Thinking of buying a '98 regal GS, please help with some basic info


Just a good ole boy...
Jun 6, 2003
Hey guys,

I (finally) am gainfully employed as of a few weeks ago, a pretty sweet job as a test engineer at Honeywell. Now that I have some income and can afford to, I've been looking to get another car so I don't have to use my GN as my only transportation, can stop putting so many miles on it and take it off the road for awhile to do all the work that has been accumulating over the last 5 years or so.

My budget is pretty low (under 4k or so) and I've been looking for something relatively dependable, but still kind of fun. I think I may have found something that fits the bill. Theres a 98 regal GS for sale locally, with leather, sun/moon roof, pretty loaded option-wise, with 104k miles on the clock. The body looks in damn good shape from the pictures (its white). Theyre asking $2450 for it. I'm a pretty capable mechanic/gearhead, but don't know much about these cars specifically, so I figured this was the place to find some answers. I'm hoping you guys can give me some advice as far as if its a decent price, common problem areas to look at, etc before I go and take a look at it in person tomorrow or this weekend.

First off, I'm pretty sure this year/model has the SC engine, but couldn't see any badging in the pictures saying as much. Were all 98 GS's supercharged? Secondly, I'm really looking for a car that is at least somewhat dependable. I'm not worried about the typical maintenance stuff that comes along with older cars (belts, hoses, brakes, sensors, etc.) but if these cars are known for serious issues at 100k miles or so, or if they have a bad reputation for frequent small problems, I may want to avoid it. Lastly, I was hoping you guys could give me some advice as far as common problem areas to look at when I check it out, things that are known weaknesses. Like "Oh, the __________ tends to wear out when they get higher miles, you can check this by seeing if theres any endplay on the _________ or if the ___________ is worn out". Or "Make sure the ___________ is in good shape. They have a tendency to crack and finding replacements for them are a pain". That sorta thing, if you catch my drift.

I've always been a fan of buicks (firs car was a 67 skylark GS, daily driver for years has been my 85 GN) and like the looks/style of this generation regal. Plus the idea of having TWO forced-induction v6 buick regals has a certain appeal :) Any advice you can give a potential owner of one of these beauties would be much appreciated. Thanks Guys!
they are great cars... yes all 98 gs's are supercharged and in good state of tune and decent air will go mid to high 14's , a couple hundred bucks in the right places shouldreduce them into the very low 14's , cracking 13's has been done under $500.00

as for basic things to look for lower intake gaskets are notorious and with an 13+ year old car unless they say it has just been done plan on doing that job - with your basic mechanical skills you aluded to its not a big job and should only set you back $200 or so in gaskets and fluids.

the only other notorious thing is people talk about how weak the trannys are - I shouldnt jinx myself but one of my gs's has 217,000 miles and has made literally hundreds of passes in the low to mid 13's on dr's and they are all on original trannys

any car that age is going to have some nickel & dimestuff but overall I find them cheap to keep on the road , my daughter has been running a 98gs through her last year of HS and first 2 of college - havent spent squat on it and I took it to the track box stock other than a homemade intake and it ran 14.4 @96 for me lol the 97/98 intake sucks badlybut an upgrade to the 99+ or a quick fenderwell intake will wake them right up.

they are premium fuel only but will get around 30mpg highway - or better with a few exhaust mods and the additional timing they will allow if you have a tuner

for $2400 for a clean southern 100k car ifyou dont like it you could flip it and not be out much if anything.

your best resource for 97-04 regal gs's is RegalGS I am a moderator over there and a fair amount of members check in here from time to time also as it seems a growing number of gn owners are grabbing them for daily/beaters
And when you look underneath it and see oil, it's normal. This almost kept me from buying my gtp but my friend that works at the Buick dealer said they all do it. Just some advice, since it is so cheap, you may want to go look at it when it's raining. Not sure about the gs's, but my gtp leaks sometimes. Mine has 207,000 on it. Only major problem was the trans went @ around 190k. Just listen to Murph, he knows these cars better than anyone. 30 mpg? damn, I only get 22 average.
30mpg highway.. I used to commute from Maine to Mass 6 days a week , flat steady 72 ish mph it would get 30 all day long - 450+ miles out of a tankful.

same car when my wife drives it mixed use locally averages around 24mpg

the common water leak is the seal fallen off or not on properly on the cabin air filter under the passenger side cowl cover under the wipers , gets water on the pass floor which is where the bcm is.....
Look for a 96-99 Riviera, far superior ride and the same HP numbers until you get into a later model year GS.
Listen for a rattling sound out of the supercharger at idle. If it make that noise, don't worry, it's a cheap and easy fix. But when I bought mine, I didn't know what it was. I told them I'm not buying a car that needs a new supercharger. So they knocked $1700 off the price of the car! Quick internet search lead me to the "coupler" being bad. $35 and an hour of time and good as new. :)
There's not much else to be said. Mine got 30mpg highway until I put a ZZP PCM in it. Now it gets about 26.5-27mpg highway.
Ive been driving my 99 everyday for a few years now and I love the car. Drive about 500 miles per week and average 27 mpg mostly highway. Very comfortable car to drive and as far as maintenance, it really doesnt get much cheaper. Change the oil every 5k, trans fluid every 20k, thats about it. Have had some little issues pop up (odometer went out on dash - easy fix, multi function switch go bad - easy fix, fuel pump resistor - easy fix). Just replaced both front wheel bearings & control arms @ 120k and could use struts soon. Other than the basics, they are easy cars to maintain and very nice to commute in. When this one dies (if it ever does), ill just get another with the lowest mileage I can find.
Look for a 96-99 Riviera, far superior ride and the same HP numbers until you get into a later model year GS.

all sc'ed regal gs's(97-04) are 240hp/280ft lbs

the riv is a nice car also but heavier and subsequently harder to get quicker et's out of , the gtp is really the most comparable car to the GS