6th Apr 2003, 22:20

97 Grand Am Quad 4...1 water pump at 40k ($670)... and 3 (three) alternators. I gave the car to my son and just got a call from a Pa. Trnpk rest stop... the alternator went again.

30th Jul 2003, 17:40

I bought my '96 G.A. SE 2-door with only 13,000 miles on it, it was a former rental car. I have put in 3 alternators, 4 batteries, and 1 starter. New front rotors, rear drums, and struts. The ABS went out, got it fixed, now after about 5 miles of driving there is a knock-knock sound, then it stops. A/C went out, got fixed, fuel injection went out, got fixed, both windows went out within a week of each other can't afford to fix, glad I got the A/C fixed. The fog light bulbs only last about a month for some reason, I even tried the Sylvania long life bulbs??? Radio just quit one day, I went to put a tape in (yes, a tape) and it just went dead. At 136,732 miles the automatic transmission went out, got it fixed. Last week the radiator light came on, so I filled it with the 'special' $12/gal orange anti-freeze, and the light is still on, now it's starting to run hot. Water pump, thermostat, I hope nothing major, I haven't looked into it yet. I've maxed out a $5000 credit card just to keep this car on the road to go to work. My conclusion: SE stands for Something new wrong Everyday.

13th Sep 2003, 10:44

I bought my grand am gt back in 96, and to be honest for a while I didn't have many problems with it, but as the miles got up, I started having more problems. I am up to 129,000 miles and this is all the problems I have had: Water pump, brakes (on multiple occasions), radiator, a couple bad alternators, replaced the battery, had other coolant problems. Now I have a bad ignition problem. My car has problems starting from a cold start. It will die out at intersections at a idle point. If I try to go into passing gear it will die out. If I try to go long distances it will die out. I avoid highways because I fear the car will break down and I will be unable to avoid high speed traffic. I have replaced most parts of the ignition system: The spark plugs, the spark plug boots, the coil housing assembly, replaced both coils, replaced the ignition module, and replaced all 4 fuel injectors. I am still having the same problems. From June 2003-September 2003 I have spent nearly $2000 in repairs and mechanic costs and the problem is still there. Had I known the costs back in June, I would have paid off my car (I still owe about 1400 on it) and would have got a newer or used car. This is very frustrating. If you have had the same problems or possible solutions, please contact me at abrothers78@comcast.net Thanks!

27th Jan 2004, 09:54

I bought my 1996 Pontiac Grand Am SE in 2000 at 73,000 miles. My car didn't start messing up until three months after I bought the car. And now two years later, I wish I never bought the car. It has done nothing, but cause me headaches, day after day. Three months after purchasing my car, the alternator went out; got it fixed. I had problems getting my hood to lock; went to a junk yard and bought a new latch; got it fixed. For a whole year I thought the water on the floorboard on the driver's side was just a small leak from a window. I was wrong. Last month, my heat went out, in the middle of the winter, and my car was running very hot and noticed the small leak turned into a puddle in my car. Come to find out it was the heater core. Now that problem is fixed. My power windows aren't working properly. I had already replaced the motor on passenger back window. Now the other side, the motor is shot on that one. I have already replaced my brake pads twice. Now I am having to replace the rotors. The shocks on the car are just awful. As a single mother, I would not recommend or sell this car to any other single moms.

5th Mar 2004, 14:50

I have to agree that the 1996 Grand Am is a lemon. I bought mine less than a year ago from the original owner. The car had under 75,000 miles and was inexpensive. Now I know why. In the first week, I had to replace the fuel pump ($500). Next it was the oxygen sensor ($200). Then it was the coil housing ($200). When the coil housing was replaced, the computer needed to be reprogrammed. I also had the fuel pump regulator & timing chain tensioner replaced ($500). Now, the instrument cluster has to be replaced because of a problem with the theft system. A new instrument cluster is $200 along with a $45 tow because the theft system sends power to the fuel pump. My mechanic has had the car (and my money) most of January and February. Next time (very shortly), I am buying a foreign car. You may pay more up front, but at least it is reliable.

22nd Mar 2004, 11:31

I have a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am SE with 130,000 miles on it and about a year ago my steering column started smoking and completely died on me. The problem involved the ignition switch and starter. The repair was covered under a recall issued by GM. So in regards to your inquiry about other Grand Am's with ignition problems, check with your Pontiac dealership because I think they are already aware of the defect. And if you notice your car taking a longer time to start (i.e. its turning over too many times), get it checked out because your 96' Grand Am could just erupt in flames. But as for the car in general, it does handle beautifully, BUT not worth the HUNDREDS of dollars in repair and upkeep. With all the money I have put into my '96 I could have bought a PORSCHE right off the bat and been equally satisfied with the handling!!!

29th Mar 2004, 22:56


I am absolutely nauseous after reading many of the negative comments about the 1996 Grand Ams. My ‘Zelda’ is an SE V-6 4-door that I bought Spring 2003, and thus far I have sunk over $2,000 into her in Summer 2003 for: water pump, heater coil, intake gasket manifold, motor for electronic window, new battery (told me it was alternator problems), computer harness because the ABS light kept coming on….

RIGHT NOW the car squeaks in the rear end, knocking at front passenger side, radio light went out, radio volume button is wonky, power steering liquid leaking, needs new struts (so I am told), and Zelda is now leaking.

The floor boards, except the front passenger floor board, is saturated with rain water, and a couple of weeks ago the trunk started filling up with water (donut tire was nearly submerged) and when my 13-year old son sat in the backseat on the weekend, his butt got soaking wet!

I am a single mother, and like many others, I cannot afford the maintenance $$$$. I am so ticked!

Does anyone know how to stop the leaking, where to start, or should I just shoot her???

Thanks for the space to vent… did I mention that I live in BC where it rains 360 days out of 365… happy thoughts, happy thoughts… love to hear from ‘ya … goforth@dowco.com.