1998 Chevrolet Lumina LS 3.1 from North America


A keeper


Steering rack replaced in 2002.

Intake manifold gasket failed in 2005.

Fuel tank rusted out in 2006.

Brake disks replaced in 2007.

ABS sensor packed up in 2011.

General Comments:

Solid feel to the car.

Road noise is almost nil, due to the insulation.

Installed a remote starter and trunk/door release for that luxury feel.

All in all, very very happy after 10 years use.

A poor man's Cadillac.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th February, 2011

1998 Chevrolet Lumina from North America


Not worth the money


Right blinker went out about 6 years ago. After a couple of years, the hazards, brake lights, and left blinker went out as well. Finally had to remove the entire steering column, and replace a few parts to get it all fixed again.

The transmission had started going bad. Every few days it would idle really high (1500 rpms instead of 1000), and would be very difficult to drive.

A/C went out 6-7 years ago. Nothing we did could ever get it to work.

Heat went out a couple years ago, finally had to have my mechanic uncle replace some things to fix it.

Window motor on driver's door had to be replaced three separate times.

Cassette player wouldn't take any tapes. Anytime I put one it, it made an awful crunching noise and spat the tape back out.

General Comments:

I drove this car for six and a half years, before that it belonged to my parents. Bought it used in about 1999 or so. My dad has a 2001, and any problem that one of us had, the other ALWAYS had the same problem within a year.

At some point, pretty much every part of this car has had to be replaced. It had a lot of miles, but it seemed like it was one thing after another.

Everyone I know that owns this car has had the same transmission, blinker, and heating and A/C problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th November, 2010

16th Nov 2010, 20:57

We own two Luminas, mine is a 1998 I inherited from my grandmother. Another is a '99 we bought my mom off a used car lot. Owned the '98 since 22k miles from a rental company, and the '99 was also a former rental.

They are great cars if you maintain them and are familiar with the quirks and design flaws. The intake manifold gaskets are no good, the factory ones are plastic and melt over time so be prepared for that. Some have piston slap (sounds like valvetrain racket but it's not). Also, carbon builds up in the EGR port constantly, causing a check engine light and possible emissions failure. Easy enough to clean, or just bypass the damn thing.

Now the '98 has 94k miles and the '99 has 120k. Good cars. I even unintentionally crash-tested my '98 a couple times and it was a tank, just bought new doors and other body components, good as new.

Avoid the white ones as the paint will flake off as early as 50k miles. The '98 did have an electrical problem with the rear brake light but we fixed it (at exorbitant cost but it was worth it).

Like any car, maintain it and it'll take care of you. My sister abused the hell out of my '98 and drove it with no oil and it STILL runs strong. Sorry for your poor experience but get a KIA, Daewoo or Aveo or something and you'll be begging for the 'ol Lumina back!

1998 Chevrolet Lumina LS 3.1L 3100SFI from North America


Given a bad reputation by neglecting owners who killed their economy car


Absolutely nothing has gone wrong. It could have, if not for my pride of ownership and frequent fluid changes. If this car was assembled in Oshawa Ontario Canada, & has been respected, it is bullet proof.

90% of friction wear in the engine will occur on a cold start. If you simply wait until the car is at operating temperature before you start revving it, it is unstoppable. The main mistake people make is revving the cold engine. GM designed the piston heads to be slightly smaller diameter than the inside diameter of the piston, to reduce the friction during a start, then as it warms, it slowly expands to the perfect diameter. If you rev the engine when the piston diameter was at its smallest, it bounces along the sides of the cylinder and scores it, reducing compression.

Also, the lifters are hollow and take a while to fill up with oil; that's why it taps when it's cold; all the oil has drained from the lifters into the oil reservoir, so another good thing is to let it sit at a cold start until it reaches operating temperature, and the oil pump distributes oil to the lifters before you start revving it and wearing it when the engine isn't ready.

It's a simple science, but people don't necessarily think things through these days it seems. They never change the fluids, and run the crap out of it when it's not at operating temperature, and they blame GM. It's an economy car, it will last forever if the owner has a clue what is happening. Just let it run 3 minutes at idle if it's been sitting for hours; it's that simple, and makes a world of difference in performance and durability.

General Comments:

Underrated, and sadly given a bad name, because of owner neglect and confusion.

By the way, my intake gaskets are holding up great; 210 000 miles guys in a 3100SFI. GM should have given out a maintenance-common sense video to owners before they killed their 3100s.

I also added a cold air intake and a straight pipe exhaust earlier this year for kicks. She's running like a champ at 13 years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th October, 2010

19th Oct 2010, 01:15

I agree these are actually great cars. The 3.1 engine is known to go past 400k if well maintained. Comfortable, incredibly fast and sport tuned suspension. My parents used to have one, and it was their favorite car out of the many they have had. Most people who drive economy cars don't have that much money, and can't afford to maintain them.