1997-2004 5th Generation Chevrolet Corvette Coupe & Convertible (C5) Review

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used Corvette C5

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5th Gen Chevrolet Corvette: What Owners Say

  • Visual presence is key when it comes to a Corvette and with the C5, designer John Cafaro certainly didn't disappoint as the model maintains its traditional cues while embracing the modern age with curvaceous body panels.
  • American performance cars may have a reputation for having poor handling characteristics, but thanks to the implementation of an independent suspension, traction control, and dynamic ride control, the C5 took the fight to the Europeans on road and track.
  • It may only seat two, but the Corvette's cabin is spacious even for those standing over 6.4 feet tall. There's also more than enough luggage room for a weekend away.
  • The LS1 may have been an advanced engine in its day, but it struggles with some frustrating niggles that appear to be present due to poor design and quality control. If an eye is not kept on the powertrain, your ownership experience can become very expensive.
  • PassKey II is a unique security feature that can give the owner peace of mind when their car is parked in an unsecured location, but glitches in the system may leave you stranded as the system fails to read the key due to a faulty sensor or worn chip.
  • When it comes to owning a C5 Corvette, having motor oil on standby is an accepted practice as it is known to consume and leak oil at a rapid rate. Thankfully, there are a couple of fixes available to resolve the leaking.

Fifth Gen Chevy Corvette C5 Facelift

When it comes to a model update, Chevrolet decided to not introduce an official facelift for the range, meaning that visually, it remained unchanged for the entirety of its lifespan, with only the introduction of new wheel designs and some exterior colors to note. This would make it one of the few Corvette generations to never have been facelifted.

Corvette C5 Front View Chevrolet
Corvette C5 Front View
Corvette C5 Rear View Chevrolet
Corvette C5 Rear View

Engine, Transmission and Drivetrain

The 5th-gen Chevrolet Corvette was only available with one powertrain and two transmission options. The LS1 naturally aspirated OHV 5.7-liter V8 was introduced in this generation of the Corvette. It was more than a reincarnated LT1, as Chevrolet put in the effort of essentially crafting an all-new powertrain from the ground up. Other than the rod bearings, everything else used in this powertrain was brand-new. It may not have been as sophisticated as the OHC engines used by European rivals, but it certainly had the grunt to maintain the Corvette's reputation as a competitive performance car, both on and off track.

5.7-liter OHV LS1 V8
345/350 hp | 350/365 lb-ft
Horsepower
345/350 hp
Torque
350/365 lb-ft
Transmission
Four-speed automatic or Six-speed manual
Drivetrain
RWD

The LS1 engine used in the fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette uses all-aluminum construction with a 10.1:1 compression ratio, multi-point fuel injection and pushrod-actuated overhead valves that give it a rev limit of 5,600 rpm. Models produced from 1997 to 2000 produce 345 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. From 2001, Chevrolet was able to increase the power output to 350 hp and 365 lb-ft by upgrading the intake and exhaust manifold. Only two transmission choices were available throughout the C5's lifespan. The Borg-Warner six-speed manual T-56 transmission was the optional choice while the 4L60E four-speed torque-converter automatic was available as standard. Traction control and a limited-slip differential were equipped as standard together with an aluminized stainless-steel exhaust system. From 1998, a new accessory drive-belt tensioner was used while the alternator rear brace was removed in an attempt to reduce the whining noise. The copper-nickel transmission cooler was also exchanged for a stainless steel design. In 2001, the metal-matrix composite driveshaft was swapped out for an aluminum alloy 6061 unit with an increased diameter. The manual transmission also benefited from upgraded couplings to improve strength and durability, a more user-friendly clutch, and carbon blocker rings. It may come across as a simple and dependable engine, but the LS1 is known to suffer from poor piston-ring seals, oil- and water-pump failures, bent pushrods, and piston slap.

1997-2004 Chevrolet Corvette 5th Generation Real MPG

While the LS1 may have had the grunt to keep up with its more expensive European rivals, one area where it fell short was its poor fuel consumption. Interestingly, the EPA estimates the six-speed manual to be marginally more frugal with a city/highway/combined result of 17/26/20 mpg. The four-speed automatic transmission manages an estimated 16/24/19 mpg. Real-world combined figures sourced from past and existing owners report that the manual can do 20.8 to 25 mpg and the automatic 17.4 to 26 mpg. These results are sourced from private individuals and not the EPA and thus should not be treated as official figures. Granted, the fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette is a large displacement sports car, but it is worth noting that these figures are substantially better than the likes of the 375 hp 3.5-liter V8 Ferrari F355's 9/14/11 mpg estimates. The 315 hp 5.0-liter V8 Mercedes-Benz R129 SL500 boasts slightly poorer consumption estimates with a figure of 14/21/16 mpg.

EPA MPGREAL WORLD MPG *
5.7 V8 six-speed manual17/26/20 mpg20.8-25
5.7 V8 four-speed automatic16/24/19 mpg17.4-26

* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.

Safety

Like many other performance cars, the 5th-generation Corvette was not crash-tested by the NHTSA, so there's no official indication regarding how it would react to a collision. Chevrolet employed a high-strength perimeter frame and center backbone for the construction of the 5th-gen Corvette, which allowed for it to incorporate a fully independent suspension for the first time in this model's history. ABS, traction control, and a speed-sensitive steering system are included to assist the driver with keeping the car on the road but if something goes wrong, airbags for the driver and passenger aim to soften the blow. These were revised to be more effective in 1999. The front and rear bumpers are impact-absorbing from up to five mph and thanks to the use of composite body panels, it is resistant to parking lot dents and dings and rust. While parked, GM's Pass-Key II theft-deterrent system and alarm ensure that criminals may have a hard time breaking in. In 2003, GM fitted new ISOFIX Child Restraint Attachment System hooks on the passenger side for baby seats.

5th Generation Chevrolet Corvette Cruiser Trims

Throughout the fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette's lifespan, it was only available in one trim with two body style options and a short list of optional extras that uplift the visual, comfort, convenience, and performance aspects. Alongside this, the brand also celebrated its halo model's heritage by introducing three special edition models.

  • 1998 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Indy 500 Pace Car Replica: The open-top C5 Corvette was granted the honor of gracing the Indy 500 in pace car form. To celebrate this, Chevrolet put together 1,163 replica models featuring a special Radar Blue paint complemented by a unique livery and yellow alloy wheels. The interior is wrapped in black and yellow leather upholstery and features the more premium audio system as standard, among other comfort features.
  • 2003 Chevrolet Corvette 50th Anniversary Edition: Celebrating five decades of the iconic Corvette moniker, this special model can be had as a coupe or convertible with an Anniversary Red metallic paint and shale two-tone leather upholstery with special embroidery and Warm Nickel metallic alloy wheels. 11,600 of these cars were made.
  • 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Commemorative Edition: Celebrating the immense success of the C5-R at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Chevrolet put together 2,215 Commemorative Edition coupes and convertibles. This is essentially a limited package. which includes a Le Mans Blue metallic paint and shale two-tone leather upholstery.
Coupe/Convertible
1997 - 2004
Engine
5.7L V8 Gas
Transmission
Transmission: Four-speed automatic or Six-speed manual
Drivetrain
RWD

The Corvette was fully loaded and it came standard with a plethora of comfort and convenience features from its first year of introduction. Heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, retractable halogen headlights, a T-top roof, air-conditioning, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, cruise control, power door locks and windows, remote keyless entry, leather upholstery, Scotchgarded carpets, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a Delco audio system with a Bose speaker system were all included as standard. Optional extras include halogen fog lights, a translucent finish for the removable roof panel, dual-zone air-conditioning, a memory package for the seat, mirrors, radio, and HVAC, sports seats, electrically adjustable passenger seat, and a security shade with a cargo net. You could also upgrade the Delco audio system with a single or 12-disc CD interface. For the sake of improving handling characteristics, the Z51 Performance Handling package and the F45 Selective Real Time Damping option were made available. The standard wheel setup is a set of 17-inch front and 18-inch rear alloy wheels. An optional set of magnesium wheels were introduced in 1998 together with a convertible option.

