This sounds like the type of vehicle that really excels at being a basic econobox 4X4 in it's bare bone trim no A/C, no power windows. The bells and whistles kill it, same with my tercel, and civic the a/c kills my batteries and alternators. Basic reliable bulletproof Japanese transport no more. We never want what we've got, even though it's exactly what need. No accounting for crooked or incompetent garages.
I agree that these Sidekicks seem to have problems with the transmission and A/C. My A/C didn't work, so that didn't give me any problems, but my transmission was still going out at 90K. It also used too much oil, and the thing that bugged me the most was that it wouldn't get near the gas mileage it was supposed to get. Granted it was a convertible and the top caused a lot of drag, so it would barely get 17 MPG when it was windy. It was my first car though, and I used it all through high school, then for a semester when I moved out to go to college, so I got quite attached to it, and I miss it.
I had a 1995 JX soft top and I loved it. It never let me down. You guys must just get the lemons of the Sidekicks. I'm getting ready to buy my 3rd Suzuki, I love them, they're great trail rigs. I just sold my Jeep to go back to the Sidekick. It goes anywhere I want. They make great lifts for Sidekicks, they go places my lifted Jeep wouldn't!! I love Sidekicks and can't wait to find the right one to buy. Good luck to you all out there. Be picky with which one you buy - 1995 and newer are the good ones, don't go any older!!!
1992 Sidekick, no frills, manual windows, 5sp, about the only extras it has are power brakes and power steering.
Over 300,000 and going strong, original motor, orig trans, had the basic stuff regularly etc, my kid started lifting it, putting on 31" tires, big brakes from the 4 door version, skid plates. It has over 20,000 on it as a hard core off road machine now, nothing I have ever seen is as reliable.
It just does not break. I would avoid the new ones though, too many bells and whistles, just asking for problems.
I seem to have a leak somewhere. My floor mats are always wet after a rain. The top seems OK. Any ideas?
I also notice the tranny is very rough and janky. My A/C works.. SOMETIMES. It's very slow! But I do love the large windows and all my college buddies love it. I have been having to drive long trips, especially the 7 hour drive back home. But it has never died on me! LOL.
I have a 97 Geo Tracker, same car, 1.6l 5speed, 4x4, 4dr. base model with 360,000km. It's not a Ferrari, it's not a Range Rover, but it will take you anywhere you want to go, even pulling my trailer up the dirt mountains, it keeps going. I also own a Jeep TJ, this is just a pavement princess. I have owned several Suzuki's, and would never not own one.
Hi, I just bought a 1996 Sidekick sport 4 door model.
This thing is great for the potholes, but there are a few things that need fixing on it. The steering wheel feels a bit loose and it idles really, really low when I come to a stop at a stop sign and then it rattles pretty loud. I will try to fox these issues and then write another comment on this board if I can find it. It's also underpowered when going on the highway.
But so far, I like to drive it. It's fine and tough/rugged looking and like I said, great for the potholes and snow is no problem for this jeep.
We'll see how long this thing can last.
My '97 4-door JX has been reliable since I purchased it last year with 120k. I have put 30k hard usage miles (Nevada outback) on it with no problems. It has a Rocky Road lift with 30" tires. 5th gear little noisy, O/W very solid with good off-road ability.
These vehicles are an excellent value if you are looking for a good used 4x4 - none better for the price.
It's a fairly simple vehicle to work on, and parts are cheap and plentiful. My only complaint is it's a little gutless on long highway grades...