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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm



  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    I'm looking at buying a used '99 Prism (automatic)w/ 60k miles. My question is when does the timing belt need changing on them? Is it at 60K?


  • infinia1infinia1 Posts: 174
    leo: the 99 priZm has a timing chain, not belt. try searching for previous posts for more info.

    corny: i'm at about 22k now on my original firestones. they're bad, i'll change them in june.

    donelson: did you get the certified prizm?
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    Thanks to everyone for their help. I just purchased a '99 Chevy Prizm for my wife to learn to drive on. Looks like a nice little car.


  • prizmlsiprizmlsi Posts: 2
    I bought a 1995 Geo LSI with 85,000 on a 1.6 engine and have gotten the timing belt replaced. I see that at 60,000 Geo recommends a valve adjustment. Has anyone gotten a valve adjustment and do these engines really need them. Is this a do it yourself job? Thanks!!!
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 403
    We had a 96 base Prizm for 3 years (99-2001), and passed it to a relative. No valve adjusments, just oil, filter, and appropriate fluid changes. It is still on the original timing belt at 140k; the serpentine belt was worn and was recently replaced ($200).
  • kate2002kate2002 Posts: 4
    How good is the GEO Prizm for performance and reliability. Does $1900.00 sound like a good price?
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    Check the price on this website. Also, take to a good mechanic to check. The Prizm is really a rebadged Toyota Corolla, so it is extremely reliable and efficient. Is it automatic or stick? I will tell you why I'm asking when I know your answer.
  • danpf1danpf1 Sunny CaliforniaPosts: 90
    Had to replace a O2 sensor on my Daughter's 97 Prizm, she has about 80,000 miles now. Has any one else had to replace their O2 sensor and at what mileage? Also what was the cost? I paid $60.00 for a B/W replacement O2 sensor and replaced it myself. I used an Xrayauto scanner to find the trouble code.
  • snowdoggsnowdogg Posts: 1
    I would like to know as I may buy one and like going to junkyards to get my own parts.

    Also are the part #'s the same?

  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 403
    Not sure this helps you, but most body panels (hood, trunk, etc.) are different on the same-gen Prizms and Corollas.
  • aru_cararu_car Posts: 1
    Hi Im looking of buying a 97 geo prism lsi, but im not sure whether its similar to Toyota corolla engine of same year or not.Can any one experienced person with this type of cars help me here about this. Also the owners Manual says that the timing belt (costs around 500$ plus at local dealership) needs to be replaced at 60,000 miles, but the usual corolla of similar year needs timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles.where can this be done at a cheaper price.Can any one help me here ??? How is the performance,Maintenance and reliability look for this car compared to Toyota ???

  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    transmission, etc. The only real difference is the body panels and some interior trim. Timing belt - I had mine done for $99 at a Toyota dealer. If one wants to charge you $500, look elsewhere. You should not pay more than $300, at the very most. If timing belt breaks, you just stop, because Toyotas are mostly non-interference. Lots of other makes, like Honda, use interference engines, so if the belt breaks, the engine is probably destroyed. This car was built along side the Toyota in Fremont, California. It should be very reliable and the same maintenance. You can get the car serviced at a Toyota dealer or a GM dealer.
  • hisiennahisienna Posts: 4
    Recently I noticed that the blue portion on my wife's 98 prizm's trunk emblem had come off. Easiest fix is to get another emblem, either brand new or from salvage yard, is what I think. Anyone have other suggestions?
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 403
    $99 for the belt part only? With part and labour, I was quoted about $250 for a 96 Prizm at an independent mechanic - decided to forego the replacement since the engine, as you pointed out, is non-intereference (and at 140 kmiles, I'll just wait until the belt or something more expensive breaks).
  • infinia1infinia1 Posts: 174
    get the emblem from the dealer. they are fairly inexpensive (about $10-$12) and all you do is peel off the sticker-backing and press into place. be sure it's lined up correctly before pressing tho. if you got it from a junkyard, you would have to clean off the old foam-backing then reapply with some type of glue. it seems like too much of a hassle to me.
  • ted2ted2 Posts: 1
    I am concerned about the purchase of a 96-350,000mile GEO Pizm. The auto looks in great shape, one owner since 10,000mile purchase. Am I looking for trouble with this purchase? Besides the needed mechanical check is the engine ready to fall out at this level of milage.
    Funds are tight. The auto is for my teens travel to school and youth group. All within 10-15 min from home. Autos are not my forte.
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 403
    As a former owner of a 96 Prizm (still driven by my sister-in-law), and a current owner of an 02, I'll share my experiences.

    The 96 is currently at 140k miles, and while mostly problem free, it burns a bit of oil and leaks some. About a quart per 1000 miles is added to it. While this can be fixed, it just does not seem economical.

