Chevrolet Prizm: Interesting Bits of Information
- The Prizm was initially launched under General Motors’ import brand called Geo. It went into production from 1989 until 2002, releasing three generations of the compact car during its stint in the US, where it was exclusively sold. In Canada, Geo Metro’s sedan version, which only came in the US in 1995, was sold instead. Developed by Toyota and General Motors in a joint project, the Prizm was actually based on the Japanese Toyota Sprinter, a Toyota Corolla version.
- All units of the Prizm were manufactured at NUMMI New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.. NUMMI in Fremont, California is a joint venture between GM and Toyota.
- Beginning in 1998, Geo Prizm was converted into Chevrolet Prizm as the third generation of the compact car was released. The redesigned Prizm came equipped with then-new 1.8L engine. Instead of a timing belt, the all-aluminum engine was driven by a timing chain. The redesigned Prizm could produce more power without hurting the car’s fuel efficiency. This was a step up compared to previous engines used by the Geo brand years ago. The engine made use of laser-etched valve guides in the block, which made the car less prone to oil burning and valve guide breakdown.
- If the Prizm had any distinct difference from its Toyota counterpart, this would have to do with minor cosmetic changes and options. The Prizm was equipped with a GM Delco radio, for instance. In one of the generations of this compact car, a Delphi A/C system was used instead of the Denso A/C system found in a Corolla.
- The Prizm suffered from lower sales when it was rebranded in 1998. Other Geo models also suffered the decrease in units sold with the brand conversion. Geo models sold better than Chevrolets by 3 to 1. The Prizm was no longer as popular as before when pitted against the compact Chevrolet Cavalier and the Saturn S-Series of GM.
- The Geo Prizm was a successor to the Chevrolet Nova. After its production ceased in 2002, the Chevrolet Prizm was eventually replaced by the Pontiac Vibe, which was manufactured along with the Toyota Matrix at the NUMMI plant.
Chevrolet Prizm: Common Troubles
It was a smooth, trouble-free ride. The experience was great. But after several years, the Chevrolet Prizm, like most vehicles, may soon reveal its flaws. It may not run as well as it used to or may need to be repaired for glitches that have been ruining its performance on the road or have been affecting passenger comfort and ride quality. Based on usual complaints, we’ve compiled some of the common problems of this compact car. Here’s a short list:
Check Engine Light problem
To many Chevrolet Prizm owners’ dismay, the Check Engine Light would oftentimes come on. They would try to fix everything, but the light still won’t go out. Based on the reported problems associated with the Check Engine Light, the common reason for the light coming on is the mass air flow sensor, which is a common problem. If the Check Engine Light illuminates and you can’t seem to figure out the problem, you may want to check the MAP to see if this is at fault. A gas cap issue is also a common reason why the Check Engine Light would be activated in the Prizm. See if the gas cap is already loose or worn out after several years of use. This problem affects various model years of the Prizm and may show anywhere between 15,500 and 130,000 miles.
Brake rotor wear
The front brake rotors are another cause for concern, as reported by users. Pulsations in the brake pedal are a symptom of brake wear. The front rotors, along with the brake pads, may have to be replaced under this condition to ensure reliable braking power, especially when driving at high speeds. If you hear any unusual noise when braking and notice a change in braking performance, such as longer braking distance or the car pulling to one side when braking, this should be a good reason for you to have the brakes thoroughly checked. Inspect the rotors for damage such as grooves and scores. If the rotors already have deep grooves or suffer from warpage, this may be the best time to have them replaced at once. While at it, the brake pads should also be checked and considered for replacement.
Chevrolet Prizm: DIY Tips for Car Engine Cleaning
The moment you turn the ignition key and crank up the engine, the vehicle's powerhouse is hard at work. Every little component must move to the same rhythm, to the tune of high performance. After some time, dirt may accumulate under the hood along with grease and fluid residue. If you pop the hood and find a grubby-looking ensemble, then it's time to do some engine cleaning. You don't always have to leave it to the pros. Here are some DIY tricks for cleaning the engine of your Chevrolet Prizm:
You have more than a few options for a degreaser, which may come as a solvent or a water-based solution. Solvent-based degreasers are known to be fast-acting, cutting the heavy grease buildup more easily. However, they emit a strong solvent smell. This is why some would choose a concentrated water-based degreasing product instead. A foam or gel formula is best used on vertical surfaces. There are also alternatives to a degreaser, including mineral spirits for heavy grease and a grease-cutting detergent mixed with water. Follow the instructions on the label strictly for safe handling. After dissolving the grease using a degreaser, this will be hazardous waste that should be properly disposed of.
