really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
108,250 miles
Total Complaints:
12 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replacement of gasket and head rebuild (8 reports)
  2. not sure (4 reports)
2003 Buick Rendezvous engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Buick Rendezvous Owner Comments

problem #12

Nov 272015

Rendezvous CXL 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


hardly been driving this vehicle. Had for over 6yrs. 2nd owner. Now have 92,00 miles. Done well for a little while, until things start to happen and I had to get repairs done. When it rains, it pours. The head control for AC/Heater went out first. Then the air struts, fuel pump, AC compressor, water pump, and now engine(head gasket) I'm wondering what's next and if this is worth fixing or trade in and buy something different. Hate to give it up, its a nice riding vehicle and does very well in the snow, rain, and the road in general. She's AWD loaded with a lot of features. Buying a more younger vehicle with these features will cause and arm and leg. Don't think I can take another expensive blow like the ones, I've been getting. This vehicle should have been recalled back. I see now why they shopped making this model.

- lsmithva, Chester, VA, US

problem #11

Oct 202011

Rendezvous CX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 163,414 miles

Mine is a '03 Buick Rendezvous. I had to replace my head gasket at 272K. pretty good k for a Rendezvous. It was replaced on or around Oct 20, 2011, day after I had Kidney transplanted, as a result of a bad heart that I also had to have transplanted 3 years earlier. Almost 2 years to the day AGAIN, 90k. I guess I should have asked for the "problem" to be fixed rather than the vehicle to be repaired. Contacted the dealer, was told it wasn't their workmanship, it would have failed sooner. Asked what head gasket they used.. answer: standard GM gasket. I understand there are better, more resistant gasket available. Why use a std, GM then??

I also asked if they put in new head bolts... answer: No. My research tells me that TTY bolts are used on these heads and they most definitely should have been replaced. I asked if the head was machined... answer, No. The dealer, I won't say the name, but they are in my hometown (Prescott ON.) won't do anything for me.

I'm at a loss. I would have purchased a new vehicle when it was initially but I am on CPP disability that only pays 14k a year. because of my health, I still am, and now have one kid in college for 2 more years. I simply can't afford to buy a used car let alone a new one and my won't hear of selling the house. My wife still works but that barely pays the mortgage and other incurred debts. We took out a loan to buy a used vehicle 2 years ago. Same dealer. The transmission died after I put 6k on it. Cost me just shy of 3k because it was just past the drive train warranty.

Is there any further action I can take toward the dealer?? I heard something about a class action suit being taken against Buick. Does anyone know anything about it? I'm probably too late to be included.

Needless to say, the dealer is not getting any more business from us. Friends are also are boycotting them.

I believe in Karma... not too sure of whatever I did so wrong in life. I feel like I should bend over and kiss my ass goodbye.

- rpilla, Brockville, ON, canada

problem #10

Aug 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Replaced thermostat 3 times in the last three months, a heater card, flush radiator. Car kept getting hot, told car has a blown head gasket, will cost over $2000.00 to repair. Just paid this car off. GM needs to recall this car. I've been hearing too many horror stories about this model car. NOW I wish I've traded it before paying it off. TIME for another car.

- Barbara W., Camak, GA, US

problem #9

Nov 202011

Rendezvous CXL 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,000 miles


I purchased this car from my sister who's husband works for GM in Detroit. They took excellent care of the car and had mainly highway miles on it. I received the car December of 2010 and have taken excellent care of the car as well. I noticed that the coolant reservoir was empty and stopped in to my local Valvoline dealer who services my car for a top off and they informed me that it looks like there was some sort of leak. I immediately went to my mechanic who replaced the intake gasket & thermostat and some other minor gasket/seal. A month passes... all is well. I drove to an out of state funeral 550 miles away. Upon trying to return from the funeral the next day, my car starts overheating within 15 minutes of driving it. I notice OIL in my water. Very distinctive issue. As it's Sunday, I have the car towed to the dealership my relative uses locally and waited till they opened on monday. They inform me that this car needs more than they can do so they send me to another repair center that specializes in more extensive motor work. I have the car towed to that shop. They tell me the repair would be a head gasket and possibly a head as well as a new radiator and possibly an oil pump as they are all fouled up due to the oil in the radiator. Then it could be worse...even a cracked head as they now can't get the car started. Approx $4500 is the estimate. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I have the car transported to my home....550 miles away. ($700) Thanks so much GM. To have this issue handled locally so at least i have some sort of service warranty on it. I have now found it's less expensive and takes less time to just REPLACE the motor. How sickening. Then i come to realize that this is something that is happening to a lot of people with these cars. The local Buick tech says that he is replacing motors left and right on these cars. Sounds like a manufacturing issue to me. As i have a GMC truck with 195,000 and a Toyota with over 200,000 miles I think that i am pretty good at being proactive to automobile issues and take care of my cars for the long haul. This is a deplorable situation to be stuck in. I have to dump cash into this vehicle to just get rid of it. Sad part is that i really liked the car and all it's features. It was very comfortable and met my families needs.

- Becky K., Ravenna, OH, US

problem #8

Sep 042009

Rendezvous CX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

click to see larger images

leaking head gasket

When I came to your dealership on September 3, 2009 I informed you that I was looking for a good reliable car. I test drove the 2003 Buick Rendezvous, and when I got back from test driving the vehicle I showed you that the sensor on the dash board was indicating hot coolant temp, track off anti lock, and service traction soon.

You told me that it would not be a problem and that you would take it right over to your mechanic to get it fixed. As we both verbally agree to this arrangement I gave you $500.00 cash to place the vehicle on hold.

