pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
88,482 miles
Total Complaints:
9 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (9 reports)
1999 Chevrolet Prizm engine problems

engine problem

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1999 Chevrolet Prizm Owner Comments

problem #9

May 012004

Prizm 4 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 155,000 miles


I been having that same problem but I thought it was rear that I couldn't see the oil on the ground so a mechanic suggested I change the gasket, still consuming the oil. I can't remember when it started but and a noise it makes when the oil is low, other than that, car drives great but then again, I have had it for 11 years.

- , Waterbury, CT, USA

problem #8

Jun 012006

Prizm 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I bought my 1999 Chevy Prizm from the dealership in 2001 while it was still under warranty, with about 32000 miles on it. It was one of their fleet cars & had never been owned by a private party before me. I got a look at the service records & the car had received regular maintenance.

The car ran great & I had no problems with it until around the middle of June 2006 when the car hit 80,000 miles...it began need oil more and more often, although I couldn't figure out why.

Now, the car has a little over 115,000 miles on it & it needs about a quart of oil a week! The oil light has never come on, it has never leaked any oil, nor is there any blue smoke coming out of the tail pipe! So where is the oil going? I have never had a car that has had a problem like this!

Now I've found this website & have learned that my car is not unique! GM should be ashamed of themselves for letting so many people sitting holding the bag with cars like this! Obviously there is some kind of design flaw in the engine for this model of the Chevy Prizm! GM, step up to the plate & do something for us!

- , Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #7

Jul 012005

Prizm 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

I notice the oil consumption problem as early as 2005, when I just purchased the car. However the car was used mostly local and the problem is not very significant. Recently, my wife drove it on high way. I checked the oil level and found I have to add 1 qt every 400 miles. No leak, the oil must go through the pipe.

- , Springfieldt, TN, USA

problem #6

Jun 102010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,337 miles


Got this prizm a few months ago and have been having problem after problem with it. I changed the oil soon after I got the car because it was due for an oil change and the oil was really dirty, almost black, and barely any came out until I changed the filter. I had to quickly grab the pan and put it underneath because it was coming all down my arm. Well 3,300 miles later I get the oil light on my car and sure enough there was no oil in my car. I checked the car again after I had driven it a little after the oil change and I could barely touch the gauge because it was hot even though my thermometer said my engine temperature was fine. I have no clue why it's eating up oil or why the oil was so dirty but I noticed a ton of other complaints about oil guzzling and if this is such a big problem there should be a petition and rebait for this.

- , Elizabethtown, PA, USA

problem #5

Oct 012007

Prizm 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I bought a used 1999 prizm last year and noticed shortly after I had the vehicle that it was making a strange noise. I went for an oil change and was advised that it was very low. It wasn't even time for an oil change so I thought the last place that did the oil change screwed me over. Now I wonder if that is really true. Anyway, this keeps happening as about halfway between time for an oil change, the oil will be extremely low. It just disappears, there are no leaks, etc. I had to buy a used car as I am a college student and some idiot on a cell phone hit me and totaled my Honda. The best car ever! Now I am stuck with this oil sucking pit for at least a few more years. I will never buy Chevy or Toyota again. So much or the foreign drive train. Honda is the only car I will ever own again, come hell or high water.

Has anyone else had this issue with a 1999 model?

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #4

Jan 152000

Prizm Sedan 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

well same ole, same ole!! piece of crap uses a quart about every 200-300 miles. had to replace motor once already. bought this car brand new. had an oil consumption check while under warranty--they said it was normal for it to use a quart every 1000 miles (which was about what it used when new) and couldn't find a problem. if i wanted them to tear the engine down and found it was a problem i caused they would have to charge me $500 for the tear down! i was sure that i would be found to be the one at fault, whether i actually was or not and could not afford that, esp. to get a car back with a motor completely took apart and be in the hole $500. so i have been living w/ this problem. cannot even guess what i have had to spend on oil for this car! and with the price of oil as much as it is now, it really is alot! i hope gm will have to reimburse us for this obvious engine DEFECT!!!

- , Kettle Island, KY, USA

problem #3

Jun 232006

Prizm 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles


My 1999 Prizm has the same symptoms as everyone else's. Engine light on, goes through quart of oil between oil changes. Oil light never comes on when oil is low. I had a 1991

Prizm and never had any trouble with it. The engine was still going strong at 178,000 miles when the transmission went out. Didn't use a drop of oil. But my 9 Prizm gets about 30 miles to the gallon and otherwise has not given me any trouble. I just have to remember

to check the oil every other week. And I agree that putting the cup holder in front of the radio controls was not one of the best ideas Chevy ever made.

- , Lexington, KY, USA

problem #2

Jun 062007

(reported on)

Prizm 1800

  • Manual transmission
  • 58,000 miles

Gee I thought it had to be a quality car having a Toyota motor but even though the vehicle only has 58K miles and has been well maintained over the last three months it has begun to use oil excessively. It doesn't leak or show smoke however if you place a piece of paper 8-12 inches from the tail pipe while the engine is running small droplets of oil quickly accumulate. I took it into the dealer, they said it may be a bad perge control valve (PGV) and to try replacing that. Personally I don't think that's the problem. I believe oil is leaking by the rigs due to premature rig failure. The oil is not burning due to lowered compression and blowing out the exhaust as vapor? Although adding oil is a nuisance when the catalytic converter gets loaded up it's going to fail emissions and get expensive.

- , Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #1

Jan 242008

Prizm LSI 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

The excessive oil consumption actually started at @75000 miles when I had to add a quart of oil every six months. Now I'm up to 1 quart every two weeks. Noticed a ticking noise and found it was a bad lifter. Replaced lifter and a different lifter went out. Replaced all of them. Rear bumper is black with soot and takes rubbing compound to take it off. Have done all the tune up parts, cap, rotor, plugs, wires, filters, pcv valve still no change. It's due for a timing belt but having second thoughts. Checked local pick-apart for replacement engine. Found two Prizms with perfect bodies but blown engines. Spun main bearing in one the other had the head removed but the cylinders were heavily scored. Found a 99 Prizm in the paper pretty cheap. The seller stated that the engine mysteriously ran out of oil. The engine was now in the trunk of the car. My opinion,....... I think Toyota sells factory engines and transmissions that failed to meet the emission standards in Japan to Chevrolet and they in turn sell it to an unsuspectiing public in the U.S. and all we say is oooooh and aaaaah it's a Toyota drivetrain. Thanks for listening

- , Albuquerque, NM, USA

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