1991 Geo Metro Base 1.0 3 cylinder from North America
An amazing little car, and great value for the money
This car was purchased as a running and driving project for $250, and as such, came with its share of issues.
The previous owner did not silicone the cam seal in, and it popped loose, causing a massive oil leak (cost to repair: $6).
The gas tank to fuel pump plate seal leaks, and the car is currently awaiting a new part to repair this (cost to repair: $15).
The passenger's window also did not roll down, but sorting it out took only a few minutes.
The inner tie rods were wasted when I got the car, but new ones are only $33 each for top of the line Moog parts.
The engine has one cylinder with low compression, and will need to be rebuilt soon. I estimate it will cost $500-700 for me to do it myself. However, on a rust-free Metro, it is well worth the aggravation to properly sort the car, as few other vehicles can deliver the kind of economical operation that a well-sorted Metro can.
Driving a Metro for the first time is a very agricultural experience. However, it is easy to get used to, and not at all bad, so long as you do not expect high levels of refinement.
The fuel economy is the real party piece of the Metro. Driven well and in a good state of repair, a 5 speed 3 cylinder Metro should always deliver a minimum of 40 mpg per tank, with some tanks exceeding 50 mpg.
It is easy to park.
It is easy to repair yourself, and parts are inexpensive.
When shopping for a Metro, a compression test should be considered mandatory. Metros have a propensity for burning exhaust valves, and repairing this will require a cylinder head rebuild.
Watch for frame rot where the front lower control arms bolt to the chassis. This is a common problem on cars used in colder climates, and can cause the car to become structurally unstable if left unchecked.
Metros require regular cleaning of the EGR ports as well. Failure to do so can result in burnt exhaust valves.
Replace the PCV valve on a regular basis. Failure to do so can blow out the cam seal, and contribute to carbon fouling of the EGR system.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 31st December, 2010
I figured I would update this review, as it was me who wrote the original. I have put 19,000 miles on it in the 9 months I have owned it, and it has been very reliable.
I did end up replacing the drive axles, flushing the brake fluid, fixing the A/C and replacing the alternator in that time, and all that probably ran me $200 in parts.
It now needs a steering rack soon as the bearings are worn out. It will likely be replaced with a salvaged part when I get around to it.
Surprisingly though, the engine has run fine and did not require a rework. The valves sealed after running it a while, as it seems that the car had sat before I bought it.
One big change I made was the use of the proper Pennzoil Synchromesh gear lube in the transmission to replace the thick gear oil that had been in it when I got the car. Doing so made the crunch into second go away, and now it shifts as though it were new.
As for fuel economy, my worst tank was 39 mpg and my best was 49 mpg. The average is about 44-45 mpg in mostly city driving, as the car's primary use is suburban pizza delivery. I will add though that I am an avid hypermiler, and use various driving techniques to maximize fuel economy. When I drive it normally, it only sees 40-42 mpg, and when I really pull out all the stops, it averages 47-48 mpg. Also, using the A/C really hurts fuel economy, and can knock off as much as 10-15 mpg. This is probably because the 55 hp engine does not have enough reserve power to run the compressor, and so a substantial portion of the engine's power has to go to running the A/C instead of providing forward motion.
Would I own another? Sure. I already do, and am gathering parts to make it more fuel efficient than stock.