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I need some advise about a 96 SLS


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I need some advice about a 96 SLS. I drove by a local dealer who has a 96 SLS on the lot about 20 times. I've always wanted a STS or SLS and I really want to pick this one up. Is there anything I need to be on the look out for before I make an offer? The one thing I noticed from the outside was the condensation in the taillights, but after reading about the drilled hole fix it seem to be no big deal. My main concerns are the engine and transmission. I’m hoping to take it for a test drive tomorrow. Thanks

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It looks to be in good condition, I could tell how many miles it had since I looked at it while the dealer was closed. The asking price is $4,900.00. I just wondering if this model and year had any known problems and what I should be looking for when I take it for a test drive.

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You might want to read my car journal for my '96 SLS...


It runs through all the work I've done to mine.

Here's some questions to ask the dealer, some of which are things I've dealt with on my 2 Caddies...

If more than 100K miles, have any of the following been replaced; belts, hoses,

water pump pulley tensioner, plug wires, plugs,

battery, A/C compressor, alternator?

Any "Service Ride Control" messages in the past?

Any problems with the EGR valve?

Rear LED brakelight; any dead spots? This is expensive to replace.

When was the last time the coolant was changed? When

it was, were sealant pellets added?

Any powertrain components replaced?

Any major repairs done, like head gaskets, transmission

speed sensor, shift solenoids?

Oil consumption; do you need to top off between

changes? If so, how much?

Who's done the service on the car, and is it possible

to get a history?

Any stored (history) codes in the "dashboard

confessional"? If the dealer doesn't know how to get the stored codes in the dash display, with the key in "Run" press the "Off" and "Passenger Warmer" buttons at the same time for about 5 seconds. The dashboard will light up then any stored codes will cycle through the display. Write them down and let us know

Minor annoyances; does the CD player in the Delco/Bose

stereo (if installed) work? Do both seat heaters work?

That's it... Good luck!


-Mark P.

Salem, MA

IPB Image

"Refined Sugar" - '96 SLS, 175K

"...the Caddy is dedicated to relentlessly -- and comfortably -- converting time into distance." -J.J. Gertler

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Check the diagnostic codes to see if they have been cleared. I did this on a 1999 Deville I was looking to buy and found a transmission code that meant tranny work was going to be in the near future. When I ask the salesman about the problem they played dumb and would not deal with me. If possible get a Warranty you can pay for the warranty in one trip back to the dealer.

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Well I ended up buying it, it took a while by I got him down to $4,000. It has 130,000 miles on it but it's in mint shape. He got as a trade in and had to replace the starter and fuel pump. I checked the codes and they were clear. The heated seats work fine, All the power accessories work fine, the sunroof ands a nice touch, it has a ding in the windshield which I hope doesn’t grow. It seems to ride fine, it does feel like riding on a cloud, I'd almost like to stiffen the ride, but probably get used to it really quick. I was really surprised how good the Bose system sounds. I had one in my 1986 Corvette and it did sound half as good. The one thing I need to pick up a keyless transmitter for it. I keep looking at it and I’m amazed I could get such a nice car for $4000.00

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