The next day September 4, 2009 I returned to your dealership, and at that time you informed me that the cars’ radiator had to be replaced and the car was good to go. I then gave you the rest of the payment in the amount of 4500.00 for the 2003 Buick Rendezvous with the understanding that it was good to go.

Later that night me and my boyfriend notice that the lights on the dash board came on stating once again indicating hot coolant temp, track off, anti lock, and service traction soon

The following day September 5, 2009 I took my boyfriend to work, and drooped my dog off at the Groomer which is no more then five miles from our home, But on the way back home the indicators was making the same annoying beeping noise, and the sensor system on the dash board was stating the same thing as before hot coolant temp I had no choice but to pull into the Hess gas station on 49th Street. Where I called you and informed you on what was going on. You told me to stay there and you will have a tow truck pick me up and take it back to your mechanic around 11am when we arrived the mechanic told me that it will take him two-three hours to be fixed. I walk across the street to your dealership and explain to you what the mechanic told me. Now after I gave you my $5000.00 cash I’m stuck at your dealership with no car, and no way home. I was truly a inconvenience, and had to rely on a friend and put out for gas money for transportation to and from your place of business.

The mechanic called me around 3:30 pm to inform me that the car was done the thermostat had to be replaced. At that time I called you asking if you was ready for me to pick it up, and you told me yes. I arrived there to pick up the vehicle at 4:00 pm and drove it for 15min to my brothers house. The car sat for 2 ½ hours. I then proceeded to drive home and the lights on the dash board came back on indicating once again hot coolant. I had to pull onto the median on the highway and sit there for 25 minutes till the car cool down.

Wow, I was thinking to myself. I just got this car out the shop not even four hours ago and I'm on the side of the road what a big inconvenience. But by this time not only am I irritated but it’s a safety hazard that I have to be stuck on the highway. I had to pick my boyfriend up from work and didn't know if I was even going to make it. I had to stop six times before I got to his job, and when I got there on the way to our house we had to stop another three times before we even made it home. The car has been sitting ever since.

I'm not sure what to think right about now. I can't get a hold of you because your mail box on your voice mail is full, and to top it all off its a long holiday weekend. So while everyone is off enjoying there holiday, I had to cancel my plans of going away for the holiday. My holiday was ruined, stuck sitting in a house with a car I just purchased that can’t make it down the block without overheating. Oh yeah the with all this going on I forgot to mention the tires are making a screeching noise.

- Danielle H., Largo, FL, US

problem #7

Nov 242008

Rendezvous CXL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

water coolant issues in the oil

head gasket need replaced

just paid it off and they told me it had at least 6 months before it dies

- R T., Columbus, OH, US

problem #6

Mar 152006

Rendezvous CX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,758 miles


New rad @ 60K, Head Gasket #1 @ 101K, Head Gasket #2 @ 192K. Lemon, Nuff said

- Don P., Lindsay, Ontario, Canada

problem #5

Jan 022009

Rendezvous CX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,322 miles

After the last oil change I noticed a coolant smell (faint). a week or so later I heard the lifters ticking at start-up; checked the oil level and noticed the overflow tank for coolant was dry. Was wondering where the coolant went, added some. The ticking stopped, but started again a few days later. This time when I checked the oil level it was full of coolant. I can't believe GM has the nerve to beg for help from me,(us), when they treat us like dirt! what can be done about this?

- Ae L., Lou, KY, Lebanon

problem #4

Nov 252008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 179,000 miles

I have a family of 4......

We have not yet had this fixed due to costing us about $2300.00 I see this happens alot and it should be on the recall list! But I guess not!

Tiger did you have this trouble? If so come on man make them recall it?

- demetria, Sylvania, AL, US

problem #3

Aug 172007

Rendezvous CX 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

The head gasket is one of the many problems I've had with the Rendezvous: AWD disabled when you most need it, Wheel bearings, Drive Shaft replacement, Fuel Tank replacement, driver and passenger Power Window replacement, Paint peeling on hood. I love the car, very comfortable, nice ride, lots of power, not bad on gas but the car is a mechanical disaster. Today I had to have the A/C recharged. I thought it was the condenser as that was the next thing on the list of problems with this car. The majority of Rendezvous owners experience all the above problems when the car reaches the 50,000 mile and above mark. A class action suit has been filed against Buick for the gasket problem. I paid 1600$ to fix the gasket but the lawsuit will only reimburse me 800$. I think they should recall the whole car and reimburse me the 30,000$ I paid for the car. Wonder if Tiger would go to bat for me?

- hhaleballs, Lakewood, CO, US

problem #2

Feb 252008

Rendezvous CXL 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Replaced head gasket at dealer's expense with $300 deductible. Dealer felt bad because they misdiagnosed the problem twice before they finally got it right. Maybe the dealer couldn't believe that at 82,000 miles the car needed a new head gasket either.

- Stephane M., Coopersville, MI, US

problem #1

Feb 032007

(reported on)

Rendezvous CX 3.4 L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

After noticing that the temperature gauge fluctuated from hot to cold and back again after driving for 15 minutes and then smelling coolant, took to dealer. They said that the head gasket was leaking and spewing coolant onto the engine. Also, because of the leak, the head was damaged and the valve train had to be replaced. The head had to be re-surfaced and this process was farmed out for over a week before the vehicle was finally reassembled and given back. After talking to several guys with more experience than me, this is uncommon for the GM 3.4 V6. At any rate, it was a very costly repair.

- Kent J., Warsaw, IN, US

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