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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm



  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    This year is the last year for this car. Toyota will be building new body style '03 Corolla's alonog with new Pontiac Vibe at the Nummi Plant in CA.

    I had a 95 Geo Prism LSI with 1.6L engine and 5 speed. Loved the car. The only two complaints; Lack of front seat leg room. I am only 5 10, but I felt very confined after an hour drive. The second complaint was the heater that NEVER got hot, just barely warm. The GM dealer was clueless after checking the heater twice.

    GM is dropping Prism, because the market is getting crowded and competitive. Prism is stealing sales from GM's own Cavilier and Saturn S series.

    I paid $8,600 for mine in 11/97 when it had 26K miles, and sold it for $7,700 in 5/99 with 63K.
  • Can someone recommend a reputable service center in Nashville Tennessee (NOT Bill Heard)?
  • I have the exact same car, with the exact same problem. I discovered that turning on recirculation made the air hot.
  • I have a 98 Prism Standard. I have replaced the weather stripping around the trunk but still find water under spare tire and wheel wells. Any else having this problem or know the cause or fix?
  • Just found out that this is the last year for the Prizm. I have a 96 Prizm that I am very pleased with. I hate to see GM stop making them. Truth of the matter, the only reason I bought a GM car was because Toyota made the guts.

    I have about five grand in GM points and am wondering if Toyota is going to build any more cars for GM. If not, I may have to buy a 2002 Prizm just to use up the credit.

    I would appreciate any info anybody might have or if somebody can point me to a site where I can find out.

  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    to the Pontiac vibe.
  • gweilogweilo Posts: 118
    How well does it do in the snow?
    Does it have decent acceleration with the auto trans?
    How many miles is a normal lifespan for this car?
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    On Thursday December 13th, GM stopped producing the prizm. The joint venture(GM/Toyota)started building Prizm in Nov.1988. They built close to 1 million prizms.

    So if you are interested in buying a prizm, you need to get it soon, since you can't order it with the options you want.
  • Boris2Boris2 Posts: 177
    Some info that you might find interesting:

    >How well does it do in the snow?
    With stock tires it performs pretty much like a professional skier :-) With snow tires it's very good... I went through 3 winters on my Prizm and it was superb. I had a little bit wider tires: 185/60-14 if I'm not mistaken, and for snow tires my choice was WinterKing - they are relatively in-expensive and are GREAT on snow.

    >Does it have decent acceleration with the auto trans?
    Can't tell you anything - mine was 5sp. Based on my mom's Corola it's nothing special - a little sluggish but adequate. I've heard that 4sp auto is a little bit better on Prizm than 3sp.

    >How many miles is a normal lifespan for this car?
    I sold it with almost 70K mi. and it was going very strong.
    Problems that i encountered:
    1. Poor original tires - had to change them at around 20K due to vibration.
    2. Front brakes needed to be replaced by the time I sold it - never did so :-)
    3. CE light went off at around 45K - some sensor went bad - fixed under ext. warranty.
    4. Light knocking sound from the rear periodacally during cold days - never located, never really bothered me too much, goes away when it gets warm
    5. Vibration at high speeds due to the front rotors (see. #2)
    That's it! I was getting an average of 35-37 mpg. The best one was around 50 mpg (was driving 30mph for about 5 hours) and the worst one was about 28 - VERY cold winter :=)
  • cdguycdguy Posts: 7
    If you want one, better think about it soon. Still plenty of automatics, but supply will dwindle now that production has stopped. I bought the 5-speed LSi. The dealer had to trade with another to get it. They had almost 100 on the lot, but no 5 speeds. I paid invoice, and got the 0% financing.
    If you want a little pep, choose the 5 speed. There is plenty of power for real world use. This is no sports car, though. If you must get an auto, do yourself a favor, and get the 4 speed.
  • Since this is the same car as the Corolla, and the Geo Prizm board gets relatively little traffic, I thought I'd post here.

