1997 Pontiac Grand Prix SE 3.8 V6 from North America


Do your own Prix work, love your Prix, Study your prix, and it will love you back


I've had normal problems. I've replaced the alternator twice (but I have almost 260,000 miles on my prix). I replaced the blower sensor. I also had an issue with a locked up brake caliper. The Master cylinder had to be replaced at 200,000 miles. The car still purrs like a kitten and acts like it's good for another 200,000 miles. I've always used Dex cool, and other recommended fluids from the manual. I flushed the cooling systems every 80,000 miles, and never saw the fluid come out like sludge. It looked bad in the reservoir tank because the rubber hose deteriorated into the reservoir and made it look like sludge, but when I flushed the system out myself the actual coolant looked like it was new. The windshield wipers started stopping in the wrong position, but a little factory recall work corrected the problem for free. I'm just now (after following the manual recommendations for maintenance) having a problem with the water pump. I'd say that all-n-all my Prix has been the most dependable vehicle I've ever owned, well once I picked up a Haynes manual and started doing all of my own maintenance work. I don't know what it is that people fear about working on this car, but for some reason everyone I know that uses a mechanic to do their work with the Prix hates this car, and has problems with it. Everyone I know that works on the Prix themselves (again, that I know) find it to be very dependable.

General Comments:

This car has rocked since I got it. The only thing I don't like about it is that you may have a few extra parts to remove to get to some of your maintenance work, and changing the plugs is a pain in the a** because of the 3 plugs that are too close to the firewall. I've gotten almost 260,000 miles out of my prix, and if it wasn't for the salt from the roads up north, I could probably get another 200,000 miles out of it. Here's a list of my mods, that probably haven't made any difference in the car's life: Replaced the OEM intake with a K&N cold air intake system. Replaced the OEM exhaust with a hand-made (I should say hand-bent) exhaust, and removed the resonator. Use a lower temp thermostat because of the plastic Plenum (it's the heat that causes it to deteriorate). Only use Bosch 4+ Platinum spark plugs, wires, and oil filters. I add a can of HorsePower oil additive to every oil change (using synthetic oil).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th January, 2008

1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GT 3.8 Series II from North America


Many are bad, many are good, Look carefully before buying


Intake manifold gaskets leaked at 161000 miles.

Rocker panels are rusted through under plastic.

Strut towers were rotten and had to be fixed.

Broke off belt tensioner bracket in water pump while fixing gasket.

Replaced battery.

Window motors are weak.

Sunroof motor was weak, fixing battery helped.

Water in all four lights.

Fog lamp on right side doesn't work.

Cracked seats.

Speakers are worn out.

Several back lighting bulbs are burned out.

Temperature gauge doesn't work.

General Comments:

I purchased this car for $2000 after taking it for a long test drive and after doing a used car inspection on it. Every thing seemed to be all right. I checked every thing that I thought to look at. But only a few days after getting it home we started to find problems not apparent at the time. First of all, after the thirty mile drive home, I went to check the coolant level and it was low. While under the hood I took off the oil cap. Sure enough the guy I bought it from had cleaned it and a layer of fresh anti freeze film was on the cap and a puddle was on the lower intake, I geuss this is a very common problem with the 3800. So I fixed the intake gasket. It took over a week and was a huge pain. Then I noticed water in the trunk. I felt around and noticed that the strut mounts were tarred over and were rotten. Another $500 later and that was fixed. My heater doesn't blow enopugh heat, but I think a good coolant flush will fix that. And then I still have to fix numerous other annoying problems. I have other friends who own Grand Prixs and they have been good cars. So do your shopping right and make sure that the cart doesn't have any of these problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th January, 2008