The following list of common issues is intended for individual reference only, and may not reflect the specific issues of every 1988 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 1988 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 transmission will erratically engage into overdrive, despite overdrive being "locked out" manually.
The transmission is difficult to shift into overdrive.
FUEL INJECTION SYSTEM
At start up, a strong odor of gasoline is present coming from the exhaust system. The odor also permeates the interior of the car.
Although number of reported occurrences is uncertain,it has been documented that the fuel injection manifold line leaked gasoline in a constant flow due to a ruptured injection line. This resulted in the vehicle catching fire.
Braking system on 1988 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.
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 1989 Corvette models as well.
REAR STABILIZER BAR
Rear stabilizer bar cracks/fractures causing control problems while vehicle is in motion.
ELECTRIC WIRING ISSUE (GENERAL)
Electrical wiring in car is known to have a direct short, which can cause electrical fire.
Erratic electrical shorts manifesting through the stereo, flashers, speakers, the entire dashboard panel, the ignition lock, the light under the hood, the light switch, the starter motor, etc. The entire electrical system is known to present potential shorts and is a common source of failure in the early C4 Corvettes.
ELECTRONIC CONTROL UNIT
Internal VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System) key-read issue prevents car from starting, even after multiple attempts, rendering the Corvette useless for as much as 15 minutes between attempts. Usually requires replacement of the ignition switch module.
The computer has intermittent difficulty reading VATS key during normal vehicle operation which can cause the Corvette to stall and remain inoperable for several minutes.
The cruise control malfunctions between 35-70 miles per hour. It causes sudden acceleration and may occur without warning at any given time.
Headlight motors are known to fail, preventing headlights from engaging/disengaging.
There are a number of fiberglass body panel components that are known to fail. These include faulty hood seals, leaky roof seals and deteriorating firewalls.
Both the driver and passenger doors are known to exhibit erratic vibration.
Windows known to have a persistent rattle. Common corrections include replacing the window regulators. Despite this, the windows may continue to rattle when not fully raised.
Smoke emanating from under driver/passenger seat has been repeatedly reported. The source of the smoke is an electrical short in the power seat drives.
The electrical wiring harness under the seats is prone to electrical shorts and can cause fire/overheating. This defective design can also cause the power seats to function erratically or to fail completely.
DISCLAIMER: While Corvsport.com makes every effort to ensure that this information is complete and accurate, you should always consult the manufacturer of your vehicle if you have a specific issue or question.