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Chevrolet/Geo Metro

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  • I own a 94 auto 5-dr Geo Metro for over half a year. I love my metro, very reliable, good mileage, and kind of roomy inside.

    I got two questions to ask here:

    first, should I have the engine tuned up on a regular base? I had the oil changed every 3,000 miles, and it gives 37 miles /gallon in summer and 27 miles in winter. Would tuneup improve the milege?

    second,the tires for 94 models are of the smallest size on the market. A lot of garages don't have them in stock, even they put larger sizes on sale. Could I used larger tires instead?


    Thanks.
  • There are many ways to improve mileage...one of those ways is to keep your tires aired up, another is to keep off the gas, and yet another is to keep your car tuned. Tuning for a Metro doesn't go much beyond plugs and wires and maybe a cap and rotor for an older model, I think 1994 still has a distributor...

    As to the tires, your Metro has 145/SR12 tires and there is only one way to upgrade them and that is to also change the wheels. 13" wheels from 1991-1994 Metro convertibles and 1995-current all models of Metro will fit, as will most imported 13" wheels. Then you can use 155/80R13 or 175/70R13 tires. You also have to change out the speedometer gear in the transmission and this could be difficult (I think it is easy though)

    However KEEP looking! You should check Wal-Mart, they have these 12" tires and they are Douglas or Michelin and they are dirt cheap! Just keep looking...it is the easiest way to keep from messing with the speedometer.
  • OKAY--i AM GOING TO RETIRE IN THE NEXT 18MOS AND WALK TO WORK; But I am going to move to NH or VT
    in the country and except for volunteer work etc.
    I would not use the car for anything except a 3-3 hour expressway drive to see my daughter. I want a hatchback have a GM card and will get about $2,700 credit on that plus any incentives. Do I have to round up my 2 diplomas?
    Here's my problem --it will be hilly and there is
    occasional expressway riding. The people I talk with and CU say its not good or either (?)
    I'm not a car person so you guys have helped me somewhat. I spend my $ on books, CD's and charities and just want good transportation..
  • inuvikinuvik Posts: 131
    Do you positively have to buy a hatchback? Don't get me wrong, I love Metro's but there are other larger cars you might want to consider since you are not going to be driving that much.
    With that out of the way I'm assuming you do not want to shift a manual transmission. If this is the case look for a LSI with the 1.3L motor and 3 speed automatic transmission. The new Metros come with 13" tires so their stability is better than the older ones with 12" tires.
    The Metro is a very good vehicle. Properly maintained it is not a problem to get 175,000+miles out of this vehicle. The best thing that this vehicle has going for it is that it's made by Suzuki for GM. I have owned a couple of Metro's and swear by them for great mileage and reliability. I commute 122 miles round trip a day to work.
    If you buy one, don't expect it to hold it's value for longer than about 50 feet from the dealers lot. There just isn't any resale value but if you hold on to it for awhile you should get many years of good service out of it.
  • Wal-Mart has then for $17.95 per tire with 40,000 mile life.They are good tires made by Kelly Springfield.
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    Hey, I had a crazy idea.

    You know the new 1.8L 16v engines Suzuki started putting in the Esteem sedans/wagons last year? I wonder if you could fit one of those in a Metro/Swift? 122 hp would definitely propel a metro like a cork out of well-shaken champagne bottle, and if you added a turbocharger and a high-flow exhaust you could probably push 150 hp or more.
    Of course the suzuki 1.6 16v wouldn't be so bad either with 95 hp. Anybody know if it would be mechanically possible? Also, would there be any other considerations or problems such as too muc added weight in the front?
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    P.S. - the Chevy prizm has the same 1.8L suzuki engine, and would probably be cheaper and easier to get a hold of.
  • The Chevy Prizm's engine is from a Toyota. The Toyota Corolla and Chevy Prizm are built in the NUMMI plant in California. They share the same 1.8L engine and it would not bolt up to your transmission.

