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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I own 2 1997 Geo Prizm base models that I bought used with about 60k on them, with the 1.6 4A-FE engines.
They both now have about 155k miles on them.

My questions relate to the different maintenance intervals or parts than the owner's manual.

The following are the GEO Prizm OFFICIAL Recommendations
for short trip 5-10 miles City driving.

3k or 3mo oil change
6k tire rotation
15k check transmission fluid, Check drive belts
30k change spark plugs, air filter
60k or 6yr timing belt

How often do the following need to be checked or changed
fuel filter, oxygen sensor, PCV valve, and spark plug wires.

The following is my summary of service recommendations
that have changed because of:
New technology, like synthetic oils or fluids
OR Specific to warmer climates like California where I live

3k or 3mo OIL CHANGE
? Cold Winters, causing oil to break down faster?
New Technology Synthetic 7.5k or 1 year for California or warm climates

6k Tire Rotation

30k or 2ys RADIATOR Fluid Change
Toyota Red 2yr 30k
New Technology - Toyota Pink 5yr 100k

30-50K TRANS Oil Change
Should it be changed with a machine or just drain and fill?
filter and pan gasket every 100K.
No appreciable age limit on transmission fluid?

30k SPARK PLUGS
New Technology iridium 100K

TIMING BELT 60k or 6yr
New Technology 90k or ? Years
Tensioner or water pump fail first
Tensioner, Expected miles or time?
water pump Expected miles or time?
Monitor engine noises and engine or radiator leaks, check timing with light
 

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My '95 has followed the severe schedule from the manual since new to now (285k miles). No major problems.

I've always changed the transmission filter every 30k miles along with a fluid drain and fill. I leave gaskets alone unless they're leaking.

Everything that's not in the manual I only change when it starts to fail. For example, my fuel filter is original.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Everything that's not in the manual I only change when it starts to fail. For example, my fuel filter is original.
So would the following tune up items fall into that category?
oxygen sensor, PCV valve, and spark plug wires.
 

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I change the oxygen sensor when my fuel economy starts to fall, or with the timing belt.

The PCV valve is good until it fails the test, though I've never actually seen one fail. I change it every few years with OEM.

284418


I change the spark plug wires every other spark plug change (30k miles), though I actually haven't changed mine in more than 60k miles. I've always used NGK replacements for the wires, the OEM ones are very expensive.
 

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My '95 has followed the severe schedule from the manual since new to now (285k miles). No major problems.

I've always changed the transmission filter every 30k miles along with a fluid drain and fill. I leave gaskets alone unless they're leaking.

Everything that's not in the manual I only change when it starts to fail. For example, my fuel filter is original.
Thanks.

Is your 1995 an automatic transmission? When you change the filter, do you see any metal particles or other debris in the filter?

Thanks
 

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So would the following tune up items fall into that category?
oxygen sensor, PCV valve, and spark plug wires.
jgcec, the PCV valves cost $3 and take 5 minutes to replace yourself. Spark plug wires are cheap (NGK cost less than $20 on Amazon) or you could easily test resistance and compare to spec. Save the old plug wires, because yours truly is an expert with breaking the plastic connectors that secure the wires to the coils.

I changed both oxygen sensors on my Tercel a couple months back. It was SOOOO much easier than it looked. It was the best $100 I ever spent, because it's paying for itself with improved mpg (and I passed CA smog). You likely have two oxygen sensors: one before and one after the catalytic converter.

ips: buy Denso/OEM, not Bosch, oxygen sensors and get the ones for your car with wire harnesses, i.e. do NOT buy the universal that you have to splice. You'll be out only a few bucks, but you'll save yourself time, frustration, and possible wiring problems sooner or later. Last month, I TOLD a classmate to do this; he ignored me, then had to get two other classmates spend 2 hours splicing the wires, my standing by shaking my head. For the extra $10 that the wire harnesses cost, I changed both oxygen sensors on my own in less than 1 hour.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
the PCV valves cost $3 and take 5 minutes to replace yourself
I watched a YouTube video. I also heard from some other people I about the complications with the PCV grommet.
What is the worst thing that could happen by screwing this up somehow?
I have heard that the main problem is not with the PCV valve but with the grommet itself that gets old and brittle and then parts of it get into the valve cover.
 

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What is the worst thing that could happen by screwing this up somehow?
what if the PCV valve has never been changed and the rubber grommet is really hard and you can't get that out?
You simply pay a mechanic 1 hour labor to replace it (I'll do it for 1/2 hour labor :). Failing to replace a faulty PCV valve puts your car at risk for blowing front oil seals.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So would you just leave the grommet part of it alone and not bother with that?
Other people have suggested replacing the PCV grommet also?
There could be problems if pieces of the grommet break off and go into the valve cover.
 

