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8.8

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,078.00
Average Mileage:
83,094 miles
Total Complaints:
28 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace the entire intake manifold (17 reports)
  2. not sure (10 reports)
  3. replace the whole engine (1 reports)
2002 Pontiac Grand Am cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2002 Pontiac Grand Am Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #28

Jan 132012

Grand Am 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I'm saving for a moped. The intake manifold gasket is on the top of the list of things to fix with this piece. Last week the water pump crapped out. Manifold warped from overheating, so back to the shop it went. Replaced transmission, converter, ABS, misfires, neither driver nor passenger windows work (either plastic clips or regulator), security system gliche which I don't mind unless I'm in a hurry, turning signal mechanism which I've ignored ever since I've had the car. I sware the car hisses and laughs at me.

Can't wait to get rid of it. Going to trade it in and let someone else spend their tax refund every year while it sits in the shop.

- , Angola, IN, USA

problem #27

Jan 012011

Grand Am LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Purchased this sh*t car for my 16 year old grandaughter. She has had nothing but trouble since I bought it and I thought I was getting a good reliable car for her. Constantly putting water in the radiator, the back window is down and won't come up, the brakes had to be replaced, the brake lines had pin holes in them and had to be replaced. The car won't start now. Replaced plugs, checked OS, thought maybe the catalyic converter may be plugged but not sure. I can't afford to buy her another but this one is costing too much money.

- , Sidell, IL, USA

problem #26

Sep 172011

Grand Am V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,349 miles

Bought this car on 09/17/11 and the engine has been smoking the whole time. Was told that it is a coolant leak. Had clamps replaced which helped for about 2 weeks. Will be taking it to shop on Friday. Heard that it may be head gasket. If it is, will be leaving that car and shop and making no more payments. Haven't even paid house payment this month and can't afford these problems. Paid $6600 for the car.

- , Duluth, MN, USA

problem #25

May 062011

Grand Am 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I would like to know why there wasn't a recall. Oh, yeah, because it's not a "safety issue". So because it's not a safety issue you have to right to cost hard working people hundreds of dollars to fix a problem that you caused. When the parts started failing you should have made sure to let people know, sent out letters, done something other then let people like me have to deal with this. My car has been in the shop for over a week now. I've had to borrow vehicles to get to work, have people drive me to work. It's a huge inconvenience. And not to mention the cost. I don't make tons of money, so having to pay over $800 to fix my car is really hurting me right now.

So as soon as I get this headache over with, I plan on selling my car, just so I don't have to look at it ever again. And another thing...I will never buy anything made by GM again, and I will tell as many people as I can not to buy from them either.

- , Lisle, NY, USA

problem #24

Oct 082010

Grand Am SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I own a 2002 Grand Am SE that was special ordered with the GT engine package. All I've had was problems with this fricken car...Between the alternator, brakes needing replaced every year, A/C needing to be recharged every two years, and the radiator dumping all coolant about once a month, not to mention the "I don't want to start" crap! Every fricken part on the car is new (starter, water pump, radiator, brakes, computer, pass lock system, blinker clicking when its not on!) for at total of about 6000 bucks. And now the radiator is cracked again cause of the coolant issues. I will NEVER buy a GM product again...their cars are a piece of sh*t. I'm sick of being stuck in the freezing cold to wait 10 minutes for the car to start again...what a load of crap. GM should be recalling these cars but of course its not happening.

Now I have a piece of crap sitting in my garage that I'm not able to use! Thanks Pontiac and GM for not fixing the problem...I will NEVER buy from you again...I will be a Ford Girl from now on. (I have a F150 that has NO issues with 175,000 miles on it and never once did I have a problem dealing with Ford when I had questions about it)

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #23

Sep 012010

Grand Am GT 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

FROM WHAT I HEAR THIS IS AN ONGOING PROBLEM WITH ALL MODELS FROM GM WITH 3.1 & 3.4 MOTORS FROM 1997 THROUGH 2010, ALSO CAUSES A HEAD GASKET LEAK IF U DON'T CATCH THE PROBLEM QUICK ENOUGH MOST SHOPS GO STRAIGHT TO THE WATER PUMP & OR THERMOSTAT BECAUSE U CANNOT SEE THE LEAK FOR THE MANIFOLD AND THE OEM GASKET SET IS NO GOOD IF U USE THIS SET IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN IN ABOUT 3 TO 6 MONTHS I HAVE HEARD THE FELPRO SET IS BETTER I DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THE DORMAN SET BUT THEY GIVE U A YEAR WARRANTY BUT THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE THE LABOR WHICH IS THE MOST COST OF COARSE SO I WOULD RECOMMEND THE FELPRO SET. GM IS NOT STANDING BY THEIR SCREW UP IN THIS CASE AND NOW HAVE ALOT MORE UNHAPPY CUSTOMERS. I KNOW A FEW PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD GMS ALL THEIR LIFE AND HAVE BOUGHT THIS CAR AND NOW WILL NOT BUY ANOTHER GM AGAIN.

