pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
89,798 miles
Total Complaints:
83 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (40 reports)
  2. add oil when needed (17 reports)
  3. replace engine (7 reports)
  4. sell the piece of @#%t (5 reports)
  5. just add oil every 1500 miles (4 reports)
  6. replace the rings and complete head job (3 reports)
2001 Chevrolet Prizm engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Chevrolet Prizm Owner Comments (Page 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #43

Mar 122003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


Well it's good to finally know what the problem is about my car using so much oil. I kept thinking it was an oil leak that none of the mechanics were finding!

The good thing is that with my oil change at Jiffy Lube, I get free top-offs between oil changes. Talk about saving money! Oil is expensive!

- , Leeds, MA, USA

problem #42

Nov 102004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,900 miles

I purchased my 2001 Prizm with almost 45,000 miles about 3 and a half years ago. It now has over 122,000 miles. I currently get 31.4 mpg. It's fairly reliable, but I will probably sell it in about 18 months. The engine light has been on for over two years. The code is always the same: LEAN MIXTURE. I'll be replacing the fuel filter; maybe the light will go off (but, somehow, I doubt it). This would be a great car if not for the excessive oil consumption. There is no smoke, and there are no oil stains on my garage floor. (??) I've gotten into the habit of checking the oil every other day. I'd say it uses a quart for every 375 miles. This only happens, though, if the car is driven primarily on the interstate. In the spring and autumn, I use 10W40 with STP oil treatment. In winter I use 10W30, and in sumer I use 20W50. I read somewhere that Havalin (spelling?) oil works best. Actually, that is a myth. This vehicle does not discriminate.

- , La Porte, IN, US

problem #41

Apr 152008

Prizm STD 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

This updates prior problem report, where adding a quart every 300-400 miles was happening: Oil use definitely rises during warmer weather, have added some Mystery Oil and switched to 10w40 which appears to have reduced oil binge a bit but still more than the norm. Any news on a GM warranty extension for this systemic problem would be appreciated, since this is certainly a design or assembly defect common to many owners of these otherwise decent cars.

- , Small Balls, AR, USA

problem #40

Mar 012006

Prizm 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


I bought the piece the piece of crap with 55,000 miles on. Noticed it started burning excessively at about 80,000. Had to check every 300-500 miles. I did change oil regularly. I see based on the # of complaints that this is a fairly common problem on this Toyota engine. My engine failed(connecting rod poked through wall of the engine) at about 115,000 miles. Had an estimate to put a "quality" used engine with 65,000 miles on it for $3700...no thanks. The inside door handles also break on this car. This engine is definitely a piece of crap. I would never buy this car.

- , Naperville, IL, USA

problem #39

Jan 012008

Prizm LSI 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

check engine light constantly off and on and it EATS oil like crazy NO leaks but about 2 quarts low every 3000 miles

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #38

Mar 162006

Prizm LSI 1.8L

  • Manual transmission
  • 114,000 miles

Oh Crap.... Was just checking recalls for Dodge Durango and decided to check for the Prizm. I was not looking for this though it has been a weird problem. I had a 1994 Metro that I junked with 260,000! I take care of my cars. I have to as we put 20,000 to 30,000 a year on each car. Well noted rattle in valve train and checked oil several times to put in 3-4 quarts. Raise the hair on the back of the neck couple times so now I check often as light comes on only when VERY low. I have two other problems that tick me off. The clutch bearing for the AC let go so the grinding is like nails on a chalk board. Also I chunked 3rd gear (let the clutch out when only half way in gear with spirited drive) and now grinds with down shift. Tranny is far from smooth. (Had 1979 Corrola Wagon junked with 119,000miles and that was great tranny). Was thinking of having it rebuilt and the compressor fixed (replaced, only Toyota's have AC clutch that can be replaced). Guess that I will not be fixing either thing....... Crap again I say Crap..... Can't afford new car so will thank God I know to add oil and do that. Chevy and Toyota should fix this. I know that it has over 130,000 now but this should not happen in this century.

- , Greenville, NY, USA

problem #37

Mar 062005

Prizm 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles


MY chevy prizm burns oil!!!! As if everyone here didn't already know that!

- , Mt Gay, WV, USA

problem #36

Jan 012005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 161,000 miles

I am tired of spending money on oil. I have had other prizms before and they have never done this. I am surprised to see that I am not the only one with this problem. Why has Chevrolet not corrected this problem? My car also knocks and the engine light has been on twice!! The first time was a sensor that cost me $300! Who knows what else is next. I will never own another prizm! The cost of gas is enough let alone the oil!!!

