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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm



  • keithchkeithch Posts: 4
    I read through Prizm 2000 owner guide.
    I did not see any suggestion to change timing belt at 60,000 miles interval.
    Do I need to replace the timing place at all ?
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    I own a 99 Corolla (same thing as a prizm). I seem to remember the engine uses a timing chain, not a timing belt.

    Also, unlike most Honda and Nissan engines, all toyota engine except the now discountinued Tercel, uses a "free running" engine design. So even if the timing chain/belt breaks, there wouldn't be any engine damage. Timing chain easily last 120,000 without the need for changing. So rest easy, you have nothing to worry about. :)
  • flamanarflamanar Posts: 11
    OK. So I came up with several more gripes about my '99 Prizm. LACK OF ACCESSORIES!! I find it hard to believe that Chevy doesn't carry hardly any accessories for my car! I used to work for Saturn and they had lots of stuff you could attach to your car. I checked with a local Chevy parts dept. yesterday and found out that:
    A) No cargo net is available for the trunk
    B) My fears about the center armrest (I have the base Prizm) were correct. They don't have a "drop-in" have to buy the entire assembly (which is standard in the "LSI" model) from the shifter area to the rear cupholder... about $150.
    C) The day that I picked up my car (the day it was was used) I noticed that the paint job was damaged. The dealer tried to hide it by parking it in the rain for me to pick up and take home. Fortunately, the rain made the problem look worse and I pointed it out to my salesperson who said that I'd have to bring it back in and they'd take care of it. I didn't find out until last week (when it finally stopped raining for few days) when I ran it through the car wash how bad the damage was. What happened is this...sorry for the long post, BTW...the front and rear bumper had some dings and chips that I had requested be fixed. What they did was had somebody come in and repaint the bumpers (a very shoddy job since they painted over some sand and dirt and now there's raised 'pits' in the paint in those areas). They only masked a small portion of the front and rear of the car. They painted in the wind, which carried the paint to most of the car...which wasn't covered (windows, mirrors, even wheel covers got hit). It left an extremely dull finish on most of the car. After weeks of going back and forth with the salesman, after hearing him repeatedly deny that it was the dealers' fault and that it was a used car that was probably painted by someone else (and after me thinking to myself how much of a moron this guy is turning out to be), I finally talked to a manager yesterday who said it was obviously a bad job on their part and they'd make it right. I had it to a body shop (because after having a detail shop look at it, they said they couldn't help me), who gave me a quote of $350. They would use laqeur thinner and rebuf the car to remove the stray green paint. The dealer is going to 'cut and gloss' the car (basically, compound and rebuf the car). Don't know if that'll work, but I'm getting very tired of having to deal with Chevy dealerships already!
    Enough gripes for now. I anticipate there'll be more...
  • squeak6squeak6 Posts: 28
    ....I have a 98 Prizm... for the most part its a
    very good car ( no problems yet) I have 61,000
    miles on it... yes 61,000 miles.... I drove most onthe highway..... I put new tires on them..... theoriginals did not last long.... I have the 185/65R
    instead of the 175's...... my only concern is my
    MPG I get about 33 MPG... even when I'm on the
    highway I get 33 MPG.... I drive about 75/78 MPH on
    the highway...... on a full tank I can get about
    330 miles...... ( is this ok ? ) (how can I get
    better gas mileage?).... the AC is fine no
    problems.... I need a new paint job on the front...
    the bugs and rocks from my many trips have taken
    there toll on the front..... I put a new CD in the
    car the factory AM/FM had to go..... I get the oil
    changed every 3,000 and I've had 2 tune-ups..... is
    there anything else I can do to keep the car in
    good shape.....? any additional comments to help
    with my car will be greatly appreciated....
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    Turning the A/C on, will drain about 3 mpg off the gas milage. Keep the tire inflated at the right pressure (measure pressure when the tires are cold). 3000 miles per oil change is great! You might try synthetic, heard that will increase the gas milage, as well as don't need to be changed until 6000 miles.