    I am also sure the 1.6L and 1.8L and V6 engines in the Sidekick/Vitara range won't fit either because they are rear wheel drive.

    But the 1.6L/1.8L engines in the Esteem might work. If I get a spare $3000 anytime soon I will grab a salvage titled 1995-1997 Metro and the engine/transmission/axles from a wrecked Esteem and see what comes of it.

    I also have a problem with my Metro now. I was run off the road by a water truck and now my right front lower control arm is bent. Is this an easy fix? Has anyone else worked on their suspensions yet? Byers Chevy wants $380 to repair the damage, and the only parts listed on the work order were a lower control arm ($175?!!) and a set of bushings.
  • scoylescoyle Posts: 1
    Does anyone have advice as to whether to buy a 95 metro coupe hatchback, with 46k miles, a basic car with cassette and added sunroof, for $4400? My concern is the current owner has done the recommended oil changes but has NOT done any other recommended maintanance, eg changing transaxle fluid, cleaning the radiators, etc which the owners manual recommends. The mechanic at a local dealership over the phone said this was not a big deal, but I remain concerned. Also the current driver has been driving with two new front tires of a different brand than the backs.

    The other option is to spend roughly twice as much on a new Metro.

    Any advice? Thanks.
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    Hmm...you're picky.

    I take care of my Metro, but the ATF fluid is not to be changed until 100K. I hit 101K this week and I'm doing it next week. I keep up on my oil changes every 5-6K because I drive 5-6K per month.

    What your problem is is that a 1995 Metro is not worth $4400. No matter the mileage. It is a 5-year old subcompact. I wouldn't pay more than $2500 for it.

    I paid $3000 for mine last year at 63K and here I am. The cars have zilch for resale. Buying a used one is a better value than a new one, unlike a Civic hatchback, whereas a new $14K Civic is much better than a used $10K Civic...but a used $3000 Metro is a better value than an $11000 new one.

    I would continue searching for a Metro for less money or a newer one. If it were a 1997 3-cylinder without air, $3800 would be a good deal. If it were a 1997 3-cylinder with air, $4400 would be fine, but $4400 for the 1995 is too much, unless the car is in showroom new condition (clean underneath and all).

    BE wary of the sunroof. The roof is one of the few things on this car that is sturdy and cutting a hole in it does not help. If you want to do without A/C, 2 windows is enough ventilation even at 25mph. The sunroof will leak on you and you won't like that at all.
  • dave62dave62 Posts: 4
    Has anyone else had problems with the Metro
    clutch? I'm taking my '97 in tomorrow for
    a sixth clutch in as many months. The first
    one was at 30K (3K after I bought the car).
    The dealer said it probably wasn't covered by
    the warranty, so I took it to a transmission
    shop. That one lasted 3k. I took it back to
    the transmission shop. They said the problem
    was the transmission oil seal, and they should
    have caught it the first time. The dealership
    agreed to do the transmission repair, but
    the transmission shop provided the replacement
    clutch disc. It only lasted another 3k miles.
    I took it to the dealer that time. He said it
    was probably just a bad remanufactured disc,
    and put a GM clutch assembly in. The clutch
    lasted two days. The dealer did all of the
    replacement work free of charge, and said the
    clutch disc had a broken spring. I picked the
    car up last night, and tonight the clutch is
    slipping worse than it did before. FYI, they
    replaced the whole clutch assembly yesterday,
    plus turned the flywheel because it was glazed
    and had some hot-spotting. It'll be back in
    the shop in the morning, and I'm sure the
    dealership will take care of everything free of
    charge, but I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever
    be able to drive the car any further than between
    my house and the dealership. FYI, I've had
    manual transmission vehicles for 30 years, and
    have never had any problems, so I don't think
    it is my driving. Also, lest I catch grief from
    Metro loyalists (and I'd like to be one), the
    dealership service manager says that his
    experience has been that the Metros are pretty
    reliable - he almost never has one come in for
    repairs, and there are plenty of them around
    here.
  • dave62dave62 Posts: 4
    Talked to the dealer about the clutch problems this evening. The service manager said the
    problem turned out to be that the clutch cable
    was stretched. They replaced it, and will be
    replacing the clutch assembly free of charge
    (again). Hopefully that will take care of the
    problem! I'm just glad that the dealership
    service department was responsible enough to
    keep after the problem until they (hopefully)
    got it resolved. Makes you appreciate having
    a reputable outfit to deal with!
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    What model are you talking about when you say that the deepest discount on a new (99) Metro is $11,000? I've never seen one that expensive! My girlfriend got her 99 Metro (a 2-door hatchback, Non-Lsi) for $8439. And I've even seen them as low as $7700 for the same model. If you're talking about the 4-door sedan with automatic and maybe some other options, well then you're right, they are a waste of money. But the base model is by far the least expensive new car you'll find anywhere. The hatchback looks so much better than the oddball sedan anyway.
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    Sorry. I meant to put 10,100. The MSRP of the car I wanted was $11,372 (base HB, AC, tach, package 1, cassette). $1250 rebate, $600 off, plus 6.25% tax, was about 10,100.