2000 is when the high-polished forged alloy-wheel option was added to the catalog. The increased power output was applied to the range one year after this together with the addition of optional extras such as auto-dimming door mirrors, a head-up display, GM's Twilight Sentinel auto-on headlights, and an electrically adjustable steering column. Passive keyless entry was also replaced with active remote keyless entry as standard. Chevrolet further improved its sports car by adding the active handling package as standard and upgrading the braking system with a new pressure modulator sourced from Bosch. From 2002, you could only have the Delco cassette system with a 12-disc CD changer. Chevrolet became more generous with the standard features in 2003, as it includes fog lights, electrically adjustable sports seats, and dual-zone climate control as standard. The coupe also benefits from a cargo net and luggage shade. This is also the year that the F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control option was introduced.

Hardtop
1999 - 2001
Engine
5.7L V8 Gas
Transmission
6-Speed Manual
Drivetrain
RWD

The hardtop was introduced in 1999 as a new base trim for the fifth-generation Corvette range. This came standard with electrically adjustable door mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, power door locks and windows, leather upholstery for the seats, and the 18-inch alloy wheels. This model could only be had with the six-speed manual transmission while optional extras included the electrically adjustable driver's seat, the Bose speaker system, and illuminated dual visor mirrors. The fog lights and dual-zone climate control, the electronically adjustable driver's seat, and the Bose speaker system became available as an option in 2000.

Fifth Generation Corvette Features

HardtopCoupeConvertible
A/CSOO
Head-Up DisplayN/AOO
MP3 PlayerN/AOO
Multi-Zone A/COOO
Power Driver SeatON/AO
Power Passenger SeatN/AOO
Premium Sound SystemOOO
Seat MemoryN/AOO
Stability ControlSOO
Traction ControlSOO

Interior, Trim And Practicality

Chevrolet Corvette Coupe C5 Interior Overview Chevrolet
Chevrolet Corvette Coupe C5 Interior Overview

The Corvette may be a compact two-seater performance car, but it's more spacious than its European rivals. Headroom and legroom for the coupe, convertible, and hardtop models measures 37.9-inches and 42.7-inches respectively, which is enough space for someone measuring 6.4 feet tall. A shoulder-room figure of 55.3-inches ensures that the driver and passenger have a generous personal bubble. The coupe and hardtop benefit from an impressive cargo capacity of 24.8 cubic feet thanks to its fastback design. This accommodates more than enough luggage space for a weekend away for two people. The convertible only offers 11.2 cubic feet of space due to the soft top folding roof's storage compartment. This is still a fair amount of space for daily routine tasks such as grocery shopping.

As for the cabin experience, Chevrolet creates a somewhat premium ambiance by incorporating soft-touch plastic, leather, and fabric surfaces accompanied by a plush set of leather seats. For the first two years, interior color schemes consisted of Black, Light Gray, Firethorn Red, and Light Oak. Torch Red replaced Firethorn Red in 2002.

HardtopCoupeConvertible
Highwear Nuance Leather Seat TrimN/ASS
Leather Seat TrimSSS

1997 - 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Maintenance and Cost

Maintenance on the Chevrolet Corvette C5 is a fairly straightforward process with an oil and filter change required every 10,000 miles. If you frequent dusty environments, the air filter will need to be replaced at this point as well. If not, it will only need to be replaced every 30,000 miles. At 50,000 miles, the automatic transmission fluid will need a change for cars that drive in areas that are usually hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise, a fluid change should occur at 100,000 miles according to the manufacturer. We generally recommend not exceeding 60,000 miles between auto 'box oil changes. A new accessory drive belt will need to be fitted at 60,000 miles. At 100,000 miles, the LS1 will require new spark plugs and wiring. A cooling-system drain and flush should take place every 150,000 miles. Your annual maintenance costs for the fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette should not exceed $740.