- , Deerfield Bch, FL, USA

problem #22

Jan 032011

Grand Am GT 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

This is a GM known defect! They have not ordered a recall even though they corrected this problem. ( Intake manifold gasket/Dex-cool) Leaks. At 81000 Miles this is inexcusable and they need to step up to the plate, recall and repair these cars.

- , Lake Stevens, WA, USA

problem #21

Jan 012007

Grand Am GT1 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I can't drive my car without putting antifreeze in it anytime I have to drive it. Within 5 miles my coolant light comes on again.

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #20

Jul 062010

Grand Am SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 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 #19

Jan 012009

Grand Am SE1 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

This car had the DexCool issue that was in class action at the time I owned it. I bought it new and drove it off the show room floor. I don't speed, didn't drive a whole lot while I owned it, just one day it started overheating. When I sold it, it would still overhead if I didn't run the fan (either on heat or AC didn't matter) all the time. I was told it had a crack in the head gasket that was tiny but would eventually need replaced or else. I chose to sell the car, heavily discounted for the known issue of course. This problem definitely was the manufacturer's fault. It just seems like cars are such an expensive investment that when the maker installs bad parts or incompatible parts/fluids like in this case, that they should offer a solution that is reasonable and share the responsibility at a minimum. It certainly has turned me off for a Pontiac...won't recommend them, won't support my kid in buying one....

- , Liberty, MO, USA

problem #18

Nov 242009

Grand Am SE 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Car seemed to always run hot and finally one day it started really overheating even though it seemed to have enough coolant. I was out of town at the time and had to leave it at a mechanic's shop in a small town in South Texas. First we replaced the coolant cap, the thermostat, the radiator and finally the head gaskets. After $1,300 I picked the car up two weeks ago and it seemed to be running fine. Yesterday, it started overheating again and the coolant had somehow leaked out. After reading all the comments, it is obvious that the problem is probably the Intake Manifold gaskets. I will never buy another GM car even if it's the last car on the planet.

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #17

Jan 232010

Grand Am GT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,900 miles

don't really know what to say just want to get it fixed :-/

- , Cloverdale, OH, USA

problem #16

Aug 242009

Grand Am GT 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,300 miles

Buyer Beware -- I have seen many problems with GM products and I have been a loyal GM buyer for 19 years, but this problem with the Intake Manifold Gasket on my Grand Am GT took me over the edge.

I noticed two months ago a sweet smell when I got out of the car. Two weeks later the 'Low coolant' light came on and I had to get a gallon of DEX COOL at $14.00 per gallon. After 82,000 miles I just thought that a little coolant is normal. Little did I know that this was the path to self-destruction.

Three weeks later the 'Low Coolant' light came on a second time then I thought to myself that there must be a leak. So I went under the hood with 9 years of rebuilding of engines under my belt. What I found was a pool of coolant under the air intake system. The coolant was (what I thought) leaking out of the temperature sensor that is at the top right front of the motor. A call to the dealer informed me of the possibility of the problem being the Intake Manifold Gasket was leaking due to DEX COOL eating the manufactures infused plastic gasket. This was unbelievable that a car product installed in an American car company was destroying a vital part of an engine. That if not taken care of would find its way into the oil. I took the car to the shop and 5 hours later the tag writer calls me and said that the pressures test, of 20 lbs, had coolant running out the Intake Manifold and all over the top front and back (left and right) of the engine. He later told me that the Mobil 1 oil was not contaminated and we noticed the leak in time. To make a long story short I learned that GM knew about the DEX COOL and the fact that it eats the infused plastic gasket and did not write a bulletin about the problem. A law suit was filled and settled with ridicules terms. So $840.00 later, I got a 12 month 12 thousand mile warranty for my troubles on the work and parts.

I have had nine GM products in my lifetime and discovering GM's business plan to design and build cars that feed dealers money and parts, build them so that the public has to buy new cars every 6 years, and hide the facts from the public, I am done with buying GM products. I have another GM product that has DEX COOL, now I am concerned about that vehicle developing the same problem.

So if you are thinking about letting that little leak go, or smell the sweet smell of burning coolant, get it to the dealer now and pay a little, or wait a couple of months the and car will destroy itself.

By the way Prestone coolant reacted with aluminum causing aluminum to dissolve, which is why DEX COOL was adopted.

The responsible thing to do is to fix the problem with the plastic and DEX COOL, but you know that is not going to happen. The aftermarket parts do however, if installed with the new oil pump shield, one gasket, three seals, one thermostat, and two gallons of DEX COOL.

Good luck to all those people that have a Grand AM. I will be getting rid of mine as soon as the warranty runs out.

