I purchased my 96 Geo Metro LSI 2-door coupe in 1997. It was used with 23,000 miles, had been wrecked on the rear-end of the car and repaired. It has the 4-cylinder motor and 3-speed automatic transmission.
It is now Jan. 2006 and the Geo just turned 89,000 miles. I had the timing belt replaced around 63,000 miles, before it started to break down, along with the other belts.
The repair shop spray-painted my headlight assemblies with the same clear paint that they shot the entire car with. I eventually had to replace both headlight assemblies because the fogged lenses were defusing the light and I could not see the road after dark. I eventually had the entire car repainted again.
Around 2001, my headlights started going out. While the safety headlights (that stay on when the emergency brake is off) still worked, when I turned on the headlights using the switch mounted on the steering wheel, the safety headlight would go out and the regular headlights would not come on. For several months I used the safety headlights at night until I researched the headlight problem. Turned out it was the physical plug-in for the headlights, down on the toe-board. This is located (1996 Geo Metro, LSI) above, and to the left of the brake pedal. The actual connection had blackened from sparking and was not making a proper connection. While replacing the entire wiring harness was not an option for me, I used spare parts from car-audio connections and replaced the blackened connector.
Almost immediately after purchasing the Metro, I noticed that the front-end would “shimmy, shimmy shake” when I applied the brakes. First, I had the rotors turned and the problem seemed to go away. It quickly returned. This time, I had the rotors replaced. They have been doing pretty good since, but recently it has recently started over again.
The fix? The front wheels lug nuts were not being tightened with the proper (consistent) torque, allowing for distortion of the rotors. Applying the same amount of torque to each lug nut will keep the rotors from warping and the brakes from shaking the front-end of the car.
Spark plugs seem to last around 40K miles before replacement is necessary. Otherwise, I have enjoyed driving the car.