Should I keep my 1997 Geo Metro (I really want to!)

I purchased a 1997 Geo Metro about four years ago and other than not being a strong car, I have been very happy with it. It’s very small, cheap to run, paid off and perfect for this poor musicians life. I change the oil as needed, keep the tires inflated and have had some things fixed as necessary. The car overall though is in need of a serious tune up, including a fix of the AC and Heat. I want this car to last me at least another year if not two. I am wondering if it’s worth it to put another $1000 into it and get fixed everything that needs fixing. See car need below:

New Battery

New RS Visor

Gear Shifter - Tightened up in the past month

RS Door Lock (can’t open door with key from outside)


Trunk Door Holder Upper is losing ability to hold up trunk

Dome light not working when RS door is open (fuse?)

“Head lights left on” beeper stopped working (fuse?)

Loosen trunk door lock (very moody, sometimes works sometime not)

Based on this you will only accrue $500 / yr on this improvement expense assuming you keep the car another 2 years. A car payment may be $350-$500 a Month and if you replace this with a used car that’s say, $7,000 then not only do you have the cost of taking delivery on the new(er) car, you also have the variable costs that go with that car too.

I think your overall cost per mile will be lower if you keep what you have for a while. That’s just what I would do.

It is difficult to say for sure, but I would put my money on it being cheaper to keep what you have. Even if you bought a 2006, you have no warranty that it may cost far more that you current car.

You don’t even need to fix all that stuff. Here are my suggestions (which might prompt some of the real experts to chime in).

Battery – Yeah, if you need it, then you need it. But maybe Sears or one of the big chain stores will give you a good price AND install for free; you would not even have to install it yourself.

RS Visor – You could probably install it yourself, but it’s probably not worth the cost of a new one (dealer item) and a used one (salvage yard) is likely to be as worn as your own. Let the passenger squint a little.

Gear shifter – Better have a good mechanic look at that. It might be an omen of a bigger ($$$) problem. If you lived in my area, I’d send you to my favorite honest transmission shop. (If you lived near contributor Transman, I’d send you to him.)

A/C heat – Could be simple, could be $$$. Depending on your skills/knowledge, you might have to need a good mechanic address this.

Trunk door holder upper – I once had to replace a “holder upper” (gas piston). Available from chain auto parts stores, and easy to replace yourself. (If a mechanic is fixing other things, s/he MIGHT give you a break on this.)

Dome light not working when RS door is open – If the light works when LS door is open, then it’s not the fuse; it’s almost certainly the switch in the door or a broken wire. If it’s not easy to fix (switch, or easily accessible wire), then let it be. You don’t need that function. Do you?

Head light beeper – Let it be (unless you find some easy-to-fix switch or broken wire). Cars worked fine for decades without this function.

Trunk door lock – I’d get this fixed before I got locked out of the trunk. Maybe you can get a replacement from a salvage yard, and get a locksmith to make a new key (or maybe re-key the lock to match your own key).

Thanks for you thoughts on my car situation. I am going to take it to my relatively newly found mechanic (who really helped me out in a pinch last year on December 23rd - for free, no less) so he has my loyalty. His garage will give me free assessment on all that I’ve written about here.

@Art1996, you’ve given me many things to think about. While I have little mechanical skills, I love DIY, so I like your idea of fixing what I can.

Regarding the headlight beeper, I NEED this. I have, unfortunately, left my lights on too many times to NOT have this.

I’ll let you know how things turn out!

I found a paradox with the Geo Metro. What I mean is ,it was a inexpensive car to purchase but an expensive car to maintain. In 1997 we Dealer mechanics used to joke about buying a new one just to part out. AC and body parts are very expensive.

Perfect recommendations.

Let me add that the RS door lock and the trunk lock just might begin working again if flushed out with some silicone spray or WD40.

I had to replace one of my air struts for my hatch also. They run about $20-25 dollars at the parts store and are an easy DIY job.

If the shifter has “tightened up,” I would like to know when the last time was you changed the transmission oil.

The trunk door lock might just need lubricated.