Since its introduction in 1984, the C4 had undeniably evolved into a sports car that could hold its own as a contender amongst some of the staunchest sports car competitors from around the world.
With each passing model year, on-going modifications to the engine, drive train, suspension and steering had transformed the C4 Corvette from a car that was recognized more for its handling than its performance into a machine which had successfully mated technology and horsepower.
The 1989 ZR-1 Corvette as photographed at Mireval, France. (Image courtesy of Car & Driver Magazine).
The result of this fusion had created a platform upon which Corvette’s engineers and designers could (and would) breathe life into a car which was even more powerful than anything that had come before it. The fullness of that potential would manifest itself late in the 1989 model year and would transform the future of Corvette for all time – and would give rise to one of the most sought after Corvettes of all time – the ZR1.
As early as 1988, the rumblings and rumors of a new ZR-1 model Corvette had begun to circulate. With fuzzy spy photographs and a growing rumble amongst the Detroit automotive community, there had been a growing speculation that a new “King of the Hill” Corvette was on its way. Chevrolet neither confirmed nor denied the rumors, at least until the 1989 Geneva Auto Show, when the ZR-1 was officially debuted. Boasting an incredible 375 horsepower LT-5 engine (which had been developed by a team of engineers led by Lotus’s former Technical Director Tony Rudd), and a fully redesigned performance package, the car achieved an almost instant legend status amongst both Corvette enthusiasts and automotive critics alike.
After its unveiling in Geneva, General Motors invited a select group of automotive (and assorted other) media from around the world to the walled city of Carcasonne, France, where they were given the opportunity to test drive the ZR-1 Corvette. Additionally, General Motors employed a Good Year test track in Mireval, France to show off the new supercar’s performance and improved handling abilities in a series of high-speed and wet-pavement tests.
Media reaction to the ZR-1 was initially fantastic. Within days of its unveiling in Geneva, the ZR-1 owned the cover of virtually every magazine in the world. It was featured prominently in publications such as Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport as well as England’s Car and AutoCar, to say nothing of the assorted American publications which hosted the new ZR-1 as their cover story.
However, despite the unprecedented and overwhelming media coverage further promoting the arrival of the “King of the Hill” ZR-1 Corvette, it was announced by Chevrolet on April 19, 1989 that the ZR-1 would not be available as a production model until the 1990 model year. While both the media and Corvette fans vehemently protested the announcement, GM gave the reasoning that there was “insufficient availability of engines caused by additional development.” Eighty-four 1989 ZR-1 Corvettes were built for evaluation, testing, media preview and photographing, but no 1989 model ZR-1’s were made available for public purchase.
Despite the disappointing news surrounding the delayed sales release of the ZR-1, 1989 Corvette owners would get their first glimpse of the future of the C4 Corvette, and a taste of things to come in following years. The first significant improvement to the Corvette in nearly half a decade involved the introduction of an entirely new manual transmission for the 1989 model year.
The arrival of the new six speed transmission would be met with unquestioning approval, although its introduction would carry with it a certain amount of controversy as well.
In order to improve fuel economy as well as working to keep the Corvette from attaining a “gas guzzler” status, the new 6-speed transmission was built to include a new, Computer Aided Gear Selection (or “CAGS” for short) system. When operating the Corvette in low throttle conditions (anything under 35% throttle) or at speeds of between twelve and nineteen miles per hour, the CAGS system would lock out second and third gears, forcing the driver to shift directly from first to fourth. This feature, combined with a monumentally tall sixth gear for highway cruising, would help to keep the Corvette out of the EPA’s records.
While this feature of the six speed transmission has been deemed “annoying” by many early testers, GM assured consumers that the lock out option could easily be defeated simply by “clipping a single red wire” according to Chevy engineers.
DID YOU KNOW: The SCCA’s Corvette Challenge would run for the last time in 1989. For the series, Chevrolet built sixty cars, thirty of which would have their stock engines swapped with higher-output engines from the CPC (Chevrolet-Pontiac-Canada group) engine plant in Flint, Michigan. At the end of the series, Chevrolet returned the original, numbers-matching engine to each of the Corvette race cars.
Another significant change for 1989 involved standardizing the Z52 package. While the Z52 option had been optional in previous years, it was now made standard on all models of the 1989 Corvette. For 1989, seventeen inch wheels and tires replaced the smaller, sixteen inch wheels which had been used on the C4 Corvette since 1984. Additionally, all models now included fast-ratio steering, Delco/Bilstein gas-charged shocks, and a fortified front end structure. For cars that were equipped with the new six-speed manual transmission, Chevrolet standardized the heavy-duty engine oil cooler, the heavy-duty radiator and the auxiliary radiator fan.
