and then mysteriously start acting fine again shortly thereafter (i.e. cooling fan, A/C, fuel indicator... turning signals will suddenly start clicking without prompting!).
Interior molding is squeaky while driving.
Random unusual rattling noise from engine area - though source cannot be identified.
Brakes are a concern - at first they would "lock up" on stiff braking, causing the chassis to "crunch" on the shocks at the point of stopping. This was fixed, but now there is a worrying thumping noise from the front right brake every time I brake, which I will have examined this week.
The braking problem might be related to an associated "crunching" noise (from the calipers?) every time I press the brake. Also a consistent brake squeaking that won't go away.
Engine noise is sometimes a source of concern. I know the reputation is that they are loud, but ticking sounds and other unusual characteristics also occur.
Looks like previous owner had parts of the power steering section replaced.
A really fun car to drive, with great response.
A solid feel to the car on the highway, although there is some steering wheel vibration above 100km/h.
Great fuel consumption on highway (7.3), but a bit of a guzzler in the city.
Just drove it across the country without any problems (apart from the electrical and brake phantoms!).
Changing the Serpentine belt (due to wear) cost me $135 CDN, which was double what I was promised... apparently these models pose extra difficulties for such basic things.
Feels like a car with a great engine, but with substandard assembly and parts.
Wish I had bought the Malibu at the lot instead!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 14th June, 2004
15th May 2008, 22:02
The Malibu has the same engines, and assemblies in them as the Grand Am and the Oldsmobile Alero. All three cars are pretty much the same. Give or take some feature, and engine mods. ie. ram air for Grand Am GTs.
16th May 2008, 15:20
Comment 22:02 is correct. The Alero and Malibu share most of their mechanical assemblies with the Grand Am. There should be virtually ZERO difference between them.
As for the serpentine belt, I'm a mechanic, I've changed a number of these, and paying $135 for a very simple 5 minute procedure is ludicrous. The belt costs about $20 (depending on where you get it) and $115 labor for 5 minutes comes to $1380 an hour for labor. I'd LOVE to make that kind of money.
I've said it numerous times on this site. People (even the ladies) who buy older cars that are out of warranty need to purchase a good repair manual for that model and learn some basic maintenance themselves. The savings in cost is well worth it. Even my wife could easily replace a serpentine belt without messing up her nail polish.