1988 Mercury Tracer 4d hatchback 1.6L from North America


Wish I could buy another new one today


Several alternators and one distributor. That's it for mechanical break downs. This car has the original engine and has never been disassembled, for anything. It has a manual transmission and has the original clutch. Reliability is beyond belief. Gas mileage averages between 38 - 42 MPG. Many minor issues, but nothing that would prevent usage.

This car currently has almost 620,000 miles and I still drive it 162 miles a day for work. One of a kind for sure, and I'm very glad I purchased this car new many years ago.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th November, 2015

6th Nov 2015, 13:07

620,000 miles on the original clutch?

Talk about being "beyond belief".

1988 Mercury Tracer 1.6L EFI from North America


Excellent daily driver aside from the one electrical issue this one car has


There really has only been one thing that has failed on the car, however, it has/is a recurring failure that 2 Ford techs and several other certified mechanics have been unable to troubleshoot and determine the problem source. And unfortunately, it is a suspected electrical issue. The car will randomly, meaning no pattern, fail to start. This can occur at 3 week intervals or 3 times a day intervals. This problem first manifested itself in about 2007. When we have checked the ignition system during these times, we have discovered that there is no 12V signal from the coil to the distributor. There is, however, a 12V signal feeding INTO the coil. We have replaced, virtually, every major ignition component in the car i.e. the coil, distributor, EMG, IMG, plug wires, and several smaller related electrical components. On rare occasions the engine has stopped running while driving.

After reading many manuals and consulting with many mechanics, the general consensus seems to be that the (automatic) transmission sensor is failing. There is, however, no real consensus as to why this would prevent the car from starting while still allowing the starter to turn the engine over. If anyone has any suggestions on what to look at next, it would be appreciated. We are clueless at this point as to what else to do, other than begin replacing EVERY electrical component and/or wire harness.

General Comments:

After 95,000 miles it is surprising to us how well this car is actually built. After 27 years of our ownership it is still a solid platform. It is a comfortable, well appointed car considering it was tagged as a sub-compact in its day. The engine is a bit noisy, but spirited enough to whoop-up on any stock Honda Civic of the same time period. The paint has held up remarkably well, as has the interior.

Our Tracer hatchback came equipped with A/C, roof rack, electric rear view side mirrors, 3 speed automatic transmission, rear window defroster, cloth bucket seats in front with a split bench in the rear that folds down to almost perfectly flat and provides easy access to the cavernous rear area. Other than the 1 problem mentioned in the "What Things Have Gone Wrong With The Car" section, major as that problem may be, we still have high opinions of this car. It would be a shame to have to scrap it because of this one problem considering all of its other positive attributes, but that may be its final destination if the problem cannot be resolved on a cost/benefit basis.

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

Review Date: 23rd October, 2015

1988 Mercury Tracer Hatchback 1.6 from North America


Love this car, plan to see 500000 miles


Bought used, basic wear and tear.

Live in the mountains of western North Carolina.

3rd gear went out at 210000, engine at 280000. Replaced both for 150; labor not included.

General Comments:

Very cheap to run.

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

Review Date: 12th January, 2009

1988 Mercury Tracer 1.6 EFI from North America


This car is a great investment.


My T-Racer has burned a little oil since the day I bought it. I can smell the oil in the exhaust, so I know the rings must have dried out while it sat before I bought it.

The exhaust has a hole in it, which makes it loud inside.

The air-conditioning needs to be recharged.

General Comments:

This T-Racer is surprisingly quick for what it is. It's no mustang, but it's weight is light enough that a four cylinder is sufficient power.

This car is very reliable and is great on gas. My last truck got eight miles to the gallon, this gets thirty-five.

This car is just crappy enough to not draw attention, but solid enough to be a nice ride.

This car cost me five-hundred dollars and was worth every penny.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th February, 2005

10th Feb 2005, 07:28

Rings don't dry out. They do wear out. Valve stem seals harden after a while and stop sealing.

On your car, one or both of these could be causing your oil burning.