8 Best & Worst Buick Century Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Buick Century is a midsize car that was offered as model years 1990 to 2005. 

It is known for its smooth ride, spacious interior, and a balance of efficiency and power, making it a practical choice as a daily driver. 

In this article, we’ll be thoroughly reviewing all of the best and worst model years of the Century.

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Buick Century Are:

The best Buick Century model years are 2005 and 2004. The worst model years of this model are 1999, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2001, and 2003. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Buick Century?

2005 Buick Century

The 2005 Century is the final model year ever produced, ending a decade and a half production of the nameplate.

This model has a roomy interior, intuitive controls, and an affordable base price.

Changes and updates include the introduction of the Glacier Blue Metallic body color and an additional Special Edition add-on package.

Owners have praised this model for the following aspects:

  • Reliability
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Fuel economy
  • Comfort
  • Value for money
  • Appearance
  • Handling
  • Steering

It comes in a single trim level, known as the Standard trim, and is fitted with a 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine (175 horsepower, 195 pound-feet of torque). 

According to the EPA, combined driving fuel economy can go to as much as 21 MPG, which is just about the average for the midsize sedan segment.  

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0

2005 Century, Edmunds Review:

“I also have a LaCrosse and the Century has a smoother ride and more comfortable seats, plus much better gas mileage in the city. Do not listen to the auto experts that believe a harsh ride, stiff seats and a run through the cones is what the real world of driving is. I have 9,000 on the Century and test drove both Camry and Accord prior to purchase, both rode stiffer…”

2004 Buick Century

As the second-to-last model year ever produced, the 2004 Century delivers on several fronts, particularly spaciousness, fuel economy, and value for money.

The most significant feature implemented for this model year is a four-wheel disc brake system and an updated sound system.

Notable safety features include the following:

  • Engine immobilizer
  • Emergency interior trunk release
  • Cornering lights
  • Child seat anchors
  • Daytime running lights

It comes in a total of 10 exterior paint options and 3 unique interior colors. 

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0

2004 Century, Edmunds Review:

“I bought this car used with over 150,000 miles on it. I was worried about the high mileage at first. I have driven this car over 50,000 miles with no problems. This is the most comfortable and reliable car I have ever had. I did not know it before I purchased this car but I am a Buick fan for life. Great Car, great gas mileage, high comfort level, great reliability.”

Consumer Scores For Best Buick Century Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
2005 Buick Century4.6 / 5.04.4 / 5.0
2004 Buick Century4.6 / 5.04.4 / 5.0

Related: 15 Best & Worst Kia Optima Years (With Pictures)

What Are The Worst Years For The Buick Century?

1999 Buick Century

The 1999 Century is the most problematic model year ever produced.

It has faced a multitude of issues related to the manifold, header, muffler, and tailpipe. 

Some key problems reported include:

  • Repeated Head Gasket Replacement
  • Coolant Leak Around Intake Manifold
  • Intake Manifold and Heater Core Failures
  • Antifreeze Leakage and Gunk Buildup
  • Premature Intake Manifold Failure
  • Difficulty Accessing Horn Buttons

Overall, the 1999 Buick Century had a series of engine and cooling system problems, including manifold-related issues, that caused significant inconvenience and expenses for owners. 

These problems also raised questions about the design and potential recalls for certain components.

“I had to replace the head gasket twice. The mechanic indicated for the first time that the coolant might be the cause for the gasket deterioration…” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 1999 Century had a total of 42 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 246 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Other common problems:

  • Intake manifold gasket failure
  • Power windows stopped working
  • Rusted brake lines

1998 Buick Century

The 1998 Century, the second most problematic model year, has had a variety of horn-related problems. 

One issue is that the horn fails to function at higher speeds but works when the vehicle is stationary or moving slowly. 

Another problem is the difficulty in operating the horn due to extreme pressure required. 

Additionally, there are reports of the horn continuously blowing when the vehicle is not running or manually operated, even after replacing the horn assembly and fuse. 

Some owners faced challenges locating the horn buttons when the steering wheel isn’t straight, and in emergency situations, the horn failed to sound off properly.

Despite multiple dealership visits, the issue remained unresolved for some owners.

“The horn is difficult to operate. Extreme pressure is required when applied…” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 1998 Century had a total of 13 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 221 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Other common problems:

  • Complete electrical failure
  • Lower intake manifold coolant leakage
  • Rusted wheel well

2000 Buick Century

The 2000 Century is notorious for its transmission solenoid problems, making it one of the most troublesome model years.

Key issues reported include:

  • Hard Shift Condition
  • Code P1811
  • Harsh Shifts
  • Costly Repairs
  • Manufacturer Awareness
  • Safety Concerns

The 2000 Buick Century’s transmission solenoid problems have raised questions about GM’s responsibility and the need for a recall to address this widespread issue.

