NHTSA — Engine And Engine Cooling: Cooling System Problems


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
43,340 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.

1999 Buick Century cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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1999 Buick Century Owner Comments

problem #12

Sep 202002


  • 29,000 miles


Passenger airbag light on--means airbag will not/may not deploy if in an auto accident. Dealer sharpe Buick replaced module approx 3 times but problem still exists. I was told that airbag light had to stay on constant before they could do anything, light is always on and problem was still not resolved. Also antifreeze leaking due to leaking lower intake gasket which has been leaking for years also taken to sharpe Buick several times they didn't see a problem even when there was a smell at the dealership. Also the instrument panel cluster was replaced it starting dimming and finally went black. I have recently paid for these repairs. Car came with manufacturer warranty when I purchased the car and I also purchased an extension on the manufacturer warranty from the car dealer sief Chevy/Buick in hastings mi where I purchased the car.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #11

Jan 292007

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles
Second failure of intake manifold gasket on 1999 Buick Century 3.1 M engine. Causes anti freeze to leak from manifold which could cause a fire (as stated in owners manual, warning not to spill anti-freeze on a hot engine when filling radiator as it could cause a fire). First failure occurred at 72,000 miles. Second failure at 115,000 miles.

- Delta, UT, USA

problem #10

Mar 012006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles
I am the owner of a 1999 Buick Century with 78,000 miles. I bought the vehicle used and have no current warranty. Recently, the low coolant dash light began to intermittently illuminate, which prompted me to check thee coolant level and search the underneath of my vehicle. The coolant level was not low; however, there was a small amount of coolant on the ground. I did extensive research on the internet and identified that tens of thousands of GM vehicle owners have had this same problem with the coolant systems in their GM vehicles. The problem was that the lower intake manifold gasket needed to be replaced. GM claims that the dex cool coolant, which is required in their vehicles, lasts for 150,000 miles of vehicle use without needing to be changed. However, my internet research of others¿¿ complaints, and the service repairman at my local garage, confirmed that the dex cool coolant through the lower gasket at approximately 70-80,000 miles, requiring a new lower intake manifold gasket and a coolant flush, as well as a necessary oil change because the coolant leaks into the oil due to the faulty gaskets (and in turn causes decreased lubrication in the engine and ruins the bearings which is also a costly problem.) after having my vehicle repaired for $900, I am told by my service repairman that this problem will occur again in another 70-80,000 miles, should I own the vehicle for that long. There are several petitions on the internet regarding this faulty equipment, advocating for a GM recall. GM, however, has done nothing to rectify this problem. GM should be responsible for the cost incurred for the replacement on the lower intake manifold gasket on affected GM vehicles, as they claim the system is good for 150,000 miles with the dex cool coolant, which is clearly a false claim.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #9

Jan 042006

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,021 miles


Failure of cooling system, engine intake manifold gasket. Vehicle is 1999 Buick Century with only 41000 original miles. Engine oil leaked into cooling radiator.

- Amelia, OH, USA

problem #8

Jun 072005

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,189 miles
The consumer owns a 1999 Buick Century. He states that six months after he purchased the vehicle he took the vehicle in for a recall on the headlights. While the vehicle was there they maintenance the vehicle and found that the gas filler pipe had deteriorated and the cooling system intake was leaking coolant. This vehicle only has about 50,000 miles. Both front lower control arm bushings had blown out and they had to be replaced also. Wyoming valley motors po box 1308 kingston, pa 18704-0308. He has spoken with GM they told him they would get back with him in a couple of days and they did not contact him back. He is not available until after 4:30. They told him the gas filler pipe was normal for the vehicle. He seen a article that said they had been having this problem with year for the cooling system. They also said the bushings was normal wear on a car also. He did go onto carfax and it did not indicate any time of problems with the vehicle.

- Shaverton, PA, USA

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problem #7

Oct 102002

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle started to run a little lot in October 2002. Vehicle was brought to mechanic shop since we where out of the three year warranty by about 6 months. Upon checking the contents of the radiator, a brown sludge was noted inside. Per service bulletin # 00-06-02-004 the mechanic flushed the system and replaced the radiator cap. Two weeks later, the same sludge was starting to appear in the radiator. Mechanic suggested that we bring it to the dealer since it was probably a gasket leak. Vehicle was brought to crown Buick. They diagnosed the problem as a leaking lower gasket and the air was getting into the system causing the sludge. They changed the lower gasket and due to the service person quoting us a wrong price on the cost F the repair this was completed for $ two weeks later, the oil pan gasket was diagnosed as leaking. This repair cost $ it amazed us that two weeks after crown worked on our vehicle the oil pan gasket starts to leak. Both gaskets leak and cause problem within 6 month's of our year warranty expiring even though we were under the 36,000 mile warranty. It is obvious inferior workmanship on Buick' S apart to have two gaskets leak and cause expensive repairs to the owner of their product. Since this was already evident due to the service bulletin being published, Buick gems should have completed these repairs as warranty. Complaints filed with Buick gems and no compensation was offered.

- Metairie, LA, USA

problem #6

Jan 152004

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,750 miles


1999 Buick Century began using dex-cool and overheating. Also heater would blow cold indicating coolant was low. Car taken to dealer who said it was a leak in upper and lower intake gaskets. When asked why this happened they said that GM has had bad batches of gaskets and they are having to replace a lot of gaskets, even on 2003 models. I asked why they were charging me $403.66 to repair, since it is happening so much. They said that GM considers this gasket problem a "normal wear and tear" item just like belts, oil changes, ect! this should not be happening when the car only has 34,780 miles on it.

- Shadyside, OH, USA

problem #5

Oct 082003

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
Intake manifold gasket has a leaking coolant. The car was stranded on the side of a busy divided four lane highway while waiting for a tow truck; twice.

- Mableton, GA, USA

problem #4

Aug 012003

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
Cooling system full of gunk, uses dex*cool. Overheating, leaking coolant, constantly refilling. Mechanic advised dex-cool is the problem, as deteriorates gaskets. Replaced intake manifold gasket for $650. If problem continues, may need to replace head gasket as well. Problem is this is the recommended coolant for this car. Have spent much money flushing and refilling system, before finding out that the coolant is the problem.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #3

May 272003

Century 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,117 miles
The vehicle overheated because one of the engine gaskets became unsealed and leaked coolant. This failure was not recalled because the manufacturer didn't see the problem as a safety issue.

- Bay City, MI, USA

problem #2

May 102002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle was overheating while driving. Was taken to a mechanic who stated that anti freeze was gunked up and radiator needed to be flushed. The consumer had a mechanic flush the radiator with the same type of fluid (dexcool) on June 15, 2002, consumer went on a trip then noticed low coolant light came on, the antifreeze was checked and it was again full of gunk, later that night the car was check and it was observed that antifreeze was leaking from the head gasket. Original coolant was used, dexcool brand, the consumer believes that the dexcool antifreeze may be the problem.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #1

Sep 081999


  • miles
The air snap located underneath the vehicle which supplies air to the engine cooling system is too noisy, indicating a problem which may result in a loss of vehicle control.

- Zionsville, PA, USA

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