Buick Century Years To Avoid (Best and Worst)

Buick Century Years To Avoid – For decades, the Buick Century has cruised through the pages of automotive history, embodying the spirit of American craftsmanship on wheels. From its inaugural roll-out in 1936 to its final bow in 2005, the Buick Century has carved a path of distinction.

It’s a journey that has seen remarkable highs and, inevitably, a few lows.

In this article, we embark on a captivating exploration of the Buick Century’s production timeline, shedding light on the years that shone brightest and the ones that faltered.

As the odometer of time rolled on, Buick presented a captivating tapestry of Century models.

Some years stand as a testament to innovation, style, and peak performance, etching indelible memories for car enthusiasts.

Conversely, there were those years that might not have aged as gracefully, leaving us with models that are often better left in the rearview mirror.

The Worst Buick Century Years to Avoid

While the Buick Century boasts a rich heritage, it’s worth acknowledging that not all years were created equal. For those eager to own an iconic slice of American automotive culture, it’s essential to tread carefully through the annals of production.

Our in-depth analysis will illuminate the years that could potentially pose challenges.

From mechanical quirks to design missteps, we provide valuable insights into the Buick Century years to avoid.

Our aim is not just to offer historical tidbits, but to empower you with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision when considering a Buick Century purchase.

Buick Century Years To Avoid

So, fasten your seatbelts and embark on a journey through time, where the road is paved with insights and the destination is a well-informed choice.

Welcome to the realm of Buick Century—where we explore the best and worst years, ensuring you drive away with wisdom.

The Notorious 2002: The Worst Year for Buick Century

Among the array of Buick Century models, the year 2002 emerges as a cautionary tale. It earned the dubious distinction of being the worst year for the model and for good reason.

Customers experienced a rough ride, and not just on the road. This year witnessed a surge in customer complaints, with the primary culprit being issues with window regulators.

While the 2001 model year isn’t far behind in terms of complaints, it’s the 2002 Buick Century that takes the crown of discontent.

The pervasive window regulator problems left many owners frustrated and disheartened.

But let’s not paint the entire year with a broad brush—while not all 2002 Buick Century cars suffered these issues, the significant number of complaints warrants careful consideration.

The Silver Lining: Positive Aspects of the 2002 Buick Century

Amidst the sea of discontent, it’s important to recognize that the 2002 Buick Century had its redeeming qualities. Sporting an appealing design and a commendable array of features, this model year managed to offer a silver lining.

Equipped with a 2.5L engine, it delivered satisfactory performance within its class. The ride was comfortable, handling was admirable, and cabin space was abundant, catering to the needs of families during that era.

While the window regulator issue is undoubtedly a black mark on the year, many drivers found solace in the vehicle’s overall design and performance.

It’s a testament to the fact that even a “worst” year can have its moments of merit.

Chronicles of Woe: Other Bad Years

The 2002 Buick Century wasn’t the only year to experience turbulence. The 2001 and 2003 models also earned their spots in the annals of notoriety.

The 2001 Buick Century saw a high volume of complaints, with window regulator issues plaguing its reputation.

Similarly, the 2003 model dealt with its own set of challenges, even though it started off with a promising consumer rating of 4.6 out of 5 and an appealing price range.

The 2004 Buick Century attempted to mend its predecessor’s issues but encountered its own set of complaints, with transmission and engine problems taking the forefront.

Despite these setbacks, it’s crucial to remember that these years don’t define the entirety of the Buick Century legacy.

Recall Roulette: Years with the Most Recalls

As the Buick Century navigated through time, some years faced an onslaught of recalls that impacted its overall reputation.

The 2002 Buick Century, already infamous for window regulator problems, also faced numerous recalls, highlighting its notoriety in the automotive world.

Similarly, the 1998 Buick Century had its share of recalls, touching on critical areas like engine cooling, suspension, and fuel systems.

However, amidst these challenging years, the Century’s legacy endured. The brand continued production until 2005, showcasing that even with the occasional turbulence, there were periods of triumph and success.

