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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, I've started looking into the Solstice GXP. I really like the look of them and the 260hp is more than plenty. But, how reliable are they? My last car, an '05 Saab, was a money pit that constantly needed new parts. Would the Solstice be like this? I have heard that they have airbag problems, have any of you experienced this? How easy and cheap are the parts to find, seeing as Pontiac no longer exists? I would love to own this car, but I don't know if it'll be worth it if it's just going to be another money pit.
 

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Can't speak for others, but mine has never let me down. Body parts can be sometimes hard to find but engine and drivetrain parts are common to a lot of other GM cars. Chevy Cobalt for example shares a lot of the same parts, both engine and trim. Commonly replaced items like brake pads, plugs, belts,etc. are readily available. Be careful when viewing websites like ours. you can form a skewed opinion. Rarely does anyone post that nothing went wrong with their car this month. I personally have had no more problems with my Sol than I've had with any other car I've owned.
 

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How much will you be driving it? Your main vehicle? I drove a variety of sports cars and utility vehicles over my life. My last main vehicle was an '03 Chevy Venture that was an insurance rebuild that I drove for 20 years. I took it into an independant lube shop once a year and had it serviced and a few basic maintenance items. That is it besides replacing the tires once. But I put very few miles on a vehicle. My point is that I expect my '06 Solstice, owned it for 6 moths now, with 85K to last a very long time. I plan to drop by the oil and lube shop as scheduled and deal with what else they discover if it looks legit. I did put new tires on it. I chose it over import sports cars due to the cost of maintaining them. I really like that the top is strictly manual, inviting less problems there. My ultimate decision was pretty emotional: I think they are one of the best looking Roadsters out there for under 10K. Every drive is a thrill. I paid $8500 CAD. No regrets. I still have yet to see another one on the road in BC. I say go for it!
 

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I'm looking into buying a Solstice and I wanted to hear from owners how reliable they are? My last car, an '05 Saab, was a money pit that constantly needed new parts, would the Solstice be like this? Since Pontiac is no longer in business, how cheap and easy are parts to find? I see the car has high consumer ratings, but I can't really find much about reliability. What do you guys have to say?
The Solstice (or Sky) is as reliable as any other GM vehicle mechanically, because that is really what it is. I will tell you from experience with an '03 Saab that it will be more reliable than what you are used to.

The GXP's turbo 2.0 was GM's first direct-injection gasoline engine. It provides a lot more power than the normally-aspirated 2.4, but is also slightly less reliable, mainly because it has components that the 2.4 doesn't have.

Body parts have been mentioned, and they are the real problem area since they are mostly not available. Weather seals are a particular concern, especially the one between the windshield frame and the top.
 

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You asked....I'll tell you. But around here I'm known as the "glass 1/2 empty" guy. I've had mine for 8 years and put 60k on it. In that time, I've had some repairs. The cars are quirky. They can be finicky. And some...not all....repairs can be expensive and are pretty common. To understand what those repairs might be, you must first decide, are you going to buy an NA (normally aspirated 175hp) car or are you looking at the GXP (turbo 265hp) version? Then the next question, how much are you spending and how many miles on the ones you're looking at? Then the final question...if it's a GXP, is it what's known as "unmolested" (not modded in any way)?

For this and all the answers, let me give you some "common" issues on both cars.

Both GXP and NA - if it's a stick and the PO didn't know how to drive a stick, the clutch is probably going to need to be replaced about 80k....about $2500
Both - Usually about every 40k to 60k the Camshaft Solenoids need to be replaced...very easy to do yourself...very inexpensive to do yourself...about $45/each for intake and exhaust.
Both - All fluids should have been changed in the last 2 years....if not, expect about $1000 for brake, trans, power steering, coolant and oil
Both - All batteries should have been replaced by now and some cars on their 2nd or 3rd battery. Not easy to do and cost is about $300-$400 at the dealer
Both - There are 3 hub bolts that hold all 4 hubs on the car, make sure all three are there on the inside and tight!! Common issue of them coming loose.
Both - thermostat should have been replaced by now...if not, depending on NA or GXP $400-$1000 to replace.
Both - DO NOT use the humps to close the trunk..you WILL dent them!!!

NA - somewhere around the 80-120k mark the cat plugs up. Common on ALL GM 2.4L vehicles...whether an '06 Solstice or an '18 Malibu.
NA - some...not all and not nearly as high a percentage as the turbo cars, have waterpump (WP) issues. Usually around the 60-80k mark on an NA.