5th gen Corvette Basic Service

The Corvette's LS1's oil capacity is 6.4 quarts of synthetic motor oil. This should not exceed $79. A new air filter is $26, and a set of eight spark plugs costs $98.

1997 - 2004 Gen Chevrolet Corvette Tires

Coupe
Front Tire Size:
P245/45ZR17
Front Wheel Size:
17" x 8.5"
Rear Tire Size:
P275/40ZR18
Rear Wheel Size:
18" x 9.5"
Spare Tire:
T155/70D17
Convertible
Front Tire Size:
P245/45ZR17
Front Wheel Size:
17" x 8.5"
Rear Tire Size:
P275/40ZR18
Rear Wheel Size:
18" x 9.5"
Hardtop
Front Tire Size:
P245/45ZR17
Front Wheel Size:
17" x 8.5"
Rear Tire Size:
P275/40ZR18
Rear Wheel Size:
18" x 9.5"

Check Before You Buy

Four recalls were issued for the 1997 Chevrolet Corvette for manufacturing defects. Several examples were subject to an electronic column-lock system recall that can prevent the steering wheel from turning. This is a problem that is well-documented for the C5 Corvette, as it does struggle with a few ignition switch, key fob, starting, and steering lock problems. 71,569 units assembled from 1997 to 2000 were recalled for a lap belt webbing that may become jammed in the retractor. 3,792 Corvettes produced in 1997 were sent back for a fuel tank sending unit that was torn, which resulted in leaks. 1,414 models needed to be recalled after a weak tie rod was fitted to the rear suspension. The last recalled model was the 2004 Corvette which was fitted with a lower control arm ball that is made of the wrong material.

C5 Corvettes are known to struggle with a leaky battery and a leak-prone interior. The powertrain is fairly robust if well-maintained, but it has been known to struggle with poor piston ring seals, oil and water pump failures, bent pushrods, and piston slap. High oil consumption, oil leaks, electrical woes, and HVAC issues have also been noted by owners.

These are some of the fault codes you may encounter with the 5th-gen Chevrolet Corvette coupe and convertible:

  • Code P1232 and P1233 relate to the injector four and five output circuits, respectively. This code will appear if your fuel injector is faulty or if there is an issue with the electrical circuit of the engine control module.
  • P0141 is the code you'll see when the heated oxygen sensor bank one sensor two is acting up. The sensor will need to be replaced.
  • P0160 or will come up if there is no activity detected on the O2 sensor circuit bank two sensor two. P0161 relates to the heater performance on the same sensor. This could be due to a faulty circuit or poor fuel injectors, intake air leaks, or exhaust gas leaks. The fuel pressure may also be incorrect.
  • Code P0171 will appear if your fuel trim system is running lean on bank one. This could be due to issues relating to a restricted air filter, mass air flow sensor, intake air or exhaust gas leaks, fuel contamination, or issues with the fuel injectors and heated oxygen sensor.
  • P0300 will appear if an engine misfire is detected. If this is the case, you'll have to replace the spark plugs or ignition coils.
  • Code P0327 relates to a low voltage being read on the knock sensor circuit bank one. This is likely due to a faulty sensor or a poor electrical connection.
  • P0335 and P0341 indicate that there is a fault with the crankshaft and camshaft position sensor circuit respectively, and may require you to replace the sensor or inspect the electrical connection. P0343 means that the camshaft position sensor circuit is struggling with a high voltage and requires the same solution.
  • Code P0410 indicates that the secondary air injection system is malfunctioning. This could be due to a damaged vacuum hose, air pump, or diverter valve. The air bypass solenoid could also be worn.
  • P0442 will appear when the main catalyst efficiency drops below the threshold. You may need to resolve the oxygen sensor, coolant temperature sensor, fuel pressure regulator, manifold air pressure sensor, or inspect the wiring connections.

