Other Tips And Suggestions

Keeping on top of the cooling system, on your 3.8L equipped GM car will save you a ton of money. Yes, maintenance involves time and money, but if you let that little coolant leak go, or continue driving the vehicle even tho' it's overheating, the end result will be a major financial headache.

Overheating and coolant leak issues usually lead to blown head gaskets if they are not attended to immediately.

The following are personal recommendations:

  1. GM, in all its wisdom, uses plastic intake manifold gaskets on the 3.8L engines that are super prone to breaking and leaking antifreeze. Although this issue does not usually lead to overheating problems, it doesn't let the cooling system pressurize like it's designed to, this lead to internal hot spots in the engine that eventually lead to blown head gaskets.
  2. So, any time you pop the hood on your car, always check the ends of the intake manifold to see if they are leaking coolant.
  3. If the radiator plastic tanks crack, replace the radiator or fix it as soon as possible. These cracks will also prevent the cooling system from pressurizing and over time and many many miles, you'll have a blown head gasket issue.
  4. Flush the anti-freeze at least twice a year. From personal experience, I don't buy into the hype that anti-freeze can last 100,000 miles and I suggest you don't either.
  5. If you don't or can't flush the anti-freeze, at least do a radiator drain and fill.
  6. Replace the thermostat as a maintenance issue, just like you would replace a fuel filter. You don't have to replace it every year, but if you plan to keep your car for a while, replace it every two years.
  7. Replace the radiator upper and lower hoses if they are bulging at the hose clamps or the rubber the hose is made of is too spongy.
  8. If your vehicle overheats while you're driving, pull over into a safe spot and have it towed home or to your trusted automotive repair shop.

Where To Buy The Thermostat And Save

There's a good chance that you can buy the original AC Delco thermostat online for a whole lot cheaper than somewhere local.

The following links will help you comparison shop for the factory original thermostat and upper radiator hose (and aftermarket ones):

Unsure if the above parts fit your 3.8L GM car or mini-van? No problem, once you get to their site, they'll make sure it fits by asking you the specifics of your particular vehicle. If it doesn't fit, they'll find the parts that do.

More Test Articles

I've written quite a few 3.8L 'how to' tutorials that may help you troubleshoot the issues on your GM car or mini-van. You can find the complete list at: GM 3.8L Index Of Articles.

Here's a sample of the GM 3.8L V6 articles you'll find:

  1. How To Test A Blown Head Gasket (GM 3.8L)
  2. How To Diagnose Misfire Codes P0300-P0306 (GM 3.8L)
  3. How To Test The Fuel Injectors (GM 3.8L)
  4. GM 3.8L Ignition Coil Pack Tests
  5. GM 3.8L Ignition Control Module And Crank (3X, 18X) Sensor Test
Thank You For Your Donation

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Buick Vehicles:

  • Century 3.8L
    • 2005
  • LeSabre 3.8L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Park Avenue (& Ultra) 3.8L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

Buick Vehicles:

  • Regal 3.8L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
  • Riviera 3.8L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999

Chevrolet Vehicles:

  • Camaro 3.8L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

Chevrolet Vehicles:

  • Impala 3.8L
    • 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Lumina (& MPV) 3.8L
    • 1995, 1998, 1999
  • Monte Carlo 3.8L
    • 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

Oldsmobile Vehicles:

  • 88 (& 88 Royale) 3.8L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
  • 98 Regency 3.8L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
  • Intrigue 3.8L
    • 1998, 1999
  • LSS 3.8L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
  • Regency 3.8L
    • 1997, 1998

Oldsmobile Vehicles:

  • Silhouette 3.8L
    • 1995

Pontiac Vehicles:

  • Bonneville 3.8L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Firebird 3.8L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

Pontiac Vehicles:

  • Grand Prix 3.8L
    • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Trans Sport 3.8L
    • 1995