GXP - WP around the 60k mark...about $900. If you get a car with this mileage or more, make 100% sure the WP has been replaced!!!
GXP - if the car is tuned (an ECM flash that will give the car 290+hp...highly recommended if you like speed), and is higher mileage..there is a chance that it will need a High Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP)...about $800 at the dealer...again though, if you can change oil, you can do this for about $250!!
GXP - if it's a late '07, early '08, the timing chain guides were weak and could break. Not all have this issue!! Cost: $2500-$3000 at the dealer
GXP - MUST USE 100% SYNTHETIC OIL!!!!!
GXP - must use premium fuel, especially if tuned!!!
GXP - Spark plugs...many here say 100k is good, but a lot will say change them every 20k-25k on a turbo car.

I don't know your age, or your gender, but if you're using it as a daily driver and you play hockey, walk away. There isn't enough room for a hockey bag. I golf, and my clubs ride in my passenger seat when I take it....if I take it. What I'm getting at is there isn't a lot of room for items, especially when the top is down. Insurance will also be expensive for a younger driver with it being a 2 seat convertible.

Parts are getting harder and more expensive to buy. A hood for example...$1200. Headlights...$250 each. A full convertible top (which many are now having to replace) $3500+ IF you can find a full top, if not, re-skin is about $2500+

These also aren't cars that can be "neglected" and continue to run. If you plan on buying and running the oil for 8k, you're going to have costly issues. If you ignore or don't know little noises and vibrations when things change in the sound or ride, it can lead to bigger, more costly issues. What I'm getting at is if this is your 1st or 2nd car that you've purchased in your life, buy a Jeep, Honda or something more reliable. If this is a car you've always wanted and you have a back-up or daily, then this car will be a GREAT addition to your garage. These cars get a lot of looks and comments. And they are an absolute blast to drive!

On that note, if you're still interested in a Solstice or Sky and you live in MI, I'm always willing to go with someone to look at a potential purchase.

If you do find one, PM me the price and miles and I can tell you if it's about the right price range...I've been following pricing for over 5 years now.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You asked....I'll tell you. But around here I'm known as the "glass 1/2 empty" guy. I've had mine for 8 years and put 60k on it. In that time, I've had some repairs. The cars are quirky. They can be finicky. And some...not all....repairs can be expensive and are pretty common. To understand what those repairs might be, you must first decide, are you going to buy an NA (normally aspirated 175hp) car or are you looking at the GXP (turbo 265hp) version? Then the next question, how much are you spending and how many miles on the ones you're looking at? Then the final question...if it's a GXP, is it what's known as "unmolested" (not modded in any way)?

For this and all the answers, let me give you some "common" issues on both cars.

Both GXP and NA - if it's a stick and the PO didn't know how to drive a stick, the clutch is probably going to need to be replaced about 80k....about $2500
Both - Usually about every 40k to 60k the Camshaft Solenoids need to be replaced...very easy to do yourself...very inexpensive to do yourself...about $45/each for intake and exhaust.
Both - All fluids should have been changed in the last 2 years....if not, expect about $1000 for brake, trans, power steering, coolant and oil
Both - All batteries should have been replaced by now and some cars on their 2nd or 3rd battery. Not easy to do and cost is about $300-$400 at the dealer
Both - There are 3 hub bolts that hold all 4 hubs on the car, make sure all three are there on the inside and tight!! Common issue of them coming loose.
Both - thermostat should have been replaced by now...if not, depending on NA or GXP $400-$1000 to replace.
Both - DO NOT use the humps to close the trunk..you WILL dent them!!!

NA - somewhere around the 80-120k mark the cat plugs up. Common on ALL GM 2.4L vehicles...whether an '06 Solstice or an '18 Malibu.
NA - some...not all and not nearly as high a percentage as the turbo cars, have waterpump (WP) issues. Usually around the 60-80k mark on an NA.

GXP - WP around the 60k mark...about $900. If you get a car with this mileage or more, make 100% sure the WP has been replaced!!!
GXP - if the car is tuned (an ECM flash that will give the car 290+hp...highly recommended if you like speed), and is higher mileage..there is a chance that it will need a High Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP)...about $800 at the dealer...again though, if you can change oil, you can do this for about $250!!
GXP - if it's a late '07, early '08, the timing chain guides were weak and could break. Not all have this issue!! Cost: $2500-$3000 at the dealer
GXP - MUST USE 100% SYNTHETIC OIL!!!!!
GXP - must use premium fuel, especially if tuned!!!
GXP - Spark plugs...many here say 100k is good, but a lot will say change them every 20k-25k on a turbo car.