- Prep up the engine for some under hood cleaning.
You have to warm up the engine but not let it run too hot. Fire up the engine for about 5 minutes or so until it has warmed up slightly. Shut it off and let it cool down a bit until you can touch the exhaust manifold without getting burned. Degreasers, along with other engine cleaners, work better when the grease is warm and soft. Disconnect the negative terminal cable and then the positive cable on the battery. Next up, you have to seal the electrical connections. Wrap up the wires and coils and any electrical component such as the alternator with plastic bag to keep them safe from water. For the breather or air intake, aluminum foil or plastic can be used to cover it. Remember to put a drip pan under the vehicle and use absorbent mats for the runoff.
Before spraying any degreaser or engine cleaner, you have to brush any loose dirt or debris or use an air compressor to blast them away. Spray the engine cleaner or degreaser on the different parts of the engine. Be careful not to overspray. Let the solution sit for a while before rinsing it with water, making sure that water won't get into the covered or wrapped-up parts. Use the vehicle service manual as a guide for prepping up and cleaning the engine block. Aluminum and plastic parts can be wire-brushed or scrubbed. Drying can be done using towels or compressed air. You may also use some brake cleaner to remove grease on hard-to-reach areas. Engine protectant may also be applied. This won't only add some layers of protection to the engine but will also make it easier to clean the next time. After cleaning, check for leaks.
Chevrolet Prizm: Chevy’s New Geo
Working together with Toyota, Chevrolet designed and built the Prizm, an entry-level compact car that had a good resale value and proven reliability. Manufactured form the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc (NUMMI), General Motors’and Toyota’s joint-venture company, the Chevrolet Prizm was patterned the Toyota Corolla’s body. People chose the Prizm for its superb assembly quality, tasteful styling, and unmatched reliability record.
First Generation: From Sprinter to Prizm
General Motors introduced an all-new Geo brand of import cars in 1989 called the Prizm. Sold between 1988 and 1992, the first generation Chevrolet Prizm was offered as a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback. There were three engine variants to choose from: a 1.6-liter 4A-FEI4, 1.6-liter 4A-GEI4 with 105-horsepower, and the 130-horsepower 1.6-liter 4A-GEI4 for the Prizm. A 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission was coupled with the Prizm’s engine variants. The Chevrolet Prizm GSi model was the sports package sold between 1990 and 1992. Built from the Toyota Sprinter Cielo’s body, it was fitted with a sport suspension, a 130-horsepower twin-cam engine, 14-inch alloy wheels, and a set of disc brakes.
Second Generation: Enter the Compact Prizm
In 1993, Chevrolet decided to redesign the Prizm to give it more room. The 4-door sedan was powered by a new 1.6-liter 4A-FEI4 engine with 105-horsepower. Although the second generation Prizm lacked a front stabilizer, it was equipped with a rear stabilizer bar, an optional 4-speed automatic transmission, and wider tires due to its larger engine. Since the Chevrolet Prizm was classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a “compact sedan”, driver and passenger side airbags were equipped as standard safety features on the Prizm in 1994. Leather seat upholstery and a larger 1.8-liter 7A-FEI4 engine were fitted on the Chevrolet Prizm LSi trim models.
Third Generation: A Faster and Lighter Prizm
Equipped with an all-aluminum 1.8-liter 1ZZ-FEI4 engine, the 4-door Chevrolet Prizm was faster and lighter, thanks to its new engine and timing chain. Laser-etched valve guides on the Prizm’s new engine block prevented valve guide failure and oil burning. Also, Toyota’s Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i) was incorporated into the sedan’s new engine. The new Prizm was now more powerful and fuel-efficient. Optional side airbags were also offered on the Prizm, making it and the Corolla, the first sedans in the compact class to offer them. Due to a sloppy emergency handling, Toyota and Chevrolet included a front stabilizer on all the Prizm trims in 1999. Low popularity and decrease in sales lead Chevrolet to discontinue the Prizm. The Last Chevrolet Prizm rolled off the production line in December 13, 2001.