• TFL Pontiac Aztek Chronicles: The Cost of Keeping It On the Road [Video]

    2001 Pontiac Aztek Report

    In the more than three months that TFL has owned its Pontiac Aztek with 193,000 miles on it, we’ve learned a thing or two about it. Tommy and Michael go over all the gremlins still afflicting the original crossover — like when you flick the turn signal to indicate a right turn the high beams come on, and GM’s peculiar spelling of the word “gauge.. But they also go over the good stuff, such as its bomber transmission and silky smooth ride.

    Overall, for the $1,500 TFL paid for the Aztek, it’s in good shape. That wasn’t always the case though. The previous owner, who bought it straight from GM after its duty as a press car during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, passed along 11 years of service records for this vehicle.

    Among the pricey repairs: a new head gasket (a known issue with the 3.4-liter V6 from GM, control arm replacement). In total the dude spent $11,805 to keep this Aztek running. That pencils out to $1,160 a year, which is not a small sum.

    Perhaps the most amazing find? This crossover is still on its original brakes, at least according to the paperwork TFL has. And that Tommy has developed a soft spot for the GM family hauler as his go-to choice for a daily driver.

    Grant Davis
    Grant Davis
    Grant Davis is the Marketing Manager for TFLcar. Since 2006, he's found himself in the driver's seat of a more than 200 cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and the occasional watercraft as a longtime writer for Outside Magazine/Outside online and other adventure-oriented media. He's based in Denver and has a love/hate relationship with his 11-year-old minivan.

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    7 thoughts on “TFL Pontiac Aztek Chronicles: The Cost of Keeping It On the Road [Video]

    1. To me it is not worth owning older vehicles. I did this scenario with my 2004 Denali. I bought it used for 38,000 plus tax, owned it for 8.5 years and sold it for 9000 and put over 20,000 into it on a transmission and over 9000 for paint and corrosion trying to save it from the salt belt I live in plus a bunch of other repairs. Worked out to over 550/month. Right now I am in a Tacoma lease for 542/month but Toyota overcharged as my truck is worth 35,000 and my buyout is 21,000 so I have 14,000 in the truck. So the 542 includes tax and I get 14,000 back so my actual payment for the Tacoma is (542 x 40 months – 14,000) /40 months = 192/month.

      Tommy not sure about your math but 11,800/16 years is 738/year not 1100 something. However you have to include his sale price and what he payed for it. I don’t know what he payed for it but they sold for 21 to 24,000 new. He likely paid 15,000 used – 1500, say 13,500 + the 11,800 and we divide that into monthly payments and we are at 131/month and you have to drive around a problem. With my 191/month lease on a truck with 4×4 I drive new all the time and save time not changing parts like tires, brakes or wax jobs that waste time every 3-4 years. I just bring it back and get the latest vehicle that usually betters the old in fuel economy and has the latest updates and live without the worry of a huge breakdown by statistical odds.

      If you live in Arizona where vehicles last forever than that could change this scenario but for me it is cheaper to drive new all the time.

    2. Just to be clear the transmission was 5000, the other costs were tie rods, wheel alignments, tires, brakes, engine sensors, spray in bed liners, remote start problems, etc, etc.

      Oh, and I was hoping to see Charlotte here on TFL Truck via the photo above. I like Michael, he has my sense of humour, but lets be real here, the photo showed Charlotte.

      1. (TFLcar) sub in there for TFLTruck. We need Charlotte reviewing trucks though from a women’s perspective. Too many male opinions over there. Not sure about Daniel though, that could be a girl.

    3. I disagree once again with with rambro owning a used older car for a daily is the best thing to do because safety set aside most cases their built better my example I have 2016 sonic sedan new loaded as my personal but as my family hauler and out of town vehicle I bought my wife a ford freestyle 06 loaded with awd we’ve had it a year and a half we’ve been to flagstaff Az driven threw 4 feet of snow during Christmas pulled a Subaru Outback out of a ditch been out in the desert camping at Colorado river, San Diego LA the vehicle has never given us an issue ever we’re getting great mpg this all comes down to preventive maintenance and treatment of the vehicle and not just buying anything me personally I don’t buy from private sales only reputable dealers with careful research 120k miles running strong zero issues

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