While the equipment previously associated with the optional Z52 became standard on all Corvettes, future Corvette owners were presented with an all new suspension option. RPO FX3 featured a selective ride and handling package. Priced at $1,695, and only available on Corvettes also equipped with the Z51 option, the FX3 system adjusted shock damping by adjusting suspension firmness levels specified by a console-mounted switch.
Developed by GM’s Delco division, in association with Bilstein, the SRC (Selective Ride Control) system used microprocessors to activate miniature electric motors at the top of each shock absorber. These, in turn, operated rotary valves that controlled the flow of fluid into the pistons. The system monitored and adjusted itself ten times per second and functioned during compression as well as during rebound.
Three suspension modes were available to select from during vehicle operation: touring, sport, or competition, and each was designed to suit the mood of the driving condition. Within each setting, the damping rate increased with the car’s speed in six, twenty-five-mile-per-hour steps, from 25 miles per hour to 150 miles per hour.
Conversely, for periods during which damping was reduced, the set points were deliberately set five miles per hour slower to avoid the car constantly shifting between settings while cruising at one of the above speeds. When set to touring, the suspension would partially absorb ruts and pot-holes on back roads whereas when set to performance, the Corvette was effectively transformed into handling like a race car.
By 1989, the Corvette’s interior, which had seemed futuristic in its appearance and styling when introduced in 1984, had become dated in its appearance.
While a complete transformation was still a year away, the interior did receive a fresh look with the introduction of restyled seats. Both the cloth, the standard leather and the more expensive sports leather material options remained available, though the leather was restricted to cars equipped with the Z51 option.
A stylized, removable, bolt-on hardtop was introduced for the 1989 model year as well. Made of fiberglass-reinforced polyester resin over rigid urethane, it was molded around a steel/aluminum “cage” and coated with polyurethane inside and out. A cloth headliner and window weather-stripping were included, as well as an electrically heated rear window (which plugged into a special rear-deck socket.)
Priced at $1,995, the optional removable hardtop provided convertible owners the option (and function) of driving a convertible without the increased wind noise that sometimes accompanied a canvas soft-top. For consumers that preferred the factory soft-top, the convertible mechanism was simplified for easier operation.
For the first time in several years, the 1989 model year would actually see an increase in the total sales numbers of the Chevrolet Corvette. Even with the knowledge that the ZR-1 Corvette’s arrival was certain in 1990, Chevrolet sold a total of 26,412 Corvettes in 1989, of which nearly 10,000 units were convertibles.
The Callaway twin-turbo option, which now carried an additional cost of $25,895 over the Corvette’s base price, accounted for a mere 69 Corvette sales in 1989.
It seemed certain that the Corvette was about to take a huge leap forward with the arrival of the ZR-1, which relied on pure horsepower, and not turbochargers, to boost the performance numbers of the Corvette into realms never experienced before.
While the Callaway would not return for the following model year, its namesake would live on for generations of Corvette enthusiasts, becoming a sought after and highly collectible entry in the world of Corvette.
Location of the Assembly Plant. 5 – Bowling Green, Kentucky
1XXXXX (Twelfth thru Seventeenth Digits)
Production Sequence Numbers.
The last six digits begin at 100001 and run thru 126328, accounting for each of the 26,328 Corvette Coupes/Convertibles built in 1989. In addition to the 26,328 Corvettes that were built for commercial sale, there was an additional 84 ZR-1 Corvette’s but that were not sold to the public. Each Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is unique to an individual car.
For all 1989 Corvettes, the Vehicle Identification Number was stamped on a plate on the inner vertical surface of the left windshield pillar visible through the windshield.
Used to calculate the characters in the serial number and gives it a single digit code that can be used to verify the serial number is legitimate. (Note: The Check digit number varies depending on each specific VIN number.)
1989 Corvette Factory Options
Base Corvette Sport Coupe
Base Corvette Convertible
Power Passenger Seat
Power Driver Seat
Sport Seats, leather
Base Seats, leather
Callaway Twin Turbo (not GM installed)
Radiator Boost Fan
Auxillary Hardtop (convertible)
Dual Removable Roof Panels (coupe)
Removable Roof Panel, blue tint (coupe)
Removable Roof Panel, bronze tint (coupe)
Electronic Air Conditioning Control
Illuminated Driver Vanity Mirror
Selective Ride and Handling, electronic
Performance Axle Ratio
Engine Block Heater
Engine Oil Cooler
6-Speed Manual Transmission
California Emission Requirements
Low Tire Pressure Warning Indicator
Stereo System, Delco-Bose
Luggage Rack (convertible)
Performance Handling Package (coupe)
Base Corvette Sport Coupe (1YY07)
The base price of the 1989 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe without any optional equipment.
