Maintenance schedule

I have a 1992 olds 98 with 3.8 ltr motor 150,000 mile uses no oil runs great, and I want to keep it that way. I have m been looking at different maintenance schedule including the manual. I want to stay ahead of most problems without replacing items prematurely. Does anyone have a good fleet or regular maintenance schedule besides oil change, tire rotation. I am looking for when to change wheel bearings, water pumps, fuel pumps ect. Best part vendor napa, autozone? anything to look out for on this car? I have the car for 2 years and have changed alternator plug wires tranny fluid. It is not I cannot afford another car. I like working on my car but I want to know it is always road worthy.

The maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual is the one you should follow.

There is no scheduled replacement interval for things like water pumps, wheel bearings, fuel pumps, etc. These items are only replaced if they become problematic.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Fluid changes are the things to concentrate on, oil, AT fluid, and brake fluid in particular.

The maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual is the one you should follow.

  Sorry about copying, but it is worth repeating.

If you bought the car without an owner’s manual you can buy one second hand online. I found a 1999 Intrigue manual for sale at about $23.
If you have one and are following it, you’re fine. You should replace the water pump when you next replace the timing belt and replace the belts and hoses at the same time.

NAPA is better than Autozone for parts. Not for service. Your car is roadworthy until the CEL lights up. Like every other car.

At some point, I’m a believer in replacing a fuel pump when the age and mileage gets up there as that item can leave you on the side of the road anywhere and at any time.

Other areas of concern in which it may not be a bad idea to head off are the water pump (if it’s never been changed) and any belt tensioners or idlers.
If you were going to get rid of the car in a year then I’d say don’t worry about that stuff. If you’re looking at the long haul then I’d head it off before it fails.

The 3.8 is one of the best engines GM ever built and will much, much further with proper maintenance.
My oldest son has the 3.8 in his Camaro and while doing some maintenance work on it quite a while back I ran a compression test on it. At about the 240k miles mark it was still carrying 190 PSI on every cylinder and that’s what it was the day the car was built; and it’s still carrying 50 PSI oil pressure to boot.

Just keep up on the fluid changes and what not. I agree “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” You can follow the maintenance schedule in the manual. It’s designed for that car.

Thanks that is helpful. I do change fluid regularly and us lucas upper cylinder lub. Sounds bad but I never considered changing the brake fluid. I guess next I will do the tensioner and water pump along with fuel filter. Then wather hoses this spring. I am going to have to change the front struts this summer as well. The steering is a little lose and I do not know much about this area the ball joiints seem fine when I have it up greasing them. could tie rod ends be the problem? hard to change? I am trying to be proactive rather than reactive. Thoughts?

The only thing that factory maintenance schedules tend to be terrible for is transmission service. I doubt that it says anything like pan & filter service every 3yrs or 30K miles - but it should.

So follow the standard schedule, but edit the transmission part.

Like you I like to avoid problems before they happen. On a weekend morning I can often be found with my coffee in the driveway just poking around under the hood - looking, prodding, wiggling, etc. Anytime its in the air I do the same. I’ve also gotten into the habit of putting a vacuum gauge on it every time I change the oil - just to have a look for any signs of pending issues.

Do the maintenance. Be vigilant.

I understand what you are asking, but after putting 500K on my Buick 3.8, there are just so many things that can happen to shut you down, that I wouldn’t count on maintenance or preventive parts replacement to make it dependable anymore.

On water pumps I got anywhere from 30-150K on NEW water pumps. If a pump bearing wears, the belt will come off and you are out of service. The belt I replaced at no more than 50K as well as hoses and ALL hoses including the small ones at two years. Original fuel pumps last for years but even GM replacements only seem to go for 100K. Trans service every 30K. Coolant change every two years witht the hoses and thermostat. Battery, 4-6 years with a Delco or 2-4 years with a WalMart. Alternators 70K-100K. I no longer will use NAPA or anything but a rebuilt AC alternator. Crank sensor, cam sensor, etc. maybe 200K. Balancer 250K. Just no end to it but the injectors usually go to 500K.

I know you like working on cars and all but its no fun when its -10 out and something unexpected happens which it will. I’m very happy to be done with it.

