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.

General Comments:

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.

1999 Pontiac Grand Am SE 2.4 Litre from North America


Too much money for the heartache it has caused


From the day it was bought, the fog lights would come on on their own (or if they were turned on, go off on their own). While it was still on warranty, I took it to the dealer I bought it from (three times) and by the time the warranty was up, still no fix. Pulled the fuse and now have no fog lights.

The radio volume control goes louder when turning the knob down. Every once and awhile, the radio display shows a nice array of lines and dots, but no time or radio station.

Fan blower settings 1 and 2 have not worked since 60,000 Kms (when the warranty was up).

The car honks every now and again, shortly after turning it off, as though it has a key-less entry or alarm in it. It doesn't have either of these features. I had it in while the car was still on warranty for this to no avail. The dealership couldn't find the problem, and offered no solution. It still does it at random to this day.

I replaced the front brake rotors/pads with after market items. Severe squealing occurred that led to being pulled over by the police for noise infractions. I spent about $1000.00 (Can) working with GM to get rid of this. First I was told that the problem was the after market products, so I removed them and installed GM rotors/pads, as well as had the brake cylinders honed. Two days later, my wife refused to drive the car as the squealing had returned. I spoke with GM and was informed that the brake pads that they installed were susceptible to squealing, but for a mere $150.00 more, I could buy the ones that were less susceptible to noise. (To this day I still can't figure out why I was sold brake pads that may be prone to squealing when that was the problem I brought it in for in the first place.) So I paid to have the quieter pads installed. The result: squealing brakes. To be fair, the pads/rotors have worn normally, they are just loud. I have drove this car with howling brakes now for the last several months, and am attempting another change as it is time. Keeping the fingers crossed and bought some after market pads that are designed for noise reduction.

The fan blower motor went around 75,000 Kms. Suppose that could be normal, if it weren't for all of the electrical problems.

When the car is below 3/8's of a tank gas level, the gage begins to jump between right empty to completely full. I tried adding gasoline additives (cleaner) and lost the fuel pump.

The power control for the drivers side seat has problems. One time it will move up and down completely. The next time it will only move up/down partially.

The rear window defrost has not worked well since I bought the car.

General Comments:

The car handles well in all weather; rain, snow, ice, dry. I am very happy with the anti-lock brakes and the control I feel when in rainy/icy conditions. I've actually never owned a vehicle that handles as well as this one in rainy/icy weather.

That said, I can't overlook all of the problems with the car. It has been one headache after the next, and as soon as I can afford to, I am replacing the car. Preferably with an import.

I will definitely research the next vehicle I buy a lot more than I did this one.

Not a lot of satisfaction for the money I paid to buy it and very little help from the dealership I bought it at.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th June, 2004

11th Aug 2004, 07:35

Mine does the horn honking thing and like you only did it on occasion. I have since found out it has something to do with the electric locks. When you hit the button 2-3 times it causes it to do it when you shut the door. You might try this out on yours.