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Old 12-13-2012, 11:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Geo Metro for $1200??

I am pretty new to this forum, but not new to forums in general. I think this is the correct place to post this.

I found a 1995 Geo Metro for sale. I am going to look at it tomorrow morning. It has 200,000 miles on it. The seller said it was owned by his neighbor for 11 years and then he bought it from the neighbor. He doesn't want to get rid of it, but his wife and daughter don't want to learn to drive a stick. It is a sedan, with a manual transmission and he is asking $1200. The seller said he took care of it for his neighbor since he bought it. To his knowledge, the only thing that ever broke was the alternator belt. I am going to look at it tomorrow morning with cash in my pocket.

I know there are Metro enthusiasts on here and had a few questions. If I can assume that this car had the preventative maintenance done properly, what are their life (engine, trans) expectancies? I am looking to keep this car for a year until I move to Italy (hopefully) and if I don't get the orders to Italy I am going to drive it until the wheels fall off. Anything I should look for that would be a flag?

The goal for this car is to save money and to use as little gas as possible. I just sold a 2010 Sentra to get rid of a car payment (I had 2 car payments, now just one...).

The other car options are a Civic HX (manual, 121,000 miles, $3,900, dealership) or any other Craigslist 2 or 4 door Civic 5 speed up to $4,000.

Comments?? Thanks!

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Old 12-13-2012, 02:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarguy01 View Post
what are their life (engine, trans) expectancies?
I've seen these cars (even the 3-cyl versions) go well past 200k, properly maintained. Around here, rust is what kills these cars, not mechanical/drivetrain issues.

Assuming it lived its whole life down south, you shouldn't have the dreaded front control arm mount rot. That's its Achille's heel. (Where the front suspension tears off and wheels go their separate ways, etc.)

Quote:
Anything I should look for that would be a flag?
If you have the opportunity to do a compression check, I would, just for peace of mind (195 PSI is spec, if I recall). About the only other big thing to check is the transmission 2nd gear syncrho can be a weak point. Watch for grinding when shifting briskly (usually worst downshifting from 3rd).

Though that's not strictly a deal-killer, since you could always double-clutch to minimize the problem. But that's a pain in the butt/convenience issue that may have you hating the car after a while.

Quote:
The goal for this car is to save money and to use as little gas as possible. [...] the other car options are a Civic HX (manual, 121,000 miles, $3,900, dealership) or any other Craigslist 2 or 4 door Civic 5 speed up to $4,000.
Good, worthy goal!

Assuming it's in reasonable shape: get the Metro. Since it's a manual, you should be able to squeeze good mileage from it, even though it's the 4-cyl engine. (The automatics sucked, MPG-wise, and that's usually what you find in the sedans.)

If you're handy and can do basic/intermediate level repairs and maintenance, the price difference between this car and the others makes it a no brainer (again, assuming it's in reasonable condition). By spending $1k instead of $4k, you essentially have yourself a $3000 "insurance policy" for repairs/maintenance down the road, should you need it. $3k buys a fair amount of fuel, too.

And regardless of what you get, congrats on dumping the 2nd car payment! I know too many "car rich/cash poor" people paying interest for the privelege of owning a depreciating, money-sucking asset.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
I've seen these cars (even the 3-cyl versions) go well past 200k, properly maintained. Around here, rust is what kills these cars, not mechanical/drivetrain issues.

Assuming it lived its whole life down south, you shouldn't have the dreaded front control arm mount rot. That's its Achille's heel. (Where the front suspension tears off and wheels go their separate ways, etc.)

If you have the opportunity to do a compression check, I would, just for peace of mind (195 PSI is spec, if I recall). About the only other big thing to check is the transmission 2nd gear syncrho can be a weak point. Watch for grinding when shifting briskly (usually worst downshifting from 3rd).

Though that's not strictly a deal-killer, since you could always double-clutch to minimize the problem. But that's a pain in the butt/convenience issue that may have you hating the car after a while.

Good, worthy goal!

Assuming it's in reasonable shape: get the Metro. Since it's a manual, you should be able to squeeze good mileage from it, even though it's the 4-cyl engine. (The automatics sucked, MPG-wise, and that's usually what you find in the sedans.)

If you're handy and can do basic/intermediate level repairs and maintenance, the price difference between this car and the others makes it a no brainer (again, assuming it's in reasonable condition). By spending $1k instead of $4k, you essentially have yourself a $3000 "insurance policy" for repairs/maintenance down the road, should you need it. $3k buys a fair amount of fuel, too.