- , Liberty Lake, WA, USA

problem #15

Jul 012008

Grand Am GT 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

So we all know about this issue but here's one more. My '02 GA has the dreaded leaking intake gasket. I owned a 2000 before this and it had it too, but I traded for this one before fixing it. I am going to start the tear down tomorrow to replace the upper & lower gaskets and bolts, hopefully it will only take me a couple of days barring any problems. I have always owned American cars, since I was 16 is have owned 8 cars (1 Ford, 7 GM). Some have been real troopers ('80 Grand Prix, '90 Camaro 5.0, '99 Cavalier, '85 1500) and some have been mechanical nightmares ('86 Cougar, '88 Camaro 2.8, 2000 Grand Am, '02 Grand Am). Now I understand the saying "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me", but I was told by a GM (Good"bad"wrench) mechanic that it was a fluke in the 2000. What makes this even worse is the fact that there have been multiple issues with both GA's that are the same. Not only the intake gasket, but the window regulators are junk, can change one now in less than 15 min. including tear down and reassembly, the ignition locks fell apart on both as well as both radios had problems and were replaced. I have to some extent kept buying GM because I can work on them and save the money on repairs, but I have noticed that members of my family that own Toyota's don't have to worry about working on their cars because they haven't had these types of problems. Now I don't want to act like GM is the only car with problems but its does seem to have a systemic issue with ignoring their problems. When GM finally offered money to GA owners for intake repairs it was not even enough to pay for the gasket kit, much less the $1000 to have a shop do it. The letter I received from them blames the gasket maker and the maker of DEX cool, not GM. I am NOT a customer of either of them GM is, I am a customer of GM therefore they should have taken care of me, then worked with the other companies to pay them. I hate to say it but my wife and I have decided that our next vehicle will be an Asian brand (would buy German too but can't afford them). The sad part is my Cavalier ( half the price of the GA)which has just as many miles as the GA (around 150K) takes a beating and keeps on going, only needs a little tlc every couple years and its happy.

- , Arnold, MO, USA

problem #14

Feb 012007

Grand Am GT 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I was told by the Technician & the GM dealers that all of the 2002 - 3.6 cylinder engines had this problem. I had it fixed in Feb 2007, which they have not updated the part yet from plastic to metal. Had it replaced again in Feb 2009! They really need to do something about this! I love the car but this is unreal! You would think these idiots who design these parts would try to improve them! The more people complain the more apt these car dealers are to do something.

- , Ranson, WV, USA

problem #13

Jan 152009

Grand Am Ram Air V 6 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,210 miles

have read about this from an expose'' about the GM automaker. it basically said that GM is aware of this problem and has no plans to correct it.... or make good on the repair. so, figure I am out the money I am going to have to pay to fix it. when I am back to working full hours (reduced right now) and the economy is better for my husbands work............ plan on getting rid of my GM product and switch possibly to a Ford.............. ooooh, thought I would never say those words....

- , Apollo, PA, USA

problem #12

Apr 162008

Grand Am GT 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

the intake is so bad. i have to put antifreze in almost every day. and i don't have $700.00 dollars to fix it and it is getting unreal. i hate this car.

- , Franklin, OH, USA

problem #11

Jun 272006

Grand Am GT 3.4L, V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

My low coolant light kept coming on, which usually means there's some sort of problem. I didn't have the opportunity to take it to the shop right away, so I kept filling it up myself. Finally, on my way to work one day, my car wouldn't start. My husband tried to jump start my car with no luck. Call the tow company to tow my car to a service place. Find out, my coolant system has been spraying coolant onto my alternator which fried my battery. So, had to get the battery replaced (no big deal), but also had to replace the intake manifold gasket, which was NOT cheap. They told me this was a common problem in the Grand Am. Those of you who paid less than a grand were lucky. That's still not the end to my coolant problems. The light kept coming on, so I took it back to the service place, who told me there must've been an air bubble in the system. Right.

- , Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #10

Dec 192007

Grand Am 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,500 miles

I started having problems with my low coolant light popping up all the time at the end of 2007, so I would fill it, and a week later it would be bone dry again. I took it into the dealer thinking it had to be a simple issue with a leaky hose or a cracked reservoir, but they told me it was my intake manifold gasket and it was going to cost me $1200.00 (after I negotiated it down from $1400.00) and that this was a common problem amongst these type of cars. So, I had the repairs done and it's now 4 months later and the light just started to pop up again. Back it goes to the dealership since that work is still under warranty. They better fix it this time. When this car finally dies, I WILL NOT be buying another Pontiac, that's for sure!!

- , Toledo, OH, USA

problem #9

Nov 162007

Grand Am SE! 3.4L Lt

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,261 miles

Overheated before I could pull over. By the time i got it repaired, $500.00 cash, found out my head gasket went so now i have to replace my engine. Rebuilt installed for $2800. plus tax. Thanks GM Keep up the good work. By the way, for your info out there people. GM knows that the intake gaskets are faulty and will cover the cost of the repair as long as you don't exceed the 100,000 km period. By the way I had 109,856.

- , North Bay, Ontario, Canada

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