    Also looked at a new Accent yesterday. 1999 model, 5-speed, no AC, with cassette, defroster, remote mirrors, and delay wipers standard. They offered the car for $8244. AC added now or later would be $1000, tax included, and they were willing to sign to that. The Metro equipped the same way, without AC, but with the same equipment the Accent had, would cost $8800-$9000. Hmm...I might defect, but I would buy a used one first anyway. I see no reason to spend $9000 on a new car when I can get the same car three or four years old for $2500-$3500.
  • bozofbozof Posts: 3
    i am planning on purchasing a 99 LSI coupe metro. i was quoted $11.5k driveout. it comes equiped with auto, air, ps, pb, rear windshield wiper, intermittent wipers, am/fm stereo cassette. am i paying too much? how much discount should i ask for off the msrp. i too would be getting the $1250 rebate.
  • bozofbozof Posts: 3
    Can anyone tell me what they paid for an LSI Coupe with automatic transmission, air, etc. (see posting #77)? I was wondering how much off of the MSRP (percentage wise) I can asked for (or expect). The dealer told me there is very little [profit] built-in to the Metro. Is this true or is this sales talk?
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    The Metro base coupe has only $522 of profit built in, plus the rebate, which was actually $1250 last I checked. The LSi model has $666 of profit, but each one of those options adds a tiny piece of profit.

    Personal question...why would you buy a new Metro with automatic transmission? They still get 30-34mpg but why not go with the stick? And remember every rental outlet in the country has Metros with automatics. You can add a warranty to a used Metro. Penn warranties can cover you through 125,000 miles if you buy them by 95,000 miles. And that 30K of coverage costs you $360. They really do a nice job. So you could buy, say, a 1998 Chevy Metro LSi hatchback for about $7000, add a 45K warranty for $540, and be done with it. That way you save $5000 over new, and get better warranty coverage. The only thing you can't get with a 1998 that you get with a 1999 is the color silver. Seriously. And no one knows the better!