    Since your paint is taking beating from all that highspeed trips, maybe you should invest in a nose bra. It's a small investment compared to a new paint job. :) Good luck.
  • tutu1tutu1 Posts: 1
    Hello, I'll looking for information on the 1997 Geo Prizm. I currently own a 1990 Geo Prizm and I love. But it's getting old and kind of junky looking. So, I'm looking at buying a 1997 Geo Prizm and was wondering if the 1997 has any of the quirks my 1990 has. Such as: Problems with the window assembly being very weak. I roll the window down a little and it falls down the rest of the way at the first bump in the road. And when it is wet outside it likes to spit and sputter. other than that my car is very dependable and I'm afraid of getting worse problems. But so far of what I have read here about the Prizm in general they don't seem to have many problems. Sorry for the long note.
    Thanks for any info. tutu1
  • cpzhangcpzhang Posts: 16
    I am graduating from college and looking for a compact car now. It seems Prizm is even pricier than a Corolla. From, a Corilla LE is about $13.9k while a Prizm LSi is about $14.3k. I do not see any price advantage in buying a Prizm, plus the depreciation of Prizm is significantly worse than Corolla. The only advantage for Prizm is that I can use the GM Card earning and the recently college graduate rebate. But I read a lot of posts on this forum that are saying Prizm is about $1k cheaper than a comparable Corolla. So I want to know how much you are paying for the Prizm. Thx.
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    maybe carsdirect forgot to include any rebate that the Prizm is having.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    a) Chevy dealers will wheel and deal more than Toyota dealers

    b) using your GM Card rebate will save you extra

    c) Prizms sometimes have better factory incentives than Corollas. See Edmunds rebates and incentives page.

    d) Chevy dealers are more desperate to sell cars, especially Prizms. They don't want them on their lot as long as they seem to have them.
  • luvmyprizmluvmyprizm Posts: 1
    I have a 1990 Geo Prizm (manual) with almost 210,000 miles, which I love. I have never owned a car as reliable and problem-free as this one, with the lagniappe of being fun to drive. It has no problems and still gets 30+ MPG, but I am beginning to be concerned about its age and mileage. So I am considering getting a 1999 or 2000 model. However, did the change to "Chevy Prizm" change the reliability at all? Or should I stick with my current car for another 200,000 miles? (BTW, we have never had the timing chain replaced) Any comments?
  • tmckay2tmckay2 Posts: 4
    cpzhang, (sorry for the length ahead of time :)

    I'll affirm what some others said already, that Toyota almost never has factory backed incentives on cars that are selling well or are not new models. GM, on the other hand, has several big sales events a year and more often than not GMAC is offering financing or rebate deals across the whole product line.

    I just a bought a Prizm a month ago, and I paid $14500 AFTER the rebate. It's a base with ABS, side air bags, cruise, CD player, and the temp/tach cluster. To get a Corolla with side air bags I'd have to buy an LE (according to Toyota) and with comparable equipment, plus 3% over invoice, it would be about $15200.

    True, the LE would have power mirrors and power windows; maybe that's worth the $700 to you.

    The reason I went with Prizm over Toyota was availability. Toyota sells millions of Corollas; ironically that makes it harder to get what you want. They treat them as commodities, and expect you to buy off the lot. If you don't buy, plenty of others will so they don't particularly care. I was told that to get the Corolla I wanted, I would have to wait 4 months!

    Assuming you order something weird, you'll also probably get a worse deal since they know they've got a tough-to-find option set. Supply and demand works against you sometimes if you do a factory order.

    Prizm, on the other hand, seemed much easier to find.

    A word about depreciation. I drive cars forever. You have to ask yourself, how long are you going to keep the car? If you're like me, depreciation is not an issue because by the time you give it up, it doesn't matter WHAT it is, you'll only get $1000-$1500 for it :)

    You might want to give the dealer a shot yourself. I walked in, told him what I wanted, and asked him if he would give it to me for invoice plus $300. He said sure, and that was that. If you don't get an answer you like, just walk.


