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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm



  • Staci1- I realize that your message was posted Last Dec'05...but here it is June'06 and I came across this message board...seeing that you had something similar to what my daughter is experiencing right now.
    She has a '93 Geo Prism and about a week ago, for no reason, when she got into her car to start it...the key would not budge. Unlike you, it is not cold I can't figure out what might cause this to happen. This car has frustrated me for years. Constantly pouring money into it. The Key seemed to move counter-clockwise but will NOT budge when trying to turn it on. It is a 5 speed and we tried putting it into anything but 1st gear to see if the key would then move, but it didn't. She has been stuck at gas stations for over 30 minutes trying to get the key turn (to move). This morning, I sprayed some lubricant into the ignition hole to see if that would help. I WAS able to get it to turn....BUT you still have to fight with it a bit...before it turns. This has never happened SINCE I saw your message about your key not budging....I thought I would ask "Did you EVER find out what was the cause of it?". I am a frustrated mom that doesn't and can't afford to pour more money into this thing. If anyone can help or give me ideas, I would really appreciate it.

    ~Thank you~
  • footpoundsfootpounds Posts: 22
    Just bought a '96 Prizm with no owner's manual. My old '92 Corolla held 3.5 quarts of oil. Does the Prizm hold the same amount? Thanks!
  • I have a 92 Geo that is shooting antifreeze on to the fire wall intermittently and causing the car to smoke from under the hood. It does not do it all the time. Also it will overheat in the real hot weather but again not all the time. So far as long as I keep the antifreeze up it does not overheat. I would like to repair the problem myself if I can but I can't see where the leak is coming from as it is intermittent and I only caught the car doing it once by chance any ideas would be great Thanks.
  • prizmdanprizmdan Posts: 2
    I also have a '90 Geo Prizm, my starter seemed to stick once in a while but would always start, my wife started driving it so I had the starter replaced, now it clicks after it's warm and won't start for a while. If you drive somewhere, run in the store, caome out 15 minutes to about 1/2 hour later it won't start. I have replaced the battery, alternator and starter and it's just unreliable, you never know where you'll be stuck because it will go a few days or weeks withiyt happening. Did you ever get yours figured out ? I need guidance on this mystery, PLEASE !!!!! :mad:
  • rene01rene01 Posts: 12
    If you are seeing brown foam in your radiator, it more than likely is a head gasket, & in that case a lot of times you won't be able to see exactly where it's leaking from. Change the head gasket. That should take care of your acceleration problem as well. Geo's have a tendency to "hide" that problem in the oil. You won't see any water/brown foam in the oil, but you'll see it in the radiator & sometimes vise versa.
  • rene01rene01 Posts: 12
    Ok, here's a little update:
    Thanks first of all for the help with the belts. I still have this tempermental no starting problem. Now it just does it whenever it feels like it. We have had the starter changed at least 3 times now. I have been inclined to think it has something to do with the secondary ignition switch. However... it has begun this new episode where when you stop, put it in park, the key won't turn to the off position. It gets stuck there until it decides it's going to turn loose & finally go off. The engine has stopped, the key won't budge. I don't know if the 2 are in some way connected. Is there some kind of linkage sensor that tells the key it's alright to be turned off or something?
    It's so very frustrating. Any of the mechanics I have talked to all seem to say it's the starter solenoid... but honestly can starters go bad THAT quickly, & that often? These starters were bought from Napa, so replacing them so often didn't cost me an arm & a leg, but still. The fuses have been checked, the battery has been replaced as often as the starter, wires have been checked. I am at my wits end.
    Does anyone have any ideas as to what this problem is? It's like a crap shoot only... I don't have that kind of money to blow having it tested for this & for that. There isn't any way to predict it except if it's driven over 20 miles or the radiator fan comes on.. you can expect to be sitting for 3-6 hours at best before it will start again.
    Please Help! :cry:
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    Ignition lock cylinder (where you put the key in & turn) itself might be bad.

