Top C4 Corvette Years to Avoid (3 Key Problems)

Chevy Corvettes are quite impressive in terms of performance, build, and reliability. But sadly, not all of them are built so strong, and as such, you should avoid those model years with track-record low reliability and high frequency of major repairs.

The C4 Corvettes are the fourth generation models, and they are really affordable at the moment.

Being an old model, the C4s on the market right now are no match to newer model supercars – they are quite outdated, to say the least. But even at that, there are some C4 models you can still drive comfortably right now. That said, you should know the best and worst model years of the Chevrolet C4.

But what are the C4 corvette years to avoid? 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1990 model years are considered the worst because they are unreliable and require major (expensive) repairs in low mileage.

Now, let’s learn more about C4 corvette and why you should avoid certain year models of the car!

Chevrolet Corvette C4 Overview

The Chevrolet Corvette (C4) is the fourth generation of the Corvette sports car, produced by Chevrolet from 1983 until 1996.

It is a convertible sports car, which is also a supercar, packed with high-performance engines and a sturdy powertrain. Typically, the ZR-1 versions featured a standard 375-horsepower LT5 engine.

Corvette C4 was a series of 2-door convertibles and Targa top sports cars with rear-wheel drive. Over the 12-year production run, different variants of the C4 were launched, and they were all successful in the market, thanks to the long-run reputation the series already got.

While you’d rarely find C4s on the road today, you may just want to know about this noteworthy Corvette series.

C4 Corvette Years to Avoid

Production of the C4 lasted for 12 years, and only 4 model years out of that 12 are considered the “worst” to buy. These years are the worst because they received more complaints on CarComplaints and also had poor reviews on car forums / review websites.

Notwithstanding, some people still own and drive these C4 models; this article is to let you know why you should probably avoid some Corvette C4 models. The worst years are listed hereunder:

  • 1985
  • 1986
  • 1987
  • 1990

The majority of complaints for these C4 model years center on engine fault. C4 Corvettes typically for not have robust engines; even though the engines can deliver high performances, they were not durable.

In the next section, we’d explain the reasons why you avoid these indicated model years of the Corvette C4 supercar.

Why You Should Avoid 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1990 Corvette C4 Models

1. Random Engine Failures

  • Typically experiences fatal engine failures before 80k miles
  • Overheating concerns

Engine problems give a lot of concerns, and they can be very expensive to fix. 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1990 C4 Corvettes allegedly have critical engine problems that sometimes result in complete engine damage, which means you’d be replacing the engine with a new one.

Some of the commonly reported issues include severe overheating, component failures, and loss of oil pressure. The average cost of fixing these problems sits at $700, but you may spend more than $1,000, depending on different factors, which includes the workshop you went to get the job done.

2. Electrical Faults

  • These electrical faults can cause the car not to start at all
  • Media system wiring issues

Some of the electrical faults reported on C4 Corvettes are manageable, but you should have plans to fix them as soon as possible.

Mainly, the issues are related to the battery and its components; thus, in most cases, the car won’t start until you change the battery or replace the faulty battery component. C4 electrical problems cost an average of $600 to fix, and they typically occur around 60k miles.

3. Faulty Airbag Sensor                                 

  • The sensor stays on for a longer time
  • Happens at random intervals

Although the reports were not too many, CarComplaints data shows that some Corvette C4 models had airbag sensor problems as reported by drivers.

The data shows that the airbag sensor comes on, and remains illuminated for many days, even when the airbag seems to be working fine. The common fix for this is using an auto scanner to remove the error code and turn off the light.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Corvette C4s Last Long?

Typically, Corvettes are remarkable for lasting long and offering great value for their different price tags. The C4 models may not be the best Corvettes in terms of durability, but they surely last long compared with other alternatives in their class.

What is the Best Year for a C4 Corvette?

The last model year of the C4 – the 1996 model – is considered the best because it came with specs and techs carried over to the next-gen C5 series. Also, the 1996 C4 has a six-speed manual transmission that gets paired to a 330-hp LT4 V8 engine.

What Problems Do C4 Corvettes Have?

The Chevrolet Corvette C4 models typically have engine overheating and oil problems. Also, these Corvette models typically had airbag issues and electrical faults. But overall, the C4 models are among the most reliable Corvettes ever produced.

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