Fiero Long Term Maintenance Program by Jim Hallman
Unfortunately, the Fiero is not like a fine wine…it does not get better with age in all aspects! As time marches on and our Fieros get older and older, sure the styling gets better and better, but the mechanical components and fluids break down with age. The engine, suspension, transaxle, ignition, emissions, fuel, brake and filters, belts and hoses all need your constant attention in order to keep your Fiero in tip-top shape.
Generally speaking, most references to fluid and normal wearing items indicate a mileage change interval as opposed to a time related change interval. To make things more difficult, what if your Fiero only gets 1,000 to 3,000 miles a year added to the odometer? Should you really hold off until 30,000 miles to change your spark plugs and wires? That could take 30 years? If you wait that long, the spark plugs could be completely rusted in the engine’s head, you may never get them out! Besides, not using your Fiero daily is worse than using your Fiero daily. Just sitting is not good for a car. Fluids and lubricants need to be used to be effective. Without regular use, fluids and lubricants become hardened and loose their lubricity characteristics.
So, what is a Fiero owner to do - drive it daily, enjoy it and replace it when it gets to costly to maintain? Or, do you not use it often and have it break down on you when you do use it because it is not maintained properly.
If you choose not to drive it often in hopes it may live “forever”, you need to follow a preventative, long term maintenance schedule. Even though nothing in life is forever guaranteed, if you follow a preventative schedule, you run a better chance of enjoying your Fiero more without having breakdowns than without using a preventative program at all.
With help of several mechanics including: Bob Weber (Chicago Tribune’s Motormouth), Scott Manna (of the Daily Herald’s Harold’s Garage), GM’s Fiero Maintenance Schedule, Dave Armstrong, Elmer Schild, Bob Steiger and Steve Lucus of the Cruisin Tiger’s GTO Club, a time related preventative maintenance schedule was developed for low usage cars (driven 1,000 - 3,000 miles annually). This schedule is no guarantee against a breakdown, but it should assure you more time driving and enjoying your Fiero than having to tow your Fiero to the next closest service station when you are out in the midst of a cornfield.
So many elements affect so many components of our Fieros, it’s almost limitless. Storage location conditions like temperature changes, humidity, sunlight, outdoor/indoor locations - the list goes on! The combinations of these elements are all against our efforts to preserve the Excitement that is FIERO!
Keep your ears open when you attend Fiero functions to listen for storage tips like: use silicone brake fluid instead of standard brake fluid to increase interval longevity, or using STA-BIL in your gas tank to prevent gasoline from causing varnishing and gumming of the fuel system, or replacing your thermostat often to prevent it from sticking open or sticking closed (a common problem with low usage cars). When you do run your Fiero, run it until it is good and hot (normal operating temperature) to help boil off the natural byproduct of water which can be very damaging to the engine, exhaust system and its components. Short trips are not recommended! Also, changes in gasoline chemistry effect the rubber components of the fuel delivery system. Keep a close eye on rubber fuel lines that tend to crack more easily when using the newer blends of more oxygenated fuels.
Review the Fiero Long Term Maintenance Schedule. Fill in the dates of your last service for the different components listed. Use the schedule to help you see things that need your attention. If you find areas not addressed, let us know, and revisions can be made. Good luck, and may this schedule help to keep the tow truck away!