    But as to the invoice versus retail thing...retail on a Metro LSi coupe, AT AC, defogger, wiper, mats, and cassette, is $12,425. Invoice is $11,510. The automatic transmission option is $595 retail, $530 invoice. If he is offering you the car for $11,500 out the door inlcuding tax and title and everything, then he still has $300-$400 to work with. Figure $10,260 is his cost after the rebate, add $200 profit and then add tax and title and you are at a fair price. The 1999 Metros are too plentiful and he doesn't want it on his lot any longer. If you want other colors, ask him to do a dealer search in three to five adjacent states to you. If you want a silver base coupe, 5-speed, with air, cassette, defogger, and tach, Blossom Chevrolet in Indianapolis has five. The list on that car is $11,372 and the sale price is $9623, after rebate and $499 discount. Or check the classifieds. A 1998 Metro sells for around $6000-$8000 depending on model. You could save yourself a big chunk of change finding a low mileage '98 or older. My 1995 Metro has 102K, drives fine, has auto and air (it was cheap so I didn't bother searching for a stick), and I only need $2500 to pay it off. It needs nothing. You want it?
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    what screwball dealer is telling you that you are getting power steering? You can only order power steering on the sedan.
  • bozofbozof Posts: 3
    the dealer was mistaken about the power steering. you are right. it is only on the sedan. i needed an automatic because other members in the family only drive automatic and don't want to learn how to drive a stick. i know i'd lose good mileage getting an automatic, but it is still better than most other vehicles. the main options i'm looking for is auto, a/c, and rear defogger. the color i prefer is black, silver, or white. the dealer did do a search within a 200 mile radius and only came up with one that had those requirements. it had bee on a lot for about 140 days. but, was just sold this weekend.
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    It would probably be in your best interests then if you want the automatic, to purchase a used one and then purchase a warranty. You can buy 3 year unlimited mileage warranties from Penn Warranty Corporation. Most used car dealers deal with them, as do many new car dealers' used car lots. If the dealer will not do better than 11-something, then a used one will be much cheaper to operate, your payment will be lower, and if you get a 1998 or 1999, you still look like new. A 1999 Metro 2-door, air, automatic, cassette, defroster, should run you about $8K plus tax. Go with a sedan, maybe $9K. Go with the 1998 model and save $1500-$2000. A quick scan of Classifieds2000 shows a 1999 hatchback for sale in New Hampshire, 5-speed, 3-cylinder, for $4500 (I have emailed him...I might buy that car). Also here in Columbus a 1998 sedan, automatic, 34K, for $5000. I know that car and it is very beat up but the lady owes $9K on it and she couldn't sell it if she wanted to. But there are several 1998-1999 Metros, various transmissions and colors, at dealers, in Classifieds2000 for $5500 to $9500.
  • pat56pat56 Posts: 11
    Greets...

    "Metro Gnome" guy here again. Working for GM in repurchase gives me some definite advantages. :-)

    GOOD NEWS: The GM recovery people were down here a couple days ago. Since they've been doing recovery on repurchased GM vehicles (years), they've done over 2,700 vehicles...and...out of 2,700, only ONE was a Metro!!! AWESOME record for our little pregnant rollerskates.

    WHAT NOT TO BUY ON A METRO:

    Automatic Transmission (unless you absolutely need it) - The car is too sluggish without the manual transmission

    RADIO (OF ANY KIND) - GM Charges over $100 for "radio provision installation" which is four cheap speakers and an antenna. Then they charge over $600 for a radio/cassette - For a couple hundred, you can buy a good aftermarket setup and have it professionally installed.

    *****UPDATE*****

    I've been speaking with other Metro owners I meet in shopping centers and parking lots. EVERY SINGLE ONE I have spoken to (20-25, so far) loves their vehicle and reports no problems with it. One guy has an '89(?) convertible with beaucoup miles and refuses to give it up. He says the only way he'll part with it is if Chevy starts making convertibles again. :-) He says his only repair has been a starter, a few years ago.

    Yes, I'm a Metro fan...more and more, the more I find out about them. If anyone has spare time, do a Yahoo! search for +Ford +Aspire, and check out the one couple's web page about Aspire problems. Everything the Metro is good, the Aspire is bad. Ford is coming out with a new sub-compact this year, but it's substantially bigger than the Metro and the milage sucks weeds comparatively.