Chevrolet Corvette C5 Common Problems

Leaky Battery

Early models of the fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette shipped standard with the AC Delco Freedom battery, which usually suffers from cracks in the case close to the battery posts. While the newer batteries may have resolved this problem, battery fluids may have leaked onto and caused corrosive damage to the car's engine control unit, wiring loom, and air-conditioning lines. It could have also spread onto the car's metal surfaces and frame, which is likely to rust. When replacing the battery, it is always advised to opt for a gel-type battery that does not struggle with this issue.

Mileage: The original battery's tendency to crack is based on age rather than mileage.

Cost: A battery replacement is likely to cost in the region of $135. Replacing the engine control unit, wiring loom, and air conditioning lines can cost anywhere from $300 to $700 depending on the part that needs replacing, excluding the cost of labor.

How to spot: Corrosion through the engine bay can be a sign that the Corvette has suffered from a leaking battery.

Leaking Interior

Water has a way of entering the interior of the C5-generation Corvette and it is a pesky issue to deal with. No recall was issued for this, but GM did send out a service bulletin. Owners have noted that the most vulnerable spot of the interior is the passenger side. This is due to a poor outer window seal located between the door and window. The best way to stay on top of this is to routinely drain the doors via the plenum drain plug. Replacing the water sealer provides a long-term solution and should only cost $100 for a pair. Prevention is always the best measure in these cases, so it is best to ensure that your car is parked in an area that is not exposed to the elements.

Mileage: The Corvette interior's weakness to water is based more on the environment than the mileage.

Cost: A replacement window seal should cost in the region of $100. Installation can be done in a matter of minutes, so the cost of labor is not astronomical. Refitting the interior with new carpets can cost around $400.

How to spot: If water is finding its way into the cabin, you'll be able to spot wet patches along the doors and floor wells. The seats will get wet in severe cases.

Corroded Electrical System

The C5-generation of the Corvette struggles with a corroding wiring system, particularly surrounding the retractable headlights but systems such as the traction control are also at risk. The grounding wires are the culprit and corrode over time. The best way to resolve this is by replacing the affected wires but this can be a costly job. It's understood that taking the wires apart and giving them a thorough clean is also a solution, but it is not as effective as a complete replacement.

Mileage: The Corvette's corroding wires tend to wear with age and use, so there's no exact mileage attached to this issue.

Cost: There is a plethora of wiring looms present in the C5-generation Corvette which ranges from $100 to $500. Labor costs are dependent on how many wires need to be replaced. For a complete rewire, this could increase to $1,500.

How to spot: Glitches and inconsistencies throughout your electrical system will likely be due to corroded wires.

Differential Oil Leaks

The limited-slip differential is considered to be the ace up the Corvette's sleeve, but unfortunately, this part is known to struggle with oil leak problems. This occurs because the standard carrier lip is not large enough to seal the differential cover. Some owners apply a solvent to create a seal that blocks the oil sufficiently. Make sure that this does not come in contact with the oil ring. It's important to not let this go on for an extended period, as no oil in your differential will lead it to fail which will in turn make the car inoperable.

Mileage: With the issue here being the carrier clip, oil can leak from the differential at any mileage.

Cost: Including labor, the cost to repair the rear axle shaft seal should not cost more than $315.

How to spot: A leaking rear differential will leave oil spots wherever you park. Low oil reserves in your differential will affect the driving characteristics and can lead to excessive whining, grinding, jerking, and wear.

