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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm



  • ken126ken126 Posts: 39
    My 1990 prizm has 303,000 miles on it,with the original motor, trans and clutch!! the car rides almost like it did ten years ago. It amazes me everyday I drive it. This is by far the best car ever built.
    On my way to 400,000...............
  • i have a 95 and would be overjoyed to get over 100k.whatz ur secret i didnt think a tiny engine could run so long,let alone the clutch,mind kinda knocks loud in the morning or whenever it sits for a few hours,whut weight and brand oil do u use,any advice, thanks brett
  • ken126ken126 Posts: 39
    I change the oil every 3,000 miles. I use a fram filter and castrol 10w30. I am on my 6th timing belt (every 60k). Just passed new jerseys crazy inspection with no problems!
  • I just bought a 1999 Prizm with 18200 miles on the clock and a three speed transmission. Most of the driving that I have been doing has been short distance, around town. I live in upstate New York, where it has been snowy and cold. On my last tank of gas, I averaged just 17 mpg. Pretty poor. The Corsica I was driving before the Prizm was getting 22 mpg under the same circumstances and it had a 3.1 ltr V-6! Any thoughts on the poor mpg? Also, the engine seems to idal pretty high (no tach) but I would guess at least at 1200 rpm. Tell me, fellow Prizm owners, is this how Prizms behave? Thanks for any insights that you may have.
  • my 95 prizm is near 90k, and once it warms up the tac says about 1000rpm's and seems to idle higher the colder it is out but once at normal temp u cant even feel it idling,but itz a 5 speed so that may make e dif.oh and ur gas mileage sounds weird how do u come up w/mpg figures anyway, mine seems to do better on gas that that though,good luc
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    I have 99 and 95 Prizm. The idle on both cars is higher until the operating temperature is reached. Whether this is controlled by mechanical or computer I don't know. It is normal for Prizm and many other modern cars.
    If you are really getting 17MPG then there is something wrong with the car. I average between 25-35MPG on the 95 and 27-37 on the 99. I do have 4 spd auto. The 3 spd will get less MPG but not alot less. Are you recording the amount of gas and miles used and determining mileage correctly?
  • Thanks for the feedback. I have noticed that the motor revs really high when it cold and it isn't quite as buzz when it has warmed up. I track my mpg using the tripometer (reset after each fill up) divided by the number of gallon to the tenths. I have had the car since January 2 and have filled up twice now. On my first tank I averaged just 23 mpg and the second 17 mpg. I called the dealer and they are going to check the dial - under warranty. I have also asked them to look into my squeaky rear breaks as well. I really dig the car, but I am not happy with my mileage. I have to admit that I like the exterior styling much better than the Toyota version as well as the dash treatment. I agree with the others - the small tires are pretty lame. When the times comes I will move up to a firmer gripping set on rubber.
  • I must admit, chevrolet did a better job on the dash board, I hate where that mini radio the corolla is located. Chevrolet needs to drop that funky Cavalier instead of the prizm. Personally, I think its nothing but a peice of crap that someone slapped together. It really needs to go with all of that uncalled for noise from that engine.
  • I'm about to purchase a 95 Prizm (72,000miles) if my mechanic gives me the final thumbs up. I don't suspect any problems, everything has checked out so far, it drives well and I fell in love with it immediately. However, it does not have the owner's manual and I want to make sure I do all the proper maintenance over the years. Does anyone know how I can get a hold of the manual or a list of all the things I need to periodically get checked, flushed, and replaced. Are there any Prizm specific maintenance checks that need to be done? Thanks for your advice.
  • i bought a 95 prizm bout 9 mos ago with 73k now has 90k itsbeen a good performer ita a 5sp 1.6l the worst part of the car is the power (the lack of) but im usta it now,i did have the front brake and 4 new tires thata really all besides oil changes,mine also had no manual and i just ordered one from helms ithink the car makers dont make them a book comp.does it was 20 bucksw/shipping part no 10258591 B, hope that helps,and as for mainance itz says to get timing belt changed at 60k which wuz never done yet.but for an economy ca r its a good one.prob because it has a toyota engine. lots of luck brett
  • Thanks, badbrett79. The trick does it: tune to the station frequency, hold one of the pre-set station number (1--6) for a while.

    You mentioned each button can hold 2 pre-sets for FM stations. How do you achieve that?

    For your info, my radio does not have an electronic tape deck w/a wanna be equalizer. Radio only!

  • hank15hank15 Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 Prizm. The owners manual does not specify the type of anti-freeze replacement. Can I use GM dex-cool(orange color) good for 5 years or 150,000 mi? The fluid in the car now looks red to me. Could it be a Toyota brand of antifreeze since it's a Toyota engine? Thanks!
  • I just bought a used 1995 Geo Prizm it has only the stock radio with no casette or CD player, I idealy want a CD player, Anyone know where to get one?
    I don't want to rip my car apart trying to put a system in there that doesn't fit correctly.. Also, Anyone have any comments on how long these cars run? Mine has 82k miles on it, Hoping I don't have to replace an engine anytime soon!
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    The radio that fits in the Prizm is available at almost any car stereo installer and if you do not want to spend too much then try Best Buy or Circuit City type stores. They offer an adapter plate that will fit a standard CD/Radio or a special sized radio that is about twice the size of the standard deck that will fit in your Prizm. I have a 95 and have replaced the original CD/Cassette/Radio with a CD/Radio. Cost me about $160 installed.

