really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
146,871 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. replace motor (2 reports)
1996 Pontiac Grand Am cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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1996 Pontiac Grand Am Owner Comments

problem #4

Jun 302009

Grand Am SE 3100 Svi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,915 miles


I bought this piece of crap GM in late March of 09 and by April 5 I had put in a gas line that blew under pressure, timing chain, water pump, battery, witch was a total of 1400 i didnt even get it home and the car died at a stop light. got it towed back to the shop and it turns out it need a new alternator 230 dollars later and I was driving again. Everything remained good until April 27, my transmission was slipping and had a rough shift of gears. took it to a tranny shop told me that the transmission was shot and that it would cost over 2000 to repair so i started saving and low and behold before i could even save up enough to fix the transmission my coolant light came on and my temperature gauge would not move. took it to the mechanic said it sounded like a head gasket or intake gasket problem. He told me that it would not hurt to drive for a while as long as there was coolant in there. So i checked it everyday and kept on adding until one night in late June my gauge was still not working, and i could smell this distinct smell and hear this weird noise it turns out that the car overheated and the coolant was boiling tried to start the car antifrezze coming everywhere and car sounds like a diesel GM's advice Needs a new engine. My advice never buy ANY GM CAR they are garbage im happy they are going under i hope it stays that way

- , Weyburn, SK, Canada

problem #3

Dec 082007

Grand Am SE 2.4L

  • Manual transmission
  • 149,000 miles

My car is going through the same problem as the first complaint.This is the 4th time in the past YEAR! Thats right I said YEAR! YEAR! Im so sick of changing this part. the first time i change the part it was a casted metal piece and the replacement for it is plastic. How retarded is that Please anyone else with this problem please let me know.

- , High Point, NC, USA

problem #2

Mar 022007

(reported on)

Grand Am SE 3100 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,569 miles

I bought my 1996 GA used. A lot of work had been done to the car before I bought it from the previous owner, whom was the original purchaser. He showed me receipts of all of the work that had been done(at the dealership btw). The list includes all NEW parts: water pump, head gasket, exhaust gaskets, all 4 wheel bearings, brakes, etc. this car was a dream when I bought it. I bought it in may 2005 and within the first week I had to replace the rear brakeline that goes from wheel cylinder to wheel cylinder in the back across the back axle (i guess that is what you would call it). I didn't mind that because that was the only brake line that hadn't been replaced($118.00 can funds)since the car was bought new in October 1995. then about 2 months later in July is when the real problems started. I had to replace the water pump(about $165.00 can funds), all was fine and dandy for another month. Then the car started to over heat, I took it into the dealership and they said that the coolant intake valve was gone, so $846.24 later it was fixed. I merrily drove my car home and shut it off in the driveway, my girlfriend went out to the car and came running back in telling me that there was a huge puddle of pinkish red fluid under the car and running down the driveway. I went out and looked and sure enough there it was running down the driveway. I called the dealership and told them and they sent a flatbed towtruck out right away, and i was informed that i would be without a vehicle for about 5 days until they could figure out what the problem was now. I got a loaner car btw. a week passed and i finally got a call, it was the coolant intake valve gasket, it didn't seal properly. they fixed it at no charge to me. got my car back again. then in October i had to start adding antifreeze to the coolant tank. I got it checked out and nothing was leaking anywhere that they could see, so i drove off again. Then I started going through 2 to 4 litres of coolant a week to a week and a half. I took the car to the dealership again, and they said that nothing was wrong that they could see.. So i drove off and went back the next day for my routine oil change. Then OMG, The mechanic came running out and got his boss, the 2 of them went running into the bay looking at my car up on the heist. The boss looked down into the drain bucket, went to the shelf and grabbed a container scooped up some oil and proceeded to the lobby where i could see everything going on. He stopped in front of me and held out the container and I looked at it and it was all a pinkish brown foam. My coolant was leaking directly into the block. My heart sunk and i got pissed off, I looked directly at the boss and told him that I had this car into the dealership on 4 or 5 different occasions wondering why i was losing coolant and i was sent away after being told that nothing was wrong. he came right out at that moment to tell me that this is a common problem among 1996 to 1998 Pontiac Grand am's with the 3100 series and 3400 series motors. He told me that the only thing to do was to replace the motor at MY COST because GM(General Motors) will not foot the cost for a $3000.00 crate motor to be put in an older car. I flipped out and told them that all of this could have been remedied if i had of had a competent mechanic look at my car and caught this problem before it got to this point.. So needless to say I am now in the works of suing GM for this, I have been on many other blogs and chats and message boards about this problem and it is a common thing.. So if you have this problem with your GA or suspect that you may have this problem sound your thoughts and sign any petitions that you find with this problem.. In the end it will help us all.

- , Reserve Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada

problem #1

Mar 182006

(reported on)

Grand Am

  • 140,000 miles

I bought this car used and asked my mechanic beforehand if there were any known problems with the car at which time he informed me that there were problems with the intake gaskets in this make and model. Before buying the car I asked the previous owner about this and found that it had already been replaced. A couple of months after buying the car it started losing heat and overheating.. the heat would go out and come back on and so on and so on, untill eventually it stayed out and the car overheated and was towed. I took the car in and once again they replaced the intake gaskets among other things. I got the car back and it started doing the same thing and once again is in the shop and I am having to pay more money. Since it has already cost me 1000.00 I am extremely Pissed off.... What could be causing this?????

- , Afton, MI, USA

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