Well my wifes Safari AWD took a smack and needs more work than I care to do right now so I was thinking I'd pick up a Cierra wagon to tide her over. Good price lots of new parts and limited rust makes it look appealing at first look. I was just wondering how well the drivetrain holds up. GM almost never lets me down but they've had their share of stinkers too.
Ross - The Olds Cierra/Buick Century line was, IMO, one of the better overall value automobiles produced by GM. Good reliability and durability. Very good fuel economy given the size, interior room, and ride quality.
On the 3.3 L V6 model, if it has in the 100,000 to 200,000 mile range on odometer, I would visually inspect the boots on the CV joints for any cracks or breaks in integrity before purchasing car. In my case I would do the same with any front wheel drive car over 40,000 miles, but then I am "particular".
A test drive in a large parking lot with wheels turned all the way to right, then drive a full circle. Then turn wheels all the way to left and repeat test. If CV joints are in process of failing, auditory clues should emerge during the test.
Naturally you would want to road test the transmission and smell the transmission fluid for any scorching and visual test for color or impurities, but I'm sure you know that.
The Olds Cierra/Buick Century line was not discontinued because it was a poor car. The sales were lagging because the styling was becoming dated and could no longer compete with the more "modern' look of the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable line and the emerging sales of the Toyota Camry.
We buy a fair number of used vehicles, so I know a few things to check (never hurts to hear them again) Don't care about styling much but considering the jobs and roads we use the vehicles for, buying new is a bit crazy. We do seem to add a new one every 7 or 8 years as well but they always cost more than the used. Found an 85 Cavalier with only 35,000km (around 20,000 miles) but I've not heard much about it. Doubt I'll buy it though, just too much sitting for the seals to be reliable. I'll probably buy another Astro van as it can join the service vehicle line up easily when my wife is through with it.
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