5th Jul 2004, 13:55

Well I got the 1988 Reliant K car a couple weeks ago for free! A family was moving away and they needed to get rid of it, but they decided to just bless someone with it for no charge. The car needed a wheel alignment bad... it was swerving to the left if you let go of the wheel. So I got that done for about $60.00... We got new brakes on it, got the engine steam cleaned, and now were considering a fresh paint job on it and also knock out some dents and dinks. That's gonna cost in the ballpark of over $500.00 with the best package, warranty, extra shine, and the metallic indigo blue paint. The car runs great, even people that ride Hondas and newer class cars say it runs great! Only flaw right now is the engine squealing when you start which has to do with the belts and were gonna get those replaced for $50-60 at Pep Boys... The gas mileage is not the best. Seems like as soon as I fill it, almost after about 10-15 minutes of just average driving the gas meter is noticeably decreased. On top of that the gas meter fluctuates on accelerations or fast turns, but it goes back after a while. Most people are kind of exaggerating on mentioning that the car is UGLY. If you keep it cleaned inside and out... Fix rusts, flaws, scratches, and give it a good wax, it can be a great looking car. I think it's a great car to start off with.

20th Aug 2004, 21:14

Regarding the post made on 5th Mar 2003:

Try replacing your fuel filter, or the fuel pump. I had exactly the same problem, and that was the cause.

Hope this helps.


10th Jul 2005, 14:59

To whomever had a problem with the car shutting down and then re-starting after 10 minutes, my brother had the same problem. There is a problem with some kind of sensor or chip in the car. If I recall correctly it wasn't too expensive, as with all Reliant parts.

12th Jul 2005, 10:39

We called ours "Proud Mary", best car I ever had, wish they would make more of them.

10th Nov 2007, 23:12

I drive a 1988 Plymouth Reliant K-car daily. It has the larger (2.5 liter) engine in it. Paid $250 for it 4 YEARS AGO and all we have done to it during that time is 3 oil changes and front brakes. I'll admit that the rear shocks are toast, but hey... talk about saving money!?!?

4th Dec 2007, 10:01

Just bought a 1988 Reliant K wagon that looks like it came out of a TIME MACHINE. I bought it from an 85 year old woman who was the original owner. It has 33,000 ORIGINAL miles on it. I had had an Aires K sedan back in 1982 and put 100k miles on it, sold it to my mother and she put 50k on it before selling it to someone.

This wagon had the original fuel filter, plugs and air filter in it. Same with the belts. Only problem is the A/C condenser is shot so I'll have to have it retro-fitted for new coolant.

This car is AMAZING. Cost $1,500.00 and worth EVERY PENNY.

26th Jan 2008, 02:18

My Mother's 1988 Plymouth Reliant is still going strong, even after 20 years & one timing belt! Regular maintenance has been done (overseen by me) & I hope to inherit it at some point. (I personally drove a cousin of this car, a 1990 Acclaim, for 80,000 miles & found it to have been built like an aircraft carrier. It shared the 2.5 liter I-4 with my mom's car.) Without exaggerating, the Reliants were built like tanks!

5th Jul 2009, 12:53

A friend of mine sold me a Plymouth Reliant for 250. I was hesitant because of the look, not the coolest lookin car, but I needed one desperately!

The owners were a little sad to see it leave... we love this car now; we named it Jack Lalaine. 90,000 and still kickin... the car also came with chrome rims, looks hilarious. Just developed a Flintstone hole on drivers side LOL.

10th Nov 2010, 17:26

This car is like the energizer bunny. It just keeps going & going & going. All you have to do is put a little oil, a little water and some tranny fluid about every 3 months or so. It starts every time. It just won't die.

Actually I've owned 2, the first one was a 1983 version. Basically the same car. I rolled it over 3 times (all in one single accident); no one else in the car with me, and no other cars involved. All I had to do was put the spare tire on the right front, she started right up and drove away. Of course the roof was smashed down, windshield broken, back window popped out, and only the driver side rear door would open, BUT I still drove it about 12 miles to get home. Sold it to a junkyard for $150. BTW I wasn't wearing my seatbelt and came out with only a couple scratches and a light case of whiplash. A tank indeed!!!

15th Nov 2010, 16:41

HEY I'm having trouble with my 1988 Reliant K. The oil is leaking! I'm having to change it after 2000 miles instead of 3000. My friends say it's a bad head gasket. Any ideas on how much it'll cost to fix, and if I can't just do it myself?

17th Jan 2011, 20:59

I have an opportunity to buy a 1988 Reliant K for 200. The car has a broken timing belt.

Thanks for the honest comments this sounds like a great car. I am looking forward to the adventure.

Any advice for me... I'm listening.

28th Feb 2011, 18:02

Timing belt won't cost much, even if you have someone do the work. But while you have everything apart, I would go ahead and replace the water pump as well. Both cost me $318 to have it done, I had them go ahead and replace all other belts while it was apart. That way it was all new.

5th Apr 2011, 23:33

I suspect that it is quite likely a faulty ignition coil. It gets hot and cuts out. Cools off enough to run for a while and then cuts out again.

Hope this helps.


7th Apr 2011, 18:29

It is the magnetic pickup inside the distributor. When the wires get hot, the extra resistance prevents the signal that allows the spark plugs to fire. The part to replace is the part inside the distributor that is riveted to the inside, and has the rubber plug-in that goes to the electronic ignition control module that is bolted to the firewall or fender.

31st Mar 2012, 15:12

Just bought an 88 Reliant off of eBay for 720.

Has just 54k thousand miles, and am looking forward to giving this baby some highway miles!

Actually, this was a boxy ugly car, but compared to the new ones, I think it has some "kicks" in the looks dept. The style has aged "gracefully".

5th Apr 2012, 01:12

Congratulations on your K-car purchase. For only $700 with that low kms is a great value for the buyer. Who cares if it's not a collectable cars? Neither are all the newer, small, ugly cars.

I agree as well at the time they came out I thought they were ugly, but now they have aged "gracefully" I guess LOL.

I grew up in the 80's and remember seeing tons of K-cars back in the day, but seeing one now, I think it's a good looking car; compared to all the boring grey plastic modern economy cars, it looks great. Lots of chrome and distinct styling.

I really like box style cars, like the 80's Monte Carlos, Caprice and Fifth Avenue. Very nice interiors and smooth ride, however if the price of gas goes up to a ridiculous amount, I may consider a vintage 80's Kcar in collector condition and low mileage. I think it would be a nice ride; it was the best economy car back then for a reason! Can't go wrong for $700 anyways...

5th Apr 2012, 09:04

Actually, I think this is a collectible car. The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA, http://www.aaca.org/) accepts cars that are 25 years old at car shows.

And the K-cars are significant. They are closely linked to Lee Iaccoca, as he saved Chrysler from the abyss.

These cars were very popular, and you can bet that the kids who went to little league will get all nostalgic when they see one of those.

23rd Jan 2015, 23:54

I own a 1988 Plymouth Reliant with 114,000 miles. It's been a great car, but I'm having problems with it bogging down after leaving a stop. When it shifts it bogs. I step on the gas and it will pick back up. Any helpful suggestions? I've done everything it seems, and it's in the fifth shop now.

Contact is eddiepasswaters@gmail.com.