1999 Chevrolet Lumina LS 3.1L SFI V6 from North America


A decent car for transportation if you can get it for the right price, otherwise: stay away!


My transmission has developed a bone shattering hard (rough) shift due to failure of the Fluid Pressure Control Solenoid.

Mechanic wants $799 dollars to fix just the solenoid problem and the dealer says to put a new transmission in at a cost of close to $2700.

The notorious 3.1L piston slap is extremely annoying on cold mornings. It sounds like the engine will fall apart.

Does not like to start right up on a cold morning even after I installed a brand new brand name battery (you need to give it a good amount of gas to get it going).

Car has developed a small exhaust leak that drips water when car is first started.

Car get disappointing mileage (17-19 city and 21-24 highway).

General Comments:

Aside of what I listed above, this has been a decent car for the price I paid (I picked it up cheap).

I got lucky and never had to replace the head gasket (a very common problem on 3.1's).

Comfortable to ride in on short distances, but long distances are rough.

Stereo sounds nice for a stock system.

A/C is the best in any car I ever had.

Car is nice and quiet inside.

Has no squeaks or rattles at 130,000 miles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 16th January, 2008

3rd Aug 2008, 23:46

24 mpg hwy, sounds like you need your fuel filter checked, you should be be getting 30mpg maximum. I had a car that had a 3.1L, I knew about the problems with the engines, but I never had a problem.

13th Jul 2010, 08:08

I put in a performance chip at 35.00 in my 1999 Lumina, and I get 38 MPH and better take off and smoother running.

1999 Chevrolet Lumina from North America


Don't buy one!


Very comfy car for driving, nice and roomy, that's about all I can say nice about the car.

Intake manifold gasket went at 57,000 miles - expensive fix.

Many small repeat trips for maintenance - a very needy car!

General Comments:

Poor gas mileage about town - not bad on the highway.

I miss my Escort GT - put 4 times the miles on it with no major problems, like this car.

Will trade in very soon! I expected more from a family sedan.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 7th July, 2006

1999 Chevrolet Lumina Base 3.1L from North America


It's a quick, comfortable, and reliable car with few shortcomings


Bought the car used, so there was a possibility for it to have some issues. However, I will omit obvious problems caused by user-errors:

- Piston slap & valvetrain racket is apparent when engine is under load, occurs when first started after it sits for at least one hour, not fixed.

- Condensation lined the driver's headlight, fixed myself (cleared water out with compressor and vacuum; sealed assembly with silicone)

- PassKey theft deterrent system malfunctions and disables cars randomly, not fixed.

- Factory CD player died, not fixed.

- Trunk will not close properly, not fixed.

- Weld on exhaust system broke, $20 repair.

General Comments:

The car has been reliable in general. When acquired, I had the fuel injectors cleaned as this can be a problem on 3.1L GMs. $100.

Spark plug & wires changed, included general tuneup, $100.

That is all for expenses.

The car runs well, never fails to start unless the PassKey II system malfunctions. The car is fairly agile, although there is some body roll and oversteer when you drive it hard. However, for most "normal" driving habits, this car is excellent. Fairly quick to accelerate with the 3.1, good with highway passing.

I cannot stand piston slap however, so I will never buy another GM product again. It was not just this car, it's the fact that since 1999, most of their engines through 2004 and maybe 2005 had it, and had it bad. When it takes a major corporation with sales as high as they have SIX years to fix a problem such as this, it completely turns me off to them. Visit www.pistonslap.com for more information on the issue.

Other than that, if you can see past irritating noises and the chance that your car may lose power (compression) over time, this is a great car to buy used. If you can get a 1995 or 1996 model, those were probably the greatest. 1997 and 1998 models didn't have great reliability, and after 1999 the infamous slap became very apparent.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th January, 2006

31st Oct 2007, 19:03

WOW, My Lumina has 110,000 on it and I do not get the noise that you were describing. Must be you need your timing adjusted or use a better grade of gas.