    I've been dissatisfied with the brightness of my headlights lately, so I bought some replacements. Getting to the bulbs is proving to be a bit of a problem, though. I can't find any way to get the front cover off, and I certainly can't get my hand behind it to pull the bulb out. Can someone post a process or a link to a process for replacing the headlights? Thanks!
  • uvulauvula Posts: 3
    I have a 2001 Prizm LSI 4 speed auto w/ 15,000. In the city I get about 21 - 23 mpg. Highway is good at 37 - 39. Is city about right? Thanks.

    Bill (CT)
  • Boris2Boris2 Posts: 177
    The process of changing the bulbs is kind of painful on a Prizm (unless I was doing it wrong)
    You need to take off the battery to replace one and a cover for the air intake (if I'm not mistaken) to get the second one replaced.
    That's the most awkward design I've ever seen, but not much you can do...

    Good luck !
  • britton2britton2 Posts: 305
    I have a '01 Corolla LE - 4-speed auto - I think our cars have the same engine - I get between 30-32 MPG in the city - I usually use 89 octane gas - on the highway, I got 38.7 MPG on my last road trip - but I was speeding a little (75MPH) - you might want to make sure your tire pressure is right - I keep mine inflated to 32 PSI - good luck
  • I just bought a '99 Prizm base model with 69,000 miles on it and wanted to get the 60,000 mile service done. The dealer (in Chicago) quoted me $526!!! Anybody have alternative prices for this service?
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Toyota dealers tend to be even more expensive, but you could call around. A good quality independent shop is usually the best place to go for non-warranty work.
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    Look in the owners manual for what the 60K service consists of and then go to an independant mechanic or service station. Save hundreds of dollars and maybe cna even do some things yourself!
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    You'd be suprised at the extras a lot of dealers throw in.
  • Boris2Boris2 Posts: 177
    As far as I remember, the major things it consists of are: new spark plugs, radiator flush, oil change and brake inspection. Plus inspect, check, inspect, check, inspect,... (most of this stuff is "visual inspection")
    New spark plugs would run you about $2.5 each (Dealer price)... Antifreeze - $5, Oil change - $25 - dealer price... Visual Inspection - $20 max at any local shop... Brake inspection - Free at any brake store (and they do much better job than dealers, who try to find as much as possible wrong with your brakes). Don't get me wrong, I usually try to do maintance service at dealers to avoid any problems with warranty, but if you look at huge list of items the dealer would do for 60K service you'll see that they wold only look at different things and in addition to new spark plugs and oil change, you'll get a huge estimate for things they think you need to do urgently...

    P.S. Oh, they might also do Fuel Injector cleaning - $20 for the can BK44, add it to the gas and you're all set to go.
  • uvulauvula Posts: 3
    Our cars do have the same engine. If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you a few more questions before I call Chevy. What area are you from. (Climate?) What are the roads like? (Hilly terrain, mostly flat, etc.) How would you characterize your "city driving?" My city trips are usually very short; for instance, I drive 5 miles each way to and from work and usually don't use the car for anything else until the weekend. I too keep my tires inflated to 32 PSI, but I use 87 octane. I appreciate your help.
  • britton2britton2 Posts: 305
    I live in the mid-south (TN)and the roads here are primarily flat - right now it's in the 40's...I drive my car mostly in the city, short trips between 5 - 25 miles - although on occasion I've been known to make the 40 mile trip up to KY for lottery tickets, but I haven't done that in weeks - I just filled up and checked my mileage the other day - I got 32.7 MPG (all city) - I also keep my tires inflated to 32 PSI - how are you checking your gas mileage? Here's what I do: when I stop for gas - I set my trip meter (my car has 2) to zero - then I get out and fill up and let the pump stop automatically - then the next time I need gas - I take the number on my trip meter (say it's 313.1 miles) and divide that by the gallons of gas it took to fill up my tank (say it's 9.558 gallons) that equals 37.2 - so that's your MPG - this is what I got a couple of days ago - since our cars have the same engine and frame (they should weigh about the same) I would think the mileage would be very close - I have read where others are getting 30+ miles per gallon and others are only getting 26 or so - I really can't explain this - I do not accelerate hard from a dead stop but I don't drive like "a little old lady" either - try putting in 89 octane and see what you get - good luck
  • Hopefully, one of you can suggest a solution to the problem that I'm having with my '91 Geo Prizm. Bought it used in Aug. '01 and am currently at 126,000 miles. Car runs great except 3 months ago, after work, I went to start my car and it was dead. I replaced the battery figuring that was the problem. Car was fine for 3 months but then the brand new battery (a Sears Diehard) was dead after being parked over night. I took my car to a mechanic and he too gave me another new battery (even though I explained that the one in my car was only 3 mos. old). This battery lasted for 1 1/2 weeks and, lo and behold, car was parked overnight and battery was dead.

