Pontiac Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Pontiac as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

Illumination of the Check Engine Light can be caused by a loose or worn gas cap.

The oxygen sensor can fail causing Check Engine Light illumination and the engine to run rich (burn more fuel than normal).

One or more of the power windows may stop working due to a failed window switch. Failed switches will require replacement.

The ignition coil housing may fail causing an engine misfire on one or more cylinders.

The timing chain tensioner used for the Pontiac Vibe is designed to use oil pressure to keep tension on the timing chain. When it develops a leak, it can no longer provide tension, and the timing chain will begin to make a slapping or rattling sound at all times.

If left in this condition, the timing chain may fail, leading to costly internal engine repair.

To correct this issue the timing chain tensioner must be replaced with the revised part.

The 2003-2008 Pontiac Vibe has a known issue with the valves that if left unchecked, will cause burned valves and engine performance issues. 

The engine ‘breathes’ through valves that are pushed open by the camshaft, and closed by springs. When valves are closed, they seal against a valve seat. In this vehicle, the valve seat is too soft, so after the valve contacts it thousands of times, it becomes crushed. Once it is crushed, the valve can no longer make a proper seal, and the valves erode due to extreme temperature (burnt valve).

Symptoms related to this issue:

To repair the burnt valves, the cylinder head must be removed and rebuilt, which is a costly internal engine repair, however, this issue can be prevented through inspection and adjustment of valve clearances every 40,000 miles.

The turn signal switch may fail causing the hazard/turn signal flasher to continue to click even when the turn signal switch is off. Replacing the faulty turn signal switch will commonly correct this condition.

The window regulator in the Pontiac Vibe from 2003-2004 were assembled using defective bolts that allow the window to fall off track during normal operation. The bolts stretch, loosen, and break, allowing the window glass to move freely inside the door, independent of the regulator. 

The solution is to either replace the electric window regulator, or just the bolts, depending on the amount of damage done to the regulator. 

The windows on the 1984-2002 Pontiac Firebird and Trans Am commonly lean in towards the cabin when they are rolled down, and a metal-on-glass rattle is heard with any vibration. As the problem advances, popping may be heard from the door as the window rolls up or down.

This issue is caused by failing window regulator rivets which no longer hold the window upright. This places undue strain on pads that prevent the window from contacting the metal door frame. After a short time, the pads inside the door wear out, allowing the window to rattle and become scratched in a vertical pattern.

To correct the rattling and popping noises, the window regulator rivets and pads must be replaced.

It is common for the high pressure power steering rubber hoses to leak. Our technicians recommend replacing leaky rubber hoses to prevent the loss of power steering.

The roller on the window guide attached to the bottom of the window glass may break off and cause the window to come off track.

Brake fluid can become dirty and may cause problems in the brake system; it should be flushed every 60,000 miles.

The high pressure power steering hose will commonly leak fluid; it should be replaced.

Illumination of the Check Engine Light can be caused by a loose or worn gas cap.