General Motors manufactured Pontiac vehicles until they discontinued the Pontiac brand in 2010. For the most part of the second half of the last century, Pontiac vehicles were pretty popular on the roads.
Pontiac cars have been recalled 669 times since 1969. All Pontiac recalls collectively make up 1.9% of the totality of NHTSA car recalls. In this article, we outline five Pontiac models with the most recalls.
1. Pontiac Grand Prix
The Pontiac Grand Prix was first produced in 1962 and remained in production for over 40 years. Few cars have been able to maintain such a lifespan. During this time, the Grand Prix spanned 7 generations.
It was available in sedans, coupes and even convertibles. The Grand Prix was synonymous with a great engine and transmission, yet it has a massive number of recalls.
Number of Recalls
The Grand Prix is the most recalled Pontiac, gathering 114 recalls. This makes up about 17.04% of all Pontiac recalls. The Grand Prix has more recalls than the 2nd and 3rd most recalled Pontiacs put together.
The 1988 model year is the most recalled Grand Prix there is. It has 11 recalls.
Next to it is the 1989 model year, which has 9 recalls. Both model years alone account for 17.54% of all Grand Prix recalls.
The 2004 and 1990 models are next on the list, with 8 recalls each. The 2001 model has 7 recalls. Also, look out for the 2000 and 1997 models. These years have 6 recalls each.
The 1999, 1998 and 1978 models have 5 recalls each, while the 2003, 2002, 1991, 1986 and 1979 models have 4 recalls each.
For 3 recalls: 2007, 1995 and 1980 models.
For 2 recalls: 1984 and 1977 models.
For 1 recall: 2008, 2006, 2005, 1996, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1985, 1983, 1982 and 1981 models.
From the 114 Grand Prix’s recalls, these are the most common reasons below.
- Engine and cooling: The valve cover gasket may become faulty and cause leaking in the engine. It is also possible that engine oil may leak into the exhaust manifold. This is more intense when the brakes are pedalled too hard. The fan blade could crack and be projected into the engine.
- Seatbelts: The rear seat belt anchor plates may crack because of fatigue. The cars may not possess properly installed seatbelt outboards. This could prevent the seatbelts from buckling, thus, violate federal safety laws. The front seatbelt guide attachment fastener may pull through the anchor plate. On few vehicles, the base of the seatbelts were not properly heated, thus, also violating federal laws.
- Structure: The front frame’s mount bracket could fracture. Because of corrosion, the cradle bolts may slip through the retainers, making them loose. This slipping could further lead to steering shaft separation from the steering gear.
- Exhaust system
2. Pontiac G6
The Pontiac G6 had similarities in design with the Pontiac Grand AM. GM originally meant it to be the 6th generation of the Grand AM; instead, it became its succeeding model.
Production started in 2004 for the 2005 model year and lasted until 2010, as with all Pontiacs. Such a short period of production meant that the Pontiac G6 couldn’t see a 2nd generation.
Number of Recalls
The Pontiac G6 is the 2nd most recalled Pontiac. It has been recalled 53 times, accounting for about 7.92% of all Pontiac recalls. The 2006 model year takes the crown with 11 recalls.
The 2005 model is a close 2nd with 10 recalls. Both the 2006 and 2005 models put together take up about 39.62% of all Pontiac G6 recalls. Quite high for only 2 model years.
Next, we have the 2008 and 2007 models which have 9 recalls each. Last, the 2009 model has 8 recalls, while the 2010 model has 6.
The following are the most common reasons for recalls.
- Automatic transmission: Some G6 cars with 4-speed automatic transmission could end up having the tabs on their shift cable fractured. The shift cable change clip might not be properly fastened. This could make the shift lever appear to be in Park even when the tranny is not.
- Brake lights: Brake lights may malfunction because of corrosion affecting the wiring. As a result, brake lights could unexpectedly come up or refuse to go off for no reason. It may also require harder pedaling to disengage the car from ‘Park’.
- Electric power assist system: The power steering may suddenly lose power while driving. This is irrespective of the speed or terrain.
3. Pontiac Vibe
The Pontiac Vibe is arguably the most popular Pontiac in the world today. If you type “Pontiac” in a web browser, you may likely see the suggestion “Vibe” before any other model. However, its popularity is not what got it on the list.
The Vibe is a compact car which shares similarities with Toyota’s Matrix. Although production lasted merely 8 years, it’s still a sought after car today. The Vibe’s design doesn’t look obsolete yet, as one would expect a car from over a decade ago to be.
It earned a reputation of being a safe car and combined durability and affordability. The average customer review rating on RepairPal is a solid 4.1 out of 5. However, not even your favorite Pontiac is free from recalls.
