97 Olds Achieva


New member
Feb 19, 2005
Reaction score
This is my review of my 1997 Oldsmobile Achieva SL. Here is the equipment it currently carries:

2.4L I4 DOHC engine
4-spd automatic w/OD
Power Windows/door locks
Driver-side lumbar support
6-way manually adjustable driver seat
Remote trunk and gas cap release
15" alloy wheels

When I bought this car used in 1999, it seemed like a good purchase. It was a solid car, with only 31,000 miles on it (still had 5,000 miles of factory warranty left) and purchased an extended warranty that carried it out to 75,000 miles. Little did I know that, after that 75,000 mile mark, the incompetent mechanics would start to invade. Since 2002, I have had the front struts and strut mounts replaced three times, the steering rack replaced, the engine and transmission mounts replaced, the brakes redone four times, and the right front steering knuckle had to have new metal welded into a groove caused by the calipers (which also cracked the brake pads, which were replaced). The front end is still not right, due (I believe) to missing strut installation parts, but after spending nearly $10,000 on repairs (more than what I paid for the car itself), I have decided not to spend another dime on it. I would advise anyone considering an Achieva to, first, put it through the wringer with a mechanic that you trust! Although I believe many of these problems could have been fixed more cheaply (and some probably didn't need repair at all - thanks to greedy service advisors), the fact is that many of these problems shouldn't have happened in the first place. A well-built car should go 150,000 miles before exhibiting many of these problems (my 1997 Cavalier certainly has).

Some salient points:

Power: it lacks get-up-and-go because of the small 2.4L engine.
Fuel economy: the car's weight robs mileage.
Fit & trim: not bad, although the carpets certainly didn't last very long (even with floor mats, there are holes worn), and some of the driver side door trim was broken when I bought it
Accessories: again, have it checked thoroughly before buying one...the power window motor on the driver side had to be replaced after 50,000 total miles, and it is once again exhibiting hiccups. The stereo works OK (one of its few saving graces). The daytime running lights/automatic headlights are an annoyance, because the sensor is too sensitive (and it's hidden beneath the defroster vent, so once it hits shade the headlights come on). The lumbar support -- basically a metal vane sandwiched inside the seat back -- broke, and is irreparable, and now the seat is uncomfortable unless you lean it back (and then you can't reach the steering wheel).

However, the engine and transmission have been very reliable, and even with all of its clunks and squeaks, it gets me where I need to go (for the most part). However, I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can trade it in or sell it for something that won't suck up as much of my money.