1997 Geo Metro LSi 1.3 from North America


An excellent car


Fuel sending unit in gas tank.

Window mechanism.

Heater/ac switch failure.

Complete ac failure.

General Comments:

I drive a 1997 Metro LSI, four door, with 76,000 miles on it. It is that weird purple-blue color. It has AC, power steering and an AM/FM radio as equipment.

I bought it as an "airport car" as I work at the airport. I paid $3000 for the little beast. While I had a really nice car that I drove on my days off, I increasingly drove the Metro for the fun of it. The Metro ended up being my regular car after I sold my nice car to a relative who needed a newer car quick and cheap. I realized that I drove Metroliner (that's its name) everywhere I went anyway. I have had mine for almost four years now, I have driven it on two trips that were over 350 miles each way. For work, I drove it 125 miles, each way, once or twice a week for two and a half years.

I have exactly the same problems everybody else has. My window tanked last year (thanks to everyone's advice, I am just going to live with it). The AC/heater switch has been slowly failing for the past year as well and only works intermittently (I am going to tear it apart and see if some of the other advice works). The A/C does not blow cold at all. There is a rattling noise coming from the front wheels - most likely the wheel bearings.

I get over 40 MPG on the highway, 25-30 in town. It has started every time I asked it to. I have only done oil changes on the car (every 5000 miles). It has never had a tune up.

I must say, I have owned dozens of car in my life. I grew up on big GMs and Mercedes, I have owned/driven all manner of sports cars, sedans, trucks and SUVs. Cars are my second biggest hobby. I still love my little Metro. I love the jokes people make about it. I like the odd looks people give it. I keep thinking I will buy a new car, but have found nothing I can afford that offers the same balance of practicality, reliability, charm, personality and fun. All of my friends think I am nuts.

I think all us Metro owners should start flashing our lights to each other (like other odd ball car owners do) as a sign of solidarity!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th March, 2005

2nd Dec 2006, 21:38

This is too weird. I'm on my second Geo -- the first was a '90 Prism. I now have a '95 Metro sedan.

The Prism had the window issues and the blower switch blew and the A/C died. I just lost the blower switch on the Metro (no A/C). However, a small price to pay for a terrific workhorse of a car! I drove the Prism across country, and returned back with the Metro. I've got almost 100K miles on the Metro and still get 37-40 miles a gallon. Not bad for an 11 year old car.

I've had to replace the muffler and cat converter (usual when you live in an area that salts the roads all winter) and the usual brakes and belts, but nothing major. OK, it's like driving an empty beer can if you hit high winds (a good cross-wind can push me across lanes, if I'm not careful), but when gas was over $3 a gallon this year, all my friends with their gas guzzling SUV's were being a lot more respectful of my little Metro.

1997 Geo Metro Base 1.0 3 cylinder from North America


Economical until you have to buy parts for it


Brake booster has failed twice due to an internal vacuum leak.

Heater control fan switch worked only on high speed, I was able to disassemble it and clean the contacts so it works fine now.

Clutch went out (to be expected with high mileage)

Normal maintenance (oil changes, tune ups, timing belt, etc.)

Service engine soon light has come on many times with code P0420 Catalyst System Low Efficiency. I have replaced both oxygen sensors and the catalytic converter ($200 for each sensor... same price whether OEM or aftermarket, another $200 for the aftermarket catalytic converter) and despite the fact the car has received regular maintenance and does not use oil the light continues to come on. This is a problem in my area where emission tests are required and they do check for trouble codes, if you have any codes you fail the test. A technician who said that computer failures are extremely rare in these vehicles quoted about $800 for a computer replacement... apparently it has to be programmed by the dealership when installing since they have the only tools capable of doing that. That appears to be the only thing left that could cause the code to keep returning.

General Comments:

The car is economical and for the most part durable. With 247,000 miles it does not use oil and still runs great, but the cost of some replacement parts can quickly add up to the value of the car. It is one of the easiest newer vehicles to work on yourself. However, I wish I had one built before a scan tool was required for obtaining trouble codes as repair shops will not even look at a service engine soon light for less than $80.00 each time. Not to mention O2 sensors are also cheaper and only one is used.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th January, 2005

31st Jan 2005, 07:55

You can take your car to AutoZone and they will scan it for free.

$80 to scan a service engine soon light is a ripoff!!

1st Mar 2005, 14:52

He or she is absolutely correct in telling you about Auto-zone doing a free scan or check engine light diagnostic for free. I have been there on two ocasions and both times no charge was asked.

15th Apr 2005, 19:40

If you live in a part of the country that does not have any Auto Zone stores, then unfortunately you do not have that option. The cheapest in my area is about 40 bucks, but not at a dealer.

25th Jul 2005, 10:33

Where was the internal vacuum leak? I have the same problem with my metro. I changed the booster and still have to press hard to stop car. Any suggestions where to look for vacuum leak?

30th Dec 2005, 18:31

See "P0420, P0430 Catalyst Efficiency" at http://www.actron.com/faq_detail.php?pid=16298&id=13

Since you've replaced the cat already, your brake booster vacuum leak could be the culprit. Hope this helps.

9th May 2006, 08:38

There is a big difference between reading codes and diagnosing the problems that cause those codes. Eighty dollar is quite reasonable when you spend 2-3 hours testing components on a diagnostic flow chart to determine the root of a problem. Autozone is not going to do that for you for free.