A 350 cubic inch, 240/245 horsepower engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, removable body-color roof panel, and cloth seats were included in the base price.
Engine power remained at 240hp for 1989 models except for coupes with 3.07:1 axle ratios which had 245hp. The 5hp increase came from less restrictive mufflers which were deemed too loud for convertibles and 2.59:1 axle coupes.
Seats were restyled, but the three choices of cloth, optional leather, or optional sports leather continued to be offered. Due to weight and fuel economy factors, Chevrolet intentionally limited sales of the sports leather seats by making them available exclusively with Z-51 optioned models during the 1989 model year.
Base Corvette Convertible (1YY67)
The base price of the 1989 Corvette Convertible without any optional equipment.
A 350 cubic inch, 240 horsepower engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, collapsible soft top, and cloth seats were included in the base price.
Seats were restyled, but the three choices of cloth, optional leather, or optional sports leather continued to be offered. Due to weight and fuel economy factors, Chevrolet intentionally limited sales of the sports leather seats by making them available exclusively with Z-51 optioned models during the 1989 model year.
Power Passenger Seat (AC1)
Optional, six-way, adjustable passenger seat.
Power Driver Seat (AC3)
Optional, six-way, adjustable driver seat.
Sports Seat, Leather (AQ9)
Special sport seats that featured inflatable lumbar support and power-adjusted side bolsters
The AQ9 sports seats were only available when ordered with RPO Z51.
Base Seats, Leather (AR9)
Leather cover option for the standard, base driver and passenger seats.
Callaway Twin Turbo (not GM installed) (B2K)
Addition of Callaway Twin Turbos to the existing L98 engine.
This option generated a specific equipment build with standard engines at the Corvette assembly plant. The cars were then drop-shipped to Callaway’s Connecticut shop for installation of Callaway-modified twin-turbo engines.
This is not a factory installed option. The Callaway Corvette could be ordered through participating Chevrolet dealers. Fully assembled Corvettes were then shipped from the Bowling Green Corvette plant to Callaway Engineering in Old Lyme, Connecticut, where it received engine (and other) modifications.
The 1988 Callaway Corvette had performance ratings of 382 horsepower and 562 lb.-ft torque.
Automatic transmissions (reworked truck Turbo Hydramatic 400s) were available for $6500.00
Either Z51 or Z52 suspensions could be specified. Later production with Z52 had Z51’s larger front brakes, less restrictive mufflers, longer air dams, and steering coolers because option B2K triggered these through Special Equipment Option Z5G.
Full Chevrolet warranty applied except for powertrain which was covered by Callaway for twelve months or 12,000 miles.
Radiator Boost Fan (B4P)
An oscillating fan placed in front of the radiator that is used to push air through the radiator.
Auxillary Hardtop (convertible) (CC2)
An optional, removable hardtop.
This option was new for the 1989 Corvette Convertible.
Dual Removable Roof Panels (coupe) (C2L)
Included both a tinted, transparent glass top and a painted top.
Removable Roof Panels, blue tint (coupe) (24S)
Blue tinted removable glass top.
Removable Roof Panels, bronze tint (coupe) (64S)
Bronze tinted removable glass top.
Electronic Air Conditioning Control (C68)
Air conditioning system electronic control unit.
Twin Remote Heated Mirrors (convertible) (DL8)
Driver and passenger side heated rear view mirrors.
This option was only available for Corvette convertibles.
The heated mirrors were included with the heated rear window in the Z6A defogger option for coupes.
Illuminated Driver Vanity Mirror (D74)
The driver side sun visor included a lighted vanity mirror.
Selective Ride & Handling, Electronic (FX3)
Electronically controlled suspension with manual ride selection.
FX3 provided three variations of suspension control regulated by a console switch.
It could only be ordered when RPO Z51 was also ordered.
Although all FX3 equipped Corvettes were Z51’s, they featured the same springs and stabilizers that were used on 1987 & 1988 Corvettes equipped with the Z52 option. The Z52 springs and stabilizers provided for a greater range of suspension control.
The only exceptions were the sixty Corvettes built for the Challenge race series which had FX3 suspensions with the Z51 springs and stabilizers.
Performance Axle Ratio (G92)
Optional performance axle ratio of 3.07:1.
Was only offered when the Corvette was ordered with an automatic transmission.
The actual “Performance Axle Ratio” varied from year to year. The G92 Option was available when ordering either the Corvette or the Camaro throughout the 1980’s and early ’90’s.