    How long will Prizm last? As you probably know the Prizm motor is exactly same as Corolla motor and Corolla has reputation as one of the most reliable cars made. Should easily last 140-175K with routine maintenance, and some last 300K or longer.
  • it had a cd factory cd player, when i got it it also has a few items that were called only o the LSI model,sunroof,power wind and locks,imtermitent wipers,abs brake,power mirrors, cruise,titl,better looking seat fabric than base, ive been tol itsa base model and that the vin# supports
  • it had a cd factory cd player, when i got it it also has a few items that were called only o the LSI model,sunroof,power wind and locks,imtermitent wipers,abs brake,power mirrors, cruise,titl,better looking seat fabric than base, ive been tol itsa base model and that the vin# supports that the only idea i got is that the original owner maybe oredred those options but if woulda been hundreds and hundred for thoose seperate,insted of getting the lsi any ideas???!!!
  • I found the website you were talking about and I plan on getting the owner's manual. By the way, after all the paperwork I finally picked up my car today. I'm very excited and nervous. I've never owned a car before.

    My next question is how does one set the blasted clock and station presets? I have the Geo radio/tape setup. I can't figure it out. Help!
  • I bought a used 95 Geo Prism LSI, 5 speed with 26K miles in November'97 for $9,600. In May '99, with 59K miles, I sold it for $7,700.

    I loved the car. It was well built, fit and finish was good. The 1.6L engine got a little loud at 75-80mph, but it did OK. No shakes or vibration in steering. It was a solid car for its size and weight. As soon as I bought it, I replaced the 175/65-14 tires with Firestone FT70C 185/65-14. Good tires in ice and snow.
    I bought and put on MOLDED front splash guards from Toyota dealer. I just told the guy I needed splash gurds for a '95 Toyota Corolla. GM dealer did not carry any type of splash guards for Geo.

    My two complaints with Geo Prism were; slightly small room that got to me on 2-4 hour trips, specially lack of room to stretch my left leg. I am 5 9 and 185 Ibs. I don't know how taller people can take these small cars. the second complaint was the heater, it never heated up decently. I took it to the dealer twice and I was told the heater was working as designed!! Well, the dealer was worthless. They did not know and did not want to work on it. My sister's Tercel had an excellent heater.

    Geo Prism is built on the same assembly line as Toyota Corollas are. The cars are built in a joint venture between GM and Toyota. With the exception of skin; fenders, bumpers, doors, headlights, and taillights the cars are identical.

    I was getting 32(doing 75MPH)or 37 doing 60 MPH on highway. If your are looking for a good small car, Geo Prism is a good choice. Toyota reliability at Chevy Cavelier price.

    Good luck finding a good one.
  • recently i've noticed that the front end &steerig in my car has really gotten lousy over the month, same tires seemk good.the steering wheel just doenst have that tite feel anymore.and it shimmies back n forth u can look at it and its mooving back n forth when driving stering wheel,when u turn the wheel when the steering wheel is centering after a return u can fell the wheel shiming.doenst seem to affec the handling, worst when cold? theere is also a noise from the front left tire area. it sounds just like a rubbing brake but there new and have beem checked ad there fine and the tire is fine too.brake shop said maybe a bearing.?? thanks brett
  • pat97pat97 Posts: 1
    Hi, I am going to buy a GEO Prizm 96 w/ 83K mile, AT. Not much power options but with ABS. The seller told me above average maintenance has been done. Has passed the MD state inspection test.

    Please do me a favor - is this a good deal??
  • I was unable to find the info out on any brochure.... but was hoping someone familiar with the 2001 Prizm could tell me if it still comes with a timing belt, or if it is a chain now. If it's a belt, do you know how often it requires changing. Thanx in advance.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    Toyota uses timing belt on all their passenger cars. Geo Prism/Chevy Prism are Toyota Corolla twin. I don't know what they do in Lexus line.

    Chain set up is a more expensive way to build engines
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Not all Toyotas use belts. The 1.8L engine in the Corolla and Prizm (1998 to present) use a chain-driven camshaft, not a belt. It does not require routine replacement as a belt does.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    This is very interesting. I have never seen anybody using chain on such a small engine. Timing chains are usually used in bigger displacement and more advanced engines.

    I trust what is said here, and will verify it. Thanks for the info. Chains last much longer than belts, but over the years, they get noisy.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    That Toyota engine is among the more advanced 4-cylinder engines you'll see on the market.

    Other makers use chains in similar-displacement engines as well - Saturn, for one. The home-grown Saturn 1.9L 4-cylinder uses a chain (not sure about the European 4- and 6-cylinder engines in the L-series, though).
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Nissan is also using timing chains. I own Prizms and a Nissan. Many small motors now have timing chains.
  • ken126ken126 Posts: 39
    I went looking at the new prizms and to tell you the truth they are very bland and the rear leg room is no better than my 90 model. It almost felt and looked like the same car from 11 years ago. I didnt want to look else where, but I dont think I can buy this car again. I am going to check the Sentra and Elantra next.
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    Toyota Corolla from 1998 onward uses the timing chain. If I remember right, it only recommend inspection every 36K miles, no replacement is required until well after 100,000 miles (if ever).

    1998-current Prizm uses the Toyota engine. So it's the same timing mechanism.
  • everyone who provided their insights regarding my timing belt or chain question. The moment you took to share it is appreciated.
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