Preventing Catastrophic Failure
    Before discussing a normal maintenance routine, there are several important tasks that must be performed on a regular and ongoing basis in order to prevent damage to the vehicle. These are known issues that must be addressed.
    • Timing Belt, Water Pump, and Idler Pulleys, Every 60,000-75,000 Miles
        Many people will stretch timing belt replacement to 75,000 miles. It is a very bad idea to chance fate past that point. The clearance between the valves and pistons is tight, and the difference between interference and non-interference will depend on if the valve adjustment has been neglected, or the engine speed at which the timing belt breaks. In short, if the timing belt breaks, plan on bent valves. And the only way to find out is to completely disassemble and examine the valvetrain, and/or when the engine is reassembled and shows symptoms of low compression or a sticking valve.
        Replace the water pump every time the timing belt is replaced. It's as simple as Murphy's Law, as soon as a new timing belt goes onto an old water pump, the water pump seizes and eats all the teeth off the timing belt. It happens too often to be coincidence.
        Take a very good look at the idler pulleys when doing the timing belt. If they look questionable, it's easier to change them while everything is disassembled, than to go back in after a pulley that has become loud.
    • Thermostat, Every 30,000 Miles Or 3 Years
        The most common cause of engine failure in Geo Storms is a warped head, caused by overheating, due to a failed thermostat. When the thermostat fails, it fails in the closed position. The engine is started, the driver takes off, the thermostat fails to open, within ten minutes the engine becomes sluggish, then within another minute or two, the head warps, the engine leaks coolant all over the road, and the engine stops running.
        Making matters worse, the water temperature sensor for the dash gauge is located right next to the thermostat, and will only read an accurate engine coolant temperature if the thermostat is open, and the coolant is flowing through the engine and past the sensor. The driver will not see the needle on the dash gauge move noticeably past the normal point on the gauge until after the heat within the engine is built up to the point that the damage is already done, usually right after the engine stops running.
        Replace the thermostat on a regular basis to prevent overheating and engine damage.
    • Connecting Rod Bolts
        The second most common cause of engine failure in Geo Storms is throwing a rod through the front of the block due to connecting rod bolt failure. The original connecting rod bolts were manufactured using a process called cold-heading, and were not heat treated. The crude manufacturing process involves pounding a round piece of mild steel into the shape of a bolt, and then threading the blank. This process maximizes the weak points and fault lines within the bolt, but it is the cheapest and fastest way to make bolts.
        These low strength bolts will either stretch, allowing the nut to loosen itself and back off while the engine is running, or they will fracture. Either way, the rod comes apart from the crankshaft in a very un-graceful way, usually banging the crank journal several times, then bouncing off and firing through the front of the engine block, with the piston following its lemming-like jump to reach the road surface.
        The long and short of the situation is that if there is ever an opportunity to replace the original connecting rod bolts with stronger, aftermarket bolts, do so. That opportunity might be during a main bearing inspection or replacement, when replacing the head gasket or piston rings, prior to installing a used engine, or while rebuilding an engine. In any event, stronger connecting rod bolts are money well spent.


Maintenance Schedule
    These are the maintenance schedules proscribed by Geo.


Maintenance Schedule I
    Use this maintenance schedule for the following operation conditions:
    • Most trips are less than 4 miles (6km).
    • Trips are short such that the engine does not have time to reach normal operating temperature.
    • Use includes extended idling, such as stop-and-go traffic.
    • Vehicle is used to tow a trailer or haul heavy cargo.
    • Vehicle is operated in dusty areas
    • Vehicle is used for commercial use such as delivery service, police, security, taxi, etc.
To Be Serviced When To Perform
Service Interval (miles / km)
Engine Oil Change Every 3,000 miles / 5,000 km OR Every 3 Months
Oil Filter Change First Oil Change, Then Every Other Oil Change
Chassis Lubrication Every Other Oil Change
Check Throttle Body Mount Bolt Torque At 6,000 Miles / 10,000 km ONLY
Tire & Wheel Inspection,
Tire Rotation
At 6,000 Miles / 10,000km,
Then Every 15,000 Miles / 25,000 km
Engine Accessory Drive Belt Inspection Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000 km, OR Every 24 Months
Cooling System Service Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000 km, OR Every 24 Months
Spark Plug Replacement Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000km
Ignition Wires / Cables Inspection Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000 km
EGR System Inspection Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000km, OR Every 36 Months
Air Cleaner Filter Replacement Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000 km, OR Every 36 Months
Fuel Tank, Cap, and Lines Inspection Every 15,000 Miles / 25,000 km
PCV System Inspection Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000 km
Valve Clearance Adjustment (1.6 liter Engines) Every 15,000 Miles / 25,000 km
Timing Belt Replacement Every 60,000 Miles / 100,000 km OR Every Six Years


Maintenance Schedule II
    Use this maintenance schedule for the following operation conditions:
    • Most trips are more than 4 miles (6km).
    • Trips are long such that the engine has time to reach normal operating temperature.
    • Use excludes extended idling, such as stop-and-go traffic.
    • Vehicle is not used to tow a trailer or haul heavy cargo.
    • Vehicle is not operated in dusty areas
    • Vehicle is used not for commercial use such as delivery service, police, security, taxi, etc.
To Be Serviced When To Perform
Service Interval (miles / km)
Engine Oil Change Every 7,500 miles / 12,500 km OR Every 12 Months
Oil Filter Change First Oil Change, Then Every Other Oil Change
Chassis Lubrication Every 7,500 miles / 12,500 km OR Every 12 Months
Check Throttle Body Mount Bolt Torque At 7,500 Miles / 12,500 km ONLY
Tire & Wheel Inspection,
Tire Rotation
At 7,500 Miles / 12,500km,
Then Every 15,000 Miles / 25,000 km
Engine Accessory Drive Belt Inspection Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000 km, OR Every 24 Months
Cooling System Service Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000 km, OR Every 24 Months
Spark Plug Replacement Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000km
Ignition Wires / Cables Inspection Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000 km
EGR System Inspection Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000km, OR Every 36 Months
Air Cleaner Filter Replacement Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000 km, OR Every 36 Months
Fuel Tank, Cap, and Lines Inspection Every 15,000 Miles / 25,000 km
PCV System Inspection Every 30,000 Miles / 50,000 km
Valve Clearance Adjustment (1.6 liter Engines) Every 15,000 Miles / 25,000 km
Timing Belt Replacement Every 60,000 Miles / 100,000 km OR Every Six Years


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