Which C4 Corvette Years To Avoid and Why? (Explained)

The 1985 Chevrolet Corvette is commonly known as the C4 Corvette because it belongs to the fourth generation of Corvette, which ran from 1984 to 1996. The CFI is a fuel delivery system that is extremely dependable.

However, the C4 has had some bad years. What are they? Which years have those problems? And which C4 models are safe to buy?

In this article, you will get the answer to all of these questions. Read till the end to find out!

C4 Corvette Years to Avoid (With Reasons)

From 1984 to 1996, the C4 was in production. The only thing that remained constant over that span was the fundamental frame. It comes with a ZR-1. It generates 375 horsepower accelerated to 60 MPH in a blistering 4.5 seconds.

It was a favorite car while it ran it’s course and people still buy the car (that’s why you’re here!). Now, avoid the following C4 Corvette years if you’re looking to buy one:

These C4 years 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987and 1990 years are the worst with some of the worst problems. I will discuss all these problems in the following section.

1984 C4 Corvette Problems:

The 84 has a rough ride. This has a negative impact on its handling and steering. The stock Crossfire engines only have two injectors. They produce 205 horsepower.

Many electrical and structural problems exist in this one. Having a digital dashboard is an inconvenience. Some of it is illuminated while the remainder is not. And this situation just alternates between these two states.

There is no sound coming from the radio when it is powered up. Around the windows of all C4s, rain tends to get in. The air conditioning also fails often.

1985 C4 Corvette Problems:

This brings plethora of engine problems. Enging jumping, having a hard start, long cranking before starting, stuttering at idle and what not. The engine will also sound like curd with all the gurgling.

After many replacements the car loses functionality and idles hard. It may also die sometimes. It will also be hard to crank. The car also limps sometimes while ejecting intense strong smelling black smoke.

1986 C4 Corvette Problems:

The wiring and electrical communication is junk in this one. Which causes the car to hesitate or backfire. The ignition coil burns and the oxygen sensor becomes faulty easily.

The spark module and fuel filter are as shitty as ever. Engaging the jumper switch may cause these problems or worsen them.

The OD might also be turning on by itself but fail to turn on in the highway. This causes compromise of a portion of speed while driving.

1987 C4 Corvette Problems:

Like most earlier Corvette, this one too has engine cranking and hard start issues. The engine heads are aluminum. So finding the right antifreeze may be difficult.

Moreover, there will be frequent electrical failures, sensors failing and low fuel pressure on the fuel pump. You may need to fix some air conditioning issues too.

1990 C4 Corvette Problems:

Bad wiring at the sensor keeps the seatbelt and inflation restraint lights on. The frame sensor is responsible for this. The defective ECM and Injectors are to blame. The cruise control is sometimes uncontrollable.

Another common issue is the Air Conditioner needing rebuilding. You may also need a transmission rebuild. The engine suffers from a broken head gasket as well.

What Are The Worst Years of C4 Corvette?

  • Worst: 1984- with the bad handling, rough start, and frequent risky breakdowns, this model year easily bags the worst of them all.
  • Second Worst: 1985- the engine problems don’t seem to have an end on this one.
  • Third Worst: 1986- bad sensors create frequent nuances. This is why this comes after the other two as the worst model.

Most Common Problems of C4 Corvette:

The C4 Corvette years to avoid are more likely to have minor issues rather than major safety or effectiveness issues. Some of the most prevalent issues are listed below.

1. Cracked Rim

The cracked rim is a huge and unforgivable problem. Yet the problem seems to come right out of the box. They don’t just crack, they bend and also cause leaks.

The rims break and the wheel starts to come off the tires. You see this in old tires. But it comes new in the C4s and it can be deadly to the passengers! If you know how Paul Walker’s car tires blew up because they were nine years old right?

2. AC Breaking Down

The AC breaks down and doesn’t work. It fails and blows hot air. The reason is that the clutch compressor which engages while the AC starts cooling, does not work.

High-pressure lines also have a pressure switch. When the system’s freon supply is low, it activates the circuit breaker. The compressor clutch must be activated by 60 psi or more. Failure of this system also shuts down the cooling system.

3. Sudden Engine Failure

The car stalls while displaying several error codes. Especially the ones for direct ignition and mass air flow. All these seem pretty unrelated.

The car may start making loud bangs and electrical noises. The RPM meter may fail during this.

These sudden failures cause risky bumps while turning. This is a serious safety issue. The engine may also idle now and then.

4. Transmission Failure

The C4 Corvette comes with a 4L60-E transmission. It is an automatic shift, four-speed overdrive. The most common problems with it includes the car seemingly in OD in neutral.

 WOT shudders when the 1-2 Shift is either sliding or not working at all. Off the line, the car feels slow and the transmission changes sharply. Only the Manual 2nd, 3rd and reverse gears might be working.

Which C4 Corvette Years are Safe to Buy?    

I’ve listed all of the most popular C4 Corvette models ever made. These models have been tried and tested and are available for purchase by anybody.

  • 1994 C4 Corvette
  • 1995 C4 Corvette
  • 1996 C4 Corvette

The 1994 C4 Corvette is powered by a 5.7 liter V8 foam engine. It has about 300 HP powering capacity. It’s interior is quite nice and spacious. It certainly has many more interesting features than a C5.

Even the center console is spacious. Since 1994, GM had started venting to Opti-spark distributors.  This when the previous issues started to dissolve.

The 1995 and 1996 C4 Corvettes are both great engines with strong, reliable engines. Moreover,the fuel economy is good as well. The years mentioned have had the least registered problems.

The 1995 model comes with a second generation Opti, which is better than the previous model years. The 1995 model has improved fuel injectors to utilize ethanol better. It also has an updated ABS system.

It may lack bit of the interior appeal from the previous models. But it has tons more features.

The body on the 1996 C4 in particular is more sought after by many. It’s sleek, durable and has great performance. It comes with a 300 HP engine. It truly is the best definition of the ‘clamshell hood’ beauty.


Which C4 Corvette Year has the worst fuel odour?


Which C4 Corvette Year has the most engine failure issues?


How many miles will a C4 Corvette last?

150,000 to 200,000 miles.


The C4 Corvette is an above average car. Most of it’s appeal takes from it’s aesthetics. That said, you can get a good deal out of it.

Steer clear of the bad years mentioned in this article. And go for the best ones mentioned here with reasons. The information in this article will surely get you your value for money.

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