1992 Oldsmobile 88 Reviews

1992 Oldsmobile 88 Royale LS 3.8 from North America

Model year1992
Year of manufacture1992
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 3.8 Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Most recent distance254000 kilometres
Previous carMazda 626

Faults:

Auto transmission issues at about 250,000 km.

Starter needed to be shimmed because it was out of alignment.

Water pump failure at about 253,000 km.

Various build quality issues related to trim items.

General Comments:

Actually a good car overall in terms of ride and power train, but it does show that GM's quality control on even its higher end cars like this one was not the best. Interior trim is coming apart: seats and carpeting are looking terrible. The headliner has discolored near the right rear roof pillar because of a water leak.

By comparison my 1988 Mazda 626 has an interior that's near mint at 338,000 kilometers. Admittedly how an owner treats their car makes a difference, but my Mazda is not really a top of the line model either. But the build quality is far superior in terms of the interior fit and finish and overall dash and instrument design.

On the Delta 88, the carpeting fabric on the interior and the trunk is a really cheap cheesy looking mouse fur that is aging badly. Not exactly a good indicator of quality in what was GM's upper end in the model range.

The car would not always shift into gear when it was cold. This prompted a transmission rebuild.

The water pump failed as well, but provided plenty of advance warning, so it wasn't catastrophic. The problem is that even though it is very accessible, for some reason GM stuck a motor mount and engine strut right in the way. In order to change the unit you have to basically jack up the right side of the engine. Hence a $C300.00 repair bill for the extra labor hours required.

Starter cable corroded and the starter was dragging because it wasn't aligned properly to the flywheel. It had to be shimmed to get it to sit properly.

Alternator went on this car as well, but very easy to change for a do-it-yourselfer. These cars are known for alternator failures as well.

The car has numerous seal leaks that are basically turning the underside of the engine into an oily mess. I don't even want to think about getting that fixed because it means taking out the oil pan, the crank and cam pulleys etc. to get to them. Very expensive.

The engine starves for fuel if you go around a corner when the fuel tank is at about 1/8th of a tank. I have never had this issue with my previous car, a Mazda 626.

The good stuff: the car is very nice to ride in and GM's 3.8 liter engine is a very nice torquey motor. It can easily keep up with traffic and is excellent on the highway. Watch your speed or this car could get you a speeding ticket. Nice growl when it revs up. Sufficiently powerful at 170 hp and about 200 lb-ft of torque.

Very quiet interior at city or highway speeds. That's a great thing when you travel 800 highway kilometers on so-so highways like I do sometimes. My Mazda (which is stored right now pending a sale), is a far noisier and buzzier unit at 120 kph.

Very powerful and effective heating and air conditioning on this car, a GM strong suit. You can comfortably cool down or heat up no matter what the outside temperature.

I love the outside temperature display on this car's interior. It's very accurate too. Instruments are nicely arranged although the dash design is showing its age. The 1995 and up models got a redesign that's much more modern.

Overall the somewhat vague steering and slightly tippy handling can't hold a candle to my previous car's razor sharp reflexes. But the price was right and so my beloved Mazda must find a new home. It would have needed more work anyway.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th October, 2006

22nd Dec 2006, 06:03

The comment about the car starving for gas when taking a corner with 1/8 tank of gasoline is a problem with the gas tank. I had this problem with my 1992 Oldsmobile 88 and was told that I should replace the gas tank. The baffles or dividers in the gas tank have come loose or came off completely. My fuel pump eventually went bad, so I replaced the fuel pump and gas tank. It's been over a year since the replacement and the car has been performing well since.

4th Jan 2007, 11:11

Thank you for the information. I'll have to see if I can find a used tank in good condition. Funny, it stopped doing it now, but I don't think the problem has gone away.

The car does have an exception heater, that's for sure. I have had a few minus 30C days where I live and it easily overcame the cold.

20th Nov 2007, 21:35

Interested in purchasing one of these cars. What kind of mileage do they get?

1992 Oldsmobile 88 3.8L from North America

Model year1992
Year of manufacture1992
First year of ownership1992
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 3.8L Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired200 miles
Most recent distance268000 miles
Previous carOldsmobile Cutlass

Summary:

I would recommend this to anyone who wants a comfortable solid and reliable performer

Faults:

I've read all of the other reviews and the repairs to this car have been typical.

Over it's life I've replaced two water pumps and one alternator/generator.

Had an engine mount replaced at around 250,000.

CV joints & struts. Brakes a couple of times.

NEVER have had any exhaust work done (and I live in a Northern climate with corrosives used for snow removal).

Non-power (no lumbar) passenger seat uncomfortable on long trips.

Can get up to 30 MPG on long trips.

General Comments:

Bottom line... after owning this beaut for fourteen years, I've put a lot of miles on this car, taken care of it, and it has served me faithfully. I've had several Oldsmobiles and this car by far has been the best I've ever owned. Right now at 268,000 the transmission is finally giving out (slow to shift into third and then overdrive). I plan to have the transmission rebuit. I would definitely buy another Olds 88 if I could find a low mileage car. It's been great!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th July, 2006

Average review marks: 7.8 / 10, based on 6 reviews