1996 Chevrolet S-10 LS 4.3L from North America


A high performance lemon


The "Check Engine" light came on the day I drove away from the dealer. I think it was an omen.

The engine initially used a quart of oil every 300 miles. This was repaired under warranty.

The air flow-through vent in the back of the cab leaked rainwater into the cab.

At about 2000 miles the engine computer dropped its programming. This happened 4 more times in the first year and 6 more times in the second year.

At various times the engine would accelerate entirely on its own, with no warning whatsoever, through intersections, over curbs, nearly into other vehicles. The truck mightily resisted numerous repair attempts.

When coming from the highway the engine would frequently not return to idle, but would instead remain at the highway rpm. This again was a long-term mystery.

General Comments:

The 4.3 liter engine had gobs of power even with a load in the bed.

Fuel economy was very good in the city and admirable on the highway.

Cabin accommodations were also very good. The bucket seats were comfortable, the steering was linear and the air conditioning was strong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st June, 2004

1996 Chevrolet S-10 4.3 liter from North America


Avoid at all costs


Most recently, at 100,000 miles, the truck suddenly wouldn't start. After checking the battery and fuel pump, my mechanic realized the engine had froze-up. He could give no explanation as to why this had happened, and he said he had never seen an engine so damaged.

Also, at 100,000 miles, I have had to replace the alternator, which is something to be expected.

At approximately 50,000 miles, the driver side seat adjustment lever broke off. Ironically, the plastic lever was intact, but the metal connection had sheared off.

At approximately 50,000 miles, the lights stopped coming on, but after a few months, the began working properly again.

At approximately 60,000 miles, the cruise control stopped working except occasionally. More recently, I tried the cruise control and it has worked.

During the time I've had the Chevy, the driver side seat belt has locked prematurely, making my passengers release the belt and try several times before gaining enough slack to snap the seat belt on. Usually, the seat belt is so difficult to use, my passengers have driven without it. So, recently I bought a new seat belt from the dealer, assuming I'd install it. I thought it would only take 10 minutes, since there are only 3 bolts to remove. However, the bolt in the floor of the truck would not come out, no matter which power tool I used. Now the bolt is stripped, and I must take it to the mechanic to have it cut out with a torch.

Many other plastic pieces in the vehicle have come permanently loose or snapped off, so I no longer concern myself with replacing them.

The driver side window crank broke off. I have no idea how that is possible.

The plastic shields fitted over the door windows are not decoration, as I have found out. The driver side shield fell off soon after I bought the car. Now, whenever it rains or I use the washer fluid to clean my windshield, water pours onto my arm and pants leg. Oops, I think that's a design flaw.

Every year I need to have my air conditioner serviced because it only blows hot air. This year, I decided to do it myself, buying the kit. However, after checking the coolant, I've determined something else is wrong. I can only imagine how much that will cost me now.

Occasionally, when a stone falls into the space beneath the tailgate, the tailgate will come flying to the ground when I shut it. Apparently the stone puts enough pressure on the tailgate to pop it out, making it very dangerous to operate.

The ventilation system is useless. My truck is dark green, and I must use the air conditioner almost always. The fan doesn't blow cool air from outside no matter how fast I'm driving down the highway. And I have noticed with much of the recent roadwork in the area, that my side view mirror is a perfect deflector for tiny particles, aiming them for my left eye.

The fold up console or armrest has gotten so loose that it usually falls out of place. Putting it in the upright position causes it to fall open, spilling the contents all over the floor.

The plastic arm rests on the doors pop up and fall out when shutting the doors.

On perhaps 6 different occasions my anti-lock brake system has failed. The warning light is more often on than off. About two weeks ago, I had to brake suddenly, and suddenly the anti-lock brake light went out, and now the brakes work again.

The transmission makes a grinding noise when shifting in lower gears, but my mechanic told me not to worry about it. I heard from someone who had owned an S-10, that it was the throttle bearing. In any case, it makes quite a racket at intersections.

General Comments:

The few good points about the Chevy S-10 are the power it's engine gives, especially when merging onto a busy highway, and it's reliable 4 wheel drive ability.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th June, 2003

12th Oct 2005, 21:28

I know of two people, were there timing belts went out at 100,000 miles. on there s-10`s locking it up!.