Chevrolet Prizm Maintenance and Repair

ccastleberryccastleberry Member Posts: 1
Good Day Everyone,

I am having a little trouble with my Prizm. On my driver side window the window will roll down all the way just fine, but when I try and roll it back up you can only get it to go up a little bit at a time. I have to press the button, wait, and press it again but only to move it a couple inches each time.

My question, I wanted to know if you guys/gals think its just the motor, regulator, or something else I am not aware of.



  • jenhoeftjenhoeft Member Posts: 1
    For anyone who has a Prizm, take my advice and trade it in for a Saturn SL2 as I did. I bought my 1997 Prizm new, and after 2 years I began having suspension problems (squeaking/creaking sounds in the front of the car). I took it to the dealership five different times, and they replaced the bushings, ball joint & lower lever control arm. After replacing all these parts, the problem was not even phased. The dealer even told me there was nothing more they could do.(It's pretty bad when the dealer can't even fix your car). Also, I had to replace the tires due to the car vibrating at 55 mph, and spent $400 on new Michelin 70,000 mile tires. The car did not meet my expectations, and like many of you, I feel I did not get what I paid for. In October 1999 I traded it in for a 2000 Saturn SL2, and I love it. No road noise, independent suspension, and it just handles the road so much better. Heed my advice and pay a little more for a better car.
  • gmgremlinsgmgremlins Member Posts: 3
    i have had my 99 prizm for a year now. its and lsi with the 4sp auto . have had it to dealer 5 times for shifting problems. will not shift into
    overdrive properly and slips constantly. dealer claims that this is normal. LOL , gm has contacted me and says nothing they can do for the car. i asked how many other prizms have they drove to form this opinion. what do you know all 3 persons from the dealership have not driven one. so therefore i am amazed how they formed this opinion. its a shame the car is fun to drive and its zippy. i have owned toyotas in the pat and was lured in by the lower price i got at the local chevy dealer.I now recall what my father told me as a boy. you get what you pay for.point blank, its a great little car but when the chevy dealer only has techs who have no experience working on asian cars and how to properly diagnose and repair them this is what you get. plus gm with there " we are big and dont care if we piss you off attitude". the car is useless to me . i had a vibration problem when we 1st got the car . i ended up fixing this myself after 5 trips for it. well i am tired of fixing my own new car and so tommorrow myself and gm are squaring off in a bbb hearing. gm hasnt even sent a rep or tech advisor to ride in the vehicle. but yet they constantly call me and tell me that this is a normal operation of the car, and wonder why i would want to take it to to gm i say get a clue because i will never buy another car that has your emblems or parts on or in it whatsoever. all i wish was that i had my 87 toyota supra back that i traded in. now that was a car.
  • johnmar1johnmar1 Member Posts: 3
    2000 Prism with 29,000 miles. Brakes done at 26,000 miles. When hard stopping from over 40MPH there is a vibration in the front end that is felt in the steering wheel. Engine mounts are OK. There is no pulsations in the break pedal so rotors are true. Is this a common occurrence?
  • squeak6squeak6 Member Posts: 28
    I've always paid close attention to my car mileage. I was wondering does anyone have very high mileage like I do...?