I think Toyota/Chevrolet should pay the cost of repairs or whatever is needed to repair these cars. I depend a lot on my vehicle and can't afford to have it break down!!

- , Riverton, UT, US

problem #35

Oct 142007

Prizm LSI

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I really liked this car before my son took it on a trip and it ran out of oil and the engine died two hours from home. I had the oil changed less than 3000 miles prior. Assumed all was well and without warning (no oil light coming on or anything like that) it was a real shock being faced with replacing the engine. Now I have a new used engine and you guessed it , the oil is low. Good thing I came here and read all these posts. I'm going straight to the store to get a case of oil. This is all I need . I will never buy another used car without reading Autobeef first.

- , Orland Park, IL, USA

problem #34

May 162007

(reported on)

Prizm LSI 1.8L DOHC

  • Automatic transmission
  • 225,000 miles

Like so many others on here, my Prizm has also been excessively consuming oil (usually add at least 1-2 quarts a month). It generally runs ok (not that great though until it warms up and sometimes it hesitates a little only right when gas is initially pressed at a stoplight but assume that may be due to mileage and/or fuel pump issue - a mechanic told me a year ago that it appeared that my fuel pump would be going out soon because my check engine light had come on with the code being the engine was running lean although after they ran some kind of carbon test thing the light went off and has not come on since and the fuel pump still works. Anyway, as far as the oil consumption issue, the engine seems to mildly knock/ping once in a while but nothing major. I try to check the oil at least once a week and the engine just keeps on running, even with the high mileage. I've put about 15,000 miles on this car since I bought it and have never had any major repairs. Question... if the excessive oil consumption has to do with oil sludge build-up would it help to run a petroleum distillate engine cleaner through the engine (like Gunk Motor Flush) right before having the oil changed so the sludge is removed? Also, why would sludge be building up on these engines (mainly this year) when others are fine? Anything related to a PCV valve issue? (I read about a Chevy Silverado's PCV valve being too big which allowed oil vapors to escape resulting in oil sludge build-up and thus engine failure) As I don't want to invest money in a new engine when the car has such high mileage, I just keep adding oil and driving it! :) Of course, I still have the oil changed as well.

- , Eau Claire, WI, USA

problem #33

Feb 062006

Prizm 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


Bought this car and gave to daughter to use for school. Discovered the same problem everyone else here has. Can't see blue smoke out of tail pipe but it is burning oil and need needs to be check every other fill up. Have over 100,000 miles on has been reliable but don't know what to do about oil burning problem. Can't sell it to an individual because of problem

- , Naperville, IL, USA

problem #32

Feb 022008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,524 miles

Went looking online to see if my car was the only one with the problem...good to know my dad can't be too mad at me for not caring for my car, lol.

At any rate, I noticed my car was making noises over a year ago (mileage would have been just under 60k), but I figured it was because I needed an oil change (I WAS overdue on it). Got the oil changed, noise went away until it was time for my NEXT oil change, at which time I changed the oil, and all was fine...

Back in December (December 22, 2007), I filled the oil up (full 4 quarts) when the noise started to come back. 3 days later, I made a trip from my house near Panama City, FL, to Summerfield, FL and back...a week later, I made a trip from my house to San Antonio, TX. Last week, the oil light came on, the noise came back, and my check engine light was now on (never had that before). Filled the oil (it was dry again), everything was fine. Not only did I have to fill up a month after already doing it...the noise has since come back (3 days after a full fill up), suggesting to me that it's already low (gonna check when I get back home).

If there is any fix to this other than a new engine, I'm all ears. Otherwise, let me know what happens if y'all make a case against Chevy.

- , Mexico Beach, FL, USA

problem #31

Jul 312007

Prizm 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

I went searching today and had I feeling I might run into a whole list of others who are having the same issue with a Chevy Prism. I'd honestly prefer no one else had the problem but it is nice to find we're not alone.

So there's little need to repeat what I already found. Our Prizm was given to us in the Fall of 2007 by my wife's father with about 58k miles on it. We noticed that the engine was making some rumbles and ran the dipstick to see that it was dry. My wife saw the oil light flash on a few times but I never did. After that we refilled on oil only to discover that it was disappearing much too quickly. We haven't gaged how many miles between adding quarts yet, but its turning into a monthly issue.

After having it checked for leaks and of course finding none, I assumed it was something related to the rings or something. But after searching the web for a few moments I can see that this is no isolated issue. We don't have any miraculous fix other than to waste oil on this machine until is can be replaced with something engineered properly.

