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Chevrolet/Geo Metro

TheLoraxTheLorax Posts: 1
Howdy!

I'm in the market for a hatchback and looking for
owner experiences to go by. I like the mileage on
the Metro hatchback. I'm hoping that the way low
pricing (another great feature) doesn't mean that
the thing's more trouble than the savings.

Give me some good news, folx. Or warn me away.
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Comments

  • I've driven and been a passenger in one. Works just fine. High mileage. Very reliable - even the smallest 1.0 liter engine. My former co-worker has remarked many times how inexpensive it is to own. Fits anywhere. His commute is on secondary roads not on a rat-race dog-eat-dog highway like Route 128 in MA though.

    Good luck!
  • The engines aren't very powerful, but they are supposed to be ultra reliable.

    Good luck!
  • gullgull Posts: 2
    Also posted in topic #132:

    I owned a 4-door '92 Metro hatchback for over 6 years and 88,000 miles. They sip fuel, are easy to park, make great commuter cars in-town, do well on medium-length trips (4-5 hours or less) and will probably never be stolen or broken in to. :) But, they have absolutely no power, and you have to remember at all times that it is a car for _defensive drivers_: you absolutely do not want to get into an accident while driving one.

    As long as you keep regular service up, they are pretty reliable ('92 and earlier Metros do have an issue with their A/C coolant, though, in that it is no longer available...if you loose your coolant for whatever reason, you need to spend $$$ to retrofit the A/C system) and relatively trouble-free. Just make sure you stay on top of your service, though: they do not tolerate "neglect" very well, and can quickly develop chronic problems as a result, much more readily than more expensive (and more quality) vehicles.

    If you do opt for a Metro, though, I _strongly_ recommend the 4-door. It is 4 inches longer, and the hatch is more "vertical" than the 2-door, giving you lots more storage space. Contrary to popular belief, you can cram a lot of stuff into a 4-dr Metro hatchback with the seats down including
    a bale of hay, mid-size chairs, 27" televisions not the buses-- and half of a college dormroom...I did all of these in my old Metro with room to spare).


    Cheers,
    John
  • soukupsoukup Posts: 4
    I own a 94 Metro LXI and commute 45 miles one way to work. I've got a lot of miles on it (104,000) and have not had a major problem with the vehicle.
    Service it has needed has been a new muffler, rear bearings and the window on the drivers side not going up and down easily.
    The big thing I have found with this car is to keep up on the basic oil change, tune up program.
    I know I'm not going to get a lot for this on a trade in, and plan on keeping it till it pushes up weeds in the garden.
    I get razzed about this car, but as I told one friend, "at least I can pass a gas pump!"
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    Not many Metro entheusiasts, are there?

    Well, then I am one of the few. I just got a new 99 Metro a month ago, which since the 98 model has the Chevy logo rather than the Geo. It's a beautiful dark metallic green, which makes it look like an insect. And for less than half the price of a new VW Beetle, it's just as cute.

    It's a perfect city car, gets an amazing 41 mpg. Even with sky-high L.A. gas prices I can fill up for $10 and go over 400 miles without a drop of fuel. However, the tiny 3 cylinder, 55 horsepower engine has a hell of a time going uphill. When climbing a mountain, the best thing to do is downshift, get in the far right lane and just let people go around you.

    The car is the perfect size for parking, even parallel is easy. But it can fit a lot in it with the back seat down. I'm a film student and I fit a betacam case, a miller tripod, a light package and all the trimming with room left to fill in the back. It's also very reliable, probably the most reliable among American cars. While it's often true that American cars (namely Ford and Dodge) have a tendency to burn themselves out after 3 years, cars like the metro with such a small engine don't have nearly the potential to do the same. My aunt the very first metro model to come out, the '89, and it lasted great through six or seven years and two accidents (the only reason she lost it was because she let my cousin drive it and he got it impounded through a run-in with the cops).

    To address the metro's safety: Most people think bvecause the car is so small it's a death trap. Well, if you're in a serious accident most compact cars aren't going to do a whole lot to save your skin, but the Metro does have dual airbags and a steel safety cage with "self-sacrificing" design. Plus, the 99 model has a new and improved extra-tall bumper. Trust me, this a huge asset. My girlfriend was in an accident the other day in the metro, one of those 4-car chain reaction rear-enders, and after getting hit from behind by a honda at 15mph, the bumper was only scartched up and dented a little. The bumper is so big that the body wasn't touched at all. So now it's as simple as slapping on a new bumper (which the other party's insurance will pay for, of course).