The types of parts you allude to don’t have expected lifespans. Their lives are so subject to drivng environment, driving style, application, and variations in design and manufacture that there are no failure probability curves. The data curves would all be flat for the first 100,000 miles and all curve up at different slopes at different points. For example, a typical alternator used by Toyota for its Corolla engines might typically last 150,000 miles in the northeast and then the failure rate rise slowly, while it might last only 50,000 miles in the Arizona heat or the North Dakota cold and then the probability of failure rapidly rise. The alternator used for their Tundra V8 engines probably has entirely different curves. Chevy alternators used in the Impala would probably have entirely different curves than those they use in the 'Vettes…and the high performance 'Vette engines are probably totally different again.

The important thing is to keep track of fluids and filters, do the recommended periodic maintenance, and if something does begin to sound, feel or look different, check it out. Another good trick I’ve learned is to look around. Whenever i’m under the car changing the oil, or have the hood up filling the windshield wash or checking the oil, I look carefull all around me for anything that seems not normal. I once noticed a corroded spot on my ol’ truck’s radiator. I changed the radiator, and after removing the old one poked my finger right through the spot. That was a disaster ready to happen, and I prevented it just by looking around.

At some point, I’m a believer in replacing a fuel pump when the age and mileage gets up there as that item can leave you on the side of the road anywhere and at any time.

Is this common??? Personally I have no idea. All I know is I’ve NEVER EVER had to replace one even after nearly 400k miles.

I agree with what everyone has said so far on maintenance.

The only thing I want to address is your parts supplier.

Do you have any local parts stores near you?? Those are typically the best places to buy parts from. I stay away from any of the chains except for wax and oil. Here in NH we have a couple of large local chains that I buy most of my parts from…I also buy on-line for schedule parts like spark-plugs and hoses.

I have 150,000 and would like to break 300,000 without too many break downs on the side of the road. I live here in Indiana and work on my car in my father inlaw’s new heated barn. Only parts store in the area are chains. Are AC parts that much better. I do not mind spending some money and replacing things early. I like it more than going to the parts store and having to have fixed the car by morning so I can go to work. Thank you for all the info. Also thanks for the input on previous ownership of people with the 3.8.

Problem with replacing working parts is twofold - first, that working part may have outlasted your new part; second, other problems may be (unintentionally) created during the repair. So I’m inclined to maintain well, but repair as needed.

I am most concerned about what would leave me in a bind such as a part that would give out without warning and leave me compromised. The thing that had me start to consider this was a friends wife (driving a 2004 saturn) was driving and a tie rod end broke. she was not going a round a curve thank god. and was able to get the car to side of the road. My friend and I went to the car prepaid to make the repair on the spot. how ever we were able to hammer the tie rod back on and drive it going 15 mph to thier home 1.5 miles away on a contry road. It popped out again turning into the drive way. He changed it the next day. I have never had to change a tie rod end. He said it was easy? I just do not want to be on my way to work when something preventable happens. I know that seems like an impossible task. I just want to be as prepair and limit this as much as possible.

Understand, but there are, what, 200 parts that could do that…you’re not going to rebuild your entire front and rear suspensions ‘just in case’, right? Careful inspection is also a good thing, do you have a way to do that, or a mechanic you trust to do that?

It’s not common and may not be a good practice for everyone. If the car is kept close to home and the OP lives on the east or west coasts where population and city densities are much higher then things like this could probably be left alone. It ain’t far to the house so to speak.

Here in the country’s midsection many people wind up in a world of hurt when their car breaks down due to towns being spread out. If a Buick fuel pump drops dead at 6 P.M. about halfway between Buffalo, OK and Camp Houston, OK then odds are someone will be waiting a long time for a thumb ride to anywhere, much less awaiting a tow truck which will probably be the next day at best.

The OP sounds like someone who can handle repairs like this pretty easily and if the OP lives in a somewhat sparsely populated area then I’d think a 125 bucks to head off being stranded is cheap insurance. Granted, there are a number of things that can fail and leave someone afoot but a fuel pump is not only one of the most common failures but also one that you do not want to change by yourself on the side of the road or have to pay someone to do it; as my son and daughter in law found out a couple of years ago.

While catching maintenance up on her car I found the filter was clogged. (Allegedly changed in the past but it was still the Ford OEM filter on it)
I told them they could expect a pump failure in the (?) future and about 6 months later while on the way to OK to visit over the July 4th weekend the pump went bellyup in western KS. This led to a 30 mile tow, night in a hotel while awaiting a special delivery pump (800 dollar bill in this case), and much gratitude on their part that the local Ford dealer was even open for half a day on Sat.

Again, it depends on the situation.