Pontiac Montana Problems

by Dennis Hartman

The Montana was a minivan produced by American automaker General Motors through its Pontiac division between 1998 and 2009. In 2006 the Montana was pulled from the U.S. market but continued to be sold in Canada and Mexico. It took over for the Pontiac Trans Sport minivan and in 1998 was even known as the Trans Sport Montana. The Pontiac Montana has become known for several common problems that owners and potential buyers should be aware of.

Engine Problems

Many of the problems deal with its engine and drivetrain. Many vehicles have experienced failure of the intake manifold gasket. This generally leads to poor fuel economy, leaking of engine coolant, and possibly engine overheating. If not repaired promptly, severe engine failure can result and the replacement of an intake manifold gasket may cost well over a thousand dollars. However, this and similar problems are covered under the standard powertrain warranty for new vehicles within the appropriate mileage.

Electrical System

Another common source of problems for the Montana is the vehicle's electrical system. Many owners have reported problems with the dashboard display and gauges. These include a fuel gauge that doesn't give accurate readings and problems operating the radio. In some cases a faulty battery (or loose wires running to the battery) is to blame. Other electrical problems, such as the inability to operate power automatic windows or door locks, may be the result of a faulty motor or corroded wiring.

Mechanical Recalls

The Pontiac Montana has also been the subject of several recalls by General Motors for known mechanical issues. In 2007 several hundred vehicles were recalled due to problems with fuel pressure regulators, which were replaced by dealers. A 2005 recall of more than 18,000 vehicles was enacted to deal with faulty seat latches on some second-row bucket seats. Another 75,000 vehicles were recalled in 2001 because of seat latches that were not within the standards set for attaching a child seat.

Safety Recalls

Another group of Montana recalls dealt specifically with the vehicle's safety equipment. In 2004 some 717,000 GM vehicles were recalled for door handles that were prone to cause injury to passengers using the power-operated sliding door. Another recall in 2005 involved 14,600 vehicles that were found to have been built with a parking brake that had failed a safety test. In 2006 more than 700 vehicles were recalled because of seat covers that could cause problems with the air bag system, potentially preventing air bags from deploying in an accident.

General Problems

Another series of problems with the Pontiac Montana deal with general shortcomings cited by owners and automotive critics. One of the most common problems of this type is the interior design of the Montana which has been noted as uncomfortable and made from inexpensive plastic and other materials. Other drivers have complained about a lack of power, especially when compared to competing minivans from Honda, Ford, and other automakers. Finally, some drivers have complained of excessive wind noise when driving at highway speeds.

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