    If any (cheap) car can go over 300000 miles, it is the Prizm. However, you should consider other Prizms, with lower mileage. I understand that funds are tight, and I don't know if you live in or close to a larger city, with ready access to used cars for sale. In any case, I would look for something fresher. I routinely see 98-99 Prizms with 70-90k miles advertized in the local Minneapolis newspaper for 3-3.5k. If this is way more than what you are planning to spend, I would look for an older model, but still with the lower mileage.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    Yes, the $99 was for the belt AND labor, but this was 3 years ago. I would say $200 is probably the best you can do now, and $250 is not bad.
  • clobyrclobyr Posts: 3
    I've found a 1999 Prizm with 12500 miles. Right now, I'm not sure if it is a 3 speed or 4 speed w/OD. Would you recommend 3 speed or should I steer clear of it. Driving pattern will be mix of freeway to work, surface & local streets from work to home and definitely some hills to climb on the weekends, to Santa Cruz, Lake Tahoe etc. What are the advantages of 4 speed w/OD versus 3 speed? Your input is appreciated!
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    The 3-speed automatic will give you less mpg because it will be turning higher rpm's, which also means it is noisier on the highway. It is not bad, though, but the 4 speed is better. Just look at the side of the gear selector - if it has another push button below the regular push button for the shift interlock, it is a 4 speed. But most of the 99's have 3 speed autos, and they will be fine for your purpose - take it for a drive to see if the extra rpm's annoy you. They will be both extremely reliable. Just drain and fill transmission fluid every 30,000 miles. Of course, the best Corolla (Prizm) is the 5 speed manual - highest mpg, lowest noise, and most fun.
  • clobyrclobyr Posts: 3
    Thanks a million for your help and advice. It is definitely a 3 speed I took it to AAA this morning. I think I'm going to go for it. Hopefully it will last me a long time! Thanks again.
  • noname_17noname_17 Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 Prizm Lsi with about 110,000 miles on it that I haven't had any problems with until now. When it has been sitting for a while (like over night) it is hard to start. Even when it does start, it usually dies again as soon as I start to drive, and I have to start it again. Does anyone know what I could do to stop this from happening?
  • dverespeydverespey Posts: 56
    I drove a 93 with a 3sp and what was said before was true.(noise, mpg, etc) I drove it as my daily commuter for 5 years after inheriting it from my wife.

    At 180k it's mechanically sound, but it has a real case of the uglies. I replaced it with a used Accord, and will be donating it charity.
  • clobyrclobyr Posts: 3
    Hi there again,
    dverespey, thanks for the reply.

    Well I finalized the purchase of the 1999 Prizm with 12598 miles on it, on Saturday last. AAA Diagnostic came back with 'minor leak on left front axle shaft housing seal and minor seepage on right'. At the time of the diagnostic, AAA told me that to have this fixed would be 2.5 - 3 hours in labor plus parts.

    Curiously I called AAA today to get a recommendation for a shop to do the work and the guy I spoke to today basically told me he thought it highly unlikely the car has this problem with so few miles. I asked him to speak to the tech who had done the inspection. The tech told him that the leak was so minor it is nothing to worry about and that I could monitor it myself by putting some card board under the vehicle to see if any oil is leaking.

    They also suggested they could add some dye,have me drive it some miles and bring it back to them. They said this would tell for sure if there is a leak to worry about.

    Anyone out there familiar with this kind of problem, should I worry about it or 'not' as they suggested? Should I do the dye thing for my own peace of mind? Any help is much appreciated.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Anyone know how to replace lamp in instrument panel? The lamp for gas gauge is out. 1995 Prizm LSI.
  • naatz1naatz1 Posts: 188
    Hi, I have been active on the Chrysler 300M forum since buying a new one a few months ago. I helped my 24 yr old daughter buy an 01 Prizm with 29K miles. The car was lease return and certified GM at local Buick dealer where I have a 2nd cousin salesman, so figured it's as good as any assurance it's a good car...they put on new tires, alignment, bunchof other smaller stuff and had to fix the door latch. We got it for $7700 just under book.
    Anyway, I noticed the tranny fluid is a little gray, which they showed me was checked off ok, but I have not seen anything other than a pinkish fluid before. We have to get an owners manual mailed to us, but does Chevy/Toyota have a special type of fluid or to be safe should I have her do an exchange now that it's almost at 30K mi? She's headed back to Madison so I want to ensure this lasts as long as all the reviews say it should (trust me we were getting nickled/dimed by her old 92 Corsica so I am sure this will be MUCH better). THANKS.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    I would definitely change it now, since you don't know the prior ownership's habits. I would be concerned that the fluid is grayish after only 30,000. I have never seen one with grayish fluid, even after 50,000 and never changed. Also, note that with a drain and refill that you will only replace a portion of the fluid, since more than half of the fluid remains in an automatic transmission, even with the drain plug removed. That's why it is important to do this every 30,000. Oh, make sure to put the exact same kind of fluid in (says on the dipstick and owner's manual.)
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Just changed the fuel filter (had to replace part of fuel line too, fitting was impossible to remove by me or by mechanic:( on 95 Prizm LSI 1.8L 4 spd auto with 117K prior to taking trip. Averaged 37 mpg on two tanks of fuel with mixed driving of 70 mph interstate, 60 mph stop and go rural two lane highway and some city driving. I'm impressed. The car is well maintained and still runs like new and tracks well at interstate speeds. Not a big surprise with Toyota mechanicals but I'm still very happy.

    IMO the 93-97 Corolla/Prizm models are the best versions made.
  • What is the exact difference between LSi and Standard for 99 Prism. I checked, it says power mirrors is standard for LSi, but I am buying a 99 Prism without power mirrors (it has power windows, ABS, AC, cruise etc). I checked CarFax Report it says it is a LSi model, I am confused, if it is a LSi according to VIN number, how come the power mirrors are not standard? And do you know anymore differences like in gas mileage, performance, etc? Thank you...
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 403
    98-02 Prizms LSI had, I believe, standard power door locks and windows. Also folding rear seat. The engine and transmission choices on the LSI and base are the same.
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