2002 grand prix engine ticking?

Asked by Aug 18, 2015 at 10:06 PM about the 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GT

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I am not a car person at all, I don't really know much but the basics of what to look for.
I am looking for a new (used) car, and saw a 2002 pontiac grand prix GT at a
dealership with only 82,900 miles on it. I went and took it for a test drive, and on start
up there is a ticking noise that went away after about 2 minutes of the car running. I
am just wondering what this could be, and if it would be worth my money to buy the
car or will it need some serious repairs in the near future? It is a 1 owner car and
everything is in great condition except for the tick and the a/c doesn't work.

5 Answers


The tick could just be from sitting. One of the lifters may be sticking a little. If this is the case, it'll go away after driving it regularly and an oil change or two. HOWEVER, since it's a GT model I'm assuming that it has the 3.8 liter V6 (3800 Series II) engine? They're notorious for intake manifold gasket failure. At the mileage on this car it's right there. It may be leaking coolant internally, mixing with the oil and damaging the engine. Pull the oil dipstick a look at the underside of the oil filler cap. See if there's any white milky "goop" either on the dipstick or the underside of the oil filler cap. If so, the intake gaskets are gone. If it were me, I wouldn't buy it without some proof that the intake gaskets have been done! Ask for a Carfax. Reputable service facilities report to Carfax giving brief descriptions of the work done during the service visit. Be careful on this car. My Nephew had his intake gaskets done back in 2010 on his 2000 Grand Prix GT. It cost him approximately $700 parts and labor back then. HTH. -Jim


I agree with spinner elephant rocket fart. If you're not into cars and pull a part, a 13 year old Pontiac is not the car for you. Find a reasonably maintained Honda or Toyota that suits you.

1 people found this helpful.

The ticking noise is probably the lifters because you said the noise went away after two minuets, this means the car probably sat for a while and the oil pressure was really low when you started it that's why it made the noise, when the oil pressure got to normal the noise would go away like you said. I have a 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GT with the 3800 v6 with 170,000 on it, these engines are pretty much bulletproof with only 80,000 some miles on it it should last a long time expecaly if it wasn't exposed to road salt,but I do know that in the 2000's GM cut Pontiac's budget on the Grand Prixs so the quality might have gone down, but you see tons of grand prixs on the road so it will probably a good buy. Carfax will not help much besides to tell you if it was in an accident because they probably will not have a detailed service record.


The ticking is likely nothing to worry about. As suggested it would be good to find out if the intake gaskets have been done and to check for tell tale signs of leaking. If everything checks out and if the price is right I wouldn't shy away from it at all. GPs are great cars. They are typically good for about 200,000 miles if you look after them so this one is not even half used up. Of course it will require some maintenance from time to time, its a machine after all. There were bazillions of them made and they've got a good reputation.

1 people found this helpful.

It could also be a piston "smacking" because when it is not at running temp its pistons are smaller ( it sounds stupid but the heat makes them swell to fit just right ) but just let it run til the noise goes away and then you can drive

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