“The transmission on my 2000 Buick Century has a hard shift condition that was diagnosed at 2 different transmission shops as a pressure control solenoid failure that is very common with this car. One of the shops said the problem will reoccur even with replacement of the part unless a shift kit is installed. After researching this issue online it becomes apparent that the shops are correct in their diagnosis…” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2000 Century had a total of 49 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 209 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Other common problems:

  • Transmission slipping
  • Intake manifold gasket failure
  • Power windows malfunctioning

2002 Buick Century

The 2002 Buick Century has been plagued by manifold/header/muffler/tailpipe issues. 

Owners have reported coolant leaks, often due to failing intake manifold gaskets worsened by the use of dexcool coolant. 

Some have even experienced starter fires caused by excessive oil buildup, raising serious safety concerns.

Repairs have been costly, with intake manifold gasket replacements exceeding $700. 

In severe cases, coolant leaks from head gaskets have rendered the vehicle unusable, incurring repair costs of about $1400.

These issues have prompted class action lawsuits in Canada and numerous complaints in the United States, shedding light on the problem’s widespread nature. 

Seeking resolution has proven challenging, particularly for vehicles beyond the 36,000-mile warranty. 

Buick’s response, offering limited discounts on parts and labor, has left many owners dissatisfied.

“Had service engine light coming on periodically and was losing coolant, but could not find any leaks, was told it was probably faulty light, or leak in the tank. Took the car for oil change and asked to look for any leaks, found coolant in oil. Intake manifold gasket failed and had to be replaced…” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2002 Century had a total of 58 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 172 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Other common problems:

  • Intake gasket failure
  • Low coolant light on
  • Coolant leakage
  • Gauge cluster not working

Related: 16 Best & Worst Buick Regal Years (With Pictures)

2001 Buick Century

The 2001 Century has faced significant problems related to its brake hoses, lines, and fittings. Owners reported instances of brake failure due to severely corroded brake lines. 

In some cases, these corroded lines led to brake fluid leaks, causing brake pedals to go to the floor and rendering the brakes ineffective.

The corrosion of the brake lines occurred at various points, including bends and areas concealed by heat shields. 

This corrosion issue posed a substantial safety risk, as drivers experienced difficulty stopping their vehicles, resulting in accidents.

Replacing the corroded brake lines was a costly endeavor, with some owners having to replace all four brake lines.

The corrosion problem, occurring in vehicles as young as three years old with low mileage, raised concerns about the materials used in the brake lines and their susceptibility to rust.

“Backing out of the driveway my brakes went straight to the floor. Luckily I was able to apply the parking brakes to stop the vehicle. After inspection, the brake lines have completely rotted out causing a rear brake line to burst. All four brake lines have now been replaced.” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2001 Century had a total of 81 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 151 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Other common problems:

  • Coolant leakage
  • Intake manifold gasket failure
  • Power windows stopped working
  • Cruise control malfunction

2003 Buick Century

The 2003 Buick Century has encountered a concerning issue with its headlight switch, which has been reported by numerous owners. 

Complaints include sudden headlight failure while driving, particularly when switching between low and high beams. 

This problem poses serious safety risks, especially during night driving. Drivers have resorted to flicking the dimmer switch as a temporary fix, highlighting the urgency for resolution. 

The issue is widespread and well-documented, with many vehicle owners expressing their concerns online.

Repairs often involve replacing the headlight switch, with an estimated cost of around $700 at dealerships. 

The recurring nature of this problem and its potential to cause accidents warrant thorough investigation and consideration for a recall to ensure driver safety.

“While driving at various speeds, the headlights suddenly shut off. The contact indicated that the failure mainly occurred while switching from low to high beam and vice versa…” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2003 Century had a total of 46 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 150 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Other common problems:

  • Intake manifold gasket failure
  • Electric windows fail to operate
  • Lights go out while driving

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2005 Buick Century5222
2004 Buick Century6462
2003 Buick Century461502
2002 Buick Century581722
2001 Buick Century811515
2000 Buick Century492097
1999 Buick Century422465
1998 Buick Century132214

What Problems Do Buick Century Have?

  • Transmission slipping
  • Intake manifold gasket failure
  • Coolant leakage
  • Power windows stopped working
  • Cruise control malfunction
  • Gauge cluster not working
  • Lights go out while driving

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Buick Century?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Honda Accord8.1$27,895 – $29,910City: 29 /Highway: 37
Toyota Camry8.1$26,420 – $36,845City: 22 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 39
Kia K58.0$25,390 – $31,790City: 24 – 27 /Highway: 32 – 37
Hyundai Sonata7.9$24,950 – $34,975City: 23 – 28 /Highway: 33 – 38
Subaru Legacy7.7$24,895 – $38,195City: 23 – 27 /Highway: 31 – 35
Nissan Altima7.4$25,730 – $35,430City: 25 – 27 /Highway: 34 – 39
Chevrolet Malibu6.8$25,100 – $31,500City: 27 /Highway: 35

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: 6 Best & Worst Buick Rendezvous Years (With Facts & Stats)












  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...