HVAC Problems

The Corvette features air-conditioning on all models, but air conditioning - or AC - and climate control, temperature, air-vent, and fan problems are noteworthy. Inconsistent air delivery, or failure to blow air at all, is one issue that takes occurs due to a loose, leaky, or damaged vacuum hose but this is the least problematic issue relating to the system. The compressor failure is an issue that is a bit more costly and one that happens with age, especially in hot areas where the air-conditioner would be used more frequently. If this unit has failed, you'll be able to notice refrigerant and lubricating oil leaks from the compressor. At this point, it will need to be replaced. The control panel itself can also give in with time as the five LED and 14 incandescent light bulbs that illuminate the panel start to blow. Flickering lights will point at aging bulbs, in which case you will have to open the unit up and replace whichever bulbs have worn out. Lastly, if you notice that the temperature control is inaccurate, the actuator may have failed. This will be the case when the system fluctuates between hot and cold air rather than remaining at one consistent temperature. The actuator will need to be replaced if this is the case.

Mileage: Air-conditioning issues are usually related to age and use rather than the distance a car has covered.

Cost: A new HVAC inlet hose is priced at $55. An air-conditioning compressor costs $817. HVAC control light bulbs range from $4-5 per bulb. You'll need to spend $100 on a new actuator. All prices exclude the cost of labor.

How to spot: A loose or damaged hose will translate to low pressure of air being delivered through the system. Leaking refrigerant and lubricant around the compressor means that it has failed. Flickering lights on the HVAC control unit will indicate that the bulbs are starting to fade. A new actuator will be needed if your system is unable to maintain the desired temperature.

LS1 5.7-liter V8 Common Problems

The LS1 was the official replacement for the LT1, and it was used more widely. Being younger, it benefited from a more modern architecture but that doesn't necessarily mean that the engine in the C5 Corvette is problem-free. The small-block V8 is known to struggle with poor piston ring seals, oil- and water-pump failure, pushrods that get bent, and piston slap (this is when pistons rock from side to side in the bore). Piston-ring seal failure may occur because of a bad quality seal used by GM on its LS1. As soon as wear takes place, oil may find its way into the combustion chamber. This results in excessive oil consumption and blow-by. Oil will also leak into the PCV valve. Once this takes place, excessive oil consumption, piston slap, blue smoke from the exhaust, and rough idling will occur. Piston seal replacement is the only option to consider but does cost a pretty penny as the entire powertrain will need to be disassembled. It is advised that you consider an upgraded set of seals designed by an aftermarket manufacturer.

A bad water-pump shaft and gasket often lead to water-pump failure. Coolant leaks throughout the engine bay are signs that this has occurred. Do not leave it untreated, because the engine may overheat, which can lead to gasket or even engine failure. The LS1's water pump has been known to give in after 100,000 miles with replacement being the only ideal solution. The oil pump is just as problematic as the water pump as it struggles with cavitation if you rev the engine past 6,000 rpm, where the pump is unable to deliver enough oil for engine lubrication. The pressure-release valve is another compromised component of the pump and can give in. Due to this, air is pulled into the oil which causes air cavities. Severe damage can be caused to the internals because of this. A low or zero oil-pressure light will let you know that the oil pump may be faulty. If this is the case, you'll have to replace the pump or valve, depending on which part has failed. You also need to avoid revving the engine above 6,000 rpm.

Bent pushrods are another symptom of revving the LS1 beyond 6,000 rpm. At this engine speed, the lifter over-exerts itself which tilts the pushrod out of place. When it returns down, it will be misaligned and bend. Excessive bending may cause the pushrod to snap, which will lead to total engine failure. Ticking noises from the engine or cylinder misfiring, poor idling, or bad timing, are key indicators that pushrods are bent. Installing new pushrods is the only way forward here if the damage is not too severe. The part is inexpensive at $27 each but the labor can range anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 depending on what other components have been damaged.

