Why on Earth would you consider "something other than American"?? I had the exact same kind of experience you had with a Honda AND a Mazda (both of which were built in Japan at that time). I'll NEVER buy another import...EVER.
We put over 325,000 miles on a Ford (over 17 years) with less than $500 in total repairs. We put over 240,000 miles on a Dodge with only two brake jobs, two timing belts and one hose. Our Buick was sold at 277,000+ miles in perfect condition. It never had ANY repairs.
If you need to buy a used car, look at a good used Ford Fusion (the highest rated car in reliability in the world). We purchased a loaded 2006 Fusion SE I-4 with leather interior for $12,100 + a $900 extended warranty (giving us the exact same warranty as a new one). The Fusion is as solid as a rock and even the I-4 has plenty of power. We also own a 2007 Mustang, a 2003 GMC and a 2001 Grand Am (which has never given us ANY trouble).
To blame your car for abusing it (it wasn't the car's fault you chose to drive it with a locked-up water pump) and then say "domestics are no good, I'm buying foreign" is not very logical. None of our three imports even MADE it to 160,000 miles. You should consider yourself lucky.
Let's see, I have had my 1999 Grand Am for 1 year and a half and it started out good. Bought it with 114,000 miles on it and currently has 140,000 miles. Any way, I drove for 6 months and needed a BATTERY, then 2 months later I needed a HEAD GASKET, then another two months needed a WATER PUMP, then a month later needed a HEATER CORD and just 3 weeks ago needed an alternator and battery. The ALTERNATOR drained my battery, and guess what today as I type this I need a ALTERNATOR, and more than likely I will need a battery, which I have a warranty for a new one.
Oh and that doesn't include the BRAKES twice had to be replaced, and I needed ROTORS. Also in need of a WHEEL BEARING on the front right. This car is so stressful. My next car, I don't want to open the hood up, that's how bad it is. I think that everyone that has a 1999 Grand Am needs a new car, and it would be so great if GM did that. These cars are terrible.
Just bought a 99 Grand Am SE (white). I picked it from an autopac auction, obviously I knew it would have some problems.
First it had been in a collision awhile back, this only caused cosmetic damage though, a few scuffs on the fender, and the bumper was knocked in a bit. Has since then been pushed back out and needs a little bit of touch up paint. The drivers side mirror needs to be re bolted and then the outside is back to looking like a beautiful Grand Am.
Now it gets fun, I misread the list of which cars had keys in the auction and ended up with a car without. The biggest problem is it has an immobilizer. So with no key and no fob, you have no way to tell if it runs, after getting a key from a dealership, and the immobilizer pulled out and new fobs coded, it's time to start the car. It starts up runs good, but needs the dreaded alternator. Not a worry at all in my opinion, I will be picking one up from an autowreckers place.
Next issue, the front brakes make a bit of noise so I need them replaced. Other than that the car seems to be in good running order. Now I need to get it safetied and get an integrity as well as an alignment.
I spent 900 dollars on the car at the auction, and with the repairs and other things mentioned, I'm at about 1800, while I realize these cars still sell for about 3-4 grand. Is this worth the work?
P.s Anyone else have a problem with water getting into the trunk, its not a huge problem another easy fix but I'm just curious about it since I haven't read it in anyone else's.
Yeah, ours has a leaky trunk. Here's my problem if anyone could help;
Few days ago I was informed ABS, airbag, battery light came on. She leaves the car with me, I go to fire it up. No power to anything, completely drained battery. Figured it was battery, hadn't replaced it yet, been about 4 years. Put new battery in, ABS and airbag light are still on.
I drive to work, airbag light goes out and comes back on as I hit brakes and start going again. I'm thinking under electrical draw; it goes out and comes back on when you release electrical demand.
I am almost to work and the battery light comes on. I get to work, I play with power windows and brakes and watch the airbag light flash. Get a volt meter and check battery leads while running. It shows 17+ volts. Come to the conclusion that the voltage regulator inside alternator is toast. BTW, alternator was replaced a couple years back. I don't want to chance driving it and having it kick that many volts to everything, so I get a ride, grab a Haynes manual and my car, go back down to work to start yanking out alternator. I jump in the car and go to move it to a more desirable spot. None of the lights came on at all, volts were in the mid 13s. Started, restarted, repeated, and drove around for a while. Everything seemed cool, so I figured the computer needed to figure things out and reset itself.
Next day, no power, completely drained battery! Is it likely that the alternator or one of it's components could be drawing/draining the battery when it sat overnight? I'm sitting right now with one new dead battery and gotta figure out what to do next. I pulled the battery so I could charge it, bought a charger, but didn't think about getting side post bolt thingies so I could charge it. So I'll pick those up tomorrow. Cables appear decent, positive has some corrosion on the face where it butts up against battery, but other than that, everything looks cool.
If you find your battery dead the next day, your Grand Am is probably ringing the chimes, unlocking the doors and making clicks after you pull the keys and walk away. One solution is to undo the battery cable every time you plan on leaving it for a while. My year old battery is dead and I'm planning on working on the alternator tomorrow. One of the problems is a unit under the dash by the steering column called the convenience box. The moisture from the flooded floor gets into it and since every thing electrical goes through it, everything goes bad. They are hard to find. I haven't been able to get one but I understand they are expensive. Imagine that. Good luck. GM knew about these problems for years and ignored them. Wonder why they went down.