1998 Chevrolet Prizm Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1998 Chevrolet Prizm as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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7
Known Problems

The Chevrolet Prism has a known issue with the valves that if left unchecked, will cause burned valves and engine performance issues. This issue does not affect the Geo Prism.

The engine ‘breathes’ through valves that are pushed open by the camshaft, and closed by springs. When valves are closed, they seal against a valve seat. In this vehicle, the valve seat is too soft, so after the valve contacts it thousands of times, it becomes crushed. Once it is crushed, the valve can no longer make a proper seal, and the valves erode due to extreme temperature (burnt valve).

Symptoms related to this issue:

To repair the burnt valves, the cylinder head must be removed and rebuilt, which is a costly internal engine repair, however, this issue can be prevented through inspection and adjustment of valve clearances every 40,000 miles.

A Loose or worn gas cap may cause Check Engine Light to illuminate.

The spark plugs should be replaced every 100,000 miles. Our technicians recommend replacing the spark plug wires also at this time.

Extended life coolant may become contaminated and require cooling system service before the recommended 100,000 miles.

Front brake rotors can wear causing a pulsation felt in the brake pedal. Our technicians often recommend replacement of the front rotors and brake pads as the best option to correct this condition.

Brake fluid can become dirty and may cause problems in the brake system; it should be flushed every 60,000 miles.

The mass air flow sensor may fail causing the Check Engine Light to illuminate.