Piston slap is a byproduct of failing piston seals and is understood to be the most common flaw of the LS1. In this instance, the piston will rattle against the cylinder sleeve if the clearance between the cylinder walls and rings increases past the required space. Be on the lookout for a ticking or slapping noise that emits from the powertrain before it has reached an adequate operating temperature. You'll also be able to see an excessive amount of oil consumption. There isn't a permanent resolution for this issue other than a routine and thorough inspection of the piston rings as indicated above. Piston slap will take place at low temperatures before the aluminum block has expanded.

Mileage: Water-pump failure happens after 100,000 miles. Bent pushrods may occur when the engine speed rises over 6,000 rpm.

Cost: A new set of piston rings for the LS1 costs $61 but the labor costs are substantial as it requires a powertrain disassembly. A water pump and gasket will set you back $509. A new oil pump is priced at $136 and the release valve will add $8. Each pushrod costs $27, but expect labor to be anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000.

How to spot: Excessive oil consumption, blue smoke from the exhaust, and rough idling usually indicate failed piston rings. Coolant leaks throughout the engine bay signal a failed cooling system. A low or zero oil pressure light reflects a faulty oil pump. Ticking noises from the engine or cylinder misfiring, poor idling, or bad engine timing could translate to pushrods being bent.

Less Common Problems And Problem-Free Areas

Some Chevrolet Corvette C5 gas-tank problems relate to both of the gas-tank sending units that may fail and provide an incorrect reading of the amount of gas left in the tank. The retractable headlights' motors are generally robust, but every so often they can fail due to a worn gear. The cost of a new motor is fairly substantial, but the labor charge is relatively low. A faulty gas cap has also led a short list of cars to display a Check Engine light but thankfully this is an inexpensive fix. The Check Engine light may also illuminate to signal a restricted secondary air-injection check valve. Both check valves may need to be replaced. We should also mention that the 4L60 automatic transmission operates at its designed torque limit with the V8 engine and we would replace the oil every 50,000 miles at least to give it a better chance of surviving high mileages.

The following issues are not likely to occur with the fifth-generation 1997 to 2004 Chevrolet Corvette C5:

  • The Active Handling suspension and body control module (BCM) are generally complex systems but on the fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, they are not noteworthy problems.
  • Electrical components of the C5 Corvette, such as the alarm, blinker/turn signal, low-voltage issues, power seat, radio, alternator, starter, and door locks have not been reported to be problematic.
  • The C5 Corvette's automatic and manual transmissions tend to be problem-free if well-maintained and not over-exerted. The clutch, shifter, and torque tube are also known to be dependable.
  • Problems relating to the Corvette's body paint have not been documented, so this is an area that should not be troublesome.

Which One To Avoid

When it comes to powertrain choices, there isn't a specific model year to avoid as that is an aspect that remained largely unchanged throughout its life, but the 1997 and 1998 models were subject to more recalls. These model year cars were also prone to having a leaky battery and does not benefit from the updated active handling system or selective ride control.

Which One To Buy

2003 and 2004 C5 Chevrolet Corvette models get the nod because they feature the slightly more powerful powertrain and the optional F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension. These are also model years that were not subject to as many recalls and feature a more robust braking system.

5th gen Chevrolet Corvette Coupe & Convertible (C5) Verdict

The 5th-gen Corvette is a true-to-its-roots American sports car that continues the legacy of its nameplate. It brings several crucial features and updates to customers compared to the previous generation C4. While its LS1 powertrain may not be as dependable as the LT1 it replaced, it still offers impressive performance that can be used more generously thanks to its traction control system and active suspension. Optional Selective Ride Control allows owners to further take advantage of the independent suspension, despite its single composite transverse leaf spring on the rear axle inherited from the C4. Comfort features are in no shortage here either as everything from plush leather seats to electrically operable door mirrors and windows and remote keyless entry is fitted.

Corvette C5 (5th Gen) Alternatives

If you're shopping for 1997-2004 Chevrolet Corvette you should consider these alternatives
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