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Q: New vehicle purchase.

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I had a kia rondo for about 6 years. Always reliable. Absolutely fantastic vehicle for me, my small family and my work. Until last week when the engine blew. I need a different vehicle fast. Im thinking of buying a 2005 Pontiac Aztec. My friend advised against because they're not made anymore. But reviews of Aztec drivers were glowing. From a mechanical point of veiw what sort of reputation does the Aztec have? Do think it'll handle much more miles? Are they that hard to fix?

My car has 180000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: The motor and transmission in the Aztec are...

The motor and transmission in the Aztec are solid. Of course, it there are a few things that can kill these motors. The intake manifolds, both the upper plenum and lower intake can develop coolant leaks. If these coolant leaks are not taken care of in a timely manner, they can contribute to premature motor failure. If they have been done at around 100,000 miles, then the motor is probably well taken care of. Properly determining this depends on the how timely the intake leaks were done once they became problematic. It is possible they have never developed a leak in 180,000 miles, but I would do them if they have never been done. The intake gaskets on most V6 and V8 motors suffer from the same weakness with the intake manifolds.

If this has been properly maintenanced, then this motor and transmission is one of the most reliable on the road. Keep in mind, this only applies to a vehicle that has been taken care of. From a buyers perspective, I always look for clues that the previous owner has done the necessary maintenance to properly care for the car. If not, it does not matter what car you are buying.

The drivetrain aside, your friend is correct in pointing out the limited production run of the Aztec. This will make parts more difficult to find as the vehicle ages. In addition, aside from the drivetrain, the GM platform that the Pontiac is, has other body components that will eventually need to be repaired on a vehicle of this year and mileage. Some common failure items are; ignition modules, combination switches, door lock solenoids, window motors and regulators, door hinges and some issues with the climate control systems.

Over all, the vehicle is on the better side of average in comparison. If the price is right, I would purchase it. I recommend having a pre-purchase inspection on all vehicles. As a technician I am astounded at what is being sold as a well maintained vehicle with no problems. An older vehicle almost never falls under such a category. The fact is, if you are not a technician that has worked on cars daily for years at a time, you can’t have the experience to see problems.

For this reason, I recommend a pre-purchase inspection. Pre-purchase car inspection

Good luck!

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