GM Prizm/Nova 1985-1993 Repair Guide

Push Starting


Although Chevrolet recommends against it, all Novas and Prizms equipped with a manual transaxle can be pushed started, although more than one car has received a dented fender or bumper from this operation. Push starting can develop extremely hot exhaust pulses which can damage the catalytic converter.

If push starting is the last resort, turn the ignition switch to the ON position, push in the clutch pedal, put the gear shift lever in second or third gear and partially depress the gas pedal. As the car begins to pick up momentum while being pushed, release the clutch pedal. Be prepared for the engine to start and the car to accelerate. As soon as the engine is running, push in the clutch and stop the car, keeping the engine running until it has smoothed out and warmed up a bit. As a rule, if the car hasn't started after two or three tries at pushing, it isn't going to.

Never attempt to push start the car while it is in reverse.

Novas and Prizms that are equipped with an automatic transmission cannot be push started no matter how far or how fast they are pushed. Attempting to do so will severely damage the transmission and possibly the catalytic converter.