How to Replace a Starter on a 97 Geo Prism

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If you notice that your 1997 Geo Prism is having difficulty starting, you may need to replace the starter. However, if your Prism no longer starts at all and you can hear a whirling and a "click," chances are that the starter is failing to engage with the flywheel. If you have tried jumping your car and it still does not start, you have confirmed that it is indeed the starter, and not the battery, that is causing your car not to start.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Wood blocks
  • Socket wrench with adapters
  • Mechanic's gloves
  • Replacement starter part
  • Park your Geo Prism on a level surface. Raise your 1997 Geo Prism by inserting a floor jack underneath the Prism's frame on the driver's side. Put a jack stand next to the floor jack so that all four legs are resting on the ground and the jack stand is directly beneath the car's frame. Lower the floor jack and repeat the same process on the passenger side of the vehicle. Place wood blocks behind the tires of your 1997 Geo Prism so that that the vehicle does not accidentally roll backwards while you are working on it.

  • Remove the negative battery cable from the 1997 Geo Prism. This will eliminate the risk of electrocution as well as the chance that the engine's cooling fan will engage while your hands are caught in the way.

  • Crawl beneath the 1997 Geo Prism and unclip the electrical connection tab leading to the starter. Use a flat head screwdriver to pry it open if the pieces of the tab are stuck together.

  • Remove the starter from the flywheel on your 1997 Geo Prism. Unscrew the copper bolt that secures the wiring that leads to the starter. Flip open the rubber casing in order to access the bolt. Use the socket wrench to unbolt the two screws connecting the starter to the flywheel and slide the starter out from the engine.

  • Insert the replacement starter for your Prism. If you find that you have to crank down on your wrench to force the starter bolts all the way in, you may not have properly aligned the starter with the flywheel. If this is the case, the Prism will not start.

  • Reconnect the electrical connection tab and the negative battery terminal for your Geo Prism. Start the car in order to make sure that you have done the job correctly. Carefully lower the car and remove the wood blocks from behind the wheels.

Tips & Warnings

  • You will recognize the starter by looking for a small part that has two cylindrical pieces joined together. The starter is about one-third to one-half the size of a standard football. The 1997 Geo Prism starter is located underneath the engine near the front of the car on the passenger side.

References

  • Photo Credit car engine image by itsallgood from Fotolia.com
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