1999 chevy prizm how long do these cars last before it's off to the boneyard?

my car has 186,000. I haven’t had the dough to check the belt yet, I been doing some reading and I’ve heard the a/c pulley only turns when the compressor is needed. I ran the a/c and because it’s 29 degrees outside i’m guessing the compressor isn’t needed. I looked at the belt because the car makes a new sound now, a slight hum or slight higher rev when i touch the accelerator. I thought because the a/c pulley wasn’t moving it should be replaced. thank god i haven’t been paid yet; I think somebody would have taken me for at least a grand. I guess what i’m saying is does this car have another 100,000 or not? the car has mostly highway miles. I wouldn’t say anything, yet this slight noise a slight reving sound started two months ago. I thought these cars would last 500,000. with the toyota motor and the toyota trans. Thanks loads to chevy for not labeled those parts as toyota! the air filter housing prominently says toyota.

"does this car have another 100,000 or not"
Not if you continue this level of neglect.

Those that have properly maintained their Prisms will get many years more reliable performance than you will.

Just my two cents but even though the compressor is not running, the pulley is still going around. When the AC is turned on, the clutch is activated and the rest of the pulley turns. So there is still some wear regardless.

As far as how long it will last, who knows? Is the body ok, oil changes and other services kept up? They tend to be a fairly simple car but everything wears out eventually. 300,000 might be asking a little too much.

some wear to what? wear to the pulley?

should the pulley be replaced.


maybe it’s a bad valve clearance?


A common vehicle like this can last between 5 and 75 years depending on environmental conditions and ones willingness to repair and maintain the vehicle. Often a vehicle the age of yours will be abandon when the need for a $500 to $1,000 repair is necessary.

There are a number of things that can cause noise when failing so don’t jump to conclusions without opening the hood.

I think somebody would have taken me for at least a grand.

Perhaps if you asked for an unnecessary compressor replacement, have the problem inspected by a professional.

The owner of the vehicle has far more to do with a vehicle’s reliability than the original manufacturer of the car or truck. Maintenance is the key where longevity of a motor vehicle is concerned.

I have to agree with @missileman. These are the most reliable “Chevrolets” ever built, but the owners’ care largely determines how long the car will last.

The most miles Toyota I ever rode in had 1.4 million kilometers (875,000 miles), but it was a well maintained taxi overseas with no salt on the roads…

Even with rough care, the car should be good for 250,000 miles or so, but the transmission will be the weak point without regular fluid and filter changes.

To answer @TommyPickles question, 500,000 miles is possible with very careful maintenance and good driving habits, but only in a dry climate with little salt used on the roads. If you don’t have the money or the inclination for good regular maintenance, 250,000 miles will likely be your limit.

For the record, I got 338,000 miles out of a Toyota before it got totaled by an errant Hyundai.
My current one has 233,000 and is still running beautifully.
BUT I maintain my vehicles.

Results may vary.

The OP states they do not have the funds to have the belt checked. What belt they don’t say. I hope they don’t mean timing belt.

1999 Prizm and Corolla have a timing chain

To the OP, all I can suggest is this: dine on Ramen Noodles for a month or six and FIND the money to get the maintenance up to date and any necessary repairs made. If you do this, this vehicle can easily last you many more years. If you do not, it will not. There’s simply no way around this. I’m sure you can skip the pizzas and beer for a while.


Speaking of Ramen noodles . . .

Some guy I barely know, against all advice, went ahead and bought a Mini Cooper :fearful:

Within a few years, the thing had predictably transformed into a horrendous POS on wheels :smiley:

I wisely declined to work on it :wink:

The last thing I heard, he had to have a clutch job, head gasket, water pump, etc. done :smirk:

He told me to my face that he had to eat Ramen noodles because the repair bills had pretty much reduced him to poverty status and survival mode :anguished:

I’ll bet the sparkle has gone out of his eye… :smile:

Off subject, where do you get those other emoticons? I went looking, but couldn’t find them.


press shift and semicolon

“smile” will automatically come up

now press a letter. If you press w, “wink” will come up instead Pretty much every letter will result in different emoticons

Thanks a million. I wouldn’t have figured that out myself if I’d lived to be 100. :smiley: