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Best tunes/upgrades to do to a car

Bought a 2002 Chevy prizm. Got a super nice deal on it $1400 140k miles on it.

2 problems I did notice on it, on uneven roads, potholes etc. there’s like a thud, knock from passenger side. Next problem is the gas pedal feels a little stiff being pressed about 10% pressure but after slides right down normally.

Things I wanted to I guess tune/add to the car to make sure it’s running properly

*get battery tested
*test alternator

  • add a NEW Starter, (not remanufactured)
  • new plugs w/ new wires
  • tranny oil was hot pink, oil was light brown so none of those , new air filter is in it
  • add a new O2 sensor
  • consider bleeding break fluid
  • check coolant fluid.

Anything else I should do to a older car?

Is the Check Engine light on?

If not, forget the O2 sensor.

Does the starter show any signs of a problem?

If not, forget the starter.

Drive the vehicle for a while to get to know the vehicle.

Then you’ll have an idea of what the vehicle actually needs.



No check engine light , just wanna add everything now as it’s gonna be beaten and have 200k miles around when spring hits, rather fix things now , before winter hits or before it needs to be fixed, is there a way to test the starter I assume ? Like multi meter or something.

Shifts smooth so I understand o2 sensor what about a MAP sensor?

Then go to RockAuto, and order every part for your vehicle and replace it.

Then you’ll be good to go.



For the sticking throttle, try cleaning the throttle body. If that doesn’t work, make sure the linkage isn’t binding. If that doesn’t work, lube the throttle cable. If that doesn’t work, I give up :grin:

I’m with Tester here. I wouldn’t replace good sensors or starters. Especially if you buy aftermarket stuff. The older oem parts might last longer than new aftermarket.

I’d stick to tune up (plugs, wires, filters, and fluids), then replace things as they fail. I’ve had some vehicles with 200k miles and never had to replace an 02 sensor, starter, alternator, or map sensor on them. But I did have to replace 2 speed sensors. Point is, you really don’t know what will fail.

Unless you know it’ already been done recently, even if it appears light brown, an engine oil and filter change is where I’d start. I’d want to know for certain I had a good quality oil & filter with the correct oil spec in the engine. Next would be checking all the other fluids, is the level to spec? does the fluid look in good condition? After that I’d remove a spark plug for examination. If the working end looked ok, I’d just put it back in. If not, replace all four with new ones. Unless there was a reason to believe other ignition system components were faulty, I’d just leave those alone. Unless a symptom develops.

Replacing the brake fluid & coolant – job properly done – will only help, never hurt. If the fluids look ok I’d probably skip those until next spring though. You might want to get the coolant pH tested. As coolant ages beyond 2-3 years, its acidity begins to increases, and if it gets too acidic it will start to adversely affect the engine’s internal components. This might not be apparent just by looking at it.

A '02 140K mile Chevy Prizm at $1400 should be a pretty economic & reliable ride. Other than the suspension system problem you already noted, you should be good to go.


Yep, you’ve got it backwards. All new fluids now, parts on an as needed basis, except for what’s specified in the owners manual.

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Don’t ever bleed the break fluid, you’ll break it, but do replace the brake fluid. Sorry couldn’t help it.

I guess I’m with the others but I would do all the fluids including the transmission since you really don’t know the history and trans should be done every 30K. I think I’ve only replaced two starters so that wouldn’t be high on my list, but I like to replace the belt and all of the radiator hoses along with the coolant and thermostat. Of course check condition of the brakes, battery, etc. and take any defensive measure you can on any rust.


This is basically a Toyota Corolla, one of the most reliable cars you can buy. As said, only replace what is actually needed, and take it from there.

Incidentally this is also the most reliable “Chevrolet” ever built!


I would definitely find out what is causing the ‘knock’ you mentioned, if it is a suspension part, you don’t want that to break while ‘blasting through the snow’.

Shop said sway bar is loose but there not sure if it’s that, a strut or a link to the strut.

Your shop sucks.


I’ve never heard of anyone ever replacing a starter if it’s working. Same with an O2 sensor.

I’ve sold (or given away) vehicles with well over 300k miles and original starter and O2 sensors. In fact I’ve only had to replace O2 sensor on any vehicle we’ve owned since O2 sensors were available on vehicles. Even my 98 Pathfinder had the original O2 sensors when it left the family with over 400k miles.


Different vehicle but I got an apline unit and 4 bose speakers, it was great! Best sound I ever had! But I like music.

Could be a worn out bushing causing play in the sway bar. Wouldn’t be unusual at all for a 17/18 year old car. Your shop should’ve easily been able to tell though.