As soon as the exit of the Oldsmobile Achieva, a brand new model by the name of Oldsmobile Alero came into picture before the turn of the century as the re-entry model of the Oldsmobile to the small car market. The first Alero model year was based on the 1997 concept car shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit at the same year.
It its first year in 1999, the Alero redefined the Oldsmobile compact car. As the Achieva looks more like a big body car in a small wheelbase, the Alero came in more stylish and true to its class vehicle. A cleaner and better design gave the Alero its similarity to Aurora, Oldsmobile's flagship model. It was offered in three trims: GX, GL, and the GLS, all came in coupe and sedan. The Alero GSL housed the 3.4L OHV V-6 rated at 170 horsepower at 4,800 rpm. The both the GX and the GL model offered the 2.4L DOHC four-cylinder engine that can produce 150 hp.
What made the Alero different from other Oldsmobile was its style and design. It has some adaptation to the features of Aurora and Intrigue but with more rounded fenders and quarter panels, and a low front end and a high rear deck contour. Their primary market directly targeted the American buyers of Japanese vehicles such as Honda, Toyota, and Nissan.
After a year and with a good share in the market competing against Dodge Avenger, Chrysler Sebring Coupe, Honda Accord Coupe and Toyota Solara, the Alero became the best-selling Oldsmobile passing the Aurora and Intrigue. This year made the GL model divided into three levels: 1, 2, and, 3. The three child-seat anchors on the rear parcel shelf was an addition at this year.
The 2001 Alero gave the GX its power windows, cruise control and a standard CD player while the GL3 was dropped. The GL1 received that keyless entry and the GL2 had redefined suspension and rear spoiler. By the end of the year, the GM announced the phase out of all present Olds models, but the Alero had another year of production. By 2002 and 2003, the Alero adds more feature and power to the model including the XM satellite radio. The 2004 Oldsmobile Alero was unchanged as Oldsmobile production decreased. GM added 5-year 60,000mi Protection plan to the 2004 Alero.
Oldsmobile Alero: Car Maintenance Basics
Even the mightiest road warrior would sometimes fail, badly beaten by the harsh road conditions and challenging driving situations. But with proper care, the vehicle can be revived and can get back on the road in no time, ready for another journey. To keep the Oldsmobile Alero running at its best, preventive maintenance is key. Here's a short list of the basics:
- Don't let your engine starve on oil.
Motor oil does more than keep the mechanical parts adequately lubricated. As it circulates, it also picks up dirt and contaminants, keeping the engine clean. If you let the engine starve on motor oil, some parts may break due to too much heat and friction. That's why you should always keep track of the oil level. Don't let it drop too low but don't fill it up too high as well. Maintain just the right level. When oil is already dirty or when it's contaminated, you have to change this fluid as soon as possible. Oil change should be done regularly, based on manufacturer specifications.
- Don't let your engine get too hot without enough coolant.
As an assembly of parts under the hood dances to a mechanical rhythm while fuel is burning, the engine naturally runs hot. Fortunately, there's a cooling system in place to prevent overheating. However, without enough coolant to flow around the engine, keeping it cool would be mission impossible or could be a near miss. By monitoring the coolant level and topping it off as needed, you're saving the engine from mechanical failure and irreversible damage. You also allow it to operate with greater efficiency. For maximum cooling effects, make sure that all cooling system parts are up to scratch.
- Don't let your engine belts snap unexpectedly.
The belts help power up the electrical components of the vehicle. When they come loose or get fractured, this can create trouble as alternators may fail to work and some accessories won't turn on. They can create a crisis of sorts. So before they snap, make sure that the belts are checked. Replace them immediately if needed. The user manual should serve as your guide for the recommended maintenance and checkup.
- Don't neglect your brakes.
The brake pads and rotors should be checked every once in a while to keep track of their real condition. Don't let the pads get too thin. This may accelerate wear on the rotors. If they're already showing signs of wear or about to exceed the prescribed thickness, then don't think twice about replacing them. Also pay attention to your rotors. If they have deep grooves or they're warped and scored, they should be replaced immediately before poor braking compromises your safety when driving. Aside from this, you should also check the brake fluid and have other brake system parts checked to make sure that they're still in good working condition.
- Don't take your wheels and tires for granted.
Wheels should be properly aligned. Their bearings should be checked once in a while and their nuts should be tightened well. For the tires, their maintenance regimens include tire rotation and balancing. Proper inflation should also be maintained.
Oldsmobile Alero: The Last Oldsmobile Car
From 1999 until its last year, Oldsmobile manufactured one of the best compact car lines in the history of the automobile industry—the Alero. Although this vehicle was originally conceived in order to replace the Cutlass and Achieva lines, it still made a name for its own. Through its versatility and style, the Oldsmobile Alero came in different models that are worth remembering.
1999: First model
The first model of the Alero was introduced in 1999, and it was powered by a 2.4 liter, inline-4 engine that could produce as much as 150 horsepower. Though it shared some of its parts such as the chassis and engine with the Pontiac Grand AM, the Alero was still sold in three different trims: GLS, GX, and GL. All trims levels had anti-lock braking systems, automatic headlamps, and traction control. What's more, for those who wanted optimized audio systems, Oldsmobile decided to equip the high-end GLS versions with CD players.
2000: Second model
One year after its debut, a new Alero model was introduced. The 2000 version was known for its 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder and 3.4-liter V6 engine that could generate almost 150 and 170 horsepower respectively. Aside from the engine options, the second model of the Alero also came with a 4-speed automatic transmission, radio theft deterrent, power windows, and cruise control.
2001-2002: Third model
The Aleros that were released in 2001 and 2002 were almost the same. They both came with standard ABS, passenger and driver-side airbags, adjustable steering wheels, cruise control, and traction control. They were also sold as either four-door sedans or two-door coupes.
2003: Fourth model
2003 saw one of the most notable changes in the Oldsmobile Alero line. The daytime running lights which were originally high-beam lights were changed to low-beam ones. What's more, the 2003 model was released as an automatic transmission vehicle and came equipped with a satellite radio. Unfortunately, in terms of engine and overall performance, the fourth model of the Alero was still powered by the same 2.2-liter, 4-cylinder engine and optional 3.4-liter V6 engine.
2004: Last model
In 2004, the Alero model stopped production along with the discontinuation of the Oldsmobile brand. Nonetheless, to mark the end of its production, 500 special Aleros were manufactured. These limited edition Aleros showcased custom graphics that were based on dark cherry metallic paint, the classic Oldsmobile logos, and special plates. The final vehicle in the Alero Final 500 Edition series was donated to the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum and contained the signatures of the people who worked for the GM Lansing factory under its hood.