I don't know your age, or your gender, but if you're using it as a daily driver and you play hockey, walk away. There isn't enough room for a hockey bag. I golf, and my clubs ride in my passenger seat when I take it....if I take it. What I'm getting at is there isn't a lot of room for items, especially when the top is down. Insurance will also be expensive for a younger driver with it being a 2 seat convertible.

Parts are getting harder and more expensive to buy. A hood for example...$1200. Headlights...$250 each. A full convertible top (which many are now having to replace) $3500+ IF you can find a full top, if not, re-skin is about $2500+

These also aren't cars that can be "neglected" and continue to run. If you plan on buying and running the oil for 8k, you're going to have costly issues. If you ignore or don't know little noises and vibrations when things change in the sound or ride, it can lead to bigger, more costly issues. What I'm getting at is if this is your 1st or 2nd car that you've purchased in your life, buy a Jeep, Honda or something more reliable. If this is a car you've always wanted and you have a back-up or daily, then this car will be a GREAT addition to your garage. These cars get a lot of looks and comments. And they are an absolute blast to drive!

On that note, if you're still interested in a Solstice or Sky and you live in MI, I'm always willing to go with someone to look at a potential purchase.

If you do find one, PM me the price and miles and I can tell you if it's about the right price range...I've been following pricing for over 5 years now.
For a majority of the time, it will not be a daily driver, it will be my main vehicle though. I am a flight attendant, so there are times when I'll need to drive it daily, and other times where it'll just be a weekend driver. The costs for the parts seem to be about the same as my Saab, so that's not too shocking. And I'm not too concerned about space, if I was, I wouldn't be considering one. I just need a car that's more reliable than my current one, but will still be more different and quirky than your typical Honda or Toyota. I just can't be spending a majority of my money on repairs like I have been with my Saab. I have a mechanic that I know, fortunately, where I can take it in for upkeep.
So, what do you think? Will this car suit me? Should I look for something else? i.e. Miata, Nissan 350z? I prefer the look of the Solstice over these cars, but if they're cheaper to maintain...
 

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The reported airbag problem is with the Passenger Seat Sensor. The design was weak, and they sometimes (frequently ?) fail prematurely. There is a recall for the problem, and you will want to check to see if it has been done. The biggest problem still is that a car taken in for the recall that had a working sensor only had that sensor reinforced. Some of those reinforced sensors have subsequently failed, some of them after the 12-month warranty had expired. The repaid is around $800 if not covered. The rest of the airbag system has not been a problem.

In contrast to The Ghost's less-than-troublefree experience, mine has been quite good.
I'm the glass half (or more) full guy.

At 87k (RL) and 105k (NA):

Both have the original clutch
One set of camshft solenoids has been replaced
Fluid life and changes are no different than any other vehicle
Battery life is comparable to any other vehicle at about 5 years, but I will agree that it is a pain to change one.
Hub bolts haven't been a problem - but I do check them
Both have original thermostats

No cat problems ('13 Equinox 2.4 also still has original cat at 127k)
Both have original waterpumps

No timing chain problems
Turbos do need synthetic oil (The Saab probably did too)
RL is happy with mid-grade fuel and NA with regular
Spark plug life seems comparable to any other vehicle, and both still have the originals

NA oil gets changed at around 9k and the RL at around 8k, when indicated by the OLM
At this mileage an oil analysis has indicated that the oil is due for changing, but still serviceable

Mechanically, mine have been typical GM Powertrain. No more trouble, and no less.
 

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For a majority of the time, it will not be a daily driver, it will be my main vehicle though. I am a flight attendant, so there are times when I'll need to drive it daily, and other times where it'll just be a weekend driver. The costs for the parts seem to be about the same as my Saab, so that's not too shocking. And I'm not too concerned about space, if I was, I wouldn't be considering one. I just need a car that's more reliable than my current one, but will still be more different and quirky than your typical Honda or Toyota. I just can't be spending a majority of my money on repairs like I have been with my Saab. I have a mechanic that I know, fortunately, where I can take it in for upkeep.
So, what do you think? Will this car suit me? Should I look for something else? i.e. Miata, Nissan 350z? I prefer the look of the Solstice over these cars, but if they're cheaper to maintain...
Don't wreck it and you will probably be in pretty good shape. Body parts really are the biggest problem you are likely to face.

Obviously, as with any used car, you really don't know what you will be getting. I have bought conventional used cars that were trouble-free and others that were so bad I couldn't wait to get rid of them.
 

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I purchased an absolutely stock one owner 2008 GXP stick in 2016 with 19,000 miles. It now has 31,000 miles.

The engine is stock other than the charge tubes, coil cover oil pressure and temp gauges.