Engine Oil Cooler (KC4)
Internal cooler used to cool internal components of the automobile’s internal combustion engine.
6-Speed Manual Transmission (MN6)
An optional, no-cost, 6-speed manual transmission.
The six-speed manual transmission was designed jointly by ZF (Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen) and Chevrolet and was initially built by ZF in Germany.
A computer-aided gear selection feature bypassed second and third gears (and locked out fifth and sixth) for improved fuel economy when a series of low performance criteria were met.
California Emission Requirements (NN5)
Revised emission/exhaust components to meet California Emission standards
Low Tire Pressure Warning Indicator (UJ6)
Low tire/air pressure monitoring and warning system.
The low tire pressure warning indicator system was originally announced in 1987, but the option was suspended due to technical issues that negatively affected its functionality.
Sensors strapped to each side of the inside of each wheel sent a radio signal to a instrument-panel receiver if pressure in any tire dropped below a preset limit.
Stereo System, Delco-Bose (UU8)
Delco Bose AM/FM stereo radio with cassette.
Heavy-Duty Radiator (V01)
Optional, three (3) core aluminum radiator.
Includes larger diameter transmission cooler.
Luggage Rack (convertible) (V56)
Optional luggage rack that was mounted to the rear decklid of the Corvette convertible
Performance Handling Package (coupe) (Z51)
Heavy Duty Steering and Suspension Upgrade for improved handling.
The Z51 option included RPO B4P Radiator Boost Fan, RPO KC4 Engine Oil Cooler, RPO V01 Heavy Duty Radiator, heavy duty suspension and a fast steering ratio.
The option continued in the 1989 Corvette, and remained available only in coupes equipped with a manual transmission.
Leather sports seats were only available as part of the Z51 option in 1989.
1989 Corvette Recalls
Make: Chevrolet Model: Corvette Model Year: 1989 Manufacturer: Honeywell International, Inc. Mfr’s Report Date: May 19, 2006 Nhtsa Campaign Id Number: 06e043000 Nhtsa Action Number: N/a Component: Fuel System, Gasoline Potential Number Of Units Affected: 88303
Certain Replacement Fuel Filters, Fram Brand Name P/n G3727, With Date Codes X52911 Through X60801 Sequentially Or X600141 And A Mexico Country Or Origin Marking On The Fuel Filter Housing Manufactured From October 18, 2005, Through March 21, 2006, Sold For Use On The Vehicles Listed Above And On Certain School Buses. (To See The School Bus Engine Sizes, Click On “Document Search” And Then “Bus Applications”). The Connector On The Fuel Filter Was Not Manufactured To Honeywell’s Specification. As A Result, The O-ring May Not Seat Correctly On The Fuel Line.
This Condition May Cause An Inadequate Seal At The Connection, Potentially Leading To A Fuel Leak. In The Presence Of An Ignition Source, A Fire Could Occur.
Honeywell Will Notify Owners And Replace The Fuel Filters Free Of Charge. The Recall Began On October 18, 2006. Owners May Contact Fram Customer Service At 1-800-890-2075 (Option 1).
This Recall Only Pertains To Aftermarket Fram Fuel Filters And Has No Relation To Any Original Equipment Installed On The Vehicles Listed. Customers May Contact The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline At 1-888-327-4236 (Tty: 1-800-424-9153); Or Go To Http://www.safercar.gov.
Make: Chevrolet Model: Corvette Model Year: 1989 Manufacturer: Honeywell International, Inc. Mfr’s Report Date: Oct 19, 2007 Nhtsa Campaign Id Number: 07e088000 Nhtsa Action Number: N/a Component: Equipment Potential Number Of Units Affected: 121680
Certain Honeywell Fram Racing Brand Hp4 And Hp8 Oil Filters That Were Manufactured From May 25, 2006, Through September 14, 2007, And Sold For Use As Replacement Equipment For Vehicles List Above. The Affected Filters Are Marked With A Date Code A61451 Through A72571 Sequentially. The Date Code And Part Number Appear On The Filter Housing. Fram Racing Hp4 And Hp8 Oil Filters Not Bearing A Date Code In This Range Are Not Affected By This Recall. The Gasket Of The Oil Filter Becomes More Pliable Under High Temperatures And Pressures.
This Condition May Cause Inadequate Sealing And Loss Of Engine Oil, Possibly Resulting In A Fire.
Honeywell Will Replace The Affected Oil Filters Free Of Charge. The Recall Began During November 2007. Owners Can Contact Fram Customer Service Toll-free At 1-800-890-2075.
