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98 Chevy Prizm – Sell, Repair or Swap Engine

I have a '98 Chevy Prizm that I have made more than $2,000 repairs in the past year, including a new serpentine belt, new valve seal, new tires, and just a few months ago a new starter, new exhaust pipe and replaced the engine with 150,000 miles with a used engine with 60,000 miles. The “new” used engine burnt piston, and I also noticed the rear seal is leaking oil and the car leans on the driver’s side (strut issue or shocks?). What would you do with so much spent on the car and new parts??? The choices I have are:
A) Get $350 back from the engine supplier and spend money to repair the engine, rear valve seal, etc.
B) Get a FREE engine from the used engine supplier and spend money to take out and replace the engine and repair the rear valve seal, etc.
C) Sell the car to the mechanic for $550.

Burnt piston–does this mean low compression? Oil burning? How much?

$350 buys a lot of oil if it is just burning/leaking a little bit and driving fine otherwise. I would not expect perfection in a used engine. Can you simply top off the oil level and keep driving?

It sounds as if the car is on its last legs.

The leaning is possibly due to a broken coil spring.

Option B sounds “okay” except the part about you paying for labor. That is a deal breaker.

Perhaps it’s time to sell the car to the mechanic and kiss your troubles goodbye.

You mean the replacement engine you purchased is faulty? If so, have you asked the outfit who sold it to you if they will replace it with another used engine, with parts and labor at their expense? Don’t know what kind of warranty these used engine outfits offer, but you’d think they would test them before offering them up as good-to-go.

And isn’t the Chevy Prism really a Toyota Corolla? You only got 150K on the first (new with the car) Toyota engine? That’s surprising. Did this car get all the routine maintenance suggested in the owner’s manual on the mileage intervals suggested? If not, the other non-engine components probably didn’t get their servicing either, and in that case it is probably time for a replacement car rather than spending more money on this one.

1 Like

Guys, here’s something funny.

Two people flagged @coolcat comment as spam

Yet I get hit with an “off topic” because I said he shouldn’t use this website to sell stuff.


We’ve been through this many times.

@@coolcat if you want to part out your car, do it on craigslist, not here.

When you are in a hole first rule is to stop digging. No more than $500 should have been put into this car in the first place. So cut your loss and get rid of it for anything you can. Try getting some money back on the engine, part it out or whatever, but don’t put any more into it.

I suspect OP has parted ways with the car by now.