Buick Century Best Years

The Buick Century has traversed the roads of American history, leaving behind a trail of exceptional model years.

Among these, certain years shine brighter, embodying the perfect blend of reliability, comfort, and affordability.

We journey through time to uncover the Buick Century’s best years, each a testament to the brand’s commitment to excellence.

2005 Buick Century: A Legacy of Comfort and Reliability

Earning its rightful place at the zenith of the Buick Century lineage is the 2005 model. This year’s offering encapsulated all that drivers seek in a sedan—affordability, comfort, and unwavering reliability.

Priced just above $22,000, the 2005 Buick Century carved a niche for itself with its exceptionally smooth and comfortable ride, earning the praise of consumers far and wide.

The standout feature of the 2005 Buick Century was its adept fusion of affordability and dependability.

Within its spacious interior, passengers enjoyed ample legroom, creating an oasis of comfort on wheels.

The sedan didn’t just pamper its occupants; it catered to the driver’s needs as well, presenting a seamless driving experience paired with commendable fuel efficiency.

Complementing its interior comfort, the 2005 Buick Century boasted an array of standard features. From power windows and door locks to air conditioning and a six-speaker audio system, this model year exuded convenience.

For those seeking a touch of luxury, options like leather upholstery, a power driver’s seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control elevate the experience.

Safety wasn’t compromised either. While lacking modern advanced safety technology, the 2005 Century included anti-lock brakes and daytime running lights—fundamental features contributing to its steadfast reliability on the road.

1987: The Runner-Up in the Race of Excellence

Nestled in the realm of the Buick Century’s best years, 1987 claims the honorable title of the runner-up. This year exemplified why the Century earned its reputation for being dependable and desirable. Several features set the 1987 model apart:

  • Spacious Interior: The 1987 Century prioritized comfort with a roomy interior, perfect for both drivers and passengers during lengthy journeys.
  • V6 Engine Performance: Sporting a V6 engine, this model year delivered impressive performance and power for its era. Buick Century Years To Avoid Positioned as a mid-size sedan, the 1987 Buick Century was an affordable option that delivered substantial value for its price.
  • Easy Maintenance: The readily available and budget-friendly parts made maintaining the Buick Century an economical endeavor.

Exploring Other Gems: Years of Distinctiveness

Beyond the standout years, the Buick Century legacy is punctuated by other model years that deserve recognition:

  1. 1939: The inaugural production year of the Buick Century in 1936 marked a pivotal moment in automotive history. The early versions combined the Special model’s lighter body with the larger model’s potent engine, creating a powerful and distinctive vehicle that set the stage for future generations.
  2. 1966 Buick Wildcat GS: A rare find, the Wildcat Gran Sport of 1966 was a true treasure. Among the 1,200-1,300 produced models, some boasted a V8 engine. This year stands as a testament to rarity and heightened performance capabilities.
  3. 2003 Buick Century: The 2003 Century garnered consumer favor for its stylish sedan design and reliable performance. With an ideal balance of dependability, comfort, and affordability, this model year occupies a special place in the hearts of Buick enthusiasts.

Each of these years showcases unique qualities that resonated with both enthusiasts and everyday drivers, underscoring Buick’s adaptability to the evolving needs of the market.

Buick Century Problems

When considering a used Buick Century, it’s important to embark on your journey as an informed buyer. Like any vehicle, the Buick Century has seen its fair share of common issues that span various model years.

In this section, we delve into the world of Buick Century problems, shedding light on common issues that buyers should be aware of.

1994-1996 Models: A Snapshot of Challenges

Within the realm of Buick Century’s expansive history, the 1994-1996 models emerge as years that warrant closer inspection.

Buick Century Problems

These model years have garnered attention for a range of issues that savvy buyers should be on the lookout for.

1. Timing Gears and Knocking Sounds

One of the reported problems in the 1994-1996 models is the occurrence of knocking sounds emanating from the timing gears. This auditory concern could potentially indicate a larger problem within the vehicle’s timing system.