Customers May Contact The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline At 1-888-327-4236 (Tty: 1-800-424-9153); Or Go To Http://www.safercar.gov.
Recall 90v032000 Pe90032
Make: Chevrolet Model: Corvette Model Year: 1989 Manufacturer: General Motors Corp. Mfr’s Report Date: Feb 05, 1990 Nhtsa Campaign Id Number: 90v032000 Pe90032 Nhtsa Action Number: Pe90032 Component: Suspension:rear:springs:leaf Spring Assembly Potential Number Of Units Affected: 45969
Rear Wheel Tie Rod Assembly May Fatigue And Could Fracture At The Inboard Bearing Due To High Inner Joint Rocking Torque.
Fracture In This Assembly Could Result In Loss Of Vehicle Control And A Crash Without Prior Warning.
Replace Faulty Tie Rod Assemblies.
System: Rear Wheel Tie Rods. Vehicle Description: Passenger Cars.
Recall 91v143000 Ea90033
Make: Chevrolet Model: Corvette Model Year: 1989 Manufacturer: General Motors Corp. Mfr’s Report Date: Aug 26, 1991 Nhtsa Campaign Id Number: 91v143000 Ea90033 Nhtsa Action Number: Ea90033 Component: Seat Belts:front:anchorage Potential Number Of Units Affected: 231833
Under Certain Vehicle Operations And Occupant Usage Conditions, The Safety Belts Can Lockup Or Jam In The Safety Belt Retractor.
If Lockup Occurs, It Is Impossible To Pull Belt Out Of the Retractor. The Occupant Of A Seat With An Unusable Safety Belt Is Subject To Increased Risk Of Injury Or Death In The Event Of A Sudden Stop Or Accident.
Make: Chevrolet Model: Corvette Model Year: 1989 Manufacturer: General Motors Corp. Service Bulletin Number: 01697 Date Of Bulletin: Jan 01, 2004 Nhtsa Item Number: 10006297 Component: Equipment:electrical
No Serial Data Communications Using The Tech 1 With A 1986 Or Newer Camaro, Firebird Or Corvette With A 5.0 Or 5.7 Litre Engine. Sit Bulletin 1450640. *tt
Service Bulletin 010729004
Make: Chevrolet Model: Corvette Model Year: 1989 Manufacturer: General Motors Corp. Service Bulletin Number: 010729004 Date Of Bulletin: Jun 01, 2001 Nhtsa Item Number: 622763 Component: Power Train:manual Transmission
Information Regarding Corvette Zf Six Speed Manual Transmission.
Service Bulletin 9313110
Make: Chevrolet Model: Corvette Model Year: 1989 Manufacturer: General Motors Corp. Service Bulletin Number: 9313110 Date Of Bulletin: Mar 01, 1993 Nhtsa Item Number: 39547 Component: Visibility:glass, Side/rear
Rear Lift Window Hard To Open/hinge Loose To Glass.
1989 Corvette Common Issues
The following list of common issues is intended for individual reference only, and may not reflect the specific issues of every 1989 Corvette. This information comes from a variety of sources including the NHTSA Defects Reports pages. While the intent of this page is to identify the common issues pertaining to the 1989 Corvette, it is not an all-inclusive list and should be used for reference only
The throttle linkage is known to stick, causing the throttle body to remain open. This creates a potentially serious issue in that it can cause the car to accelerate uncontrollably at ignition, resulting in damage to vehicle and possible driver/passenger injury.
The 1989 L98 Engine is known to have overheating issues.
Other issues include engine pinging, intermittent stalling, and rough idle due to timing retard – may require regular adjustment.
Intake and Exhaust Manifold gaskets are known to leak and will require replacement.
Although alternators have historically been known to fail on a number of vehicles, there have been a high number of alternator failures reported on the 1989 Chevy Corvette.
Rack and Pinion Steering Unit
The rack and pinion unit on the 1989 Corvette is prone to failure.
Rear Tie Rod Assembly
The rear tie rod assembly is known to fail due either to design or the material used during manufacturing. In either case, the rear tie rod breaks, causing the right rear wheel to pull the car off road to the right. This malfunction can occur without warning, and often while during vehicle operation.
This incident occurred with enough regularity that it resulted in GM issuing a recall campaign.
This same problem is known to exist in 1988 Corvette models as well.
Braking system on 1989 Corvette has been known to fail completely during normal operation. The common problem is that the brake pedal itself depresses completely to the floorboard with no brake response. Probable cause is a defective master cylinder or a leak in the brake system.
A number of 1989 Corvette owners have reported issues with a defective power brake booster.
