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NHTSA — Engine And Engine Cooling: Cooling System Problems Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,976 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Pontiac Grand Am cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2002 Pontiac Grand Am Owner Comments

problem #5

Aug 082010

Grand Am

  • 142,000 miles


I have a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am with a 3.4 litre engine. The vehicle overheats. I did some research and found out that General Motors installed plastic gaskets on these vehicles and recommended dex-cool. The antifreeze eats the gasket up from the inside out and causes the vehicle to overheat. General Motors refuses to fix my vehicle even though they knew about this problem for years.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #4

Jul 072010

Grand Am

  • 46,343 miles
This is a second vehicle with very limited mileage, which is driven by my wife. The car was purchased new from a Pontiac dealer so I can verify mileage and that it was maintained. The first indication of a problem was while I was driving on the expressway the temperature gauge shot into the red zone. Fortunately, I was near an exit and able to pull off the road before car stalled out. Since I had already started to slow down I was able to control car and to get it stopped safely without having power steering and power brakes. Car was towed to a local mechanic who pressure test cooling system and informed me of the problem and told me that GM was aware of problem and that they might help with repair cost. GM insisted that vehicle be checked by one of their dealers before anything could be done. The GM dealer did verify the fact the intake manifold gasket cracked causing car to overheat, and stall out. This problem is a result of the anti-freeze GM uses, dex cool, which reacts with intake manifold gasket causing the gasket to break down. GM has issued a service bulletin #03-06-01-010, back in 2003 to its dealer, but did not notify vehicle owners. It seems when the manufacturer installs bad parts or incompatible parts/fluids like this, that they should offer a solution that is reasonable and except the responsibility at the very least.

- Birmingham, MI, USA

problem #3

Feb 202007

Grand Am 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,796 miles
I have a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am. I bought the car one year ago. The car now has 38,000 miles on it. A few months back, the car started doing this thing where sometimes it would start, other times it would not. I was left stranded with my son in the car numerous times. But, when I would get the car towed to get fixed somewhere, the car would start right up. Finally after weeks of frustration, the locale Pontiac dealership replaced my passlock module. The car has been starting since. But now there is another problem. The car is overheating. I have had it in and out of the shop three times now, getting different things done, and it is still overheating. This car is just one problem after another. I have spent a total of 2000 on repairs, tows, and car rentals. The extended warranty hasn't paid a penny, (and it's supposed to be the best you can get), and I am now out of money, can't drive my car, and still have 3 years of $325 a month car payments. I am very disappointed with Pontiac. I will never buy another Pontiac product. They are extremely unreliable. I am not the only one having these problems either. There is a website, (, ) where you can read about all the other people with Grand Am's, having the same problems.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #2

Jul 302005

Grand Am 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,742 miles
We purchase a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am SE in July of 2005 from champion Chevrolet in brighton Michigan, we had it in to dealer within the first few weeks of owning it, which they didn't repair that day because what needed to be done would take to long so it was taken in the following sat. Had the ABS, trac control and the service engine soon sensor was replaced and there was a noise under the front drivers side which was fixed but came back a week later they told us that the noise was normal, I don't believe this as none of our other cars make this noise not even our Chevy pickup truck. We also had it back in again for the sensors for the ABS, trac control and the service engine light that keeps coming on. We cont'd to have this problem and still don't have it fixed. When the lights come on I don't have my ABS brakes anymore and no trac control. My blinkers also have been giving me a problem as sometimes they work and other times they don't. most of the time I can get them to work if I put my hazard lights on for a few mins. But I should not have to. I have been a GM person all my life as my dad has worked for GM for 35 something yrs. But they need to fixs these problems as it is unsafe for me, my children, my husband or whoever else maybe in the car and the other drivers on the road especially here in Michigan with snowy and icy roads. I also have read some of the other complaints here and it seems that there are a lot of other people having the same problems. I was also told today while getting my oil change done that there is a problem with the dexcool in this car too. I did look around on the net and notice that there seems to be a lot of people having this problem. I have not had this problem yet as I only have 50,000 miles on my car but some of the signs that people are talking about I have notice so it will go into a dealer to have it checked and I will be keeping my invoices as I hope GM does the right thing and takes care of this problem to.

- Croswell, MI, USA

problem #1

Dec 312001

Grand Am

  • miles
Vehicle had been parked in garage when driver noticed a puddle under vehicle. Took vehicle to dealer, and was informed that problem was a defective water pump. Dealer told consumer there was no water pump available.

- Decatur, GA, USA

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