I am very disappointed in knowing that this is a Toyota derived engine with such a fundamental flaw in its oil system. I expect any long established auto manufacturer such as Toyota and Chevrolet to be able to design a car without core defects in it such as this one. Additionally, the fact that many other people are also not being given a suitable heads-up warning by the oil light coming on reveals that the oil detection system is also a faulty design. With the price of oil and environmental considerations as well, this wasteful Prizm is flatly irresponsible.

I don't have many resources or time to take this issue further but I hope that other postings which mentioned a class-action suit may go somewhere.

As far as solutions to this oil consumption problem, it sounds like there aren't any real ones as this is a poor engine design issue. I read a post where someone advises using Havoline which is supposed to cut down on the problem somewhat. Other people are trying oil additives. I might try a thicker oil but it's unlikely to do much since this problem is not a leak situation.

I advise everyone who has this problem to post at least a short description of their story.

- , Portland, OR, USA

problem #30

Dec 192007

Prizm STD 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

Car runs fine, BUT uses excessive oil, estimate now a quart every

300-400 miles, no drips, tailgate fairly sooty, suspect valves or

rings, no oil blow into air filter chamber (typical if rings); this

is my wife's car, driven daily, any known cures or clues would

be appreciated... Best of luck on this LEMON.

- , Small Balls, AR, USA

problem #29

Jul 192007

(reported on)

Prizm 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Sounds like I have the same problem as everyone else. I drive a lot so I was adding a quart of oil a week. Talked to my mechanic and he said rebuild/buy new motor. This seems outrageous less than a hundred thousand miles and I can't even drive it. It was getting around 20 mpg when I quit driving it almost a year ago now it sits in my garage while I still make payments on it WHAT A CAR!!! Any suggestions or solutions?

- , Omaha, NE, USA

problem #28

May 242007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

Well here's another one to add to the list. Car is like all the other's, leaks about 4 quarts every 1000 miles, especially with highway driving. I had it smoked (to check for leaks) came back negative. I've also spent $300 on gas caps for the fuel emissions code (P0440). My mechanic says that my fuel is also not flowing properly to the engine, which might also be affecting the oil. The recommendation was to have the lines checked, which I did, to no avail. I hope this class action suit either takes place or GM finally decides to fix something, I'd hate for my family's loyalty of over 50 years to GM (including two employees) to be wasted.

- , Apple Valley, CA, USA

problem #27

Aug 242006

Prizm 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

Looks like I have the same problem as everyone else. I purchased a 2001 Chevy Prizm with 62000 miles on it. Checked the oil when I was looking at the car, was fine. Drove it for two or three fill ups and noticed the engine was rattling - almost no oil on the dipstick! It regularly takes a quart every 500 miles, highway driving seems to make it worse. No visible or detectable oil leaks, does not smoke. Lucas Oil additive seems to help a lot. Talked to knowledgeable person at Advanced Auto, said sludging is another problem with the engine, been adding Rislone Oil Treatment to help it remove the sludge. This definitely seems to be an engine defect. I have 84,000 on the car now, no problems except having to add oil. Continuing to troubleshoot, will post a solution if I ever find one. Really disappointing - I had an '87 Chevy Nova (same, Toyota built) that just would not quit. This car is definitely not the same experience.

- , Cranberry Twp, PA, USA

problem #26

Nov 042007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

bought car with 14,000 miles on it never really had a problem and after 42,000 miles the pos takes a dump on me during a 3 hour trip to LaCrosse to visit my gf. Turns out there was no oil in my car even though i wasn't even due for an oil change and the oil light wasn't on. i could get a used engine for around $2,000 or a new one for about $5,ooo but i honestly don't know what to do, just really pissed that a lot of people have had the same problem with the same car and no recall has been made

- , Greendale, WI, USA

problem #25

Nov 052007

(reported on)

Prizm LSI 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

I bought the car used with 80,000 miles. No burning, smoking etc, just uses oil every fill up. I never heard a word about this issue when I did research on Consumers Reports (I have heard rumors that CR favors Toyota's and gives them favorable reports and I am starting to believe this since this is really a Corolla with Chevy nameplates). I am REALLY disappointed in this vehicle since I had heard such good things about Toyota products. I had a Chevy dealer tell me there are no rebuild kits available from GM but I may find one in the after market. I did find some, but after reading about all the problems and that there doesn't seem to be any true fix out there, I don't want to waste the money rebuilding the engine! Do I start with the valve, valve seals, piston rings, etc? Very disappointing!!!!

- , Byron, MI, USA

problem #24

Oct 232007

(reported on)

Prizm 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

Not impressed with Toyota or Chevy on this, never had a car burn this much oil. Had regular oil changes and all maintenance done. This is obviously an engine defect.

- , Bagdad, KY, USA

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