    So here we have a car that has completely drained 3 batteries in the span of 5 months!

    I've taken it to another mechanic who tested the alternator (it's fine) and checked for short circuits (none, so far). He says that the car is registering something as "on" and whatever this device is, it's draining the battery when the car sits for many hours.

    I'm wondering if any of you have experienced this problem with your cars (Geo or otherwise) and am hoping that you can suggest what device might be the gremlin causing this problem. All devices that I can access (radio, indoor and outdoor lights and vent fan) are completely off when I leave the car so I don't know what else could be the culprit.

    Please advise.
  • Boris2Boris2 Posts: 177
    Most likely there is a device that drains the battery, but I can't imagine anything that would do it that fast. You can take it to the dealer and tell them that you're not picking up a car until they find what is wrong with it. Unlike independent shops, who can say: I don't know! Dealer has to find some reason. Can not duplicate is not going to be the case, since you can always bring the battery back to them showing that it's dead indeed.
  • squeak6squeak6 Posts: 28
    my 5-speed prizm now has 126,000 miles with no major problems ( well the A/C did die, but was replaced, and the spark plug wires had to be replaced ) I too have seen water in my trunk has anyone else? I am getting about 32 mpg... I do drive fast... 80 mph.... what is the avg. life span for a prizm? I still have 1.5 years to pay it off... any other suggestions on what I can do to keep her running smooth...?
  • Boris2Boris2 Posts: 177
    I haven't seen any late model Prizms with such high mileage - sold mine with about 70K mi (no major problems), but I did see late model Corolas with mileage close to 200K mi. If you do oil changes regularly I think you shouldn't have any major problems. Use GM spark plugs, Clean EFI periodically and you should be able to get close to 200K mi. If you drive fast, you might want to change antifreeze more often.
  • squeak6squeak6 Posts: 28
    what's the EFI.. if I keep the oil changed can I get 3 more years out of her?
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    My brothers prizm went 220,000 miles before it died a horrible death. He did not change the timing belt, and it broke and siezed the engine. Up til then the car was running fine and would have probably made it to 300,000. He still had the original clutch.

    EFI is electronic fuel injection.

    You should get 3 more years out of it with no problem. When you are putting miles on as fast as you are, you can't help but have a lot of easy highway miles. Driving 80 shouldn't be too hard on it because the car is geared fairly tall. It would be about like driving a civic at 70 as far as rpms go.

    Speed limit where I live is 75, so I go 80-85 all the time, and my car is running at 4,000 -4,300 rpm. ('90 Integra) I have 138,000 miles and running very strong.
  • squeak6squeak6 Posts: 28
    thanks for the info... this is my 1st real car, so I want to make her last with preventive maintenance...
  • Boris2Boris2 Posts: 177
    98th don't have timing belts - they got chains. It doesn't mean the chain doesn't need to be changed, but you don't have to do it at 60k mi. When I asked the dealer at what time the chain needs to be changed, they didn't know :-) They said Chevy don't have any information about it. I asked Toyota dealer and they recommended to change the chain anywhere between 90k mi and 120K mi. Toyota engines usually don't self-destroy when the belt/chain breaks, but it might happen.
  • ...where the relay for the rear window defogger is located on a 1990 Prizm? The owners manual only talks about fuses and circuit breakers. Thanks.
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