Bought my Grand Am about a year ago as an inexpensive replacement for my former car. The car had 130K miles on the odometer at the time of purchase. It was and still is a very nice looking car for it'...
Bought my Grand Am about a year ago as an inexpensive replacement for my former car. The car had 130K miles on the odometer at the time of purchase. It was and still is a very nice looking car for it's age as I got the two door coupe in bright red. It's styling is now a unique and refreshing change compared to new cars. It came with painted silver aluminum wheels and a trunk spoiler. Primary features include ice cold A/C, great heater, cloth seats, delay wipers, rear window defogger, power locks and windows and cruise control The steering wheel tilts but does not telescope. The drivers seat has a power up/down feature, but is manual adjustment fore and back. The front passenger seat is manual adjustment. The rear seat back is a 60/40 split and folds down with release straps located in the trunk. Trunk space is actually very good for a smaller coupe. I replaced the factory stereo head unit with an aftermarket unit as the factory display window no longer worked. This version has the 3.4L V6 and 4speed automatic trans. The car rides and drives decently for an 11 year old vehicle with well over 100K miles on it. Steering is still tight, although I find it a bit over assisted. The brakes are four-wheel anti-lock disc and were replaced by the dealership where I bought the car from prior to sale. I have never experienced brake fade. The car also came from the dealership with new 16" Uniroyal Tiger Paw tires which run well, and a new battery. Interior appearance, fit and finish are about average for a pre-bankruptcy GM car; relatively drab and dull with cheap looking and feeling plastics all over. The seats are fairly comfortable for long drives as I frequently put well over 300 miles and occasionally 10 hours per day in the car for the first 3 months I owned it. I never felt overly fatigued driving it. I love the fact that this car is just large enough, or the interior is designed well enough that my right leg doesn't constantly rest against the console, a flaw in many cars that I find to be intensely annoying. This car actually drives fairly well on NE WI winter roads with the all-season tires, although decent winter tires would probably improve winter drivability even more.
Since purchase, I've had to replace on front wheel bearing and the clip that holds the driver's window in place inside the door to the tune of $450 at the shop; although this engine is apparently notorious for intake gasket failure, about 3 months later I had to replace one of the head gaskets at about 140K miles which included the intake gasket by default for about $1800. Two months after that the security module began to fail which left me stranded in the garage on two separate occasions with a car that refused to start even though it had full power. This repair was another $300. This was followed a few weeks later by a failed power brake booster which progressively locked up the brakes while driving and cost another $350 to repair. Since then there have been no further problems. I have also replaced the front headlight units with new ones as the originals had become quite cloudy, a condition that plagues most cars of this era. An item of note regarding this is that when replacing the headlight lamps, the headlight unit must be removed from the car to change them, and then the headlights need to be re-aimed upon re-installation. There is information on this readily available on YouTube for those willing to spend a few minutes working on their car, although it seems something that should not be necessary. My previous two vehicles had no need for headlight adjustment or re-aim after changing a lamp. We have also added aftermarket seat warmers and a remote starter, about $700 to have done professionally.
My cost of ownership thus far has amounted to about 3/4 of what I paid for the car at purchase. Nearly all of the issues have been due simply to age and wear. I have found that the availability of repair parts is relatively good, however; the price of repairing the car is not cheap nor is it as easy to repair as my former 1990 BMW. The fact that there are still tons of these cars on the road yet is telling with regard to durability.
Overall this car makes a fine daily driver provided you can keep up on the maintenance, and would make an excellent first car for a new driver or college student. I would recommend this car to others with the understanding that it probably won't be as trouble free as a similar vintage Honda or Toyota.