Dear GM Owner:
Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your Geo
(Prizm, Storm, Metro or Tracker), or Chevrolet (Nova, Spectrum, or Sprint).
These models are made by Isuzu, Suzuki or Toyota. When GM introduced them,
they were sold as Chevrolets; later as Geos; and now as Chevrolets again!
As a joint venture car produced with Toyota in Fremont CA where its twin,
the Corolla is made, the Prizm (formerly Nova) is the most reliable with
the others falling much lower in reliability.
Brakes, exhaust, body hardware and integrity have generated the most consumer
complaints. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
has conducted many investigations of defects and generated numerous recalls
on Chevy/Geo models. Even the Nova/Prizm has had four safety recalls.
GM has recalled Spectrums three times for fuel system defects that can
cause fires. GM recalled 1993-94 Trackers for rear axle shaft fracture
that can cause the wheel assemblies to separate and 1994 and 1999 Trackers
for steering shafts that separate. GM recalled 466,902 1989-91 Tracker/Metros
& 1990-91 Storms for defective Takata seat belt buckles that unbuckle
in crashes. GM recalled 211,306 1990-92 Storms for steering wheel hubs
that fracture in crashes and interfere with airbag deployment. The 1990-94
Metro sedans and coupes have door-mounted automatic belts that can't keep
occupants inside the car if a door opens in a crash.
Engine defects on these subcompacts include oil consumption on the Spectrum,
coolant leakage on Sprints, and loss of oil on Trackers. Many service
bulletins discuss various leaks and noises. GM informed dealers of these
defects, but never told owners. If you paid for repairs, try to recover
them through Better Business Bureau (BBB) arbitration; you can arbitrate
if your car is less than 5 years old and 50,000 miles. Otherwise, use
small claims courts to recover expenses. Many owners have succeeded in
getting compensation from GM through these avenues.
You'll find information on Chevy/Geo defects below and what
you can do about them plus a complaint
box. Your information will help us build a strong case against GM
on the defects we know about and help us spot new ones.
We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our
fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars.
Your contribution is tax-deductible
and entitles your to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times.
Please submit the membership form along
with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis. Every home should have this invaluable consumer guide.
Clarence M. Ditlow
Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) numbers in parentheses are Chevrolet/Geo,
except as noted.
All: change in
brake feel after rotor refinishing, '81-90 (90-293-5,91-133-5); Nova:
front pad wear, '85-88 (88-359-5). Prizm:
brake pedal effort when cold, '90-91 (91-494-5). Sprint:
rubbing/grinding rear brakes, '85-88 (88-347-5); rattle when brakes applied
at idle, '85-88 (88-214-5). Storm:
front brake groan, '90-91 (91-527-5). Storm/Metro/Prizm:
brake rotor warranty service procedure, '94-98 (23-50-05B); front brake
pulsation, '95 & prior (43-50-09). Metro/Prizm:
ABS VI/TCS diagnostic assistance & parts return program, '91-97 (31-50-13C).
Metro: speedometer gauge
replacement, '95-97 (83-83-08); Storm:
headlamps go on by themselves, '90-91 (91-454-6B); headlamps activate
in cold weather, '90-91 (91-454-8B); charging system diagnosis, '90-91
inoperative ignition cylinders, '95-97 (73-01-09); fuel gauge responds
slowly, '96-97 (73-83-15). Metro/Prizm/Storm/Tracker:
low voltage reading/dim lights at idle, '90-95 (43-64-07).
All: no start, '80-91
(91-213-6D). Metro: idle
speed control motor replacement, '94-96 (61-65-22); idle speed adjustment,
'91-94 (41-65-30); no/hard start or poor driveability at low temps., '93-94
(43-65-08); camshaft position sensor circuit, '93-94 (41-65-18); cold
driveability concerns/hot decel. stall, '89-91 (91-442-6E); stalling/loss
of power, '91-92 1.0L (92-362A). Nv:
ignition igniter FREE REPLACEMENT, '85 (85C29); incorrect emission system,
'86-87 (87C15); Prizm:
fuel sender assembly replacement caution, '89-97 (71-63-04); cold start
stall, '89-90 (90-157-6E); engine surge at hwy speeds, '89-90 (90-443-6E);
low/ rough idle after decel. '90-92 (92-233-6E); cold start/hesitation,
'90-92 1.6L (92-225-6E). Spectrum:
rough idle/hesitation/surge, '85-88 (88-368- 6E); rough idle/runs with
key off, '85-88 (88-384-6E, 88-40); oil consumption, '85-88 exc. turbo
oil leakage into instrument cluster, '85-91 (91-485-8C): Storm:
throttle body carbon buildup, '90-92 (92-62-6A). Tracker:
reduced vehicle range/charge gauge sweeps, '97-98 (86-64-09); no charge/check
vehicle, '98 (86-64-10); revised idle speed/idle air control duty adjustment,
'94-97 (71-65-27); no MIL, '96-97 (71-65-19); engine cranks/will not run,
'96-97 (71-65-17); engine hard/no start, '92-96 (66-63-09); engine cylinder
damage, '82-95 (57-63-03); engine overheats, '90-95 (56-62-01).
