11th Mar 2004, 15:02

I have an 1988 Chevy Nova hatchback, the "LC" type engine. I am at 280K miles now, got it at 110K used for $1200. I have owned it for about 7 years now. Runs great, very reliable. Timing belts go out every 60-80K miles or so, a little body rust, I changed my valve stem seals recently because of oil smoke, radiator leaked and took the alternator with it -- very easy to replace both. All of this maintenance is not unusual given the age of the car and the extreme conditions that I drive under (off roads in Arizona, Colorado, and several cross country trips). Car runs great in hot or cold.

I can't speak of any design flaws for the car. Changing that timing belt is going to be a major pain. Adjusting the alternator drive belt tension is tough because of the angle of the bolt. If you get side-impacted on this car, you are going to be in major pain due to the thin doors. Passing emissions testing in some places might be an issue if you have engine problems.

This car is great for young guys like myself who are willing to try to do a little work on the car themselves. With the auto manual, a few tools, and access to a junk yard, you could keep this car going forever!

Summary; cheap car that runs great, will get you where you need to go, parts are cheap, very reliable, not much power, but is still zippy. It's a disposable car!

18th Oct 2004, 22:03

I bought a1988 Nova for my wife to run. Paid $250. With 165000 miles. She has put another 8500 miles on it in the last 2 months.I've only change the oil and wiper blades. She get between 37 and 39 MPG. Does't use an oil. Best deal I've had except the 79 El camino I got for free.

21st Jan 2005, 10:37

I have a 1986 Nova that I bought when it was new. It ran well for years, but the last few years it has been difficult to start and has developed a stalling problem, particularly when the weather is cold. I replaced the carburetor, but it did not help and I can't seem to pinpoint the problem. Maybe it's time to sell the old girl.

4th Aug 2005, 21:26

Well I got my 1988 Chevy Nova from my mom 2 years ago, and she bought it in the early 90's I think. It's been a really good car, doesn't go very fast, but it gets you to where you are going. Ever since I've had it, the windshield wipers seem to work very little, whenever I hit a tiny bump they will either start or stop working. I don't know what that's all about, so I just drive whenever it's not raining. The newest problem I've had is that the alternator went out. And those are the only two problems.

26th Mar 2006, 13:12

My wife had a 1988 chevy nova before we were married, she bought it with 38000 miles on it. 12 years later, I'm driving it with 213000 miles on it. Best car we have ever owned, very reliable, original clutch and altenator still in I replaced back struts last year and put a new starter in from a salvage yard had to replace head gasket at 198000 miles, but did it myself and saved money. Also had to replace timing belt at about 150000 miles. I'm going to keep driving this car till the wheel actually fall off. Still runs strong at 80mph down the road.

31st Jul 2006, 09:11

I'm looking for a right tail lens for an 86 Chevy nova hatchback. I can't pass inspection, and I can't find this part ANYWHERE!!! Its so annoying. I've had my nova for about 3 years now and nothing is wrong with it except 5th gear on my trans is out, and the back right tail lens is broken on the side. If anyone has or can find a replacement lens, please please please email me at deadinmysoul@hotmail.com.

23rd Jul 2007, 12:02

I just bought a 1988 Chevy Nova for $500. This car belonged to an old lady until she passed. This car has 80,000 miles on it. The steering feels a little loose and the brakes seem kind of mushy. I bought the car to drive back and forth to work. From the comments I have read it appears that I will get my money out of this car. Prior owner just replaced, both CV shafts, valve seals (or something like that).

However, I would like to know if this engine is a non interference engine as I was told it is. Reason being is that if it is, I don't want to replace the timing belt until it goes out.