While not all vehicles from these years may experience this issue, it’s essential to be aware of the potential for a more significant problem underlying the knocking sound.

2. Oil-Soaked Spark Plug Wire Rubber Boots

Another common problem to consider is oil-soaked spark plug wire rubber boots. This issue can result in misfires or a rough idle, affecting the vehicle’s overall performance.

Fortunately, this issue is relatively manageable to address.

By replacing the affected spark plug wires, you can rectify the problem and restore the engine’s smooth operation.

3. Preventative Measures: Cooling System Maintenance

Buick Century owners across various model years have highlighted the importance of flushing the cooling system every 60,000 miles.

Three individuals have attested to the significance of this preventative measure in ensuring the vehicle’s longevity.

Proper cooling system maintenance can mitigate the risk of overheating and extend the life of your Buick Century.

4. Sticky Situations: Shifter Assembly Woes

In the realm of common Buick Century problems, a concern involving the shifter assembly deserves attention. Owners have reported instances of a failed shifter causing the ignition key to become stuck.

This can be a frustrating situation that might require repairing or replacing the shifter assembly to restore smooth functionality.

Additional Troubles: Plastic Clips and Coolant Leaks

Beyond the mentioned issues, Buick Century owners have encountered other common problems that are worth noting:

  • Window Falls Into Door: The power window assemblies in Buick Century models are known to have cheap plastic clips that can break, leading to the window falling into the door. This inconvenience necessitates window assembly repairs.
  • Coolant Leaks Through Cracked Intake Manifold: Some Buick Century owners have experienced coolant leaks due to a cracked intake manifold gasket. This issue highlights the importance of regular maintenance to prevent engine coolant leaks and overheating.

Are Buick Century good cars?

Absolutely! Buick Century cars have earned a reputation for being highly reliable and long-lasting. Many owners, like myself, have experienced the durability of these vehicles firsthand. My own Century, with around 111,500 miles on the odometer, continues to run exceptionally well.

While the transmission might exhibit a slight roughness, it’s worth noting that gentle driving can mitigate this issue. I am confident in using my Buick Century until it eventually calls it quits.

How many miles can a Buick Century last?

The longevity of your Buick Century is greatly influenced by how well you maintain it. By consistently practicing proactive maintenance, reaching 200,000 miles or even surpassing that milestone is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Proper care is crucial, and while you may wonder when to schedule certain services, remember that a well-maintained Century can go the distance.

Why was the Buick Century discontinued?

The Buick Century’s production history contains a fascinating chapter that explains its discontinuation. Back in 1942, during the throes of World War II, the Century was brought to a halt at the end of the abbreviated model year.

This decision was a result of the war effort, which led to the suspension of passenger vehicle production on February 4, 1942.

Interestingly, this wartime context meant that only about 10% of Buick’s total output comprised the Century model for that particular year.


The Buick Century has left an indelible mark on the automotive landscape, spanning decades with its reliability and performance. From its golden years to its occasional hiccups, the Century’s journey is a testament to Buick’s dedication to crafting vehicles that stand the test of time.

The 2005 model shines as a beacon of affordability, comfort, and reliability, while the 1987 model showcases the brand’s commitment to performance and value.

While the journey of the Buick Century has encountered twists and turns, one thing remains clear: each model year, whether shining or struggling, contributes to the rich tapestry of Buick’s legacy.

The Buick Century’s story is an ever-evolving narrative that speaks to the enduring spirit of American automotive craftsmanship.

Remember, whether you’re exploring its best years or delving into common issues, the Buick Century’s journey offers insights that enrich the way we engage with this iconic brand.

So, as you embark on your Buick Century journey, may this guide provide you with a roadmap to navigate its best and worst years, common issues, and unique history.

Buick Century’s legacy is one that continues to evolve, and by staying informed, you’re equipped to make the most of your automotive experience. Happy exploring, and may your path through the world of Buick Century be both enlightening and rewarding.

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