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So would you just leave the grommet part of it alone and not bother with that?
Other people have suggested replacing the PCV grommet also?
There could be problems if pieces of the grommet break off and go into the valve cover.
I've never worried about it. If it's hard to install a new PCV valve into the grommet, I use silicone spray on the grommet (they can't be that expensive on Amazon/Ebay/dealer). This is not an area to worry about. I'll tell you what is, in my experience.

When you look at "mechanic's specials" on craigslist, you'll commonly see blown headgaskets from an overheat and damaged catalytic converters. I submit the most common cause of the former is a stuck shut thermostat from failing to replace it or water pump failure, the latter from running rich, but a blown headgasket might damage a catalytic converter.

In my 1995 Corolla, I dodged a bullet when I saw my termperature gauge start to rise. I pulled off the road, looked for major coolant leaks, then touched the upper radiator hose. It was NOT hot, meaning the thermostat stuck shut. I dodged another bullet by letting the engine cool, then driving home while watching the temperature gauge. I tested the thermostat in boiling water and it was truly stuck shut.

In my 1989 Camry (Corolla), I put off replacing the water pump, which it turned out had about 140k miles on the original in a car poorly maintained by the prior owner. After driving on the freeway, I heard a grinding/klunking noise, like a garbage disposal. Coolant was pouring out. The water pump leaked.

Both cars recovered well and they easily passed the next smog test.

Lessons learned: if you don't know when the water pump and thermostat were last changed, change them ASAP. After an overheat, get the car towed to a repair shop or home.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Failing to replace a faulty PCV valve puts your car at risk for blowing front oil seals
I found the link on TN that shows how to do it
Changing PCV Valve & Grommet
 

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I found the link on TN that shows how to do it
Changing PCV Valve & Grommet
Great. If you want to be 100% safe, before you change it, buy new hose clamps, a new vacuum hose (cut to same lenght), and new grommet and just replace them all for less than $20.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I had AAA to a general inspection 15k miles ago that cost $120.
It said that my PCV valve was in fair condition on one car and good condition on the other car.
So I guess I should go and get the part and replace both of them.
some people believe it's better to buy the parts from a local place like NAPA Auto parts versus Amazon since you really don't know what you're getting.
Can I just walk or call the local NAPA parts store near me and just ask for their 97 Corolla PCV valve?
 

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Again, PCV is less likely to cause expensive, catastrophic damage than the water pump and thermostat. Just spend the $20 and replace the three pieces, and worry about those other systems, where you worries are more validated.
 

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If the grommet breaks apart and falls in it will just sit on top of the baffle that prevents oil from splashing up to the pvc valve. I'd just wait and replace that the next time you have the valve cover off like when doing the timing belt and/or checking valve clearances and/or replacing spark plug tube seals.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Lessons learned: if you don't know when the water pump and thermostat were last changed, change them ASAP.
How long do Toyota thermostats typically last? in a previous TN discussion on thermostats they said they can last 200-300k miles, but many thought they should be changed at 100 to 150 k.
On one of my Prizms the thermostat is stuck in the open position, and produces lower than usual temperature is as diagnosed by a mechanic.
I cannot find any record of either car having the thermostat replaced.

I have two prizms and they both have about 155k miles on them now.
I know that the water pump was replaced on the tan one at 107k when we did the timing belt.
The white Prizm at 60k Miles when the first timing belt was changed. I don't think it was changed at the second timing belt installation at 127 k
 

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My notes say to change the thermostat and gasket every 4 years. I would only use a brand-name WITH a jiggle valve/bleeder valve*, Mahle or Toyota costs a few bucks more. Important: do NOT over-torque the two bolts that hold the thermostat housing, or you'll be in a world of hurt. Ask me how I know :(

* may be overkill, but I sleep better at night.

Change the water pump when you either change the timing belt or if you see leaks or hear noise from it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Change the water pump when you either change the timing belt or if you see leaks or hear noise from it.
In an earlier TN post I saw that the water pump could be replaced every second timing belt change, if using the 60k TB change Interval.
 

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Just change the thermostat whenever you change the coolant. Coolants these days last a lot longer than 2 years. Manufacturers claim 5 years. I'm talking about the corrosion inhibitors. The coolant will still cool the engine. I'd go with a Toyota thermostat. Too many stories of the temperature needle fluctuating with aftermarket brands.

The water pump should last at least 120k miles if you don't have the belt too tight which will put more strain on the bearings. On some cars the water pump is driven by the timing belt and the engine is interference. In these cases it's too risky to not change the water pump with each timing belt.
 
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