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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm



  • mmx6mmx6 Posts: 18
    To all you 98-02 Prizm owners, are your rear speakers the same tiny 4-inch drivers that Edmunds noted in their 2000 economy car test of the 2000 Corolla?
  • The rear speakers aren't that great. Not a bad sound system all in all for a 1998 economy car. The problem with mine is that I'm on the 3rd radio...there seems to be an electrical problem that fries it AND speakers. I'm on my 3rd radio...all replaced under extended warranty.
    Now I have 139,500 miles, so I hope it lasts.
    Electrical problems have been my main gripe with this little supercar. The cig lighter is trash and little lights are out everywhere on the dash, AC display, etc.

    How can I be too mad when I can still get 37 MPG on the highway in car with almost 140,000 miles.

  • My son's 98 Prizm shuts down if the headlights are turned on or if the lever is pulled to flash the headlights. Also if the emergency flashers are turned on it causes the engine to pulse trying to shut down, and will if the RPMs are not kept high enough. Any insight as to what may be the problem or where to look would be greatly appreciated.
  • ljt190ljt190 Posts: 3
    Whoops. I have a 2001 LSI and suddenly have a squeaky dash, and a more annoying one either in the passenger seat or the console. DHAs anyone else experienced? Fixes?
  • My son could not close (latch) the driver's door of his 99 Prizm. He lives in a very cold area, so I don't know if that's a factor. The latch mechanism would move, but would not keep the door closed. Before I spend a fortune by having him go to a dealer, any suggestions?


    By the way- thanks SO much for the tip on the blower motor resistor. Under $30.00 and I fixed it myself!
  • I have owned a 98 chevy/toyota prizm for about a year and a half. This car is great, I have owned 3 other cars before this from a 94' ss s10, a 94' probe gt (which I had the most problems with) and a 94' grand am gt.


    Surprisingly with the 5 speed manual this prizm keeps up with or is a tiny bit quicker than the past cars (given the past cars were all automatics). I've put on 93,000 mi and the only thing I've had to change is the oil. This car is super reliable even starting it up in 0 degree weather when its been sitting for 3 days is no problem. The Toyota 1.8 liter motor is pretty strong, and is underrated. Granted it comes nowhere near being a race car it keeps up with what you'd be surprised.


    I have put on an arospeed exhaust system and cut the cat off (it's not to loud and sounds like a crotch rocket) rebuilt the trans and put in a short shifter, got some konig rims, dunlop tires and dropped the front end 4 inches, which makes it corner pretty well. The thing I like most about this car is that its really light and picks up quickly in 1st and 2nd gear, then 3rd is alright, I know talking about this car like its a race car and modifying it sounds foolish but its really fun car to drive and thats what counts the most besides reliability which is what the car is designed for and also getting groceries which the car is a 10 out of 10 stars.


    Surprisingly this car is great in the snow, I haven't gotton stuck yet this year and have driven through some pretty deep snow, I just wish I could cheaply convert it into all wheel drive like the subaru's. With only 120 hp this car is suprisingly quick, until you hit 4th gear, I don't race people because that would make me feel like an idiot in a prizm.


    Overall with all the ragging the engine has takin' (I said I don't race people, but when I get on a side street, I'll put it to the floor)

    the motor in this car seems indestructible and runs forever.


    I didn't like my grand am gt, It felt super heavy and took about 100 lbs of pressure on the brakes to stop fast.


    I didn't like the probe gt for the automatic electronic trans, that couldn't last 60,000 mi without having to be replaced, and the extemely cheap plastic interior that rattled more than my teeth in negative degree weather, the ball bearings went out at about 30,000 mi, and like all fords rust began quickly. The good thing about it was that it felt real light and was really good in the snow.


    I can't really say anything bad about the ss s10, except on the highway it was a slug trying to pass, since the trans was was designed for all torque in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gears. I had about 115,000 mi on the v6 vortech and was still able to make it break loose in second with an automatic and pathfinder winter tires. That vortech motor is great never leaked anything.
  • infinia1infinia1 Posts: 174
    does anyone know how to adjust the deadlights up and down? i know how to adjust them left and right, but my driver side needs moved up a bit. i can't find any adjustment for up and down. i have an 02 with no other problems at 31k.
  • I have a 01 chevy prizm Lsi and am having a problem when its cold out side of the automatick shifter not shifting out of park. have to stick a screw drive in the over ride button under the plastick cover next to the shifter. Does anyone know how to repair this problem is there a sensor or something?
  • bpkelleybpkelley Posts: 1

    I live in Boston, MA and I've owned a 1999 Prizm since March of 2004. I bought the car with 96,000 miles on it and today, broke 113,000 miles (I am a college student attending a University where 6 months I am in class and 6 months I work a full time job in my career field, so I drive a lot for work).

    Funny I came across this post today: my driver's side door has been doing the same thing, and I was late to work this morning because I could not enter or exit my car. When it's cold, it refuses to latch or open. If the door is locked, turning the key to unlock it does no good either- it appears as if the key will break before the door opens!

    Has anyone else heard of this problem, or a resolution? There has to be a better way to get around this than climbing in the car through the passenger side.
  • marie123marie123 Posts: 1
    My 87 Buick is ready for graveyard.
    Need basic, economical, reliable car fast. Considering Prism.
    Have seen several at 90-100+ miles in Texas. Most $4,000-$5,000.

    How many miles can Prisms get without causing too many engine and other problems?
    Can't afford many repairs.

    Seriously considering one 2000 Prism LSI (dealership) has 88,500 miles for $4,350 with some noises underneath and a couple of dents.
    Another, Prism LSI at dealership (1998) has 101,000 miles, 5 speed manual, peeling paint, leak in trunk for $3,500.

    Open to other makes as well. Is this car better concerning reliability than an older Buick Century or Regal ?
  • I have a 95 Geo Prism (base model).
    The Check Engine Light is on and I want to know whether I need a Code Scanner to get the code since I know 95 Toyota does not need a scanner. A scanner is only required for model after 1996.
    Anyone has any idea?
  • Hi Everyone esp. kirby18!
    Having the same problem here. I started having this problem yesterday when I discovered that the battery was dead - hopefully due to build-up around the terminals because I replaced the alternator, starter and battery just last year! At this point I am charging the battery and will try the over ride you mentioned if the shifting out of park problem still exists when I get the car started again.

    Do you have to take anything apart to get to the over ride button or is it accessable as is? Thanks!
  • twirl2twirl2 Posts: 1
    Did you get an answer for this? My 95 prizm's swerving side to side in the back when i hit little bumps - I was told it was the struts, but one set of new struts later, no improvement. Any advice would be really helpful!
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    If you have a strange crunching or squeaking noise coming from the front end under acceleration, check the exhaust pipe connections. My 94 prizm recently developed an awful noise which sounded like a noise that a rusted steel door hinges would make when slowly dragged open. It sounded like something was about to snap in half or collapse. It would happen only under acceleration, and it was very disturbing and unpleasant. I initially suspected a bad motor mount or transmission, but it turned out to be just a loose bolt on the exhaust. Maybe it allowed the pipes to come partially apart and make that awful noise. It did not sound like an exhaust problem at all but it was.
  • Hi all,

    I just bought my 97 prizm...and the instrument panel light went's not the doesn't affect the warning gages just the lighting on the speedometer, odometer, gas gage, temp and heater lights. It dimmed and brightened (like an alternator thing) but it was isolated to the pane. Has anyone had this problem? Lamp or Wiring? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    A Starving Student
  • pita52pita52 Posts: 1
    2001 Chevy Prism: Car stalls when head lights, turn signals, hazards, blower motor are used and when tail light harness is unplugged. Any suggestions?
  • cccccccc Posts: 1
  • ive just bought a 92 prism and it has a strange clicking sound as i turn. I believe that i need to replace the CV joint. My girlfriend has a 91 prism that has stopped running. The question is, can i use the cv joint from her 91 on my 92
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    According to Advance Auto Parts, part numbers for the CV half-shafts and boots are the same for 91 and 92. So the transplant should work. I don't know if it's worth the effort though... If the 91 Prizm no longer runs, the CV joints in it may be going bad also. Considering the labor involved in the replacement and the likelihood of having to do it again soon, you might be better off using new ones from a parts store.

    You can check for yourself at Click on Shop Online and follow the instructions to look up the part numbers.

  • mitzijmitzij Posts: 613
    The only service contract a dealership is required to honor is the one sold by the manufacturer.
  • carriegcarrieg Posts: 3
    My 2000 prizm has about 95K on it and needs a tune up (I think), anyway, called one dealer and they said the only thing gets on a tune up is new spark plugs. I don't know a lot about cars but that sounded a little simplistic to me. When my 1995 got a tune up it cost like $350 and got a whole bunch of stuff. I guess the mechanic could be correct but I don't want to pay a ton of $ for just plugs and then more down the road to have it done correctly. If anyone can help I would appreciate it. Just what does my 2000 need replaced for a tune up? THANKS!!
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    If there are symptoms that make you think that the car needs a tune up, you need to address those. 5yr old spark plugs shouldn't result in poor operation of the car unless there is something else wrong with the car. On rare occasions plug's insulation may crack and malfunction. If you haven't done anything other than regular oil change and lube since 2000, you should do coolant flush and replacement, automatic trans service (if it's auto), timing belt change (every 60,000miles if 2000 model uses a belt. No need to replace if it's chain. See owner's manual.), and close inspection of hoses and belts under the hood. If the belts&hoses haven't been replaced in 10 years, it's a good idea to replace them now. Brake inspection is normally done when you buy/rotate tires, but you might want to make sure it gets inspected at next tire rotation.
    Modern cars don't need nearly as much attention as cars made say 30 years ago. Spark plugs last a long time because engines burn much cleaner. If your car is running well and getting decent performance and gas mileage, spark plug replacement is probably still a good idea but not absolutely necessary.
    They will try to sell you services like fuel injector cleaning and other stuff, but unless your car is running poorly those won't hurt but won't do you much good either. Coolant flush is a good idea because radiators do get plugged up. Radiators are likely to rot and leak after 10-15 years. If it starts to leak don't drive the car until the radiator is replaced. Stop leak chemicals are usually only for emergency repair no matter what it says on the bottle. that's about it from me for now. :)
  • carriegcarrieg Posts: 3
    My 2000 prizm LSI (95K) uses excessive oil. There appears to be no oil leak or blue smoke from the exhaust pipe but the car shows 0 oil on the dipstick after about 2,000 miles post oil change. I noticed the problem at about 84K. For the last 30,000 miles oil changes have been regular, previous to that erratic. Any suggestions as to where my oil is going?
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    On 2000's, there is no timing belt, it is a chain. I am pretty sure the plugs are irridium or platinum, so they would only need to be replaced every 80 or 90 thousand miles.

    Oil - watch the tailpipe at a cold start to check for blue smoke, and watch (or have someone watch) going down the road, accelerating. If oil changes were erratic, that was the root cause of the problem. Check radiator to make sure no oil leakage in there. Otherwise, there has to be a leak or smoke you are not seeing.

    Replace air filter, PCV valve, check hoses for cracks and replace as necessary, check serpentine belt for cracks and replace as necessary. Change coolant (use only Toyota red). Might want to change brake fluid, if planning on keeping for a while. I assume auto tranny, if so, drain and fill tranny fluid. Basically, follow the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual.
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    If there is no leakage, most likely the oil is passing through the piston rings and getting burnt. If it has been leaking into something else like the transmission at this rate for over 30,000miles, the trans would have blown up or leaked oil all over your driveway by now. Tuneup cannot fix an oil-burning engine, unfortunately. Dipstick covers the range from full capacity to maybe 2 quarts lower than full. If the car is burning 2 quarts every 2000 miles, that's 1qt/1000miles. This oil consumption rate is higher than most other cars I would say, but still something you can live with. But for a 2000 car with a Toyota engine... that's a bit unusual. Check oil level every time you stop for gas. You can add a heavier oil than specified in the manual (if it says 10W30, perhaps you can use 10W40 or 20W50) and see if that results in less burning.
    You won't start seeing blue smoke unless the engine is burning a whole lot more than 1qt/1000miles.
    Make sure that the oil level never goes lower than 1/2 qt from the full mark. If it always burns oil at this rate, the only immediate danger is running the engine dry by not adding enough oil.
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    Hmmm I might have misread the original post. Has it been burning oil at this rate for over the last 30,000 miles? If you let it go below the lowest mark on the dipstick, you can ruin the engine.
    Also, if the oil change was too erratic in the past that explains the tendency to burn oil. But if the interval was never more than say 7500miles between changes and driving habit and climate were normal, I don't see why it should be burning so much oil.
    Oil change every 3000 miles is still a good idea, by the way. But sif you are adding 3qts over those 3000 miles to keep the level full, you might as well replace only the oil filter every 3000 miles and keep adding oil without draining it. That way you are not draining newly added oil every 3000 miles.
  • soule11soule11 Posts: 1
    Re the valve noise: this just developed a few months ago (car had only 45,000 miles on it. The guys who work on the car are all for ignoring it, but I think it's getting worse. They say that the valves can't be adjusted, that you have to replace parts (can't remember the name of the part)... that there are 16 or so sizes... I only worked on one car in my life, a 1972 Datsun I recently parted with after... 30+ years... those valves I could adjust...

    Anybody know about this problem and / or it's resolution? also any good wrenches for Prizms in the north of Boston area? thanks Alexis
  • tonybcsutonybcsu Posts: 1
    This is going to be a silly question...

    I have recently been given a 93 Prizm without the manual.

    I am assuming I am supposed to check the transmission fluid while the ENGINE IS RUNNING however can someone confirm this? :-)??

    Also, if anyone knows of a good place to order a manual (or download one!) I am all ears!

  • I own a 2001 Prizm with 55k miles on it, and recently had to have both the serpentine belt replaced ($60) as well as the tensioner ($325). Has anyone else had to replace the tensioner? I've owned plenty of cars that have needed a myriad of repairs, but never have I had to replace a tensioner.

    I question the quality control that went into the construction of these cars. I can't flip down my sun visor without bumping the rear view mirror, I've had to replace a power window motor, and a dashboard light just went out (behind my fuel gauge).
  • If it is an automatic, then yes, the car should be running. It should be up to operating temp and placed in park or nuetral.
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