All: reduced P/S assist
in cold weather, '80-91 (91-133-5). Nv:
left rear strut to axle carrier bolts, '88 (88C19). Prizm:
column squeak when turning, '96-97 (73-32-04); squealing/rubbing noise
in steering column, '93-95 (53-32-01); rear spring leaf breakage, '94
(94C60). Storm: creaking
noise from front suspension, '90-91 (91-471-3C). Metro/Tracker/Nv/Storm:
reduced P/S assist, '94 & prior (03-32-06). Metro/Storm/Prizm/Tracker:
intermittent steering column snap/click, '94-96 (56-32-02A).
Metro: vibration in reverse,
'91-92 (33-71-06). Prizm:
front drive axle replacement '97 (97-060); delayed upshift in cruise control,
'98 (83-90-09). Spectrum:
slips during downshifts, '86-88 auto. (88-358-7A). Metro/Storm/Prizm/Tracker:
driveline clunk, '97 & prior (56-44-01A); Tracker:
torque converter clutch chuggle/hunting condition, '89-95 (57-71-09);
(4WD) low mode can't be engaged/disengages, '95 (53-74-01); slip valve
replacement in drive axle, '95 & prior (46-41-01).
All: leaking cast aluminum
wheels, all years (93-030-16); tire damage in assembly, '88-91 (91-171-3E);
key breakage, '89-90 (90-426-10). Metro:
rear door lock assembly, '95 (95C66); floor pan water leak, '90-91 5-door
(91C12). Prizm: window
fogging, '97-98 (98-031); fuel injector solenoid encapsulant, '96 (96C32);
SIR plastic shield, '93-95 (96-C-71); tire sealing bead damage FREE REPAIR,
'90 (90C03, 90C12); binding front windows, '89-91 (91-121-10). Sprint:
loss of A/C performance/excess noise, '87-88 (88-318-1B). Storm:
child seat installation, '90-91 (91-123-10). Tracker:
upper door hinge loosens from body, '94-96 (73-10-67); lack of power in
snow, '96-98 (83-15-01); heater coolant reservoir leaking, '97-98 (86-11-08).
coat chalking & whitening, '94 (33-17-08). Metro/Prizm/Storm/Tracker:
exterior lamp condensation, '93-99 (63-82-06A); headlamp lens distortion,
'96 & prior (63-81-11); A/C odor, '93-96 (53-12-12); repeat service
of aluminum heater cores &/or radiators, '97 & prior (73-62-13A);
bumps or rust spots in paint, '94-99 (43-17-01B); aluminum wheel refinishing,
'90-95, '91-96 (53-17-01, 53-17-03A); contaminated A/C refrigerant, '94
& prior (43-12-23).
Copies of recalls may be obtained from NHTSA's Technical Reference Division
through the NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.
108,268 '85-86 Spectrum –
fuel pump diaphragm leak (87V-078); 665 '87-88 Spectrum
turbo – tank or filler pipe corrosion leak (88V-036); 8,238 '87-88
Spectrum turbo – PCV valve
blocks up w/engine oil leak (88V-046); 18,121'96 Tracker
– fuel tank integrity in rear impacts (96V-121.001).
15,200 '90 Storm – seat
back release lever pinches finger (89V-203); 466,902 '89-91 Tracker/Metro,
'90-91 Storm – Seat belt
buckle fails (95V-103.007); 30,000+ '94 Prizm
– Anchor straps separate (94E-021).
211,306 '90-92 Storm –
steering wheel hub fractures (92V-091-001); 965 '95 Tracker
– steering wheel center hub to spoke weld fractures (96V-118); 2,502 '94
Tracker, 1,158 '99 Tracker
– steering shaft separation (94V-016, 98V-324).
654 '90 Prizm – loose
lug nuts (90V-191); 435 '95 Metro
– fatigue failure of wheel studs (94V-213); 34,172 '93-94 Tracker
– rear wheel assembly separates (94V-073).
356,097 '89-93 Metro –
hood flies up (93V-189.001); 4,481 '95 Prizm
– battery (95V-195.002); 17,094 '97 Prizm
– inadvertent airbag deployment (97V-043.002); 32,903 '97 Metro
– loss of park in automatic transaxles (98V-225.001).