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might be buying an '89 Reatta next week....


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perhaps an '88. can anyone give me a definative checklist of stuff to check before i drive away? especially re: brakes...<P>i also have one or two more questions.<P>1) On average, how much do you spend on parts a year?<P>2) what has been your biggest expense in maintaing you reatta?<P>3) would you say the car is realiable?<P>4) would you say the car is high/low maintenance<P>thanks for all your help guys. hope i might join the club

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Guest Shaffer

High maintance, electrical problems crop up. I have noticed several electrical problems people has had here on the board, from shorting out ignition switches to dash boards not working, to cars just quitting dead in the street. GM usually has good electrical systems, in fact, I think the best among American cars. But the Reattas have way too much electric components, therefore more to break down. I think Reatta has the worst electrical system of any General Motors car, but not no worse then many Chryslers of the same years, as they was terrible. Most Buicks have good electrical. Even a fully loaded Park Avenue of the same years, with all power have much better electrical systems than the Reatta. Parts can be very expensive. Someone here had brake problems on a Reatta and posted it here and it cost over $5,000 just to repair brakes!! Someone else had a similar problem with the brakes. If you can find one well maintained and low miles, you should be OK, but keep it serviced, as much as you can, and keep a little cash in the bank just in case something breaks down. Good luck on your possible future Reatta purchase.<p>[ 07-29-2001: Message edited by: Shaffer ]

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Apparently I'm the only one who hasn't had any major problems with my Reattas, unless someone else can please step in and say the same. <P>I have owned a 1988 coupe and now I have a 1990 convertible (which I will keep forever) and have had almost no problems with either one of them. My biggest expense was replacing the convertible top because I wanted a top-of-the-line Stayfast cloth top, which looks fantastic, by the way. I do a lot of my own work, so over the last year, for instance, I bought an air filter, oil filter, brake pads, new tires, just general maintenance stuff that totals around $500.<P>My experience with Reattas has been a low-maintenance one. Oh, I remember that I had a problem with the electroluminescent gear selector in my 1988, took it into the shop and they fixed it, although I don't remember how. Come to think of it, I also remember that my parking brake cable broke. Well, that car did have over a hundred thousand miles on it, not bad for a thirteen-year-old car. My low-mileage 1990 has had absolutely no problems at all. <P>Keep in mind that these cars are 10-13 years old now, which in dog years is about a hundred. Seals and gaskets dry out, things fall apart, connections corrode, bearings need to be replaced, R12 evaporates, etc. As with any car, you will avoid a lot of problems if you have THE COMPLETE MAINTENANCE HISTORY OF THE CAR. If this history isn't available, then pass on the car, because you absolutely need to know how it was taken care of by previous owners. When was the transmission fluid serviced? When did they flush the cooling system? How old are the spark plugs and plug wires? You'll avoid a lot of problems if you know for a fact that the car was well cared for.<P>Lastly, if your heart is set on that particular car, have your mechanic check it out thoroughly. <P>This is a great little car that is a lot of fun to drive. It has a timeless beauty that gets a lot of admiring glances from other motorists, and with my vanity that was certainly one of the selling points. People come up to me regularly and ask "what kind of car is that?". I'm always proud to say that it is an American car, made by Buick.

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Guest Greg Ross

What will you use the Reatta for, daily driver-or?<BR>I've run mine as a daily driver now for 3 and 1/2 years and put on approx. 140,000 miles. Electrical glitches, Yip had a few of them, still have a couple actually. Maintenance wise I spend some thousands of dollars a year but equate that to being proportinate to the miles I drive. I sincerely believe with the level of maintenance I do this '88 is actually working better then it did when I bought it.<BR>If you're looking at '88's or '89's as long as everything works and the test drive feels right, go for it. If you're not mechanically inclined, take it to a dealer, invest in 1/2 an hour of a mechanic's time and get it looked over. With higher mileage cars a compression test would be recommended. Since you've visited this Discussion Page you know by now there are some inherent problems, there's a wealth of History and Help here if you're going to take the plunge.

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It helps to be both an EE and ME 8*). Seriously, there are only two kinds of people who should buy a Reatta - those with enough discretionary income to be able to afford to pay for a mechanic to learn how it works (and that includes dealer mechanics).<P>The second class are those who have all of the trouble codes memorized and know that when BD27 hits 65C the high fans should turn on. This group will probably either own a service center or have had to fight with the zoning comission over whether their garage at home needed fire doors and a sprinking system.<P>The other problem is that the cars are now at least ten years old. Many of the original owners were not young when they bought the car. Few paid any attention to the car beyond whether their golf clubs fit in the trunk anyway. Their local mechanic knows how to reset the clock when the battery goes dead because the owner does not.<P>These cars are often in immaculate condition and have very low miles. This means that many things are liable to need cleaning/adjustment.<P>This is aggravated by the fact that the car is stuffed full of gee-whiz electronics. The body control module (computer) plugs into the engine control module (computer). It is the only GM car I have seen that can erase its own trouble codes.<P>Part of the problem is that not all of the gee-whiz features were well thought out. The lack of a "mist" button for the wipers is incredible as is the inability to dim the dash in daylight.<P>Further it seems evident that Buick never intended anyone over 5'8" to drive a sunroof car (even my 5'5" wife complains the seat is too high so is not just me). Maybe the people who could afford them new were all short.<P>Mine suits me & does what I want just it is not for anyone. Maybe that is the idea.

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In the past 8 months I have purchased 3 1990 reattas, one conv and 2 coupes. I love them all. The only major problems I've had have been a/c compressors which are not "reatta" problems. My conv has 120k and did have an ignition switch problem (Mechanical) it wore out. Have had a few other mechanical glitches, one headlight rebuild, lumbar bladder replaced etc. Have had NO brake or electrical problems other than a few bulbs knock on wood. Sold one to my lady and she loves it too. It helps to be a bit mechanically inclined.

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I have had a 90 Reatta since new, and it is absolutely trouble free. Fearing that it was a GM product I bought a 6 year, 60,000 mile extended warranty and had exactly one claim for $136.00. Needless to say things have to be maintained as with any automobile. Don't be put off by the postings of people with problems, no one posts that everything is fine, just as newspapers don't report on cats that aren't rescued from trees.

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