    So, all in all, I think the metro is great car. And itsets you apart from the Honda Civic hatchback mainstream.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    You've moved me closer to being a believer, alext! :-) I saw a 99 Metro drive past me last night and I did think it looked cuter than I recalled. And yes, parking would be a dream!

    carlady/host
  • I own a 95 metro sedan because as a college student, it was all i could afford. it is much sturdier than i thought...i was rear ended by a huge pontiac grand am....not a scratch on the metro, the front of the pontiac looked like an accordion. HOWEVER....and a big however....while traveling on the causewy bridge in new orleans, la, which is a 24 mile long bridge over a lake, i was traveling at 55 mph (the speed limit) when i hit a slick patch on the bridge. the car lost control because the tires are so small, and i was spun on the bridge in oncoming traffic three times completely around and landed facing traffic int the wrong lane. not a scratch on the car, but i was so shaken couldn't drive it for weeks afterward. Needless to say, it has also given me a multitude of mechanical problems, and yes, i feel like i am driving a death trap. Come January, my husband and I are ditching it as fast as we can and investing in a big, giant, SUV.
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    Well, the issue with the tires is very real. I recently got into an accident in my 99 metro hatchback. It was very dark and raining, which in LA is very bad because since it rains infrequently throughout the year the road becomes very slick. I was going about 35 mph on a slightly downward hill when a minivan in front of me stopped very quickly at a yellow light. I slammed on the brakes, which did stop the wheels, but not the car. Because the car is so lightweight and has such tiny wheels, the car kept sliding, right into the minivan. I was pretty much unhurt, except for being a little sore from the seat belt, and the minivan wasn't even scratched, but the front of my metro was bashed in. No damage to the headlight, just the hood and the front bumper. Thank good for the foot of space between the grill and the radiator! I took it to my body shop and their estimate is over $4000 (!!!), which is almost half the price of the car. Fortunately I have full coverage and a $500 deductible, so it'll only cost me the five hundred.

    But this brings up an important safety issue about the metro's wheel size. The stock wheels are only 13" by about 6" at the most. I am seriously considering buying new rims and tires after my car gets out of the shop, not only for looks but to add more weight and a fatter, meaterier wheel on the car. Pep Boys is offereing a deal on a set of no-name brand 14" x 7" wheels for about $600 total (including installation and balancing). Anybody out there have any other suggestions for making my metro better at handling the road?
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Before you think about getting new wheels, you might want to put your money into the best possible *tires* for your current wheels. Other small cars have the same size (or smaller) wheels so I'm inclined to think it is your tires that could use a bump up.

    What do others think?

    carlady/host
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Posts: 236
    I own a '93 Metro 3-door and I agree with alext. Though it wouldn't hurt to get the best rubber you can buy, the skinny wheels simply won't put enough of it on the road. Luckily, the car's sluggish performance doesn't encourage "spirited" driving. Go for the wider wheels.

    BTW, count me in as a Metro enthusiast. This little car has been nothing but reliable. In five years of ownership, I have had NO troubles. I have replaced the front brakes and all four tires, and that's it. I live in northern NJ and my Metro is great for city driving and parking (just don't expect true comfort or refinement). Plus, you can fill the tank with regular for $9.00 and drive for a week. I even managed to squeeze three mountain bikes in the hatch.

    Question: is it possible or practical to retofit a '93 with A/C?.
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    The 99 metro comes with goodyear tires stock, so there's not a whole lot more I could put in it. So, I've decided once it gets out of the shop to opt for the $600 to get new wheels. Not only will it improve handling and stopping ability, but it'll look a lot better than those ugly stock steel wheels.
  • baveuxbaveux Posts: 175
    Wider tire will just give you more problem like aquaplaning.Tailgating is much more dangerous,drive according to the road condition and you won't have any problem.I'm in ontario Canada,I'm driving 80 miles per day mainly on highway,on,rain or snow,and these small tire are just doing the job.I'm not trying to say here that I'm a better driver than you guys,I`M sure that we can find better tire ,but going bigger and wider,no thanks....
    And IMHO a car is not loosing control....but a driver will...
  • Well, in response to "bigger not better," I did not lose control of the Metro.....as I stated in my original message (# 7) I was traveling the speed limit, and the bridge was nearly traffic-free at the time I was on it. I simply do not think that a CAR that loses control despite the driver obeying the rules of the road at 55 mph is a safe vehicle. In addition, prior to owning the Metro, I owned a small Nissan Sentra. I crossed the same bridge twice a day for a year in it because of my job, and was NEVER in danger of losing control. BTW, I have an impeccable driving record, so till the day I die I will insist that the METRO lost control, not me.
  • baveuxbaveux Posts: 175
    Jenn : L.O.L Don't get upset!!!
    You were probably not the only one who hitted this black ice.Do you really believe that 1/2 wider on four tire would have made any difference ? Personnally I dont think so.A bridge is the worse place to be in winter,and on black ice you can drive a semi and put yourself in trouble.So the Metro lost control....probably because where you leave they haven't put a sign at the entrance of the bridge saying that the road might be slippery below zero like we have here in Canada,so the poor little car ignoring the fact made a mistake !
    Maybe 55mph was to fast on that bridge that day ?
    Maybe this, maybe that,so till the day I die I will insist that the DRIVER lost control,not the car.;-))
    Richard

