Geo Prizm Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Geo 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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31
Known Problems

A loss of power on the freeway may due to an internally leaking fuel pulsation dampener. This commonly occurs on higher mileage vehicles.

On vehicles with a manual transmission, worn shift bushings can cause the transmission to pop out of gear, especially when coasting down in 1st or 2nd gear. Replacing all the shift linkage bushings is pretty straight forward and not expensive and will commonly correct this concern.

At higher mileages, (125,000-150,000) the automatic transmission may not shift correctly. This can be caused by the throttle position sensor being out of adjustment or a shift solenoid needing to be replaced. Typically the transmission does not need to be completely overhauled.

At 125,000-150,000 miles, the Brake Master Cylinder may need replacing. When replacing the master cylinder, it is critical to adjust the brake pedal to master cylinder pushrod clearance or the brakes can drag and overheat.

The ignition coil inside the distributor may fail. Our technicians tell us this may result in a hesitation on acceleration, especially when the vehicle is warming up on cold, rainy days. The pickup coils inside the distributor can also fail and cause a no-start condition. There have also been some failures of the radio noise suppressors inside the distributors, which can short out. Our technicians recommend replacing the whole distributor with a complete, genuine Toyota distributor if any of its components fail.

The EGR System tends to get restricted or blocked with carbon after 100,000- 125,000 miles which will cause an emissions test failure for NOX. If the EGR system is equipped with an EGR temperature sensor it will trigger a Check Engine Light for improper EGR flow. The repair is to clean out the EGR passages and the EGR Temperature sensor. Our technicians tell this repair is pretty straight forward and takes about 1-1.5 hours. It is also wise to verify the EGR system components i.e. the Transducer, EGR Valve and VSV Solenoid at this time.

The anti-lock brake system (ABS) may function erratically or illuminate the warning light due a damaged wheel speed sensor. A wheel bearing and/or CV joint with excessive runout can cause the ABS trigger rings to rub against the ABS sensors and damage them.

A transmission fault code of P0770 or P0773 may occur at higher mileages which indicates that the 3-way lock-up solenoid has failed and will need replacement.

You may be able to prevent automatic transmission problems by servicing the transmission and inspecting the fluid every 30,000 miles. If the fluid is dark or burned, the transmission system should be completely flushed.

If the engine will not crank over, the most common problem is the starter. These will tend to go out at about 100,00-125,000 miles. Sometimes it is only the starter solenoid, but often the complete starter (including solenoid) needs to be replaced.

The timing belt tensioner may make a rattling noise at a higher mileages. This is due to the adjustment being at its limit. Our technicians tell us the range of the adjuster may be lengthened by elongating the slot where the spring attaches by 2-3 mm to remedy this problem.

A rough idle and even an emissions inspection failure for high HC and CO can be caused by improperly adjusted valves. Also, exhaust valves may become to tight which can lead to valve failures. Our technicians tell us that regular valve adjustment inspections are a must.

The AC Expansion Valve may develop a very slow leak or allow too much refrigerant flow which reduces cooling. Our technicians tell us that Toyota makes an updated expansion valve to resolve these problems if and when they occur.

The power steering pump and power steering hoses tend to develop leaks and require replacement.