And regardless of what you get, congrats on dumping the 2nd car payment! I know too many "car rich/cash poor" people paying interest for the privelege of owning a depreciating, money-sucking asset.
Thanks for the reply. I will check the front end out for rust and run through the gears. I don't have a compression tester, so that I will chance.

I am pretty good with a wrench. I can and have done most things mechanical on cars including engine/trans swaps, clutches, etc. It really saves money when one can do the work and not need a shop to do it. Rockauto and Pepboys coupons are awesome places for parts...I have a garage with room for a car, most tools and if that doesn't work, there is a self use auto shop on base that has lifts and most auto tools/equipment.

I look at a high mileage Metro this way...say I pay 1000 for this car... That was 2.5 payments of the car I just sold. If I can get a year out of this car with a minimal investment, I will be thrilled. Also, I have another vehicle that the wife will drive and we will take on road trips. I am going to the Metro around town. If the front end falls off in 3 months, oh well!! I seriously doubt that though.

The only thing is, as a maintenance officer in a fighter jet squadron filled with pilots that drive bimmers and Range Rovers, I am going to catch hell for driving a Metro! I am sure it will be entertaining to say the least!
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Winter beater Metro - '00 Chevrolet Metro
90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

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90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

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Depreciating status symbols! I wouldn't worry about it.

Make no mistake: the Metro is a transportation appliance and not much more. The main pleasure you'll get from it is laughing all the way to the bank. (Unless you also happen to take pleasure in the bare-bones simplicity of a machine.)

Let us know how the inspection/test drive goes.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Okay, I am the proud new owner of a 1995 Geo Metro! I bought the car for $1,000. The only issues it has are a locked up ac compressor and no headliner. No big deal...I am probably not going to fix the ac since it will hurt the mileage.

Overall it was in better shape than most of the $4,000 Civics. It has faded paint and a few dents, but for $1,000 I am happy. It runs well and everything works.

I will snap some pics tomorrow in the light and post them.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Winter beater Metro - '00 Chevrolet Metro
90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

Fancy Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

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Congrats!

First thing I would recommend (well, after basic maintenance / tune-up check) is take a tiny amount of that $3k you just saved, and get an MPGuino for this car.

You got the manual transmission, so you now have a huge amount of control over whether you're going to get 30 mpg or 60 mpg from this car (or somewhere in between). Instant & resettable trip MPG feedback is how you fine tune your driving technique to get the results you want.
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Ecodriving test:
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 53.56 mpg (US)

Winter beater Metro - '00 Chevrolet Metro
90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

Fancy Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

Even Fancier Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 66.29 mpg (US)
Thanks: 3,442
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PS: beaded seat covers (http://ecomodder.com/blog/beaded-sea...keep-you-cool/ ) are no A/C replacement, but they beat the heck out of sticking to the seat if you're not going to replace it.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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427,000 miles on my metro, original unopened engine and transmission.
Daily commuter, ~ 52MPG.
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1992 Geo Metro, 1.0L 5spd, 435,000 miles on the original engine and trans!
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:02 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Congrats!

First thing I would recommend (well, after basic maintenance / tune-up check) is take a tiny amount of that $3k you just saved, and get an MPGuino for this car.

You got the manual transmission, so you now have a huge amount of control over whether you're going to get 30 mpg or 60 mpg from this car (or somewhere in between). Instant & resettable trip MPG feedback is how you fine tune your driving technique to get the results you want.
Yes, a tune up and basic maintenance are coming soon. Probably spark plugs/ignition, oils/fluids, maybe wipers, etc. I need to do some research for the best weight oil this thing can use for it's high mileage/MPG and what fluid to put in the trans.

MPGuino is on the list as well. I need something to show me the mileage I am getting or I will never learn to drive for mileage properly.

Beaded seats?? That is an idea, though Virginia is going to be cold for a few more months and I can hold off on them.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JellyBeanDriver View Post
427,000 miles on my metro, original unopened engine and transmission.
Daily commuter, ~ 52MPG.
Wow! The half a million mark is coming up soon. And the mileage it is still getting is awesome!

I am a little worried as I haven't ever had a car past 120,000 miles. 204K is scary, but I saw the prices of used engines/transmissions for this thing and am not too worried...$250 for a lower mileage engine? Sounds good to me!

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