    You probably think that my English sucks,but it's not me......It's that frikin keyboard.....! ;-)
    Take care
  • Who said anything about black ice or freezing temps? Where i live, it rarely gets below 50 degrees....the day this happened it was 80 degrees, bright, sunny, and dry.......whatever....i still think the metro is the most unsafe vehicle ever made...in fact mine is for sale right now!
  • baveuxbaveux Posts: 175
    I`m confuse,I've assumed that the slick patch was a patch of ice....Sorry about that.

    I'm getting worse....i can`t write and now i can`t read... :-(

    I wish you good luck with your new car.
    Are you upset..? ;-)i hope not....
    Richard
    p.s that bother me ,you hitted a patch of what...?
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Posts: 236
    I was just scanning these posts and I read with interest Jenn's 6/18/99 account of her causeway bridge incident. I know what she went through. There are many bridges where I live (northern NJ) and many of them are drawbridges. The surfaces of these bridges are often made of a sort of steel mesh. When I drive my Metro over these drawbridges, I feel as though I should be wearing an adult diaper because the Metro slides ALL OVER THE PLACE, regardless of my speed or the weather. I think it's a combination of the skinny tires, the car's light weight and the fact that it is vulnerable to crosswinds. Plus, the steel bed develops "tire grooves" from all the traffic, and these grooves also play havoc with the tiny wheels. They shake more than Elvis's hips.

    Metro drivers beware of bridges (and, for those of us in the Northeast, that tricky "grooved pavement")!
  • baveuxbaveux Posts: 175
    I can appreciate what you say in your post.But I drove motorcycle on this type a bridge.Not that I've enjoyed the experience,but shaking to the point of loosing control....no way.The geo is a safe car (not a Volvo of course)safe in a way that I'm driving one,since 28 months mainly on highway,snow or dry pavement,and that car is stable,maybe shaking a bit in crosswind,but never like a motorcycle.I still believe that a car cannot loose control.
  • inuvikinuvik Posts: 131
    I have a 1989 Metro that I paid $300.00 for and have driven it for years. It looks really bad and has over 150,000 miles. It still delivers 48MPG driving back and forth to work and burns a quart of oil every 1500 miles.
    I really don't think it's all that gutless. Try driving a Ford Aspire or as I call the (perspire).
    Suzuki makes a really good small motor. I have other friends that have Metro's and most have gotten 175,000 miles before they dump them for a couple of hundred bucks and go out and spend $1500.00 on a 3 or 4 year old one with 50K-60K miles.
    I've done nothing to mine except install new spark plugs and change the oil.
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    OK. I am a courier in Columbus, Ohio. I can't say much about crosswinds, but any car, including my '95 Metro hatchback, my '92 Dynasty, and my '88 Caprice 9C! police package, have trouble maintaining control over the ridiculous road conditions we have here.

    ALEXT: The Goodyear Invicta GL tires that come on all Metros ARE cheap tires. Goodyear doesn't advertise them and you can ask for them and purchase them but there are many tires that will do ten times better than Goodyears. No matter the brand name, you have to look at the ratings on the tire, and how well the tread looks. If you look at the tread on an Invicta GL, versus the cheapest $14.99 tire found at some discount place, they are both cheap-looking. Look at the tread on a Firestone Affinity and it looks good, as does the tread on Michelin tires.

    OTHERS: wider tires help a little. 175/70R13 tires are the same circumference as 155/80R13 tires but have more tread (larger contact patch=better braking and roadholding) and you can buy much better quality tires in 70-series sizes than 80-series sizes.

    JENNVACCARO: if you hate your Metro, I would love to buy it at black book wholesale if you want to dump it. What year, what model, three-or-four cylinder, stick or automatic, two-or-four door, does the air work, and how many miles? I work for a courier and we are looking to buy cars all the time. Here in Columbus, people don't buy Metros because they would rather have a used Corolla or Civic. I don't know why, but that drives down trade-in values and I can sit around a car dealer all day and buy people's trade-ins for $1500-$2500. It's great, so if you don't want yours, I'll take it!

    I have 95,000 miles on my Metro. Other than the fact that my rear brake shoes cracked at about 80K and ripped my drums up real bad, and putting in about 6 alternators until we determined that the wires going to the alternator had corroded, I have had no trouble with it. The car is a bass tube on wheels and with a better head unit and some speakers not made from grocery sacks, it would sound incredible. Just my two cents...
  • inuvikinuvik Posts: 131
    Has anyone ever tried to put 15" wheels on a metro? I have seen some 14", but never any 15". Just curious
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    I was asking the same question, just a few posts ago. It seems possible, because if you look at the stock 13" wheels, there's at least 2" of clearance around the tire, inside the wheel well, etc. And 15" wheels/tires would only need an additional 1" of clearance on all sides.

    No big deal if they don't, I'll just go with 14" since I can get them for the same price at Pep Boys.
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Posts: 236
    Looking for advice ASAP...
    I currently own a 93 Metro 2dr, and I'm thinking about buying a used Metro for my girlfriend, who needs to drive about 20 miles to work every day. Sadly, she is an avowed stick shift-hater and loathes my 5-spd.
    The car I'm considering is for sale by a private party and has auto, a/c and 109k on the clock. It looks to be about a 92 or 93 model. Asking price is $1300. Should I jump?
    I've had my Metro for over five years with absolutely no troubles. I think they're very study, no-frills cars. My question: how will one with 109k already on it hold up? She'll probably have to drive it daily for at least a year.
    Thanks in advance for any advice!
  • barry_jbarry_j Posts: 1
    I bought a 99 Metro about 1 month ago. I've put 3700 miles on it already, and where is that 47
    miles per gallon? The best I've ever gotten is
    42 and I drive ALL highway miles. 126 of them a day as a matter of fact.
    I thought when it got broken in it would get better, and at 3700 miles, it should be broken in.
    Anybody else go through this?
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    I know exactly what you're going through, Barry J.
    I have a new 99 Chevy Metro with the 1.0L 3-cylinder that is supposed to get 41/47 mpg but I get much less. I just got my second oil change yesterday, so at just below 6000 miles I figure my metro is pretty much broken in.
    Now let me tell you about a trip I took over the weekend to San Diego. From L.A. San Diego is 127 miles, and over the entire weekend I racked up 486 miles there and back with more than half of them highway miles. I filled up twice with 87 octane as I always use, and yet after doing all the math I found out that I had only reached 36.3 mpg! That's below the reputed city mileage, and I did most of my driving on the highway!
    Now, my only explanation for this is that I was doing an average of 75 mph on the highway, which is fast for a car with a top speed of 90, and the combined weight of myself and my girlfriend is 455 lbs, plus our luggage makes 500. Add in the times when I had to go all the way down to first gear to get up some steep hills in San Diego, and maybe it makes sense, but it's still off of what I would expect to get.
    Now, I know 36 mpg is very good mileage compared to most cars, but I was really hoping to get at least 42-45. I'm thinking about getting a K&N air filter, but I'm having a hard time finding one for a Metro. Anybody out there have any other suggestions to improve the feul economy?
  • inuvikinuvik Posts: 131
    Advance the timing 5 degrees
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    Good suggestion...now how do I do that?
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    you guys are lucky...my '95 is an automatic (97K and still kicking and for sale for $2800 to buy another) and I get 29mpg in town with the air on and the best I ever got in winter (air off) from Columbsu to Indianapolis was 35.5mpg. I drive slow...maybe 55-60 even in 65 zones...this automatic SCREAMS at highway speeds.

    I don't think you can mess with timing without removing and improperly reinstalling the timing belt. Personally a freer flowing exhaust and a better intake would help...

    Speaking of...there is NO K&N filter to fit the "ribbed Frisbee" type air cleaner. Now that is for the 4-cylinder '95. I haven't looked for a 3-cylinder air cleaner but I will if I get the '99 that I want (base with AC, cassette, tach, 5-speed, silver, there are 44 available exactly like that across the country in that color and 4 are at Blossom in Indianapolis)
  • zca3zca3 Posts: 2
    here's my 2 cents worth...