    1998 5-speed, 179,991 ( as of 12 noon today )
  • lrlprizmlrlprizm Member Posts: 15
    SQUEAK: You're racking up the miles. I'm a tad behind you with my '95 prizm LSI at 152k. She's still running fine. Since May, I've bled the rear brakes (including the ABS hydrau. modulator)--no problems; it was easier than I thought. I've also replaced 4 qts of transm fluid, washed & waxed (new Prestone "total car care" is real ez to use), and ran a compression test. My results were: 220psi, 230psi, 231psi, and 233psi. Altho the #1 cylinder is a bit below the others, it's still within tolerance. Summary: Engine is still healthy! I reinstalled my platinum plugs with di-electric grease on the spark plug boots. My MPG is about 29-30 during winter, and 31-33 during the summer. Great mileage for a car over 8 yrs old. My next project is to bleed the front brakes and replace the front pads. Should be no problems (did it 3+yrs ago myself).
    JOHNMAR: Bummer to hear about your vibration problems with such a relatively young car. It's either suspension (doubtful), steering (maybe), or tires (probably). I'd rotate the tires to see if you get the same vibration. Tires are the cause of many "feel" problems with cars. Unusual for a young car to have brake/steering/suspension problems unless you really drive it hard and constantly go over killer potholes. Good luck in your diagnosis; I bet the cause is pretty basic.
  • wjf1013wjf1013 Member Posts: 1
    Did you have the vibration problem before you had your brakes serviced ? If the problem was not there before you had the brakes service it was probably something done at the shop. Check your lug nuts they might be loose or not torqued correctly. A friend of mine brought his truck in for service and they broke the stud off of the wheel when they over tightened a lug nut with a power tool. I have a 00 Prizm. Last week I had the brakes checked and they were only half worn at 58,000 miles. Most of my driving is parkway/suburban - not city.
  • prizmlsiprizmlsi Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1995 Prizm Lsi w/ 89k miles. I have noticed that I feel some vibration while at idle throughout the car. It goes away mostly when I apply the gas but it is bothersome because the car is very nice otherwise. I have replaced plugs, wires, fuel filter, and air filter. I suspect it is the motor mounts.

    Has anyone replaced these and noticed a difference afterwards?

  • dverespeydverespey Member Posts: 56
    Since you say it is at idle, I would have someone do a basic tune up check. Could be a bad plug, wire of idle setting that would be less noticible at highway speed.
  • ash2ash2 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 98 prizm with the 5 speed manual trans....Bought it 4 years ago with 40000 miles on it, no problems til this year. 60,00 miles replaced clutch. 65000 miles,replaced clutch again (warrantied so labor only). 70,000 miles it would clunk and engine or trans seemed to jump upon ignition and in reverse it made noise. Took it to mechanic, he said bad tranny mount. Talked to another mechanic who said there are no tranny mounts, just engine mounts? After a month the tranny mount came in, was installed, mechanic now says the vibration/noise that occurred only in reverse before is now worse and even does it in forward and while idling, and he suspects soem problem (not sure what yet) in either the trans or engine. Am I getting taken for a ride? I've used this mechanic for quite awhile and have no reason to distrust him. Any suggestions or ideas on what the problem might be?
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Member Posts: 1,722
    Wow! Having to replace a clutch at only 60,000 miles almost certainly means the car has been driven improperly, or abused. I am not sure what the problem you are having now, but I would be a little skeptical about this car in the long run.
  • ash2ash2 Member Posts: 3
    May have been some abnormally harder miles put on by my son (an adult college student), due to this being his first experience with a stick, but am pretty certain there has been no intentional abuse. Hoping to hear from mechanic today and will let you know the outcome......kinda bummed out, did alot of research here before deciding what to buy and was impressed with the Prizm, therefore the purchase. Be just my luck to have gotten a bad one!
  • jchallengerjchallenger Member Posts: 6
    I just bought a used 1996 Geo Prizm with 120k miles, only to have the engine light go off after only a few days. Sometimes the light is steady, and sometimes it blinks. I will also mention that there is a small amount of some light colored smoke or steam that comes from the engine, especially when you open the hood after driving a while. Also, I noticed the radiator fluid is quite dirty and grey/green colored and did my best to clean out the hard thick grey goo at the bottom of the resevoir and to change as much of the fluid as I could using a syrige to remove the old fluid. Also, I had the oil changed and was told it was a quart and a half low. Finally, the car runs fine at speeds above 15mph, but when the car idles, it shakes like crazy, especially with the AC on. The belts also screech a little bit as well when I start the car.