Braking system can also cause erratic braking conditions which have resulted in loss of vehicle control.
The Anti-Lock Braking System may lock up during vehicle operation causing the vehicle to skid out of control.
The 1989 Chevy Corvette has three catalytic converters (two upstream, one downstream) built into the exhaust system. When the catalytic converters deteriorate (either from age, usage, or both), the upstream converters literally disintegrate internally, and the deteriorated material may pass through the exhaust to the downstream converter, creating a blockage the can affect horsepower and performance. If this happens, the converters must be replaced to restore power to the car.
Defects in cooling system increases likelihood of engine overheating.
Windshield Wiper System
Intermittent erratic operation of the wiper system during normal vehicle operation.+
Battery drains completely as the result of continuous current draw from the following: the anti-theft computer, computer control module, and the dashboard clock. Battery requires recharging before vehicle is operable.
Computer & Control Module
The computer’s central chip/circuit board is prone to failure, which can create a number of issues including the inability to start/run the engine. To correct this issue, the computer ECM must be replaced. If ECM is not defective, then check all circuits in the ignition/electrical system for possible shorts/grounding issues.
Other issues with the on-board computer can include rough or erratic and/or high idle, stalling at lower operating speeds
Wheels & Rims
Defect in 1989 Corvette aluminum rims causing warping/damage to the lip of the rim during normal driving conditions, often at speeds of less than 40 miles per hour. Multiple cases have been reported of rims being warped simultaneously during vehicle operation, resulting in a bad shimmy between 35-55 miles per hour.
Dashboard & Instrument Panel
The dashboard lights commonly go out due to electrical problems. This issue may be caused by defective wiring, or as the result of a defective computer command control module.
If the computerized dashboard is diagnosed as defective, the entire dashboard assembly must be replaced.
The drivers side seat anchors have been deemed defective. GM issued a factory recall for this item.
1989 Corvette Maintenance Schedule
Follow Schedule 1 if your car is mainly operated under one or more of the following conditions:
When most trips are less than 4 miles (6 kilometers)
When most trips are less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) and outside temperatures remain below freezing.
Idling for extended periods and/or low-speed operation such as found in delivery, police, rental or taxi operation.
Towing a trailer.
Operating in dusty areas
Follow Schedule 2 only if none of the driving conditions specified in Schedule 1 apply.
Additional Maintenance and Lubrication
While Operating Your Vehicle
Automatic Transmission Shift Indicator Position – Make sure the indicator points to the gear chosen.
Horn Operation – Blow the horn occasionally to make sure it works. Check all button locations.
Brake System Operation – Be alert to abnormal sounds, increased brake pedal travel or repeated pulling to one side when braking. Also, if a brake warning light comes on or flashes, or the anti-lock (if equipped) comes on or remains on, something may be wrong with part of the braking system. Have it inspected and repaired at once.
Exhaust System Operation – Be alert to any changes in the sound of the system or any smell of fumes. These are signs the system may be leaking or overheating. Have it inspected and repaired at once. Also see “Engine Exhaust Gas Caution (Carbon Monoxide)” and “Catalytic Converter” in your Owner’s Manual.
Tire and Wheel Operation – Be alert to a vibration of the steering wheel or seat at normal highway speeds. This may mean a wheel balance is needed. Also, a pull right or left on a straight, level road may show the need for a tire pressure adjustment or wheel alignment.
Steering System Operation – Be alert to changes in steering action. An inspection is needed when the steering wheel is harder to turn or has too much free play or if unusual sounds are noted when turning or parking.
Headlight Aim Operation – Take note of light pattern occasionally. If beam aim doesn’t look right, headlights should be aligned.
At Each Fuel Fill:
Engine Oil Level Check – Check engine oil level and add if necessary. See your Owner’s Manual for further details. NOTE: A large loss of oil in this system may indicate a problem. Have it inspected and repaired at once.
Engine Coolant Level and Condition – Check engine coolant level in coolant reservoir tank and add if necessary. Replace if dirty or rusty. See your Owner’s Manual for further details. NOTE: A large loss in this system may indicate a problem. Have it inspected and repaired at once.
Windshield Washer Fluid Level Check – Check washer fluid level in container and add if necessary.
At Least Monthly:
Tire Pressure Check – Keep pressures as shown on Tire Placard on the driver’s door (include spare unless it is a stowaway). Pressure should be checked when tires are “cold”.
Light Operation Check – Check operation of license plate light, side-marker lights, headlights including high beams, parking lights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, backup lights, instrument panel and interior lights and hazard warning flashers.