    about a year ago i was looking for a cheap reliable car for my 130-mile round trip drive to work, I went to a Chevy dealer with a small pickup in mind but as i wandered the lot i noticed the metros. I test drove a 5 speed and liked it right away, because it was easy to handle, easy to park, wouldn't get stolen, gets good mileage, and i like sticks,but my wife was worried that it was too small and unsafe. I found a new 96 leftover (in June 98!!) that hadn't sold yet. no air, no nothing (it has a radio). The dealer told me to make an offer, I offered 1500 below sticker and he gave it to me off the bat, plus 2 rebates (college grad and manufacturers)! (maybe i could have done better...)
    so i got a new car for 7000

    the very next day, we were in the metro coming home from the store and some kid in a jeep runs a stop sign---smack! no one was hurt, thank god, and the damage was minimal (new bumper and bumper cover, courtesy of this jerk's mommy)

    about three months later, i was on my way home from work on 287 (N.J.) and again, some kid in a jeep cherokee (ON A CELL PHONE!!!!!!) smacks into me at about 35. again no one was hurt and all my car needed was, guess, a bumper and bumper cover (courtesy of his insurance), but his front end was bashed in and all the lights and the grille were broken.

    i've got the car for sale because i do feel i need something safer and bigger (anyone in NJ driving 130 miles on the parkway and 287 everyday would agree) but with ads in the papers and on the web i haven't had one call yet....i guess i'm keeping the car.

    btw, saturn offered me in trade 3500 LESS than what i owe the bank

    be careful out there........
  • inuvikinuvik Posts: 131
    Alex Travanti:
    To advance the timing you will need a timing light. Any old run of the mill timing light will do. Hook the timing light up, one lead goes to positive 12v power source (battery), one lead goes to ground (battery) and the third lead that looks like a large clip goes over cylinder #1 plug wire. No #1 cylinder is the one closest to the pulleys on the engine. Do not unplug the plug wire from the engine. Just clip this big lead around the plug wire.
    Find your distributor on the engine. You will see on bolt along the side the distributor cap, I believe it is a 12mm. With the engine cool loosen that bolt, do not remove it!!. Re-tighten it barely more than hand tight. Start your engine and let it warm up. Once it has reached normal temp turn off all accessories (fan, headlights, a/c) and continue to let idle.
    With the engine running point the timing gun at the bottom pulley and squeeze the trigger. The timing light will begin to flash in conjunction with the spark going to the #1 cylinder.
    A mark will be visible on this pulley while the gun is strobing. Loosen the distributor bolt again so that you are able to twist the distributor with a small amount of force. The distributor should not be floppy loose. It should be loose enough that in order to twist it there is a small amount of resistance to overcome.
    With the engine still running squeeze the strob light trigger and point it at the bottom pulley. A mark will appear on the the pulley everytime the timing light strobes. You will also see a metal tag or some other indicator that usually has a range of numbers. Usually from 0-15 with graduated marks in between. Whatever number the mark on the pulley matches up to while the engine is running is your degree of timing advancement.
    So if the mark is aligned with 0 then your timing is Top Dead Center (TDC). If your mark is aligned with the 2 then your timing is 2 degrees Before Top Dead Center (BTDC) and so forth. If the number is aligned with a negative number -2 then your timing is After Top Dead Center (ATDC).
    While continuing to squeeze the timing light twist the distributor cap ever so slightly clockwise. You will notice that the mark will move in relation to the numbers. Keep twisting the distributor while checking the timing.
    So if you started with +2 continue until you are at +7. Or if it was 0 you should continue until you are at +5. You should notice a increase in idle speed. This is normal.
    Tighten the distributor bolt (not too tight, they really don't have to be that tight) and drive around. You should notice a increase in power and more eagerness to rev.
    If the engine is pinging (spark knock) when you accelerate or driving then you have only a couple of choices. You must either run higher octane fuel, reduce the timing advancement (smaller number), or install colder range spark plugs.
    If your engine is pinging you MUST make changes so that is does not. Spark knock will destroy a engine if it is severe enough. It will burn holes right through pistons.
    So it will require a small amount of experimentation on your part to find what timing setting is best for your engine. For example on my metro it is set at +12 degrees. But I also run 91 Octane and spark plugs that are 2 heat ranges colder than standard.
    You should find that your mileage will improve, your performance should improve. I know that this is kind of a wordy reply but it is important to do this carefully. If you find that there is no benefit or the engine just pings all of the time no matter how little you advance the timing, just set it back to your orignal setting and you're no worse for the wear. But I've never seen a engine yet that won't take +5 advancement from factory settings.
    You have to remember that they are set from the factory to run on the lowest grade fuel possible and then detuned slightly. So try it, or have a friend help with you. It won't take that long once you've done it once. Less than a minute once your figure it out.
    Hope this helps: Inuvik
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