    Does anyone have any advice what could be causing the engine light or the hard shaking when idleing?
  • jchallengerjchallenger Member Posts: 6
    I took this car to Autozone to get the diagnostic read and was told there was a misfire in cylinder 2. This meant nothing to me, so I asked the guy what he thought. His response was that it probably needed a new spark plug? If so, could this also explain the vibrating when I have the car stopped with the brake depressed (not parked, but just stopped)? The car has been getting worse as I drive it today, with it losing power and it does feel like the car is misfiring in the engine.

  • mt700a1mt700a1 Member Posts: 53
    Drain the coolant completely from the bottom, and run a bottle of radiator flush. Fill up the radiator with new, properly mixed coolant (you can buy coolant concentrated or ready-to-use).

    Shaking at idle could be broken engine mount(s). Misfiring cylinder could be a bad plug, plug wire, or worse. Does it feel like it is skipping a beat all the time or is it intermittent? When does it feel like it is losing power? Does the temp gauge show anything unusual like never warming up or overheating?

    Oil in coolant or coolant in oil should be considered a sign of a catastrophic engine failure. It shuold be easy to tell once you change the coolant.

    This is a small 4 cyl car and I have driven one whose engine noise at idle resonated with plastic interior parts. The car ran fine once it was moving but the vibration at idle was very annoying.

    I'll check back here soon, so give me more details.
  • jchallengerjchallenger Member Posts: 6
    The mechanic replaced the spark plugs and spark plug wires and now it runs like new. It runs and idles even smoother than my other 1997 prizm.

    I replaced the radiator fluid per your instructions and will keep a watch to make sure that the oil isn't mixing with it.

    Incententally, do all Geo Prizms need new strut mounts after a certain mileage? Our 1997 prizm used to shake a little at speeds above 60mph. We had the strut mounts replaced and now it rides smooth, even up to speeds 100mph+. These little cars like to go fast! I once did 107mph and didn't even realize it for a while one night.

  • mt700a1mt700a1 Member Posts: 53
    Great to hear that it turned out to be a rather minor problem. I don't know about the mounts but struts tend to wear out after 100,000 miles or so. Shaking at high speed is often caused by unbalanced tires also. If it starts to shake again you might try that first...certainly cheaper than suspension work.

    As you perhaps know, running low on oil is one of the easiest fatal mistakes one can make. I wonder how it got to be 1.5 qt low in the first place. If the car is burning that much oil in 3000 miles, you can live with it. Just keep checking oil level EVERY TIME you fill up the car and add some as needed. A lot of older cars burn 2qts every 3000 miles. The burn rate may change at some point and you don't want to run low unexpectedly, hence the oil level check at every gas stop.

    I am guessing that you saw smoke after the oil change. Oil filter removal is tricky and if a small amount of oil dripped on the exhaust pipe it will smoke some for a while.

    Mine likes high speeds as well. In fact, it always gets 37-38 mpg at 80 mph road trips. I wish it was a little quieter at that speed, but for a $1500 car I am not complaining.
  • jchallengerjchallenger Member Posts: 6
    When we purchased the vehicle, we noticed the oil hadn't been changed in over 6,000 miles, which would explain why it was so low on oil. And yes, we did notice the smoke after the oil change.

    Thanks for all your help.

  • biggziffbiggziff Member Posts: 1
    Just had new clutch and both axles replaced on my 94 Prizm 1.6 5 speed. Had a bad vibration on right turn, clutch was slipping, etc. 142K on it now. Now that it's back, it is MUCH better, but there is still a vibration that starts about 45 MPH and seems to vary intensity (speed independant) I had the front wheels balanced and the steering wheel shake (minor) is now gone, but this vibration remains. Definately feels drivetrain related, but I can't be sure. Tried seeing if it was related to a wheel bearing by turning right/left while driving, but doesn't seem to affect it. I plan to rotate the tires tonight to see if that has any effect as well. I'm wondering if there may be an issue with one of the new axles?

