NHTSA — Engine And Engine Cooling Problems


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
8,400 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.

1998 Pontiac Sunfire engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Pontiac Sunfire Owner Comments

problem #5

Oct 232000


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


When I bought the car used in October of 2000 it had to keep going back to the dealer for about 3 months because the engine in the car kept cutting out while driving around 55-60 mph. Dealer could not duplicate the problem. Finally after the 3rd month they found the main computer was bad. That was replaced. It ran fine until the next winter. The check engine light came on & car kept stalling when at stop signs/lights. Took to dealer had diagnostic ran which read faulty gas cap, tps sensor.... I replaced them myself. Check engine light went out till the next day. Took car back in for diagnostic which read faulty gas cap, tps sensor, egr, coil packs, gas tank sensor.....had dealer work on it.... they could not see why all this stuff was popping up....had it all replaced. Replacing it did not work. Check engine light came on again about 2 days later!!! I checked car over & found if you wiggled the main wiring harness connections the car ran fine & engine light went out! took to dealer to have wiring fixed. They took all the wiring apart & cleaned everything. They found no problem in the wiring. Check engine light came on next day.took to dealer again finally they said I needed a new battery..... weather was nice again & had no problems with car.... now that winter is here again the check engine light is on again, diagnostic stated tps sensor was bad... I again replaced it & check engine light went out for a couple hours & is back on again & car stalls when stopping & trying to go....car is at dealer right now again. The whole time the check engine light is on I also have problems with the car stalling.................... have had numerous problems from 2000 to now & still having problems.

- Deerfield, OH, USA

problem #4

Sep 252003


  • miles
Consumer prefers to send a more detailed description of the engine failure.

- Granite City, IL, USA

problem #3

Jul 302003

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer states that vehicle had been shut off for about 4 hours, when suddenly the vehicle was filled with smoke. Consumer states that the vehicles steering wheel melted.

- Hallsville, TX, USA

problem #2

Mar 242003

Sunfire 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
March 24, 2003 dear sirs, I recently had a water pump failure on my 1998 Sunfire convertible. The car has had a noise from the front of the engine for about a year, I thought it was an alternator bearing. The car has been in a GM dealer twice in that time for oil changes and of all the things the dealer has tried to sell me they never said anything was wrong with the water pump. On the night of Friday, March 14th the car began leaking antifreeze and the noise increased. I live in South lyon, mi and the closest Pontiac dealer is waldecker in brighton. I attempted to telephone waldecker several times on Saturday, March 15th, but did not connect, because of a dead phone line at waldecker. I thought waldecker went out of business, since it is an Oldsmobile dealer also. I later found, from the waldecker service manager ([xxx]) and the receptionist, that they were in fact having phone problems for several days. With no other Pontiac dealers in the area, I refilled the radiator and took the car to walkers garage, the closest auto repair. The bill came to $700 parts and labor, I asked waldecker and they said it was a fair price. Having to take the exhaust manifold off, access through the front cover of the engine, gear drive off the timing chain and the location above the cv joint is a poor design for a serviceable part. Vehicle description, 1998 Sunfire convertible, currently: 42,000 miles VIN# [xxx], 2.4 liter DOHC engine. I called the Pontiac 1-800 number and a representative told me the warranty was 3 years / 36,000 miles and the work was not performed by a Pontiac dealer, so I had no recourse. I explain to no avail why the work was not done at a Pontiac dealer. I am hoping you will reconsider this. Enclosed is the bill. Please contact me even if this claim is rejected. I expect better from the number 1 automate company in the world. Sincerely, [xxx], [xxx] phone: [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- South Lyon, MI, USA

problem #1

Sep 071999


  • miles
I think you have a problem when you have a 2 year old car seems to be falling apart from the inside out. I originally owned my car for 3 months when the temp. Gauge zeroed out from a shorted out fuse. The next problem was odometer went blank and showed me symbols in 05/1999, and the electrical cluster was replaced. Later in 09/1999, my coolant system busted after a visit to the dealership, where I was told that cars are okay to reach the red line before it will overheat. Most of the coolant system was replaced and tests done. I did not trust the work, and took it to another GMC dealer, to find that the coolant temp. Sensor needed replaced, just 2 days later. Now in 08/2000, my odometer is showing the same old symbols, due to an electrical problem. My problem is electrical problems are right in front of me, and I am unaware of it. Also, some dealerships don't care to find the bad things, when it is warranty work. Wyatt johnson does not seem to be a people saving people establishment, if you cannot trust them to find their cars mistakes.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

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