Fluid Leak Check – After the car has been parked for a while, inspect the surface beneath the car for water, oil, fuel or other fluids. Water dripping from the air conditioning system after use is normal. If you notice fuel leaks or fumes, the cause should be found and corrected at once.
At Least Twice A Year (for example: Every Spring and Fall):
Power Steering Pump Fluid Level Check – Check power steering pump fluid level in accordance with Owner’s Manual instructions and keep at proper level. NOTE: A large loss in this system may indicate a problem. Have it inspected and repaired at once.
Brake Master Cylinder Reservoir Fluid Level Check – Check fluid and keep at proper level. NOTE: A low fluid level can indicate worn disc brake pads which may need to be serviced. NOTE: A large loss in this system may indicate a problem. Have it inspected and repaired at once.
Clutch System Service – Manual Transmissions – For cars equipped with hydraulic clutch systems, check the reservoir fluid level and add fluid as required. All others, check clutch pedal free travel and adjust as necessary. See your Owner’s Manual for further detail. NOTE: A large loss in this system may indicate a problem. Have it inspected and repaired at once.
Each Time Oil Is Changed:
Automatic and Manual Transmission/Transaxle Fluid Level Check – Check transmission/transaxle fluid level and add as required. If equipped with manual transmission – check fluid in the overdrive unit and add as required. NOTE: A large loss in this system may indicate a problem. Have it inspected and repaired at once.
Tire and Wheel Inspection and Rotation – Check tires for abnormal wear or damage. Also, check for damaged wheels. To equalize tire wear and obtain maximum tire life, it is suggested that tires be rotated at 7,500 miles (12,500 kilometers) followed by 15,000 miles (25,000 kilometers) thereafter. See “Tires” in owners manual for further information.
Brake Systems Inspection – For convenience, the following should be done when wheels are removed for rotation: Inspect lines and hoses for proper hookup, binding, leaks, cracks, chafing, etc. Inspect disc brake pads for wear and rotors for surface condition. Also inspect drum brake linings for wear and cracks (if applicable). Inspect other brake parts, including drums, wheel cylinders, parking brake, etc. at the same time. Check parking brake adjustment. INSPECT BRAKES MORE OFTEN IF DRIVING HABITS OR CONDITIONS RESULT IN FREQUENT BRAKING.
Steering, Suspension and Front Drive Axle Boot and Seal Inspection – Inspect front and rear suspension and steering system for damaged, loose or missing parts, signs of wear or lack of lubrication. Inspect power steering lines and hoses for proper hookup, binding, leaks, cracks, chafing, etc. (On cars equipped with manual steering gear, check for seal leakage.) Replace seals if necessary.
Exhaust System Inspection – Inspect complete system. Inspect boy near the exhaust system. Look for broken, damaged, missing or out-of-position parts as well as open seams, holes, loose connections or other conditions which could cause a heat build up in the floor pan or could let exhaust fumes seep into the trunk or passenger compartment.
Throttle Linkage Inspection – Inspect for interference, binding , damaged or missing parts.
Engine Drive Belts Inspection – Inspect all belts for cracks, fraying and wear. Adjust or replace as needed.
Rear Axle Service – Check gear lubricant level and add if needed. Cars equipped with limited-slip differential should have gear lubricant and any required additives drained and refilled at 7,500 miles (12,500 kilometers). See your Owner’s Manual. IF YOU USE YOUR CAR TO PULL A TRAILER, CHANGE GEAR LUBRICANT EVERY 7,500 MILES (12,500 KILOMETERS). NOTE: A large loss in this system may indicate a problem. Have it inspected and repaired at once.
Power Antenna – Clean and then lubricate power antenna mast. The proper lubricant should be used.
At Least Once A Year:
Lap and Shoulder Belts Condition and Operation – Inspect belt system, including webbing, buckles, latch plates, retractors, guide loops and anchors.
Seatback Latch and Recliner Operation – Be sure seatbacks latch using mechanical latches. Make sure the recliner is holding by pushing and pulling on the top of the seatback while it is reclined. See your Owner’s Manual for seat operating information.
Spare Tire and Jack Storage – Be alert to rattles in rear of car. Make sure the spare tire, all jacking equipment, any tire inflator and any covers or doors are securely stowed at all times. Oil jack ratchet or screw mechanism after each use.
Key Lock Service – Lubricate key lock cylinder at least annually.
Body Lubrication Service – Lubricate all body door hinges including the tailgate (if equipped). Also lubricate the body hood, fuel door and rear compartment hinges and latches including interior glove box and counsel doors, and any folding seat hardware.