  • eeqleeql Posts: 2
    I have a question about fuel. My friend has a Geo Prizm Lsi 93, she told me that she needs the premimum for the car. Something about the 8th digit of the VIN is 8, so according to manual, her car is with 1.8L engine. she needs premimum fuel. Is that right? I am curious, for I rarely heard that some car need above 91. And I think that Geo is with 1.6L engine.
    If so, that cost more money on fuel, right?
  • minnbillminnbill Posts: 28
    I just traded in my '93 Geo Prizm on a Chevy Venture minivan (for my growing family). In the owners manual for that year, I remember reading that the 1.8 L engine should use premium unleaded for best performance. I had an LSi model, too, but just had the normal 1.6 L engine. Most dependable vehicle I have owned (18 yrs of owning cars). Only problem was tranny seals replaced at about 60,000 miles. Otherwise just normal maintenance. Still ran like a top, getting 28-32 mpg. Some of the interior plastic fell off, i.e. the radio knob, air vent knob and driver's inside door handle, but all in all a great vehicle. '93 was the first year of the redesigned Prizm body, and the parts were all Toyota. Don't know if the Chevy Prizm still uses any Toyota mechanicals, but I know the newer Prizms seem smaller and look cheaper than the '93-'95 Prizms. Sorry I gave up the car, but needed more space for my brood...
  • twk2twk2 Posts: 7
    My '90 Prizm has had an a/c odor (mildewy)since new. It began this year when the temps hit 90. It may be high humidity although it hasn't rained here in a month. Any ideas?
  • denniswadedenniswade Posts: 362
    Just entered this conference, so my comments are a little late to do any good, but here goes:

    luvmyprizm: the Prizm is still a rebodied, rebadged Toyota Corolla bult at the same factory in Fremont, California as the Corolla. Same mechanicals, same manufacturing, same workers. You should never have to worry about reliability. And the new ones have VVTi (variable valve timing with intelligence), so they have a LOT more spunk -- you'll love 'em!

    eeql: The Corolla is designed to run on regular gas. Running premium will simply cost you more money at the pump, as it is not designed to take advantage of the extra octane. Remember, it's an economy car, not a sports car.
  • jtinctjtinct Posts: 1
    OK heres the deal, i can get this 92 Geo Prizm for whole sale price. It has between 70-80k miles, (not exactly sure how much), AC, automatic trans., power windows, and i think power locks. I could get this car for $2500-3000. should i go for it? I'm going to have a mechanic inspect it but if its in good shape should i get it? I need a reliable car that would last me about 4 years.
    Please Help, and if possible email me with advice at
  • denniswadedenniswade Posts: 362
    ......if that mileage is for real (your mechanic should be able to verify whether it is or not), you have a REALLY low-mileage car with a LOT of miles left in it (probably 150-200k without doing anything but change the oil and belts and adjust the valves), at a really cheap price. I'd say buy it before it disappears, unless your mechanic tells you different.
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    wholesale for that car is about $1500-1800, not $2500-$3000. You're paying a normal price. If you get the car for less than $2500, it's good. A 1992 Prizm is a good car. I wouldn't pay that much for one, but that's me, I would look for one with more miles that was more beat up that I could get for $1000-$1500.
  • denniswadedenniswade Posts: 362
    Who wants to drive a beat-up car? Hell, if all you want is transportation, buy an old Crown Vic -- you'll pay the same price and you can drive the thing on 6 cylinders if you have to!
  • swl56swl56 Posts: 1
    Bought my Prizm about a year ago and can not imagine being happier. Have not had any problems with it, it gets excellent gas mileage, and is fine transportation for our family of four. Traded in an '86 Cavalier that just wouldn't die, but had to go because I had seven years in on the GM card and needed to cash in. Got the base Prizm with AC and 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, and a few other minor options. After getting fed up dealing with salesmen, I faxed a description of the car I wanted to buy to a dozen GM dealerships I hadn't dealt with. So they dealt with me on paper (e-mail) giving me their best price, no haggling. In the end, between trade-in, $1500 factory rebate, dealer incentive, and $4500 in GM card rebate, I stole this car for around $8500, and with the fuel economy I'm getting, I'm smiling all the way to the bank.

    Like I said, I can't imagine being happier...
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