    Any input would be appreciated.

  • dahipakea1313dahipakea1313 Member Posts: 1
    Hey all
    I have a 1995 5spd Geo Prizm with 125,000 miles on it and I love it. It just recently developed a clunking noise on the left front. This only happens if I take off sometimes not all the time. At first I thought it was a loose lugnut. It wasn't, then sometimes it doesn't seem to lock into reverse when backing up. I have toyota aluminum wheels on it now from a Corrola which I know the Prizm is basically the same car. Does the half shafs go on these cars or is there some thing else I should look for?? I see something about the motor mounts. Hope to get a good reply on this, stay cool, H- :confuse:
  • tonyleetonylee Member Posts: 1
    Hey all,

    I have a 95 Geo Prizm. The car runs well and have good millage (36 highway, 28 local). Recently, the car makes some noise when the engine is cold. It is kind of vibration noise and more obvious at idle. The the temerature is normal, the nosie is gone. Any idea of what's the problem?

  • uraspaz88uraspaz88 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 94 geo prizm with about 124k miles on it, recently it started to misfire, least it seems like it, so I asked a local mechanic and he said to upgrade fuel and if that doesn't work bring it back. It does it in low idle then when I accelerate, during the middle it'll kick in normal. also I was wondering if anyone else's car slides around on snow pretty bad like mine, I have really cheasy tires that came with the car, they are new but they suck lol. any suggestions? other than that the car has been fine, great milage =) and I love the stock speakers besides the lack of bass, but my aftermarket cd player works very well in it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    it's not a fuel grade problem if you are misfiring. Tell the mechanic "wrong answer".

    Common misfire issues are leaking spark plug wires, worn spark plugs, clogging injectors or water in the fuel.
  • az_r2d1az_r2d1 Member Posts: 1
    I hav ea 96 geo prizm with the 1.6 with 3 speed auto. Great little car. I was getting the shake at idle and sure enough the motor mounts were toast. I bought a new set (4) on ebay. Replaced the front, left and right mounts without any problems. It was easy actually.
    However, the rear mount I can't seem to get out for some reason. I tookt eht 3 nuts off and took out the botl that holds the mount to the bracket. The mount moves up, but it bumps against the driveshaft. I can't seem to get the mount out !! So frustating, so what do I do to get it out ?
  • bud19bud19 Member Posts: 1
    1991 Geo Prizm (105,000 miles). I had changed the timing belts, accessory drive belt, generator drive belt in summer of 2006. After I changed the belts I could hear a clicking noise at idle and decided to keep running the car. Come winter, I observed the engine was vibrating heavily at idle but was fine at higher speeds and the noise seem to be excessive at idle. When I had removed the crankshaft pulley,to change the timing belt, I had inserted 2 small steel bars in the lightning holes and passed a rod through them to hold the crank pulley from turning. This allowed me to remove the crank pulley nut. When I installed the pulley back I did the same thing.

    The car was not used for the entire winter. I recently took the car to a mechanic and he tells me the crank pulley/ damper is shot. Do you think that is a possibility? Considering the noise coming out at idle. Also is it possible I did something wrong while installing the timing belt?
  • edmjedmj Member Posts: 1
    My wife's 1994 Geo Prizm shudders at highway speeds when we accelerate or let up off the gas so that the engine starts "engine braking." In that peak moment in between, when the engine isn't engaged in accelerating or in slowing down the car, the shuddering stops, which leads me to think it's not a tire balance question. What could it be? Struts? Engine mounts? I don't particularly notice any problem at idle or low speeds. We'll take it into the shop soon, I'm just curious what you all think.
  • mankind117mankind117 Member Posts: 1
    I'm having what sounds like a similar problem with a 1997 prizm.
    Did you ever figure out what was wrong?
  • bitpohbitpoh Member Posts: 9
    Ditto. Same problem on my wife's 96 Prizm and it is driving both of us nuts, especially now that the weather is colder. Has anyone figure anything out yet? I read of some of the earlier posts in this thread, which associated vibration and idle with engine mounts. Is this the same problem here?
  • jeff89jeff89 Member Posts: 1
    has anyone out there ever changed the rear engine mount on one of these cars. i can't get the old mount won't clear the steering rack. please help.
  • nwdpuppynwdpuppy Member Posts: 2
    I found these terms on and they best describe what is happening with my car. My boyfriend already checked the spark plugs and they are all working fine. He thinks its the transmission...
    anyone have an idea whats wrong with my car based on the below descriptions?

