1989 Mercury Tracer Hatchback 1.6L from North America


Super Tracer it just keeps going and going


Timing belts replaced as precaution at 60k, 150k, 320k

Clutch at 175k

Water pump at 320k

Alternator at 225k 350k 351k

Wheel bearings, struts, brakes, and exhaust.

General Comments:

My first brand new car. Needed a good commuter car. Drove it for many years and passed it onto my son. He drove the heck out of it and I gave him a newer car for college. My other son also learned to drive in it, but I am keeping the car as it still gets 40+ miles per gallon when treated right. Uses one quart of oil in 200k. Always starts in the coldest weather and only left me stranded once when the brand new alternator failed.

Heater is inadequate on very cold days. AC was a dealer installed option, but removed after a deer jumped in front of me and totaled the car. Bought it back for $50.00 and replaced hood, grill, radiator, and headlights.

Peppy from 0-60, lots of low end power for a small motor, but very little top end for passing. Rack and pinion steering gives it a point and shoot feel. Takes corners like it's on rails. I am going to try to make it to 400k.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th July, 2008

11th Oct 2008, 17:10

I just picked one up last week with only 22,126 miles on it. ORIGINAL! I am going to keep this car forever... Loved your post.

18th Oct 2009, 01:36

I recently bought a used 1989 Mercury Tracer for $200.00. It needed a fuel pump, which cost me around $140.00. The car sat since 2004, and runs like a dream. It started right up after the fuel pump was replaced.

It is pushing 300K miles on the motor, but you could never tell it. The oil is clean as a whistle, and you can tell the previous owner really took care of this car. She ended up buying a brand new car after the fuel pump went out in '04, and sold it to the gentleman I bought it from, who purchased it so that he could have a cheap, dependable ride to his work. He didn't fix it because shortly after he bought it from her, his boss gave him a company truck and a gas card. He was originally asking $300.00 for it, which I thought was a steal, but when my husband asked him the lowest price he would take on it and he replied "$200.00" I about squealed in joy.

I used money I won at bingo to buy the car, and it was the smartest and wisest thing that I ever did. The only complaint I have with is is that the gas gauge doesn't work. But I simply use the "20 MPG" as a rule of thumb since I travel in town a lot, and I keep track of how many gallons of gas I put in it, reset the trip counter, and document the miles traveled that way. When in doubt of how much further I can go, I simply refuel. I can live with that.

24th Jan 2010, 18:01

A very good vehicle indeed, I still have my '89 Tracer, but isn't my primary driver anymore. Other than maintenance items that normally wear out - no major issues. I can't bear to part with it, so I use it as a third wheel for one of those just in case moments. What the heck, it costs so very little to keep. Still love the old chariot at 193,006 miles.

1989 Mercury Tracer 1.6 from North America


This car should be resurrected


The most recent thing that went wrong was last Fall (Sept. 2006) when the power steering pump needed replacing. That was about $350, parts and labour.

I've had exhaust parts replaced over the 15 years that I've owned it.

Same with brakes (these have been the most expensive in repairs), cooling system hoses, gas tank, radiator. These are wear and tear items that just get worn out or rusted out with age.

Parts of the dash have recently started cracking.

The handbrake has become a bit loose, may need tightening or replacing.

General Comments:

There is a parts place not too far that carries inexpensive parts for my Mercury Tracer, which is a blessing.

I don't drive it often, but I've learned that a car that sits in the driveway deteriorates faster than a car that is driven daily!

I take the bus to work so I make sure I give my car a good run every few weeks to keep all parts conditioned. I've had it undercoated the past few years, it keeps rust from spreading and actually lubricates parts underneath.

I have never had a problem with the engine or transmission. It passed the last emissions test with flying colours and it purrs like a kitten!

It is very comfortable and fun to drive (the driver's seat moves in so many positions, it's rather unique!), and the outward view all around is excellent.

Never had a problem starting in cold weather, ie. -25 degrees Celsius in the cold north

It's a subcompact but I can put a bike in the back with the seats down. Amazing cargo room.

I keep thinking I should get a newer car, but I am SO attached to my Tracer! I guess when parts can no longer be found or repairs become really expensive I will put it to rest.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th July, 2007