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1995 Chevrolet Corsica - What will happen when it dies?

I have a 95 chevy corsica that I have driven for 21 years. Pretty problem free car. spring of 18 my heater quit working and finally had it checked in this fall. I have a cracked head; Mechanic said put in stopleak and keep radiator full of coolant and drive till it dies! What will the car do when it fails? Stop suddenly in traffic or give me time to pull out of traffic. I am 81 years old and don’t like surprises. Could sure use your help and have been a fan of Car Guys for years. Trava Bigley Tulsa ok

More likely it will begin to make loud or strange noises that concern you, or it will begin to be hard to start. Make sure you check the oil often, and note if it seems to be going up or down. In all likelihood you will outlive this car, and if you are living in a place where driving is crucial to your life, start doing research now to replace the car.

Depending on where you live, it may also be helpful to find out about using ride calling services like Lyft or Uber. If you don’t know what those are, ask someone’s grandchildren.

That is impossible to predict but the chance of it happening at the worst possible time is too great for me to take a chance like that.

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The first thing you might notice is the temperature gauge on the dash starts climbing rapidly. Then if you look in the rear view mirror, you might see a cloud of steam billowing out the tail pipe.

But usually, when a head gasket totally fails, you get some kind of warning that gives you time to pull the vehicle over.


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Most people seem to envision catastrophic mechanical breakdowns taking place in their own driveway, or in some other safe and convenient location. However, this type of failure is much more likely to take place on the road (possibly as you are trying to maneuver around speeding 18-wheelers), or while crossing RR tracks, in a neighborhood that is neither safe nor convenient.

I strongly suggest that the OP begin shopping for a replacement vehicle a.s.a.p., and that he/she limit driving the Corsica to absolutely necessary trips.

I had a 1947 Pontiac and the engine block was cracked around a valve seat. It had a flathead engine with the valves in the block. I drove the car for a year and it was still on the street two years later. The sealer held.
I wonder if you might want to put a used cylinder head on your car. This might buy you even more time.

Has the 2.5 iron duke? Should be cheap to put on a new head

apparently not

I just looked on . . .

for the 1995 model year, the engines were a cast iron 2.2 liter ohv 4-cylinder and the 3.1 liter V6

If all your driving is 35 mph and less, running errands around town etc, you can probably get by w/that method. Suggest to avoid freeway driving, especially long trips. As the problem eventually gets worse you’ll start losing coolant at a faster and faster clip, maybe some white smoke out the tailpipe, probably notice the coolant temp gauge moves to the overheated zone sometimes, and likely some strange noises, starting and engine performance issues will crop up.

If you can swing it, suggest to buy another car. Used Corolla or Civic, etc. Give your car to a neighborhood teenager who’d interesting in fixing it up, make a deal they can have your car for free, but in return they provide some labor-help for you w/your next car when it needs some diagnostic or routine service. That method will solve two problems at once.

I am 82 years old and will probably not buy another car. I am sitting on a perfect driving record, no tickets or accidents and hope to keep it that way. I have access to a lift program for seniors and Uber so won’t be stranded at home.

I plan to continue driving my car as long as I can, she has been a wonderful car and has always gotten me home. I go out only once or twice a week and sometimes not at all and no highway or rush hour driving.

thanks for your input.

Trava Bigley

Something else will probably kill the car or make it not worth the price of repair. My estimation of the situation you are loosing coolant, not worth putting a new head on, but not a danger to the engine unless you run out of fluid., keep it full and drive on I would probably rent a car for a long road trip, but have a bud who drove one like that for 5 years. look for sales on prestone or whatever, stock up and drive it till it dies.


If you get a major breech steam will come out from under the hood, as well as from under the car, visible in the rear view mirror. No, the car won’t blow up!

A few years back. on an urban expressway, a rad dose blew on my Chevy Impala . Lots of steam coming out from under the hood; I kept to the shoulder of the road an took a nearby exit where there just happened to be a Chrysler dealership.

They replaced the hose and missing coolant and a few hours later I was on my way. No damage to the car.

I doubt if you will ever have that much steam to contend with, so be prepared to move over to the right hand lane and then the shoulder if the engine seizes.

I would not hesitate to drive this car on a daily basis in and around town. Just don’t take it on a trip.

Good luck!

You may want to remove the thermostat and drill a small orifice in it to assist with exhaust gas removal, then reinstall it with this orifice at the highest point. Even with no head gasket problems, this trick will allow for easy air removal when changing coolant. I used size 3/32" when I did this on my Caravan, and it was very easy to purge out the air.

Now, it appears the head gasket is leaking again, after only about 8500 miles, so I’m really glad I did this trick, as it keeps the engine from overheating. Like you, I am probably going to try a sealant, because this engine has always had an annoying miss at idle, which no one could figure out, so it’s not worth the effort for me to do another head gasket. I am instead going to keep it running as long as I can, then either replace the engine or buy a different van.

I had a 94 century w/2.5 and forgot the corsica’s never had it. 2.2? Hmm, odd motor.

You are in Oklahoma so you might let this thing go and look into one of the many LSV 's ( Low Speed Vehicle ) that are on the market because of the terrible tax incentive program we had.

Isn’t the 2.2 ohv cast iron motor the same one that was installed longitudinally in the S-10 and Sonoma . . . ?