1998 Oldsmobile 88 LS 3.8L series 2 from North America


A kick butt full size sleeper



Recall had two alternators replaced within 500 miles of receiving the car. (under manufacturer warranty)

A few months later the manifold (constructed of plastic) ruptured inside, mixing oil and anti-freeze. This was repaired at the dealer for $500.00, the cost of the part, labor was free... (should have been a recall)

An accident at 40k miles, in my opinion, fixed most of the problems that might have happened to this car soon afterwords.

A faulty accident repair was the passenger door panel (where the car was struck) wasn't aligned properly leaving a hissing noise from wind entering the top of the door panel at speeds of 70+ mph. This was remedied with aftermarket weather stripping.

A later known faulty accident repair left the spark plug wires directly on the block which led to the car stalling randomly, this repair was $270.00 at the dealer.

Front and rear shocks were replaced to stiffen the "boat" at 68,000 miles this cost over $600.00. although the rear springs need replacing...

Recently 80,000+ miles oil leaks developed in the oil pan and head cover gasket. These repairs are estimated at $400.00+ although they have not been completed.

Along with the discovery of the oil leaks the steering fluid reservoir OR line is slowly leaking and the dealer can't tell if it was from a faulty repair over time (you guessed it, the accident) OR if it is the unit itself... $163.00 dollars.

Lost the starter only once and it was locally $450.00+ (I think) at 70,000+ miles.

Exhaust is perfect.

Air conditioning still runs cold.

Power windows still functional.

Power antenna still functional (IMPORTANT: this has stayed functional by giving it a cleaning with WD-40 every 2 months).

Driver side fog lamp enclosure needs replacing (intermittent), I haven't gotten a quote for this, although it is just cosmetic to me so it stays.


Again the accident destroyed the front cup holder (never replaced) that's annoying.

The leather hasn't faded although it has become unsightly with dirt filling in the wrinkles.

Along with the cup holder, the center console is turning brown from filth and the leather from it is starting to tear away from the threading.

General Comments:

So far I haven't spent more than $3,000.00 in "extra" repairs (those beyond the usual oil changes/brake jobs.)

Ride has become sloppy again (most likely because I haven't replaced the springs.)

The car new and till today has been a dream, fast and furious. Although it could use a tune up =D.

For those looking for a decent full size car this would be the way to go, although I'd get one with much fewer miles, saying all the problems with American cars in the 100k+ miles category.

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

Review Date: 16th July, 2004

28th Jun 2008, 16:52

$600 for 4 shocks and $450 for a starter is excessive... better find a better mechanic!

GM 3800 V6s are virtually indestructible, the only excepting being about 1 in 100 loosing the plastic intake manifold - which can be replaced for apx. $300 complete.

Tell me what other full size, American or foreign, gets 29 - 32 mpg??! And this way you have some metal around you vs. a little import!

1998 Oldsmobile 88 LSS 3.8L from North America


The Olds LSS is a nice riding, reliable car


A/C Compressor: Seal inside the compressor failed by the clutch around 85,000 Mi. Be careful of the radiator water level indicator switch while working in that area (passenger side about midway down the radiator), the plastic that holds it on breaks very easily (about $70).

Intake manifold gasket failed at 65,000 allowing coolant to leak into the intake manifold. The car continued to run however allowing me to get to the airport an home again. That was it though, it had to be towed from there.

Disk Brakes: Warp often. This is because of the brake caliper mechanism rests on rubber with a sleeved bolt that screws into steering support. The grease gets hard (even with the "special" grease) and it won't spring back correctly. The brake pad then rubs on the disk causing it to get hot and warp. Replacing calipers, brake hoses, flushing, etc. didn't fix the problem for very long.

Right Tie Rod: Separated at 98,569 miles causing an accident that totaled the car. GM has a recall on similar cars for this problem (See 99V-301), I was never notified.

Brakes at 55,000, tires at 52,000.

General Comments:

The LSS is a really nice quick car. It is quick even without being supercharged (SC is an option on the LSS). The paint holds up well. The interior is easy to clean and looks nice. Stereo sounds good. Visibility is very good with all the mirrors. I found that it handles well.

The A/C failure is probably my fault. I added compressor oil to the system in an effort to prevent a failure.

With the tie-rod failure I am not an expert with bolt failures, however it is my opinion that the bold that secures the tie-rod to the steering arm is defective in the car that I owned. It looks like it has voids in the bolt - like air pockets. I had inspected that joint within a month before the failure while greasing the joint, I found no problems with it both visibly and when I applied the channel lock pliers to it to test for wear.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th December, 2002

17th Feb 2008, 14:59

I have a 1998 Olds 88. The paint is beginning to peel off all over the car. Has anyone else had this happen?

26th Feb 2008, 16:51

Yes, I took my 98 to earl scheib for a paint quote, and they told me to check with the dealership for warranty info, should be a recall on it. I'm working on the process now.

13th Apr 2010, 13:34

GM had a number of issues with paint years ago.

As for warranty and recall issues, it isn't necessarily the manufacturer's responsibility to notify you, especially if you are not the original owner or a number of years have transpired since the vehicle's release.

It is the responsibility of the owner to contact dealership service departments to verify for recalls - which dealerships check free of charge and will repair free of charge. All you need is your VIN.

Since new recalls on vehicles can always come out, it's a good idea to yearly check in with a dealership, especially if you're having some major concern that seems quite out of the ordinary.

I once owned a used 1990 vehicle that had a recall put on it five years later.

Overall, from everything I've read, and considering that the 3800 was a GM workhorse and the chassis platform was a GM favorite, I believe the 88 and its variants is overall a very good car. As with all vehicles, there's always bound to be problems and flukes.