1988 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Brougham 4 door Sedan V6 from North America


A good cheap car


This was my first car and I didn't know about any maintenance. I just did engine oil change at every 3,000 miles at a local gas station, and that was it (no coolant or transmission fluid changes, etc).

The things that have gone bad - brake pad, brake master cylinder, brake fluid leak, signal lights, headlights, seatbelt, waterpump, drive belt broke while driving (never changed it before, I guess that's why).

Bad rack and pinion, shocks and struts - Goodyear tire shop (they suck) wanted $1,500 to replace them, a local Oldsmobile dealer wanted $1,100, but ended up doing no repairs and drove the car like that for almost 5 years. Power steering fluid leaked and had to top off monthly or it would become empty. Used Locas PSF fluid that was guaranteed to stop leaks, and the leak stopped after two bottles.

General Comments:

I bought this car for $2,000 in 1996 from someone who worked at an embassy and was going back to his country. He told me he traveled a lot with his family, and the car had 140,000 miles on it. This was my first car and I drove it until 2004. The car failed a safety inspection for suspension and brakes, so I just donated the car and bought a new car. The car had 240,000 miles on it when I donated and it still ran smooth.

I didn't do any preventive maintenance other than oil changes, so some went bad, but for the last 2 years of the car, nothing broke down. $2,000 really well spent! Oh BTW, I found out the car had bad rack and pinion, and shocks and struts in 2000. I didn't fix any of them and drove it like that until 2004 November.

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

Review Date: 27th October, 2005

1988 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Brougham 3.8L gas from North America


Nice solid used car that makes you feel good


EGR valve was bad at purchase - replaced, $450.

Brake hoses were cracked at purchase - replaced, $150.

Ignition coil pack didn't work the first cold day I owned it - replaced. $225.

Passenger side electric window track failed - fixed, $105.

A/C got weak - recharged, $70. So far it's holding the charge.

Alternator failed - replaced along with serpentine belt, $325.

Car squeaks a fair amount, and all the foam in the vent system is deteriorating and being blown out onto the dash.

Paint is in good shape, very few scratches.

General Comments:

This car has lots of power with the 3.8L.

Comfortable, and at least as quiet inside on the road as a 2000 Grand Marquis I've driven in.

Only had 82,000 miles at purchase, and amazingly clean. A VIN check and talking to the previous owners shows that it was owned by two older couples, and the last couple put 5000 miles on it from 1992 to 2004. Garaged and well kept the whole time, and it shows. Cost me $1500; a little high, but it was in such nice shape. Makes you feel good while driving. Safe, too.

Brakes are a little weak; takes longer to stop than my Geo does. Not dangerous, just need to plan ahead a little more.

It looks like a lot of repairs, but I think I'm just catching the car up on a decade of preventive maintenance. It's really a nice car, and I don't feel bad putting money into it. $100/month in maintenance and repair isn't unreasonable for a used car.

A good buy.

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

Review Date: 23rd October, 2005

9th Jun 2011, 18:29

It's June of 2011, and I still own this car - my now 21 year old son is still driving it. Over 100K miles now, and very few repairs. He doesn't want to get rid of it.

1988 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Brougham 3.8L V6 from North America


Solid reliable car with a lot of power


When we got it, the 'check engine' light was on, apparently because of an EGR valve (?). Cost about $600. Also had to replace the front mirror.

First real cold day it didn't start, the coil pack needed to be replaced.

A/C (!) stopped working, charged it back up, still works after 3-4 months.

Had to get new tires.

Seats and interior are a little creaky, and the A/C blows out disintegrating bits of duct seal (spongy stuff).

Electric window, front passenger side, failed. Had to take it apart (pop rivets), fix, and replace. Not too expensive.

General Comments:

I needed a safe, cheap, reliable car that would last for 5-6 years for my son. That narrowed it down to a late 80's, early-to-mid 90's LeSabre/Bonneville/88/etc (95 and later the 3.8s were screwed up). Found this owned by an elderly widow (sold by her son) ; it was very clean and well cared for, with no rust, but some scratches. $1500 purchase price plus required repairs was a little steep, but not bad, and it was so clean and well cared for, inside and out, I decided to go for it. Plus, my son was driving me crazy looking, so I had to get something before too long. Luckily, he likes the way it looks and handles.

I'm used to a 1.6L Prizm, and the 88's 3.8L has got 10X more power to it. Goes any speed you want (I don't think my son goes too fast, but perhaps I'm kidding myself). A little boaty, and the brakes are a little weak, but after driving the 88 around, I'm having a hard time buying a economy car for myself like I've always done. If you can find one without much rust, I'd recommend it. It feels perfectly reliable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th September, 2005

29th Aug 2009, 18:55

August 2009, Still have this car, my son still drives it, two years out of high school. Leaks a little at the top of the windshield. Mostly maintenance free. Still a good deal - glad I got it.

15th Dec 2011, 21:36

Dec 2011 - Original poster - my son bought a new car (2003 Crown Vic), so I got rid of this one. Really wanted to keep it, but I have two cars already, and the brakes and wheel bearings needed repair (which he didn't tell me about - the brakes failed right after we bought a new car, in the parking lot luckily - phew!). So I sold this one to a junkyard for $220. So I had $1500-220=1280 into a car that lasted me about seven years and 70-80k miles - good deal!

Nice job, Olds! I would have loved to keep it, but oh well. Good luck out there!

19th Dec 2011, 16:31

Your report updates are great, and confirm a good long term driving experience, which is what most of us had from our Olds and Buicks of this type. I'm sure your son could have driven it a few more years and continued saving money, but at least he replaced it with another good car - the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis is a real car too.