Number of Recalls
The Vibe earned the 3rd position on this list because of its massive 51 recalls. It accounts for about 7.62% of all Pontiac recalls over the years.
The 2009 model has 9 recalls. It is unopposed as the most recalled Pontiac Vibe model year. It also single-handedly accounts for about 17.65% of all Pontiac Vibe recalls.
Next are the 2010 and 2003 models, which both have 8 recalls. The 2004 model has 7 recalls, while the 2007, 2006 and 2005 models have 5 recalls each. The least recalled Pontiac Vibe is the 2008 model, with 4 recalls.
These are the most common culprits for Vibe recalls
- Airbags: The flexible flat cable is in the spiral cable assembly. This makes it susceptible to wearing out or being severed while turning the steering wheel. The inflators in the airbags may rupture after the components deteriorate due to weather variations. Also, the airbags may not unfold as required in high temperatures (less common in temperate regions), leading to improper inflation.
- Visibility: The glass bolts of the front doors may loosen. This severs the link between the glass and the window regulator. It is also possible that, during the manufacturing process, technicians did not evenly apply lubrication to the components.
- Speed control: The accelerator pedal may get dangerously stuck in its active position because of the driver’s floor mat. The pedal may become difficult to push or stuck in position. This may be because of the condensation from heater operation, which increases the friction on the pedal assembly.
4. Pontiac Grand AM
Production for the Grand AM was often paused and continued before finally halted like other Pontiacs. It was first manufactured from the 1973 model year to the 1975 model year. Then again, in 1977 for the 1978 model year, which lasted until 1980.
Though originally a midsize car for the 1st and 2nd generations, its 1985 comeback was a compact car. The Grand AM would eventually remain a compact car until its 5th generation.
It had good sales and was among Pontiac’s bestselling cars.
Number of Recalls
The Pontiac Grand AM has been recalled 50 times. It is responsible for about 7.47% of all recalls on the Pontiac brand. All recalls for the model years are spread from 1 to 5 recalls.
The most recalled Grand AM is the 2000 model year, with 5 recalls. Four model years, the 2001, 1996, 1985 and 1978 models, all have 4 recalls each.
For 3 recalls: 1999 and 1992 models.
For 2 recalls: 2005, 2004, 2003, 1997, 1994, 1991, 1989, 1988 and 1987 models.
For 1 recall: 2002, 1998, 1995, 1993 and 1986 models.
These are the most frequent reasons for recalls:
- Electrical system: The weight of the key holder added with rough driving conditions may cause the ignition to switch from its position. This turns off the engine. Also, the car may not start at first attempt. If the ignition, however, remains in the start position, high current flow may melt switch components.
- Fuel system: The fuel tank in some Grand AMs may not have been built to specified requirements and may lead to fuel leaks. These may also violate federal safety laws. The fuel feed and return hose may get damaged and cause leakage.
- Steering: The steering bolt was not adequately screwed during manufacturing.
5. Pontiac Montana
The Pontiac Montana is a minivan that was originally a trim variant of the Pontiac Trans Sport. It is also the only minivan on the list.
The Montana, however, was adopted as a nameplate to replace the Trans Sport because it was widely and warmly received. It still spanned 2 generations and over 10 model years before they shut the Pontiac brand down.
Number of Recalls
Pontiac Montana has 43 recalls. The 43 recalls make up about 6.43% of all Pontiac recalls since inception. The most recalled Pontiac Montana is the 2001 model year, which has 9 recalls.
The 2003 model year has 5 recalls and is the 2nd most recalled Montana. The 2001 and 2003 models alone make up 32.56% of all Montana recalls. These may just be the model years to avoid.
For 3 recalls: 2004, 2002 and 1998 models
For 2 recalls: 2006 model year
For 1 recall: 2008, 2007 and 1997 models
- Doors: Yes, most Montana recalls are door related. One problem involves the power sliding doors closing but not fastening to their latches. The doors could open up later on when the car was moving.
- Airbags: The airbags in certain Montanas have inflators that may rupture during deployment. They may have manufactured others without a check valve pin.
Other Pontiac Brands with noticeably great number of recalls include:
The Pontiac Firebird with 41 recalls, the Pontiac Bonneville with 32 recalls, and the Pontiac Trans Sport with 31 recalls.
The Pontiac Lemans and the Pontiac Sunfire have 28 and 27 recalls, respectively.
The Pontiac G6 has fewer recalls than the Pontiac Grand Prix. However, the G6 still has a higher recall density across its model years than the Grand Prix. The G6’s 53 recalls are from just 6 model years, while the Grand Prix has 114 recalls over 31 model years.