C5 Corvette Maintenance

by Don Bolen

The C5 Corvette is completely redesigned with all new body panels, interior and engine. This fifth design series Corvette requires maintenance procedures that are different from those used for earlier C1 through C4 Corvettes.


C5 Corvette engine bay

The C5 Corvette is the fifth design series of the General Motors Corvette. Vast improvements have been made to this series. There are no carryover body parts from previous models and the engine is an all-new design. Manual and automatic transmissions were moved to the rear of the car and combined with the differential. These improvements for C5 Corvette dictate a different set of maintenance procedures.

Design Requirements

Several changes in the C5 design include the addition of an oil life indicator light. The oil life indicator monitors several engine parameters that affect oil life. GM recommends changing the engine oil when the dash-mounted oil change light is illuminated. The type of engine oil used is upgraded to Mobile 1 Synthetic. GM recommends this oil change interval at 10,000 miles or sooner under severe operating conditions. The engine oil filter is an AC Delco PF44 and should be changed at every oil change. Spark plugs are AC 41-931 and have a lifetime expectancy of approximately 35,000 miles. The air filter is an AC Delco A917C and should be replaced every 10,000 miles. Manual transmission cars require a specially formulated clutch fluid part #12345347 available from GM dealers. Synthetic power steering fluid part #12345866 is recommended by Chevrolet.


The location of service parts within the C5 engine bay is greatly improved over that of the C1 through C4 models. The air filter is located in front of the radiator and secured by snap clips. Oil and water fill ports are located on the passenger side of the engine bay and are clearly marked. The brake and manual transmission clutch reservoirs are located on the driver's side toward the rear of the engine bay. The power steering reservoir is located on the driver's side toward the front of the engine.


Fluid capacities for the C5 Corvette have increased over those for previous Corvette models. GM recommends flushing the cooling system after reaching 100,000 miles and replacing it with 6.5 quarts of Dex-Cool radiator solution. Six quarts of Mobile 1 Synthetic oil will be required after draining the engine oil and replacing the oil filter.


Check engine fluid levels with every fuel fill-up. Inspect the engine serpentine belt for wear and material flaws. Check tires for low inflation and inspect for rocks caught in tire treads. Clean the windshield and remove dirt particles from under windshield wiper blades. Raise headlamps to verify electric motor operation and clean the headlight lenses.


The C5 Delco battery is located on the passenger side of the engine bay and above the engine computer. GM has recalled this Delco battery because of many failures. If the Delco battery fails and cracks, battery acid will leak onto the engine computer. The engine computer is vulnerable to battery acid damage, expensive to replace and its failure will disable the engine. Extreme caution must be observed when working under the C5 Corvette. Never rely on a floor jack to support the weight of a Corvette. Never work under an automobile without placing jack stands to safely support the weight of the vehicle.


About the Author

Don Bolen is a research scientist with more than 30 years of experience in laser design and applications. Bolen holds many U.S. Patents including three for the Excimer laser presently used for LASIK eye surgery. He presently is an engineering consultant, author of three nonfiction books and provides content for Demand Studios.

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