1996 Geo Tracker 2 door 4x4 1.6ltr from North America


This is one of the best vehicles I have ever owned


The heat shield rattles a little bit because it has rusted away from the bolts.

There are four tiny rust spots under the paint on the windshield.

General Comments:

The wind blows the truck around a little bit.

It is very economical; especially with the rising cost of fuel.

I can park it in the tightest of spaces.

The rack and pinion steering makes u-turns easier than I ever thought possible.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th March, 2005

1996 Geo Tracker LSI from North America


I got more than my money's worth


At 100,000 the tail pipe rotted away, but it was a cheap and easy fix.

I also had the heater coil replaced at 125,000, because it seemed to take a long time to heat up in the winter, but that fixed the problem.

General Comments:

This car has exceeded my expectations. I love my car.

I have had no major problems.

It gets tossed a bit in the wind.

Handles great in the snow.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 7th March, 2005

22nd Apr 2005, 09:20

I love my tracker also, it is a 1996 but I have one small problem. My service engine light keeps coming on, it reads EGR problem. I replacd the EGR valve, but approximately 3 days later the light came on again. The only way to get it off is to pull the main fuse under the hood (or the computer machine) but within a few days its on again, has anyone else had this problem? If so please help!!!



28th Aug 2005, 22:21

If your engine light comes on with an EGR code it doesn't necesseraly mean your EGR valve is bad. There is piping and fittings involved in the EGR system as well and sometimes these can become clogged with carbon. Replacing the EGR valve doesn't affect the state of these things at all. You need to find the EGR tube on your engine, remove it, clean the inside of it with a top engine cleaner or other carbon remover, clean out the port where the EGR tube enters the engine, and then re-assemble the EGR system. This will almost definitely get rid of your EGR problem.

1996 Geo Tracker 4 door from North America


Horrible car, I will never drive another one in my life


My radiator got a horrible leak and over heated until I fixed it, which was slightly costly.

The seat belt plastic covers came off.

Lining on edge of doors came out.

General Comments:

Ugly, box-y design.

Uncomfortable seats.

No leg room.

Tire on back window makes a large blind spot. I accidentally backed over my friends because I could not see them, I am serious.

Car spins easily.

Car does not go fast at all. I never got it over 87.

Easy to flip. I totaled mine because I hit a pole (caused by spinning when you use brakes) and rolled into a field.

Seat belts work well.

Airbags don't deploy so easily.

Cheap plastic trim comes off easily.

Handles badly.

Car is an eyesore.

Spare tire on rear window makes cleaning window quite hard.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th March, 2005

7th Mar 2005, 20:06

If it's such an ugly eyesore... Why did you buy it? And the car is somehow wrong because you are a bad driver? How many cars have you tested the airbags on? You regularly test airbags by totaling cars? I'd say that tracker did you well by not killing you in that accident. It spared your life even though you sucked at driving it. You have to be a moron to drive a tracker nearly 90 mph. Hello? Takes corners slow, rolling problem solved. They are not sports cars. Poor control? That's your own fault for getting a 2WD. The 4WD handles great in any condition. I fear you will never find a "good" car, because no car can make up for a pathetic, whiny, all around bad driver.

1996 Geo Tracker from North America




Speedo bearing noise.

Coolant temp sender.

Front exhaust pipe leak.

Minor plastic trim parts breakage.

One manual hub clutch adrift (previous lack of maintenance).

Day/night mirror no longer switches.

Original rear shocks are partly wasted away, but still working after 8 years.

Driver's seatback latch required overhaul.

Concealed rust-through atop both front wheelwells (easily fixed).

General Comments:

I had long heard that they are hard riding & easily rolled over, but both have proven untrue.

I have the factory manuals & it's a fairly high-maintenance vehicle when correctly cared for. But it is easy to work on for the self-sufficient. The Haynes manual is almost useless for this model. It is as electrically & mechnically complex as any other '96 passenger vehicle & the factory manual is a must-have if you don't rely on a dealer shop.

27mpg in rural errands & 30+ on trips.

Using about 1/2 qt oil between changes. Oil filler is inconveniently rearward & requires a funnel.

