20th Jun 2003, 16:04

My 96 Grand Am has been fine up until recently. My low coolant light keeps going on and the mechanics couldn't figure out why. Yesterday they told me it was the heater core and I have an appointment in a week. Has any one else had this problem? Should I have them check the water pump too, since that was the problem with some of the other comments? Oh and I have this really annoying leak on the floor of the driver's side. It has been raining almost everyday for a month and I constantly have a puddle under my feet. Is there anything that I can do about that frustrating problem?

20th Jun 2003, 21:34

Well, I suppose on a really wet day of driving, you could get into your bathing suit and enjoy yourself!!!

Here is a good idea--get a saw and cut the roof off and it would make a nice hot tub!!

25th Jun 2003, 12:15

I too have a Pontiac. They are lemons and the law should be applied. I have an engine light that has been on for 2 years. The light was on because I took it to a mechanic the first time, he reset it and said there was no problems. The dealer charged me $75.00 each trip to fix it twice, each time no problem. They simply reset it again. I took it to a specialist and got the same results, nothing. Both Windows motors went out same time, now the Alternator light came on and who knows what next week. Yes it is a lemon, Pontiac, you owe me!

29th Jun 2003, 19:39

Since I bought my 96 Grand Am SE 2.4L Twin Cam 4-CL, I have had frequent problems. When I first bought the car, I had the water pump, water sensor, fuel pump, fuel sensor, hoses, and brakes replaced. It ran fine for about a year, and then I had to invest $3000 in maintenance so far. Over the past three months I have had to replace the entire exaust from the head pipe back, the brake pads and rotors, the sway-bar links, the tires, the serpentine belt, tensioner, A/C compressor, and various other parts. I still need to bring it in for a tuneup due to it misfiring, replace the control arms, replace the front axle, and replace the starter which is on its way out. It's a very dependable car: I can depend on it to break down once a week. I would have sold the car long ago if I knew it was going to have something break on a weekly basis, but it started with one small thing, then another. Before I knew it, I had invested more in repairs than the vehicle was worth.

26th Jul 2003, 07:17

I have a 96 grand Am and it has been fairly reliable. I do my own maintenance and have been flustered with repairing the anti-lock brakes, these things are useless in my opinion. They seem to eat a set of pads every 6 months. It is also impossible to find the freon fill port when you need to recharge. One problem I have had annoy me is the door locks automatically when you get out of the car forcing me to walk home for my spare key! Watch out for these people that install remote starters, they almost always use piercing type splices which are unreliable and unprofessional to say the least. You will have all kinds of wierd electrical problems.

30th Jul 2003, 15:41

I have a '96 Pontiac Grand Am GT and I just had the alternator replaced. It seemed to be running fine until just recently. Now, every time I come to a stop, after I take it out of gear, the engine dies. I understand that this is a problem with automatic transmissions, but what about a manual transmissions. Is this an electrical problem (i.e. battery, spark plugs, etc.) or is it a fuel problem (fuel pump, fuel injectors, etc.)? Someone please help me!

14th Aug 2003, 21:01

I have a 96 Pontiac Grand Am SE. I too believe that it is a lousy car, I had the car for less than 30 days and the alternator went, I had to replace the motor mounts, the Coil pack housing, the brakes, and now I have to replace the Timing Chain. I will never buy another Grand Am. I was under the impression that these were reliable cars.Kristi, Maine.

22nd Aug 2003, 22:48

I'm starting to see a pattern in all these comments. I've had a '96 4cyl Grand Am from the beginning. It's been a pretty good car except for a few things:

1. Water pump. This will go out--it's a lousy design and it corrodes from the inside. I had to replace mine after 4 years. ($600)

2. Fuel door. This just decided to stop working one day. I've noticed this happens to other Grand Ams--all of us seem to be driving around with it flapping in the wind.

3. Window. Mine is manual, but somehow it doesn't roll up properly any more. I may have messed this up on my own...

4. Clutch master/slave cylinder. It just went out this week. I'm still not sure if it's the master or slave. It's probably the slave which costs $900 to fix rather than the master which costs $300.

Judging from what I read here, it looks like my alternator and A/C will go next...

Overall, I've been pretty happy with the car. Until the clutch, I'd gone 6 years spending only $600 on repairs. Not too bad considering it cost $3000 less than a civic. Consider the time value of money, and that's worth $5000 to me now. It's still a hassle to worry about the next repairs coming up though...

15th Oct 2003, 17:46

Wow, so I'm not the only one with a psychotic '96 Grand Am SE...

*The random dying thing. Typically once a week or every other week last fall, it would die while on the road, typically at a shift point, and the dash would freak out with trippy lights and gauges flapping in the breeze. My mechanic took it for a weekend, driving it around here and there, but never could duplicate the problem. I took it to another mechanic, and he said I had a misfiring spark plug. Replaced the plug, seemed okay for a while. I think this was an unrelated problem, because a month or so later, it died while on the highway.

Typically it dies when I least need it to... I was half an hour late for 2 of 4 exams in one of my college courses last fall, due to having to wait up to 40 minutes to be able to restart it and head back out.

This morning, it died on my way to work (a 20-mile commute), the day after I promised my boss I'd be in earlier today to help out with some stuff before our students arrived.

The second time it died this morning (about seven miles down the road), I managed to coast into town, park, push it into the ditch, and walk the rest of the way to work (bawling and cussing along the way, naturally). When my boss drove me back to my car at noon, it started up fine. It also got me home without a problem.

I thought I self-diagnosed the problem as an interference with the compressor (somehow). In retrospect, I realized that it typically died when I was running the defroster. Today, I was running the AC (on hot, since it has never been an issue before) when it died. The second time it died in this trip, however, the blowers were completely off. I am convinced that this car simply hates me.

*My driver's side window regulator is broken as well. I was told it would cost $300 for parts and service. I decided I could drive without rolling down my window unless absolutely necessary, because I can push it back up into place if need be; it just takes a lot of time and patience.

*I had to replace the ignition coil and spark boots a couple of months ago, after it started vibrating wildly on the highway. Stupidly, I drove it the rest of the way home, but I got there safely.

*Also, my entire ignition cylinder (I could have the name wrong; where the key goes in) had to be replaced two weeks ago after the car would not turn off due to the anti-theft system wigging out. Another $300 I didn't have.

*The back brakes were replaced last year; they were leaking fluid. The front brakes are in pretty bad shape, but those are the least of my worries right now. I just want the stupid thing to run.

*And yes, my heater smells like antifreeze, too. I called it 'maple syrup' the first time it happened, till I realized what the smell was. So I'm a dunce, forgive me.

I'm currently somewhere around 140k miles on this beast. If it hadn't been a gift of sorts, I'd have traded it long ago. My mother still has the title, though; but once I get it, I'm trading this sucker in. Even if I only get $500 for it and have to get an old Metro, it couldn't be worse than the unpredictability and sheer unreliability of this hunk-o-junk.