    If the starter turns but not fast enough to start the engine, check the battery cables. You have to have a very good connection to allow a massive current to flow to the starter.

    Good luck
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    Did you check/replace the battery cables?
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    Sounds like a bad lock or key. I'd start with a new key. If you have a spare, try that. If not, dealer or a locksmith should be able to make a new key without copying the old one, which might be bad.
    If it's not the key, it has to be the lock itself or the steering locking mechanism. I'd guess the lock is the problem.
    Good Luck,
  • maxtempomaxtempo Posts: 2
    crw7-What ever happened to the check engine light on your 02
    Prizm. I have a 98 with the same problem. Thanks for any help.
  • I have a 92 geo prizm Gsi 1.6 Ltr, with an "automatic transaxle" Can someone tell me : What Part Number or Model: "..." it is.
  • kiaunakiauna Posts: 1
    I am a student who just purchased a 92 Geo for 650.00. I thought I was getting a good deal but the car needs work ex: alignment, exhaust or gasket leak, CV joint, rear tires, scratch on windshield, wiperblades... I just want to know is the car worth me putting in that much work or should I just resell it for 800.00 and buy another one.
  • dwellsdwells Posts: 2
  • jakeb377jakeb377 Posts: 1
    I have a 1991 Geo Prizm GSI which has a 1992 LSI motor in it. It died when turning a corning and won't start. When it cranks over I hear a loud rattling noise. Like a marble in a tin can. Does anyone have any suggestions on what could be wrong with it?


  • prizmdanprizmdan Posts: 2
    I have not got really in to the cable thing but I will take your advice and change them out, I did it a little visual check but not a great check.

    Thank you !
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    I'm not sure about the car's mileage or the overall condition so this is a general comment.

    Try to find a clean, 100% functioning car with a bundle of repair receipts. Owners who are obsessive about keeping their cars in a perfect shape all the time are the ones you should look for. Meticulous record keeping tells you what the car had gone through, and it also speaks of the level of awareness the owner has on the proper maintenance of the car.

    I normally stay away from cars that are in need of new parts to be roadworthy.

    Now for the specifics: Exhaust leak may be a cracked exhaust manifold, rusted catalytic converter, and/or the muffler. It is quite possible that more than one, or all, of the above need replacement. If so, it could easily run $400 or more.

    CV joints.. probably a few hundred bucks but not sure. Tires--spend at least $60/tire. It's a safety issue. Bold tires indicate negligence. You may need brake service as well.

    Wiper blades are only $10 or so, but again bad wiper blades say something about the level of care the car received from its owner.

    Unless you know exactly how much it will cost to put the car back on the road (or you can do the work yourself), I would not recommend you to put money into this car.

    Good luck,
  • footpoundsfootpounds Posts: 22
    Go here and register to get an online copy of your owner's manual:
    That's exactly what I did to get a copy of a '96 manual.
    P.S. See that "CAPS LOCK" button on your keyboard? Press it one time!
  • seanorseanor Posts: 1
    my friend had the same problem with his 94 prizm. The poor car has nickle and dimed him to death. He finally decided to just install a push button start. The only problem with that is you have to make sure that the steering wheel doesn't lock itself. so once he got the key turned he left it that way and installed the push button. Now he can start the car with the button but make sure you have an extra key made so you can lock the doors. since you have to leave the one in the ignition in the on postion to keep the steering wheel from locking. I hope this helps. sounds like al;ot of work but these carrs ignitions suck.
  • 95 percent of the time a check engine light comes on, it's because of an oxygen sensor. However, if your mass air flow sensor gets dirty, in addition to decreased gas mileage, eventually the check engine light will come on. the sensor can't tell how much air is flowing to the engine and the dirtier it gets the more gas the car will consume. clean the metal wires in the sensor and this should alleviate the problem. let me know if this works. it did for me.
  • dwellsdwells Posts: 2
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