4th Jan 2004, 16:22
My sons 96 Grand Am 4cyl seems to need a exorcist rather then a mechanic. It also has the die whenever for no apparent reason phenomenon. One day it runs fine and the next it will die and restart later in the day or maybe a few minutes later - No pattern what so ever. Just about anything and everything has been replaced. Coil, ignition, computer, crank sensor, fuel pump, gas tank, distributor just to name a few. G. M garages and other very qualified Mechanics have been stumped. I wish we could un-load this Lemon, but with it paid for and with him in school it's not possible at this time. I'd feel guilty unloading this junk on someone else besides. I've always owned G.M. products with good luck, but never again will I own or recommend a Pontiac. This car at best has been a nightmare, beyond being a lemon. If anyone knows the fix for the beast please share your wisdom before I send this thing to a car crusher!
9th Jan 2004, 19:05
Same problems as everyone else on his page..
1996 Grand Am, 4 door,automatic... First alternator $200, then drivers side power window (didn't fix), now water pump $600 labor bill for a $90 part. What Einstein decided that we would have to take half the motor apart to change the water pump..
17th Jan 2004, 22:17
Wow. I figured there were some other people out there with similar problems; I just never bothered to look before. I too own a 1996 Grand Am, and I've seen a majority of the same problems everyone else has, and am starting to see more of them now which is how I got to this website.
1.) Windows - 3/4 window motors slowed to a crawl and then totally stopped working after some time. I've replaced the motors on them myself at around $60/pop. Quite annoying.
2.) Air conditioning goes out yearly. You have to crawl under the front of the car to re-charge it with one of those do-it-yourself jobs you can pick up at the store. Hope you can fit, it's fun getting around that rock-guard unless you can roll it up on stands. I figure they know how to get you in for repairs.. Having a car with no AC, and windows that don't roll down leaves you cooking in a very hot car in the middle of the summer.
3.) Brakes go out about every year even with the best brake pads. Just replaced the rotors again too.
4.) Control arm and wheel bushings.. yep, had those replaced on the front as well. You'll know to have this done when your car starts to shimmy when coming to a stop.
5.) Stuttering - My car is still doing this from time-to-time. When having a routine fuel-system maintenance I had to sit there for about 20 minutes while the car choked horribly on a bunch of buildup that was being cleaned out, spewing large clouds of smoke out at the people parked behind me in line. It seemed to get better after having this done.
6.) Alternator replaced about a year ago.
7.) Low-coolant light just came on. I've gone around looking now and have found a *huge* amount of problems resulting from GM's use of Dex-cool coolant (and a few class-action cases). I have a feeling I'm going to have some very costly repairs coming from this. Perhaps I'll post back later after I get it into the shop and find out more.
While I love the way the car drives most of the time, I do tend to be repairing things on it every couple of months. My list looks quite similar to what others have posted.
5th Feb 2004, 19:13
I'll chime in like everyone else. By and large my 1996 Grand Am SE with the 4 cylinder has been a decent car. But like many that have posted, I had to replace the water pump at around 30,000 miles. I've replaced the alternator. The front brakes need replacing almost annually. The window motor on the driver's door recently needed replacement. The lights on at night have a flickering quality to them, including the lights in the dash and the dome light. The engine has been solid to date, and the car has never experienced any problems with either the transmission or the computer module. The low water level dummy light on the dash has recently come on. By the looks of the water draining underneath the car, I'd say the water pump needs replacing once again. The car currently has 130,000 gentle, well-cared for miles on it. While I like the styling and peppiness of the 4 cylinder in the newer Grand Am models, the reliability issues will probably have me looking toward the east for my next car.
2nd Jun 2004, 13:51
Cool! I'm not alone.
I haven't had nearly the problems that most of you had, but I'm afraid they are starting. 2 alternators replaced so far... according to my local mechanic every 3-4 years is to be expected, lovely! Just had full back and front brakes done a year ago and its feeling like they need to be done again. Always replacing fog lamp bulbs; I don't think I've ever had one last more than a year. I found the site looking for info on how to recharge my AC, its not working now. I sympathize with the window people out there, I have to hold the driver's side window in place as I roll it up. I tried the lube trick, just with WD40, and it worked for a while, I'll have to try the grease, maybe it will last a little longer... at least until I can afford to trade this thing in on a new something new (er). Another lovely little thing that I have never done anything about is the electric locks. Works fine on the drivers side, but never on the passenger side since I bought it back in '98. It locks it (sometimes) but it won't unlock it.
My condolences to those of you out there with real lemons. The Grand-Ams are a great looking car, but I can't believe all the problems... I thought it was just me and my bad luck with vehicles.
24th Aug 2004, 14:45
Me and my husband just got a 96 grand am SE. we only have this car 3 months. we had to replace the brakes, water pump, shocks, power steering pump, limp light and a starter with in 3 months. I think its the worse car every made. there is so much goes wrong with this car,you need a lot of money to keep this kind of car going if anyone is smart they would look into the kind of car before buying this type of car.
18th Nov 2004, 08:39
The low pressure port for the A/C is accessed from below the car near the compressor. Email me for details email@example.com.
17th Feb 2005, 20:20
Maybe I shouldn't be saying this as I will jinx my car. I have a 96Grandam SE V6, coupe, ABS, Traction Contro, etc. which I have had since new and I have nothing, but nice/great things to say about the car.
Sure it has had its own fair share of common maintenance (albeit pricey), but things like window modulators, alternators, batteries, and water pumps always go on cars when they are old enough..
As for me my car is 9 years old, 80,000miles or 140,000km and I finally have had to replace the airconditioner... thought it over carefully and it is still cheaper than trying to replace everything I have on this car with a new car... similar new car would cost me $30,000+ Canadian... annual repairs on this car about: $1,500... and no payments.
Also the car gets 31miles per US gallon on the highway, using Cruise Control..
Plus it goes like stink!!! What a peppy, responsive car... personally I love it, but keep eying some of the newer cars anyway...