Starter Safety Switch Operation – CAUTION: Before performing the following safety switch check, be sure to have enough room around the car. Then, firmly apply both the parking brake (see your Owner’s Manual for procedure) and the regular brakes. Do not use the accelerator pedal. If the engine starts, be ready to turn off the ignition promptly. Take these precautions because the car could possibly move without warning and possibly cause personal injury or property damage. On automatic transmission cars, try to start the engine in each gear. The starter should crank only in “Park” or “Neutral”. On manual transmission cars, place the shift lever in “Neutral”, push the clutch halfway and try to start. The starter should crank only when the clutch is fully depressed.
Steering Column Lock Operation – While parked, try to turn key to “Lock” in each gear range. The key should turn to “Lock” only when gear is in “Park” on automatic or “Reverse” on manual transmissions. On cars with key release lever, try to turn key to “Lock” without depressing the lever. The key should turn to “Lock” only with the key lever depressed. On all vehicles, the key should come out only in “Lock”.
Parking Brake an Transmission “Park” Mechanism Operation – CAUTION: Before checking the holding ability of the parking brake and automatic transmission “Park” mechanism, park on a fairly steep hill with enough room for movement in the downhill direction. To reduce the risk of personal injury or property damage, be prepared to apply the regular brakes promptly if the car begins to move. To check the parking brake, with the engine running and the transmission in “Neutral”, slowly remove foot pressure from the regular brake pedal (until the car is only held by the parking brake.) To check the automatic transmission “Park” mechanism holding ability, release all brakes after shifting the transmission to “Park”.
Underbody Flushing – At least every spring, flush from the underbody with plain water any corrosive materials used for ice and snow removal and dust control. Take care to thoroughly clean any areas where mud and other debris can collect. Sediment packed in closed areas of the vehicle should be loosened before being flushed.
Engine Cooling System Service – Inspect coolant and freeze protection. If dirty or rusty, drain, flush and refill with new coolant. Keep coolant at the proper mixture as specified in your Owner’s Manual. This provides proper freeze protection, corrosion inhibitor level and engine operating temperature. Inspect hoses and replace if cracked, swollen or deteriorated. Tighten hose clamps. Clean outside of radiator and air conditioning condenser. Wash radiator filler can and neck. To help ensure proper operation, a pressure test of both the cooling system and cap is also recommended.
1989 Corvette DIY Service Guide
Battery & Charging
Inspection & Replacement of Battery, Factory Battery Specifications, Replacement of Alternator/Generator
Belts & Hoses
How to Replace Drive Belt(s), Inspection & Replacement of Upper/Lower Radiator Hoses
Inspection & Replacement of Brake Pads, Inspection & Replacement of Front/Rear Brake Rotors, How to Replace Brake Calipers, How to Bleed Brakes, Inspection & Replacement of Master Cylinder
Heating & Cooling
Inspection & Replacement of Radiator, How to Replace the Heater Core, Inspection & Replacement of Upper/Lower Radiator Hoses, How to Flush the Cooling System, How to Replace the Water Pump, How to Replace a Thermostat
Location of, Inspection & Replacement of Oxygen Sensors (Upstream/Downstream), How to Replace the EGR Valve, How to Replace the Smog Pump
Location & Replacement of the Following Filters: Oil Filter, Fuel Filter, Transmission Filter, PCV Valve
Ignition & Tune Up
How to Replace the Ignition Coil, How to Replace the Ignition Switch, Inspection & Replacement of Sparkplug Wires, Inspection & Replacement of Cap & Rotor, How to Replace Sparkplugs, Engine Firing Order, Engine Timing
Relays & Sensors
Location & Replacement of: Mass Air Flow Sensor, Oil Pressure Sensor, Engine Temperature Sensor, Ambient Air Temperature Sensor, Fuel Pressure Sensor, Oxygen Sensors (Upstream/Downstream)
Suspension & Steering
Inspection & Replacement of Upper/Lower Ball Joints, How to Replace Control Arm Bushings, How to Replace the Power Steering Pump, Inspection & Replacement of Front Shocks/Struts, Inspection & Replacement of Rear Shocks/Struts, How to Replace Inner & Outer Tie Rod Ends
How to Replace the Starter Motor, How to Replace the Starter Solenoid, How to Replace the Drive Belt Tensioner, How to Replace the Idler Pulley, Location of, Inspection & Replacement of Engine (Motor) Mounts, How to Replace the Oil Pan Gasket, How to Replace the Oil Pump
Transmission & Cultures
How to Change the Transmission Filter (Automatic Transmission), How to Replace a Clutch (Manual Transmission)
1989 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure
Download this 1989 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure for a quick look at the features of the car.