    If you have any good (or bad) Metro stories, feel free to drop a note to pat56@freenet.tlh.fl.us. And, if you're driving in or near Tampa, Florida, and see a Metallic Green '99 LSi Coupe with white pinstripes and "Merry Meet..." and "Blessed Be" bumper stickers, give a shout and a wave.
  • Hey, I figured the way to go was how I did it. I HAD a Sony CD player but I sold it for cash, so I have these speakers, and an antenna, and a stereo connector, so I figured why not go to eBay and buy a stereo? Keep your eyes peeled...I got the full-electronic AM-FM cassette with 12 FM presets, electric tape inject-eject, and all that for $40 shipped to my door. All that was missing was the volume knob and I got one for free at a boneyard (they didn't want to take money for it...NEVER steal from a junkyard...most little stuff like knobs and lug nuts and fuses and light bulbs they let go for free). The stereos can even be bought at a junkyard for $50-$100. But if you want that AWESOME AM-FM-cassette AND CD stereo, be prepared to pay for it. Good luck hunting though. The GM stereo is decent, I like it because it glows green and can be dimmed with the rest of the gauges. All I wish for are those red-mica-injected Sony XPlod's to be made in 6.5" oversize so I can have them. Right now they only make 6.5", but I need that oversize to fit my doors and side panels.
  • I have a '98 Metro LSI sedan with auto, a/c, cassette in that really funky California Gold color (with matching tiger-striped seat covers!). Love the little bugger except for the ongoing brake problems I've had since around 4,000 miles. I go through rotors about every two months. The dealership has re-machined, replaced, and re-machined again. I suggested it may be a rear brake problem forcing all the stopping power onto the front brakes. They refused to touch the rear brakes unless I pay for it, stating it is considered "maintenance." Hey, I'm under the 3/36 warranty guys!!! But, I had to pay for the "service" which included re-machining the front rotors yet again. Problem was gone for about two months. Now, after four attempts at resolving this, the rotors are shot again and the little car shudders like Barney Fife in cemetary. The problem is most evident when stopping from higher speeds (over 50). I am now in the process of Lemon Lawing the car... I just don't feel safe anymore and no one (I've tried two different Chevy dealers) seems able to remedy the underlying cause. Has anyone else had brake problems with their Metros? If so, what caused this and how was it fixed? I'm not going to be paying for brake repairs every couple of months, that's for sure. And the recommendations are right... buy used! I bought mine new and the depreciation is killer! Can't even trade it in I'm so buried in it. I was thinking of possibly exchanging it for a new one via Lem. Law, but wonder if it's a design flaw or what?
  • Your brake problem may be caused by a number of things. At 85,280 miles I took my '95 in for brakes and it needed only machining the rotors and new pads. When you first took it in, did they replace the pads as well? If they did, and used cheap pads, then those are the cause of your problem. Cheap pads do not dissipate heat as well as factory pads. The built-up heat allows your rotors to warp more often. Poor tire balance can also cause vibrations leading to warpage. It is also possible they have either improperly machined the rotors or machined them too thin. This also causes additional warpage. Tell them to install new AC rotors and new AC pads. They will balk, saying that is not inclusive, however if the dealer worked on the car, they are responsible for the problems. They don't want to work on the rears, but to properly repair the front brakes, they MUST clean and adjust the rears and adjust the parking brake cable, otherwise, the fronts WILL take all the braking effort. Another consideration is maybe they did not clean off the caliper sliders when they reassembled the front brakes. A sticking caliper can cause excessive warpage and lining wear. At 94K I took my car back in with complaints of warpage and they told me I needed rear brakes, although the pads were well within spec and the drums were fine. They wanted more money. The point is, they want you to buy a 4-wheel brake job for $200-$500 and spend all your money on that, and then when (if) you ahve problems later, it mightbe long enough form now that you get out of warranty. Tell them you will leave the car there until they measure every brake part and make sure they are within specs. It does not cost you or them money to do an inspection of all 4 wheels. If in doubt, go to another Chevy dealer and tell them of your problem. Do not tell them what other dealer you took it to, just pretend you are just starting to have the problem. Watch them work. They will tell you you cannot go into the shop, tell them you will not authorize any repairs that go unsupervised. Then check what you saw versus what they state on the repair order.
  • You are certainly eligible, however the dealer may elect to continue repairing the car. The arbitrator may require you to take it to another Chevy dealer, thus, you should do that now and see if that fixes it. The point is, though, that the place you took it to did inferior work to the car. That or you seriously need to learn how to brake, but I figure at 4,000 miles that something else is wrong. It is quite possible you have a seized caliper or poorly adjusted rears. Anyway, keep us posted on how things go.
  • Thank you for your suggestions. I've already been to two Chevy dealers with this problem. Neither have replaced the front brake pads. Both have machined the rotors and replaced the rotors once with OEM rotors. GM had 10 days to make a final repair attempt from the time they were notified (I have the return receipt) and waived the attempt! So now it is in the hands of the arbitration board. You're right, THEY may order another repair attempt by a neutral mechanic, but what I'm afraid of is they will just replace the rotors so the brakes work fine for now, then a few months later... here we go again. They seem to fixate on eleviating the symptoms without determining the cause. I need the car for work and have had one helluva time leaving it all day for repairs (that is why I hadn't had the car in more often). I told the arbitrator I just don't feel safe in the car anymore, which I don't. The problem could be one of many things, but I don't feel confident anymore that the root of the problem will be resolved. Everyone's in for a quick (temporary) fix to the point where the time limit for the Lemon Law will be over and I'll be stuck. That's what has me worried.
  • Monroe. They have been the most honest of the brake/shock/muffler chains (at least to me they have) and more than once have determined the correct causes of my woes. My parents have GM cars, a Bonneville and a Century, and Monroe is able to determine their trouble easily. Once time Mom's Century died...she lost power steering, brakes, charging, everything, but the GM dealer said the belt tensioner was broken and required replacement. Turns out, three tensioners later, that it was NOT the problem. Monroe guy found a pulley out of line putting stress on the belt and the tensioner. $45 later she was back on the road, and a few weeks later she got her $460 back from the Buick dealer.