    It has 216K on it

    Miss Pulsation or jerking that changes with engine speed. Exhaust has a steady spitting sound at idle or low speed. Not normally felt above 30 mph.
    Rough idle Engine runs unevenly at idle. Car may also shake.
    Sluggish Engine delivers limited power under load or at high speed. Won't accelerate as fast as normal. Loses speed going up hills. Vehicle has less speed than normal.
    Spongy Little or no increase in speed when accelerator is pushed down. Continuing to push pedal down will eventually give an increase in speed.
  • rshrsh Member Posts: 2
    I would like to know where the fuse is located for the fuel pump on 1992 geo prizm. any answers.
  • hruiz617hruiz617 Member Posts: 1
    i myself did replace all of the mounts on my 1995 geo prizm do to that annoying vibration noise, :mad: but it is still there :( ... not as loud as before but still there :confuse: ... anyone else experiencing the same and got to the bottom of the vibration? let me know... thanx...
  • prizmloverprizmlover Member Posts: 1
    I have owned my 95 prizm for 9 years. Bought it in '99 with 40k and it now has 148k. It has vibrated since the first day I owned it, with very little change. My exhaust guy told me it was probably engine mounts and so I have ignored it since. Otherwise the car has been the most reliable and best handling car I have ever owned. Looks like this problem is pretty common, but does not seem to be too serious. At least in my own experience so far. Here's hoping I can get another 100K out of it without trying to fix this problem, which seems for some reason to be unfixable. I like reading in this forum. Please keep the comments and questions coming. I have learned a lot about the car, even after owning one for a while, and thinking (smugly) that I knew it all.
    Thanks :) .
  • tazman139tazman139 Member Posts: 5
    I have spent over $400 on mechanics replacing parts, alt and starter in what seems to boil down to a parasitic drain on the battery. Have traced this down to the fuel injector circuits, i.e. when I pull the fuse for that circuit the drain goes away. There seem to be several electrical connections but can't seem to isolate exact cause. Anyone have any thoughts or has anyone had any similar problems that can enlighten me as to how or what to replace? Thanks
  • tellmeboutittellmeboutit Member Posts: 4
    My mothers car has simular problems. Manually shifting helps on hills. Her's is a four cylinder overhead cam. The spark plugs are located in the center of the head and about six inches down. The spark plug wells can fill with oil if the seals are getting brittle. Check for oil down where the spark plugs are. This can cause the spark to spark to be weak or completely short it out. If there is oil down there, I would suggest a valve cover gasket kit, new plugs(.042) gap, a new spark plug wire assy and a rotor while your at it. This gave us more power, however there is still a puff at the exhaust. I'm concerned this may be a burnt valve or cam timing issue.
  • newyorkrednewyorkred Member Posts: 4
    Looking for a diagnosis. My mechanic says nothing shows up as problem on his diagnostic machine but I've since learned that my second fan wasn't re- installed when the radiator was replaced.
    It wasn't a problem in winter but now that it's warm my problems began including
    occasional over heating, don't know if there's any relationship. HELP!
  • aiieeaiiee Member Posts: 2
    Check the compression, sure sounds like one of your cylinders isn't doing it's job. Could be gasket, could be valves, could be rings if your compression is off.
  • tellmeboutittellmeboutit Member Posts: 4
    Meant to post sooner. The problem turned out to be the head gasket. It was burnt between the #1 and #2 cylinder. Replaced it and it is running fine. The problem started out as just a loss of power and a puff in the exhaust that just was noticable. Eventually the engine began to detonate( spark knock) severely.
  • aiieeaiiee Member Posts: 2
    Glad to hear you got it fixed. I had similar problems with an old Ford Maverick, so I recognized the symptoms.
  • geobluegeoblue Member Posts: 71
    Any updates? :confuse:
  • lillypoohlillypooh Member Posts: 1
    There was a recall on Geo Prizms related to battery issue. You can call Chevy's customer service line, give them your VIN and they'll let you know if your car is one of thousands needing something replaced. No matter how old the recall, Chevrolet will fix it at no cost. Yay for recalls!
  • tazman139tazman139 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for your message. Will check with the Chevy customer service and see what happens, thanks again
  • sharkymozsharkymoz Member Posts: 3
    1995 Geo Prizm Lsi [1.8L + OD + Cruise] -ABS light comes on and stays on when driven. The system worked fine this past winter... But now I notice that while it still tests itself when the ignition is turned to ACC, the (clicking valves) sound is shorter now... And it doesn't test again when the vehicle is driven off, then ABS light comes on after a short time.
    Also, there is a strange problem with the power steering: the steering wheel shakes at low speeds. (about 0-40 MPH) And suspiciously, both of these problems happened about a month after having the tires rotated.
    I called the place that did the balance and rotation... And they said that the ABS sensors are in the calipers, and that no special steps are required when rotating.
    i dont have enough money to goto a dealer,anything i can do by changing simpe parts,
    provide me wats the problem and solution
    waiting for your reply.
  • scott46550scott46550 Member Posts: 1
    When you bring the car to a stop sign and then proceed to accelerate it stalls. It will start back up, but every time you take off from a stop it stalls. Mostly happens after the car warms up. Getting spark, gas and air. The car has a brand new cap, rotor, plugs, wires, battery, terminals, throttle position sensor, and idle air control valve. Need help because other than that it runs really good. Would like to keep it if possible.
  • sharkymozsharkymoz Member Posts: 3
    guys kindly provide me a solution.m waiting with my problem..cannot proceed further.
  • hdelislehdelisle Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1995 Prizm and I have the same ABS light issue. It comes on after the car has been running for a minute or so, and then doesn't go off. About a year ago, when this first appeared, I was worried and took it to my local mechanic to check it with the diagnostic.