Only other mods are the Probeam, Backbone, front brace and RPM rollbar.

I occasionally autocross and HDPE. Two to four events per year.

I drive the GXP like I stole it.

Other than a complete fluid change and new tires, no issues.

It's been very reliable.
 

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For a majority of the time, it will not be a daily driver, it will be my main vehicle though. I am a flight attendant, so there are times when I'll need to drive it daily, and other times where it'll just be a weekend driver. The costs for the parts seem to be about the same as my Saab, so that's not too shocking. And I'm not too concerned about space, if I was, I wouldn't be considering one. I just need a car that's more reliable than my current one, but will still be more different and quirky than your typical Honda or Toyota. I just can't be spending a majority of my money on repairs like I have been with my Saab. I have a mechanic that I know, fortunately, where I can take it in for upkeep.
So, what do you think? Will this car suit me? Should I look for something else? i.e. Miata, Nissan 350z? I prefer the look of the Solstice over these cars, but if they're cheaper to maintain...
You don't happen to have a father that's a pilot by chance....do you? The reason I asked was my father's cousin was just here and he's a pilot and said his daughter, who is a flight attendant was looking for a sporty car. And he happened to see mine because it's kept in my parent's garage over the winter and thought it would make a great car for his daughter.

Are they less reliable then any other car? No. Are they more expensive to repair? Sometimes. There are very specific procedures for several different repairs and if not followed, will cost a lot more money to fix....WP being one of those repairs. Lifting the car on a hoist incorrectly is another. All in all, they really aren't that much more expensive or troublesome then any other used vehicle out there.

I think you'd be okay with a Solstice. They really aren't that expensive to own...if you get one that hasn't been beat on....but that's true of any car. We're all here if you have any questions or need any help.
 

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If you want high reliability for lots of miles and are "ok" with a Miata, then look for a low mileage normally aspirated (non GXP) 2.4 car. They can and have been very reliable, several examples of 06 Solstices are clocking well into their third hundred thousand miles.

They are not a car that can be driven daily, put away and forgotten for months or years. The convertible top needs regular maintenance but with that regular maintenance they are wearing very well. Our 12 year old top looks and functions like new but I lube it and treat the canvas on a regular basis to keep it that way. There are a lot of moving parts in the top and rubber seals that need to be taken care of two or three times a year.

If you live with the car for a while and decide you really like it, then consider getting agreed value insurance. "normal" insurance will total the car with relatively minor body panel damage because of the cost of replacement parts. If you get agreed value insurance, and many companies offer it, you can set the agreed value at a level that will assure you can repair or replace the car in the event of major damage.

There are several check lists on this forum that are based on lessons learned. If you or your mechanic follow the recommendations there is no reason any Solstice or Sky that is in good condition will not make a great car for many ears to come.

Some body parts are still available from after market suppliers or via parts sitting in the rafters of owners garages. Hoods, fenders, bumpers etc can be had from after market sources. Solstice fenders are now being provided by the after market in metal and fiberglass as an example.

If you treat the rubber seals with some care and maintain them, they will last indefinitely in my opinion. If they are not treated or maintained they will fail and as John mentioned some are now only available via recycle sources.

Some parts are available from various member sources. The wear clips on the top are available from our Club. We had several hundred pairs made and provide them at our cost. Cup holders are infamous for failing due to operator error and poor design. Replacement parts to put them back into service are available on eBay or thingverse if you have a printer. Hood bump stops are being printed as well.

The cars are a LOT of fun and get a lot of attention when out and about. But they are small, can be unseen in traffic and need some maintenance attention on a regular basis to extend their lives.

I like them so much we have two!
 

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Questions like this are hard to answer because no one can predict reliability for a specific car. For example, 99 people could tell you it's a reliable vehicle, and you could be the one out of 100 that buy one that's not reliable.

Below is a list of issues the Solstice has had over the years. Please know that most of them can be fixed with limited skills, or that you can take preventive steps to ensure they don't happen to your car. Of all the issues listed below the waterpump is probably the most infamous. Also, since these are rear wheel drive cars you will want to be aware that they can perform differently than a front wheel drive vehicle, and good tires are a must if you frequently have to drive in rain or snow.

