Camaro: Common Problems

The Camaro has had some problems through the years. However, with maintenance and preventative care you can still get many years out of this incredible pony car.

By Charlie Gaston - February 19, 2016

This article applies to the Camaro (1990-2015).

The Camaro has undergone several makeovers since its 3rd Gen model first entered the market way back in 1990. Since then, the Camaro has continued to see major mechanical and electrical improvements with its most recent 4th and current 5th Gen models. While the Camaro has received many positive reviews from both safety regulator agencies and the general public, it has not been without its fair share of problems. Here are the most commonly reported problems and how they can be prevented, if at all.

Component Breakdown

Distributor

It's commonly acknowledged and agreed upon by many 1990-2015 Camaro owners that the Opti-Stark distributor is prone to experiencing serious problems. To avoid many of these problems, it's highly recommended that you switch to a Dyna-Spark distributor instead. If you can't make the switch, however, you can combat some problems just by properly sealing the existing distributor cap. MSD distributor cap and rotor kits are available online for as low as $40. MSD is a favorite brand among Camaro owners.

Figure 1. The Dyna-Spark is the preferred brand of distributor.

Rear Differential

You might notice humming or a whining sound while you drive. Before your axle bearings become worn down, you'll need to replace them to avoid destroying your axles.

New rear differential on Camaro
Figure 2. It's also important to change your rear differential fluid every 30k to 50k miles.

Aftermarket Parts

It should be mentioned that some Camaro owners have complained that it's difficult to find suitable aftermarket parts for the Camaro. Components such as a timing cover, for instance, might prove difficult to find or hard for you to determine which aftermarket option to purchase; several options could be available for the same model year. Be sure to search the LS1tech.com forums for advice on finding aftermarket parts.

Figure 3. Aftermarket Camaro performance parts and accessories may by difficult to find.

Scheduled Maintenance

Make sure to maintain clean transmission fluid, rear differential fluid, as well as clean fuel filters. Also, keep ahead of your tune-up schedule, particularly when driving a 1996-1997 Camaro.

Common Questions

What is the cost for the "skip shift" solenoid for the T56?

At just $25, the skip shift solenoid is worth every penny. It is located in your transmission and works to improve gas mileage by forcing you to shift from 1st to 4th gear when driving slowly.

Is it easy to change the spark plugs and wires on the LT1?

Not exceptionally, no. However, most LT1 owners recommend using 8 mm wires instead of the stock 7 mm wires for easiest installation and removal.

How is the engine on the LT1?

Good. It sometimes gets a bad rap, but, overall, just take care of it and you'll be happy performance-wise. With any Camaro, keep your engine oil clean and topped up. Have any leaks immediately repaired.

What are the most common 4th Gen problems?

Keep an eye out for problems with the window motors, turn signal socket and bulb, brake rotors, speakers, clutch and rear differential, as they are said to be very finicky.

Common Issues

Malfunctioning Coolant Sensor Light

Your coolant sensor light may appear to be malfunctioning, when in fact it is "highly sensitive" and prone to intermittent blinking. One way to combat potential problems with your coolant sensor light is to drain the level of coolant in your tank to just below the sensor, which is located next to the battery box on your radiator. Otherwise, you will need to replace it with a new one.

Overheating

The Camaro is not alone in being sensitive to overheating, so keep your head gaskets in optimum condition, particularly as your vehicle ages. Always keep an eye on your temperature gauge, and do not operate your Camaro when it is overheating or starting to become overheated.

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