I bought my Olds with roughly 100K miles on it in March 2005 for under $3000. The day after taking it home, I discovered a head gasket leak. My neighbor had a '98 Chevrolet Malibu which is basically the same car. He had to have his head gasket replaced because it blew as well. This must be a shortcoming for the 3.1 V6 motor. The dealership (Woodhouse Ford in Blair, NE), fixed the leaking gasket, free of charge, even though I purchased the car "as is" (awesome).
Since then, I've put 20K miles on the car. I didn't realize it, when I bought it, but there is short in the fuse for the interior lights. I replaced the fuse, only to have it burn out a short time later, so the short is obviously now permanent (or until I feel like getting it fixed) as any time I put another fuse in it, it blows.
The car is mainly used to drive back and forth between work and home and trips around the city.
I've read in other websites, about several other things that have happened to other people who own one of these cars. I've had similar issues:
1) Air conditioner: The air conditioner has a mind of its own. It shuts on and off when you are trying to keep it on.
2) Fan blower switch: The switch burned out on #1 and 2. It still works on 3, 4 and 5.
3) Fuel level gauge: If your battery ever goes bad, or low, and you try to start your car, the fuel gauge will spike, sending the needle all the way around! I ended up drilling a small hole in the plastic glass and sticking a wire through it in order to spin the needle back around.
4) The check engine light kept turning on and off, about 4 months after I purchased the car. A few months later, the ABS light started to come on. I found out the right front wheel hub assembly was bad, causing the light to turn on. The left assembly had to be replaced as it was making noises. I feel this is just one of those maintenance things that came with the territory of a car with 100K miles, so it wasn't any big deal.
5) The leather seating surface is junk. All the seats are ripping and look bad.
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