Outstanding offroad performance due to short wheelbase, a real ladder frame, high entry/exit angles, agility, light weight & good balance. My fullsize 4WD Chevy truck is useless offroad or in snow compared to this vehicle. However, driving on frozen half-plowed snow-tracked roads can be a little hairy with the short wheelbase & narrower track width.

Almost no front-end bolt-on accessories are available to fit the '96 such as brushguards, etc., and some advertised as fitting it don't due to its redesigned bumper mount configuration. At present only one overpriced front double-tube replacement bumper is available, and no winch mount in sight.

Similarly, only one expensive cargo carrier is available and though it fits with the convertible, the top cannot be operated with it installed (though the famous vendor won't tell you this).

Lots of fun to drive, though buzzy enough to seem like it's in 4th gear when in 5th. Requires extra attentiveness due to short wheelbase & fast steering response; rubbernecking in this vehicle may put you in a ditch.

Noise level is very good for a bare-bones convertible. There is minimal top flap & a normal conversation is possible at highway speeds.

Manual transmission shifts balky when cold, and feels like a broomstick in a bathtub - exactly like a '70's Alfa Romeo sedan.

Thin & flat-paneled sheetmetal is easily dinged. But the paint is high quality & still looks like new when machine-polished.

These should be carefully inspected for rust on the frame and at the rocker boxes in salt country. Mine has some frame wasting, but plenty of good metal left. Many I looked at had wasted rocker boxes disguised by the vinyl trim.

The rocker area is structurally weak and aftermarket rock rails are a good idea. They do not lessen ground clearance because they are still higher than the frame. I wouldn't want to accidentally hump it over a driveway snowbank or a trail rock without them.

Maximum tire size without any rubbing or modification & the stock wheels is 225/75/15. It is possible to get about another 2" frame lift with just these and inexpensive spring spacers. I wouldn't want any body lift on it for everyday safe driving.

No water leaks of any kind with the still-original top. Having the rear window zipper accessible from the outside instead of inside is stupid for security, but great when you lock yourself out. Lowering the whole top is a more complex hassle for one person than most convertibles, but using only the sunroof feature is quick & easy.

Rain pours off the front corner of the top into an opened front window or door, needs aftermarket ventshields, also overpriced.

Almost no practical interior storage space, which requires some ingenuity to live with. Your cell phone may have to live in the ashtray & your cigarettes will hog one of the 2 cupholders. A mobile radio installation would be a real challenge or impractical.

Very good AM/FM/cassette as stock radios go.

Visor is too short to block oncoming sun unless you are tall.

Spare & 3rd stoplight obstruct rear vision & make backing up a daring experience.

Tailgate has no means to hold it open in a breeze or parked downsloped. Reaching past the first foot of cargo area (seat folded) with the rear window in place requires minor gymnastics. But it is much easier for carrying groceries than a pickup.

I wouldn't have bought it at its original new price, but for the $3,000+ it now goes for it's the best overall value I've ever owned. I am very happy with it. It is an ideal & economical compromise between a ragtop roadster & a serious 4WD that is very cute & capable. It's drivetrain components are small & light enough for one person to easily remove or work on. If anything happened to it, I'd cry & pray I could find another one in as great condition. It took me 3 years to find this one. Most high-mileage trade-ins are shipped to South America by auction buyers where it is the "Jeep of the 3rd world." I feel that Chevy lost the picture when they redesigned it in '99 as an expensive jellybean.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th October, 2004

14th Jul 2005, 15:26

Thanks for this very comprehensive survey. All others I've read so far touch on the obvious advantages and disadvantages, but this one is very in-depth; you o0bviously care enough about this vehicle to write about it so well. Thanks.

23rd Jul 2008, 18:47

I agree!

2nd Dec 2008, 17:20

I also agree! Great little trucks!

3rd Dec 2009, 12:27

I was wondering if any one could tell me where to find a Factory Manual? I need to pull the motor in mine, and put a new one in, and then rebuild the original... if it can be salvaged. I have both the Chilton, and Haynes manuals but they are both very vague, and not really usefull at all. You can contact me at the following e-mail address: garthmattjr@yahoo.com and my name is Garth. Thank you!

26th Dec 2009, 15:57

Very extensive review. Thank you for the insight.