1997 Chevy Lumina - Great Condition - What can I expect for age related repairs ??

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Asked by Apr 29, 2015 at 10:26 AM about the 1997 Chevrolet Lumina

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Any advice ?

I have a perfect "looking"   1997 Chevy Lumina that my grandmother left me.

It only has 10,000 original miles on it. It looks great, inside and out.

However, it feels like a hard ride (going over bumps, lines, manhole covers etc, feels like you're slamming a bit over them, even driving pretty slowly.  (my 2000 buick lesabre feels like a more comfortable, cushioned ride#  

two questions -
1) any way to make it a more cushioned feeling ride like the lesabre ?
2#
I saw underneath the car and there is some rust on metal things under there, and some rubbery looking thin donut shaped things #ha) between metal bars that go towards the wheels look like they might be getting dry rot, and I'm assuming these are five dollar parts with 100 + labor for each of the four of them to replace ? #don't you love the descriptions#

They are like a cushion to reduce metal to metal friction I believe, don't remember what they are called.  : )

These luminas last for 300,000 miles, but as you can tell, I'm not a mechanic and tend to get very ripped off by not knowing what I'm doing and they see me coming... besides prices just being high for labor, I have also been lied to and cheated several times, so not sure if I should keep the lumina #how much money am I in for in repairs of things that will be showing up as dry rot due to age, and minimal use of the car etc.  

It was in the garage until this year.
i agree with the above about new priced cars - but not sure if I should get rid of a 1997 and get maybe a 2005 Taurus or 2005 lesabre or something instead, before age related problems starts ???

18 Answers

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PS I also read that everyone should get rid of DEX COOL and use normal green antifreeze, due to the fact that as soon as there is even the smallest leak or crack in any rubber hose involved that the entire system will be clogged with a now clay- or concrete like substance, rather than liquid antifreeze, virtually destroying the car. (Saw several Youtube videos showing it) I mentioned this to the repair shop (asking about changing over to green fluid instead) and he said it's not necessary, that it's better now (don't know if I can trust his advice) He also said if you ever add the green stuff to this, and they mix, that they will turn to clay or silly putty texture and wreck the car. The youtube videos said any air leak at all.

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PS In case it makes a difference, the car *was* being used, just to the grocery store and back, maybe weekly ? who knows. I have been driving it for 2 years with no problems, other than needing a new alternator .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbX4CuE8auY If that is the UTube video you watched be sure to scroll down and read the comments form people. They say volumes ..especially using tap water instead of distilled with Dex and adding green propylene glycol to Dex is true

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
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I mentioned to the mechanic that I read that using distilled water instead of tap water is supposed to be better (for 50/50 antifreeze / water ) He said he's never heard of it and hasn't had any problems... But it makes sense to me that distilled would be better, because of the chlorine and fluoride and lime deposits etc in tap water. I need to read more of the comments - so far read mostly that they think the "stop leak" type additives really did the damage, or mixing green coolant with Dexcool, caused the problems. Thanks for the help. The videos made me think I should flush it out or get rid of the car before it happens. Someone said it would take 3 flushes to get it all out. if it's not necessary to change it, that's great news.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

A mechanic that has never heard of using distilled water in a radiator is not much of a mechanic. All that you said and minerals don't belong

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
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Thanks for your help. After I read that information about the stop-leak really causing the damage, it makes sense - They "think" the damage occurs as soon as there's a leak - (Well, that's when they put the stop-leak into the car) Also, if exposure to air is the problem (which is what they are guessing) that doesn't make any sense, because there's a bunch of air exposure at the top of the tank, where you fill it with fluid.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
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Any advice for what repairs would *probably* need to be done on a car that's that old, just from dry rotted things, bad gaskets, or anything else that tends to get "too old" and need replaced, simply because of the age of the vehicle ?

Not really, change the oil for sure if it has not been done in 5,000 miles or 6 months, unless you KNOW for a FACT it has full-synthetic oil in it it can go 10,000 miles or one year. I use Mobil1 and change @8,000 it's just too unpredictable. With the exception of tires. If they are 6 years old or older, manufacturers recommend replacing them, and they don't say that just to sell tires. Tires have a definite shelf life, and at 5 -6 years they begin to deteriorate and become unsafe, regardless of tread wear. Maybe a little longer if the tires have not been exposed to sunlight. Sunlight is a tire's worst enemy. If you are not sure how old they are, the date of manufacture is on the tire and if you need to know how to find it, let me know and I will explain. Do NOT allow a transmission flush if you go in for an oil change, the chain-places will try to talk you in to that. NO.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Get behind the car with a helper. Push down with all your combined weight on the rear-most part you can. The car will go down, then release and it should come back up and stay there. If it bounces up and down on it's own more than maybe one time you need shocks. Oh, yeah...your logic makes perfect sense. If air causes coolant to coagulate there would be a million (not a figure of speech, literally a million or more) cars on the road with Jell-O in the radiator, and that is simply not the case. There is no "Mechanic-In-A-Can" that miraculously fixes gaskets, stops leaks, except on a temporary, 50/50 chance of working emergency to get you home. Then you have that crap in your engine circulating around looking for holes to plug. Think of it that way...

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Here, I went ahead ad made an illustration. This tire was manufactured in late December 2007. Click to size up

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
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Thank you everyone for the help. Thanks for adding the photo of where to see the manufacture date on tires. : )

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Hi Please explain why it's best to turn down a transmission flush ?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

In the bottom of the transmission pan there are small particles and in some pans even a magnet that collects steel 'dust'. Also in the filter screen. They do no harm just being there. A flush picks up all that stuff and circulates it through the transmission...doing far more harm than good. A flush is only for a transmission that is about to die anyway, and will extend it's life briefly...if at all.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
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Thank you ! That helps to know.

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Is it a good idea to use a syphon kit and just suck out most of the fluid and replace it with new once in a while ?

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PS there is rust underneath the car on metal bars under there. (The car itself (the body) is rust - Free. ) Do I need to do something to stop the rust from progressing, or not necessary ? if so, what and how costly is it ? Thanks for your help and suggestions.

This is the transmission listed for '97 Lumina

If the fluid is nice and red, I wouldn't even worry about it. I thought that car didn't have a dipstick for transmission fluid..please correct me if I'm wrong http://www.fixya.com/cars/t7333345-change_transmission_filter says drop the pan. And as for rust, we need some help from somebody that deals with it, in Calif. salt is never used and rust is not a problem

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