Buick Century 1998 - keep?

I have a 1998 Buick Century with 127,000miles on it. I have owned this car for about 5.5years and it has been very reliable and smooth for daily commuter and occasional weekend trips.

The car has various minor issues with it- slow coolant leaks, AC refrigerant leaks, ABS died a few years ago (brakes work fine). Otherwise the car has been very comfortable and reliable and other than driving a ‘grandma car’ I have been very pleased with it.

Lately I have noticed more squeaking/creaking from the right-front wheel/suspension. I suspect the ball joints and bushings are wearing out. I am considering replacing the control arms and tie-rod linkage bushings. (doing this myself)

My question is- is it worth it on a car like this? I am hoping to get at least another year out of the car if not more.

I have replaced a few components myself in the last year - wheel hub assembly, battery + alternator, O2 sensor, re-soldered some dashboard light connections, new IAC valve.

Does it make sense to put ~$250 into parts for a squeaky ride? Should I go ahead and replace both left/right control arms? Should I ride it out until the suspension feels different?

Curious what people think. Thanks!

I’d fix it.

It’s a lot cheaper to fix a car that you’re familiar with than it is to go buy another vehicle with unknown problems and starting all over again.

I always drive my vehicles into the ground until a repair become cost prohibited or the vehicle is unsafe to drive…



How good a car could you buy for the $250 it takes to fix it? That is not even one car payment.

You like the car. You can still buy parts for it. You can fix it yourself. Go for it.


I’d fix the suspension and the other things, too. Get it in great shape and you’ll enjoy it more, I bet. And now, with crazy prices to replace it, fixing makes more sense than ever.


As far as I’m concerned, it’s reached the end of it’s economically useful life. It will nickel and dime you to death from this point forward. A starter here, an alternator there, an HVAC actuator,etc. And you can’t budget for this stuff because you don’t know when something will fail, or what it will be. I insist on a new car every three years so I can sit down every November and prepare a monthly budget for the following year knowing exactly what my monthly costs will be. Yeah, it costs me a few bucks more, but I need to have certainty, and a reliable car.

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I usually spend $600-$800/year to maintain it between shop visits for inspection and what I repair myself. To me that still seems drastically cheaper than a new car every 3 years??


Summer is near so why nurse this thing along ? You said a year , I would not put the amount of money that the coolant leaks . AC leaks and the suspension will cost .

To be clear usually about 1 gal of coolant every 2-3 months ($12/gallon) and AC leak during the summer is usually 1 can every 2 weeks ($10/can)

Any rust? How’s the interior? If the body and interior are in great shape, and it’s not using a lot of oil, I’d have no problem dropping $2,000 to get the front end, a/c, and coolant leaks fixed. Any replacement will cost MUCH more.

Body and interior pretty good (love the old cushy leather bench seats). Some minor rust here and there.

This has the 3.8 L V6, right? I’d get that coolant leak fixed sooner rather than later, it can get much worse and damage the engine. A common cause is a bad intake system gasket. Here’s one description, I’m sure there are better ones out there:
3800 V6 3.8 GM Series II Intake Manifold coolant leak causing hydro lock. - Auto-Trend Repairs and Service Information Forums (activeboard.com)


Sorry no this has the 3.1 L V6, I should have specified.

I replaced the intake manifold gaskets on my sons Grand Am, 3.4 L engine. I wouldn’t consider scraping the car for a coolant leak and he is not getting a new car every 3 years.

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It is clear your priorities (total cost) and mine (reliability and predictability) are incompatible. But hey, that’s why baskin-robbins has 31 flavors.


I would fix it if you need to get another year or so out of it. especially with the high price of used cars now and the problems with getting some of the new ones. most likely the ball joint is making the squeak. but replace any parts that are worn. it is easier to replace them now that you are doing the other work. change the parts in pairs, not just one side. and definitely fix the coolant leak. it will only get worse and will cause more damage then is worth fixing.

Bench seats ?

The EPA has entered the chat…

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


I guess the front is technically not a bench- but its the older style 6-seater…3 in front, 3 in back. Very plush seats

lol- well I’m being sustainable by keeping the old car going rather than replacing.

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The next time you go to recharge the AC, get refrigerant with the sealant.


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