    The actual problem was not with the ABS or brakes at all, but rather with the diagnostic system and the sensor to the light. He told me that it would be a more expensive fix than it was worth, because the sensors would need to be replaced, just to get the light to go out. I elected to just leave the light on, because I knew I had brake fluid and he told me the brakes and ABS were fine. I'd have them check it, because if you've already checked the brakes and such, it might just be a problem with the light itself.
  • dutchbartdutchbart Member Posts: 2

    I own a 2001 Chevy Prizm (Toyota Corolla) and found that there's a fuse missing from the fuse box, it's the 50A fuse for ABS, I don't know if there are known issues/problems with ABS on Prizm's, and if so I'd like to know, if there aren't any issues/problems with ABS on Prizm's, then I'd like to know if simply installing that fuse will turn ABS on.

    Waiting for a reply.
  • 93blackgeo93blackgeo Member Posts: 1
    sounds like the motor is almost burnt up
  • sharkymozsharkymoz Member Posts: 3
  • woolychickwoolychick Member Posts: 1
    Where is the fuel filter on the 95 geo prism? The Ignition sensor? My car now does not turn over, but clunks and clutters in the engine? at first it just died after it started.
    Help me
    Woolychick :sick:
  • wolfdragonwolfdragon Member Posts: 5
    there are 2 EFI fuses under the hood in the fuse box next to th battery
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