So here goes. Waterpumps, differential whine, auto hard downshifting, engine block mounts going bad, loosening of rear wheel hub bolts, brakes needing a few seconds to become firm, exterior door handles coming loose (and interior, but not as often), broken cupholder, interior door handle chrome peeling off, buttress release cable breaking preventing the rear deck lid from opening, buttress not latching (related to release cable), rear window coming unglued, vert canvas coming apart in the buttress area, the vert canvas may become frayed around the side widows due to side window being misalignment, or becoming misaligned, the drivers leather seat stretches and looks baggy, the center console breaking due to putting too much weight on it, and breaking the passenger airbag sensor by placing a knee or standing on the seat. Which is and isn't related to the GM passenger side sensor recall (Thanks Robo)

Another issue relates to the Digital Information Center (DIC) and learning how to read the different icons that light up indicating different issues w/the battery, ignition lock, airbag, oil, temp etc. In addition to having a basic understanding of engine codes that are found using a OBD reader (longer subject). Which brings up the importance of keeping the battery in good condition. Just know that some of the 2006 Solstice's were sold in 2005 (making them 15 years old) and the newest *2009s are now 11. Point being even a well maintained car can have issues given enough time.

*There were some 30 pre-production 2010s made, but they assembled at the very same time that the 2009s were being assembled.
 

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...........
Another issue relates to the Digital Information Center (DIC) and learning how to read, retrieve and interpret the different engine codes that are displayed.
........
Are you mixing up the Driver Information Center (DIC) and the Diagnostic Link Connector (DLC)?

The DIC is the display screen in the instrument cluster that can be scrolled through odometer, trip miles, fuel range, engine temperature, etc but as far as I know cannot be used to read any engine codes.
The DLC is the connector that any car built after 1996 has below or somewhere near the steering column that is used to read vehicle systems data with an OBDII diagnostic scanner.
 

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it's like any other car with the exception of yugo's, some are reliable some arnt.some are built that way some are effed up by owner or tech's. you just dont know wont know till you get it. mine has the bad rearend that was bad in 05 and gm did nothing but service it and say it's normal.well it sorta was normal for that year car but not normal for a diffeential.and now 15 years lator I have another one to put in at some point.no big deal. mine also had codes that had been cleared by the unscrupulass dealer,it would barly go 70 when i got it on the highway back home., but the car & interior looks almost new and is what I wanted.. Ive worked on cars all my life to make a good living.( mostly performance cars and pussy boats,racecars.etc) fixing it was no issue,gained about 7 mpg from when I bought it. still has the oe battery as far as I can tell,it gave me a issue but seems to be working fine now. after the intial issues of low power&bad mpg no real issues at all.and they cost me about $30 to fix.( not including the rearend witch i get at a great deal)
so if you buy it and have a few small issues, fine if you have zero issues great, if you have a big issue....oops. you just dont know...with any car. Ive had 2 new cars lemon lawyed...you just dont know. 1 of those the dealer effed up.the other one...the dealer effed up...neither knew how to fix the car's 1 was simple, but..they didnt have a clue. the other was simple..but they didnt have a clue, 2 different makes, 2 totaly different issues, 2 different dealers across town from each other. you cant fix stupid. and many techs these days knows squat...I bought a scanner just to be able to work on my solstice my self, that was a little over $100. but it told me to change the $30 worth of parts( both camshaft accuators)witch are a 10 min fix.
so be sure you like it,
be sure you drive it.
be sure you adjust the seat in many different positions to see if it's a good fit. mine was horrific when i first got in it, after finding my position it's great.
be sure you ask all questions.
do not rely on the carfox, thats a selling tool.if it shows a bad thing thats true, but if it does not shaw a bad thing...that does not mean squat, just nothing bad was reported to carfox....dealers and insurance are the main things on carfox. not small repair shops. like I said it's a selling tool made up by somebody selling cars. but if there are issues that a delare has been screwing with it should show that.
then there is the price....and the condition for the price asked. thats your deal.
 

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I'm with Rob on this one I have an NA and other than the camshaft solenoids which were replaced under warranty and a stuck thermostat I have not had any issues with my car . In the real world an NA provides all the enjoyment most people need and you should be able to find a low mileage one for considerably less than a GXP .
 

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I have driven three flavors. 2.4, 2.0, and 6.2. They all handle very well, are fun to drive and very enjoyable. They just get to speed a little differently. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The Solstice (or Sky) is as reliable as any other GM vehicle mechanically, because that is really what it is. I will tell you from experience with an '03 Saab that it will be more reliable than what you are used to.

The GXP's turbo 2.0 was GM's first direct-injection gasoline engine. It provides a lot more power than the normally-aspirated 2.4, but is also slightly less reliable, mainly because it has components that the 2.4 doesn't have.

Body parts have been mentioned, and they are the real problem area since they are mostly not available. Weather seals are a particular concern, especially the one between the windshield frame and the top.
Well, I’m glad to hear that it’s been more reliable than the Saab.
 
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