1998 Chevrolet S10 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1998 Chevrolet S10 as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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20
Known Problems

The 1998-2002 Chevrolet S10 has a known issue with the air pump check valve which causes illumination of the check engine light. There are no notable symptoms, but the vehicle will not pass state inspection or smog testing. 

When the valve fails, it sticks closed, and the computer sets the code P1416. Replacement of the check valve is the only fix, as the valve is not serviceable. 

This page can provide more information about the air pump check valve. 

The serpentine belt tensioner can fail; it may become noisy and/or the belt may jump off. Replacement of the failed tensioner will be necessary.

It is common for the fuel level sensor in the fuel tank read the fuel level incorrectly. The sensor must be replaced to correct the condition. Our technicians recommend having the complete fuel pump module replaced on high mileage vehicles.

The distributor may develop internal faults. This can cause a rough running engine or stalling condition, the Check Engine Light may or may not illuminate. Our technicians tell us that the distributor should be overhauled or replaced to correct this concern.

The headlight switch used on the Chevrolet S10 is known to fail through normal operation. Since the headlight switch is also integrated into the interior lights, a malfunctioning switch can cause issues with interior lights as well.

  • Symptoms of a failed headlight switch include:
  • Headlights and taillights failing to turn on or off
  • Interior lights flicker, or fail to turn on or off
  • Gauge cluster lighting off or flickering with headlights on
  • Parking light malfunctions  

This issue is well known with General Motors Trucks and SUVs, and is solved by testing and, if needed, replacing the headlight/dimmer switch. Bad grounding wires at the tail-lights, and dirty/corroded tow package wires can also lead to some of these issues. 

The Anti-lock brake system (ABS) control unit may fail internally causing the ABS warning light to illuminate.

The alternator may fail, causing a "no charge" condition. An internal bearing may also fail and cause an abnormal noise. If the vehicle is driven too long with a failed bearing, the alternator may stop turning, which can cause the serpentine belt to break or the engine to stall and not turn over.

The fuel pump may fail causing the engine to stall and not restart. Our technicians recommend replacing the fuel filter every 30,000 miles to help prevent undue strain on the fuel pump.

GM recommends replacing the engine coolant at 100,000 miles; however, our technicians tell us that the coolant may become contaminated and require a complete cooling system flush every 60,000 to 70,000 miles.

Illumination of the Check Engine Light may be the result of a loose or worn gas cap.

The electrical contacts in the ignition switch may fail and result in erratic instrument panel gauge operation or illumination of the Check Engine Light. A failed ignition switch will require replacement.

The heater core under the right side of the dashboard may leak engine coolant which can puddle on the passenger front floor. The loss of coolant may cause an engine overheating condition. Our technicians tell us that removal of the dash board is necessary to replace the heater on these vehicles.

A fluid leak may develop from the transmission output shaft seal. This leak may cause the transmission mount to become oil soaked and require replacement of the mount along with the leak repair.

A cover plate on the front of the engine may develop a coolant leak, resulting in an engine overheating condition. This plate covers the location where the water pump was installed on previous versions for this engine. Replacing the gasket for the cover plate and refilling the cooling system is generally all that is required to correct this concern.