12th Mar 2008, 16:33

I got a 96 Grand Am in June of 07. We decided to buy it and a week later 2 of the window motors burned out, including the driver side. Clock display barely works and you can only see it in the dark, and the volume knob is going out and goes down when it should go up etc.

Of course being from Oregon, it's never good to have a car that leaks... This one leaks on the drivers side. We drilled a hole in the floorboard and cut out the interior carpet because it smelled horrible from all the water! So now when I drive through a huge puddle, the water shoots up into the car like a garden hose! I have to cover the hole with my foot so it doesn't shoot up into my pant leg!

The CO2 sensor was going out causing the check engine light to turn on. It also causes the car to sputter sometimes because the fuel mixture is too rich. The car dies shortly after (thankfully I'm not going 70 MPH and the car randomly shuts off!). The water tank has a leak in it, so I have to put coolant and water in it about every 10-14 days.

In the summer I had a problem where the keys would be locked in when I went to turn the car off. I was so mad; I thought that it was a permanent thing. My friend however told me that his old car had a button under the steering column that can release the keys if they are locked in the ignition. You raise up the column and reach with your hand in the middle and towards the bottom with your fingers trying to feel for the button. Push that and it will unlock your keys. And then one lovely day I was parking the piece of crap and the button that you hold in to shift slid up and made a clicking noise. I went to pull my keys out and miraculously they weren't locked anymore! The button on the gearshift can slide up and down, and when it is pushed the wrong way it engages the key lock feature. You can hear the button on the inside of the column click when you move it on the gearshift. Lucky!

My car has been broken into 2 times in 4 weeks, and this is the first car that I have ever had this problem with. Somebody told me they are really commonly broken into because it's easy to get in, and was wondering if anyone else experienced this problem..? I have had about 500 bucks worth of stuff (mainly stereo equipment) ripped off out of here and nothing was ever out in plain view. Disturbing and quite a shame. I know they popped the locks because it messed up the dome light it and it never went off when I drove it home. So I had to take out the dome light so it wouldn't kill my weak weak battery. And, after reading this forum, I am hoping my alternator won't go out and that I don't blow a head gasket via my leaky coolant reservoir.

So, interestingly enough, the break-ins were on the same street, same parking spot, 10 feet from my friend's house. We are going to get that loser who ripped me off! Sting operation! Have to wait 2 weeks though since that seems to be the amount of time they let go by before they rip me off again. Who steals from a girl anyways!?

18th Oct 2008, 12:35


I need a honest good mechanic to help me how to fix the flashing dashboard lights in my Grand Am SE. Thank you.

29th Oct 2008, 00:57

Oh almost forgot... also had to have the heater fan replaced! Made an interesting ride home as the windshield started to fog up! Don't recall the cost of that fix.

26th Nov 2008, 11:13

Bought 1996 Grand Am for $1600 with a rebuilt title from my brother in law who has a business repairing wrecked vehicles. Has been a good reliable car, even with all it's been through. After about a year, someone failed to yield at stop sign and smacked the rear side of the car. Got $1400 for it from the insurance, spent $15 and elbow grease to fix it. Soon after, my wife flooded it in a huge puddle across the road in a rainstorm. Water in the intake, cylinders, and all. Spent another $100 on a rebuilt starter and cleaned the engine from the water. After new tires, alignment, new gaskets intake/up, I am about to $1600 total in the car, and could still probably sell it for that. Considering what it's been through, with all the power options and A/C still working, I am still glad to have bought it. Yes it takes work to maintain this or ANY car, but if you have some know-how, you'll be just fine! ;)


1st Jul 2009, 20:09

I have a 96 Pontiac Grand Am GT V6 that I've had for almost 3 years now and is fully paid for. Since I've had it I put a fuel pump and intake gaskets on it. Gaskets started leaking again about a year later and the same mechanic fixed it for free. FYI.. if your motor is ticking or knocking as it does when gasket leak... shut it off immediately to save unnecessary expensive damage.

Other than that, brakes and rotors are just wear and tear that happens on any car.

Today I put my car in the shop for a number 3 at 132,000 miles. So if I spend 1000$ this year on repairs, then it's better than paying 300+ a month for the next 4 years on a newer car with more expensive parts and at least 75,000 miles already on them. TREAT YOUR CAR RIGHT AND IT WILL RETURN THE FAVOR.

3rd Jul 2009, 13:58

Believe me, these are words to LIVE BY. As a mechanic I get very tired of people who rant and rave about how unreliable and "crappy" their cars are when they abuse them horribly. If you take care of ANY car (even less reliable Japanese cars) they will last much longer.

One of my prize possessions (I own 4 cars) is a mint condition 2001 Pontiac Grand Am. In 9 years it has been flawless. All I've ever done in the way of repairs is one headlight bulb and brake pads at 70,000 miles. I know there are issues with broken window clips on these cars. I have a VERY SIMPLE remedy for that problem: Every time someone gets in your car, simply say "PLEASE DON'T SLAM THE DOOR". It works for me. I've NEVER replaced a single window clip.

Another VERY IMPORTANT issue on these cars is to NEVER allow the engine to over heat. If the temp gauge reaches the red zone, STOP IT RIGHT THEN!! See what the problem is (usually VERY minor, such as a leaking hose) and FIX IT before driving any more. Once these engines are run hot they will NEVER be reliable again, and that is NOT their fault. My best friend, who knows NOTHING about cars, ran his very expensive Japanese import until it got so hot the engine seized. It cost him over $7000 for a new engine and related repairs. The cause? A little pin-hole in the coolant overflow hose. It would have cost a whopping FIFTY CENTS to fix and taken less than ONE MINUTE to fix.