I am new to the whole Geo Metro world, so I need someone's help. I am commuting to work about 100 miles a day, and my current car is not very economical to drive. I found a 1995 Metro for sale with 70,000 miles on it, and with no rust. I drove it, and it ran great and drove ok. The only car I have to compare it to is what I drive now, which is much more high performance than this car. It was very different to drive. It is a 5 speed, so I was wondering if anyone can help me with what I need to look out for with these cars. How do I know if the clutch is going? It shifts fine, and goes into gear really easy. I'm just paranoid about the clutch. Can anyone help?
From reading about other Metros I hear that the frame that supports the front wheels is prone to rustout. (Then the front wheel falls off while you're driving down the road) Crawl under the front end and make sure those structural supports look good and don't have any rustholes.
I don't have anything metro specific... but as far as clutches go, you won't be able to tell how much life is left nessisarily, but you can look for warning signs of issues with the clutch.
First, make sure it is smooth and doesn't "chatter" when you are engaging the clutch slowly.
Second, get up to speed and put it in 5th gear and floor it. Try to identify if the clutch slips at all (if it does, this is the gear it will do it in). If it is slipping the engine will rev much faster than the motor accellerates.
The other thing to listen for is any new noise when the engine is running and you have your foot on the clutch. This will cause the throwout bearing to spin, and if it is dry or worn, thats the time you will hear it.
Other than that, I think thats about all the testing you can do without opening it up and looking at it. If you are really worried, bring it into a shop and pay them to put it on the hoist and give it a once over. Usually thats around $50 and can be pretty cheap insurance.
With only 70,000 miles on the car the clutch should still be in very good condition, unless the previous owner didn't know how to drive a straight shift. I'm driving an '88 Escort with 479,000+ miles and it's only on its 3rd clutch since new. The current clutch has about 170,000 miles on it and the one before that went about 260,000. The only one that gave any trouble was the factory original and it only lasted about 50,000, but one of my nieces drove it a couple of times with that clutch in it and she didn't know much about driving a straight shift. I think that is where a lot of the premature wear came from. I used to drive a Mazda pick-up and I had some bearings go out in the transmission at about 80,000 miles, the person I had tear down the transmission told me when he took the transmission out the clutch still looked new. A lot has to do with driving habits as to how long the clutch will last. If it's a young persons car I'd be more concerned than if it's a middle aged or older persons car. If it's shifting OK and there's no noise you'll probably be alright with it. I'd look the car over real good for signs of the car possibly having 170,000 miles instead of 70,000 on it. Check the seats for wear the clutch and brake pedals these are usually pretty good indicators of whether the mileage is right or not.
Well, I bought it. I got it for $1400. Needs tires and an alignment. Maybe the rear brakes. All in all, it is pretty ok. I did a cold start, and it ran perfect. I stalled it for the clutch, and it acted ok. Thanks to everyone for their input! I just ordered 4 tires from Tire Rack for $30 ea. Can't beat it!