1989 Pontiac Sunbird SE 2.0 from North America


The best for little money


At 160k, blew head gasket, changed water pump, timing belt.

After 10k more, front hub + bearings, rotors, pads, rear brake shoes, hardware, fuel pump.

General Comments:

Great car. Do all work (short of cash) myself.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th April, 2006

1989 Pontiac Sunbird 2.0 from North America


It gets me to work and back cheaply and enjoyably


The car had a blown head gasket and a cracked head when I purchased it (with 58,000 miles on it). It probably had been setting for some time, as the damage required the replacement of the engine bearings and rings as well.

I could never get the air conditioner to work. I took it to be evaluated and was told that it worked very well; however, when I turn it on, the clutch on the compressor never engages. The problem may be with the control in the dash or a pressure switch.

At about 80,000 miles the vehicle developed an electronic problem with the temperature sensor that made it start hard in cold weather and then overheat (the radiator fan would not come on). After changing the temperature sensor with no success, I took it to a garage were they disabled the temperature sensors and installed an independent control for the radiator fan.

The oil pressure gauge became sporadic at 90,000 miles.

Alternator went out at 116,000 miles.

The emergency brake cable is rusted causing the brake to not release.

The driver's side door does not want to unlock after being locked. (That's OK since I never lock the doors anyway. It probably rusted from lack of use.)

The security lock that locks the gear selector in the park position when the key is turned off freezes locked in cold weather.

I've had to have some bodywork done to keep from looking like a 17 year-old car - it rusted through behind and under the doors.

General Comments:

The car had some very serious problems very early, but I can't complain about how it has held up since the first repairs. I've put 64,000 miles on it and ran it hard every mile.

It gets 28 miles per gallon regularly, and as high as 36 miles per gallon on trips.

It sets reasonably high off the road and goes pulls very well in snow. Braking isn't so good on slippery pavement, as the back breaks free easily.

I like the way the car handles. It has an amazing ride for an old car - the shocks are still excellent.

I probably still wouldn't buy a newer Pontiac because of their reliability ratings, but this car has been economical enough to maintain even with several problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th June, 2005

1989 Pontiac Sunbird LE 2.0 Liter 4 cylinder from North America


Great car! I've owned this car for over 15 years!


Brake work needed every 30,000 to 50,000 miles.

Timing belt needed every 100K miles.

Rust is forming underneath the door panels... but this is the only rust.

Air-conditioner stopped working at 115K miles. (1999)

Replaced the water pump and alternator several times within the last 4 years.

General Comments:

I purchased this car brand new at age 18 in 1989...I still own this car today at age 33 and is my only source of transportation. I now have 262,000 miles and it drives great. I put on 500 miles a week with my commute to and from work... all highway miles. I plan to keep until it dies... and then I may replace the engine and keep running. I believe I can put on over 400K miles before any serious engine work is needed. Trucks can put on over 1 million miles before rebuilding is needed.

I never have to worry if my car will leave me stranded as it is incredibly reliable. I can't stress enough the importance of oil changes every 3,000 miles and other preventive maintenance measures.

Car is very inexpensive to repair... Honda owners pay an arm and a leg for repair costs.

Very little rust... I did the Auto Armor rust-proofing system when it was purchased brand new in 1989. This is worth its weight in gold!!! I live in Iowa which has high levels of salt.

I budget $100/month for all car repairs and maintenance... this includes oil changes, new tires, other problems. Keep in mind I drive 25,000 miles/yr on a 15+ year old car.

My registration cost is $10/yr.

My insurance cost is $32/month for liability only.

Street value of car...$500.

Peace of mind in knowing I am saving lots of money in my investments that otherwise would be eaten up by new car payments /depreciation / insurance / registration...priceless.

I would love to do a commercial for Pontiac!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th December, 2004