    See if they will measure everything (rotor runout, warpage, check tire balance, check calipers for free operation...).

    And I forgot one other major thing...have them see if one of the brake hose lines is kinked...that would cause the brakes to stay on a little all the time because all the fluid does not return the the master cylinder. Then the caliper acts like it is sticking when it is in fact fine.

    Things to Check



    • rotors for thickness and runout
    • calipers for free operation
    • brake lines for damage
    • rear brakes to make sure they are doing their job

    and this is a test to see if HTML works on here so if it looks funky I am sorry...

  • html works...I just need to clean it up...

    one more thing that could cause your brakes to stick is an improperly adjusted brake pedal. If when the pedal is released, the brakes are still touching, that causes excessive heat to build up and there is your cause of your warpage.
    occupant1
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Great info, occupant1! Thanks for being so helpful.

    carlady/host
  • I have some bad news to tell...some kid decided to pull out in front of me today and I managed to hit him in my Metro. Luckily for me (and for him) I was still driveable, but the trooper insisted that no matter what the circumstances, if I rear-ended him, it is my fault. The kid started feeling really bad, but now we are both stuck. He doesn't have insurance anyway so he will lose his license, and the trooper issued me an ACDA ticket. So I will have to go to court and call the kid as a witness so he can admit his guilt in court so I can have my ticket dismissed. I almost feel sorry for him, but as long as the driving schools keep turning out kids who don't stop before they leave a parking lot, well, what can I say?

    I need a right headlight composite capsule, a hood, a hood latch, and I need to straighten my radiator support. Chevy estimated the damage at $4700-plus. I thought that to be ridiculous, then I saw the parts prices. Need a headlight? $297! Need a hood? $462! Need a bumper cover? $328! Need an electric fan? $260! Need an A/C condenser? $657! Crazy! I picked out what I needed and discovered to get the car safe again (get the hood to shut securely and change the one headlight) the new parts would cost me $1050 alone. Time to look for an undamaged 1995-1999 Metro in a yard. I have located the hood latch ($15) so far, but the headlight used is $65 (if I can find one) and the hood (if I can find a red one) will be $150. Seems the yards know the ridiculous new prices and take advantage. No fair. But I can get away with a $250 repair if I can get that support straightened with a chain and a tree and find those two parts.
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