Chevrolet Tracker: Fun Facts
- The Tracker is a well-known car in the big screen; among others, it was featured in the following movies: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011); Frat Party (2009); Big Fat Liar (2002); The Witches of Oz (2011); Into the Blue 2: The Reef (2009); Connie and Carla (2004); and How to Deal (2003). It also gained screen time on the following series: The Outer Limits (1995), The Sopranos (1999), Roswell (1999), Car and Driver Television (1999), Falcon (2006), Tru Calling (2003), and Alaska State Troopers (2009).
- The Chevrolet Tracker was originally sold as the Geo Tracker. The car was initially made for the car company Geo by CAMI Automotive, but the design was later given to Chevrolet. What gave the Chevrolet brand to the car is the Canadian market. The vehicle was sold as Geo Tracker in the US, but it was sold as the Chevrolet Tracker and the GMC Tracker in Canada. On a side note, CAMI Automotive is actually a joint venture of GM Canada and Suzuki. Hence, one can say that the Tracker is a baby of three companies (four, if you count Geo).
- Chevy dealers in Canada officially began selling the Tracker in 1989. When it debuted, it was offered in three models: a base convertible model, a base hardtop model and a CL hardtop model. But a fourth model, which was the CL convertible, was offered in 1990.
- Although the Tracker was sold as a compact SUV, it actually passed the certifications to be a light truck. The vehicle's parts and specs made it possible for the Tracker to handle off-road capabilities. The SUV was a sturdy 4-wheel drive and it had a light truck engine as well as a transmission system connected to a 2-4 transfer case.
- Aside from the US and Canada, the Tracker was also sold in Latin American countries-most notably in Mexico and Brazil. However, the car was retouched in 2005 and in 2006; the latter model had a silver GM logo on the front doors. Furthermore, long after the Tracker was discontinued in the US and Canada, production was still ongoing in Mexico and Brazil.
Chevrolet Tracker Problems
A unique thing about the Chevrolet Tracker is that, even though it was sold as a compact SUV, it actually passed the certifications to be a light truck because of its off-road capabilities. Amazing, right? It's like seeing a hamburger being sold at its regular price when it's actually a cheeseburger! Known for its specs that can handle rough terrain, the Chevy Tracker definitely got the attention when it debuted. However, this amazing feat did not exempt it from experiencing problems. Some of the problems commonly experienced with the vehicle are discussed below.
When you drive a Chevrolet Tracker, you would likely have a blinking "check engine" light after a couple of months. The parts of the car, by themselves, can handle off-road driving but the way they were assembled makes the Tracker unsuitable for prolonged drives in rough terrains.
But even on normal roads, rough idling can be observed after a few months or a few thousand miles. The oxygen sensor, the exhaust system, and the serpentine belt are also problematic areas in the engine assembly. Overheating is also commonly experienced, but this is likely a result of a faulty the cooling system.
Handling and suspension
The thing that made us doubt the Tracker's off-road capabilities was its suspension assembly. The set-up makes it very easy for the stock ball joints (which are not the best quality for rough driving) to fail. Too much vibration and noise can be observed during sharp turns. This problem led Chevrolet to issue a service bulletin which outlines a guide on how to repair excessive corrosion on the front suspension crossmember.
Electrical connection problems
What we think is the most frustrating thing that you can experience with a Tracker is a faulty electrical connection. First off, it's hard to pinpoint which part went bad. The connection may be faulty because of a bad battery, a dead motor, a snapped wire, or a bad battery AND a snapped wire. Electrical connection problems shouldn't be a big deal if the Tracker didn't have a lot of electrical parts. It does. If you experience problems with the wirings, the dome lights, power door locks, and dashboard display can fail to function.
Keep Your Chevrolet Tracker Rolling with These Tire Tips
The Chevrolet Tracker, formerly known as the Geo Tracker, was more than a mini SUV—it was a light truck. Its robust four-wheel drive system, brawny front suspension, and truck-like underpinnings made it a favourite among truck enthusiasts. The Tracker was a cut above the light SUVs as it can survive harsh road conditions. Since light trucks drive through the smoothest and toughest roads, their tires need extra attention. However, most vehicle owners fail to see the importance of tire maintenance. Preventive tire maintenance helps increase a light truck's fuel efficiency, road grip, overall ride, and stopping ability. To help you keep your Tracker's tire rolling, follow these simple maintenance tips.
Proper storage is the first step in keeping your tires road worthy. Some drivers purchase new tires and keep them in storage until needed. Tires should be stored in a dry and ventilated area, away from rain and direct sunlight. Remove sharp objects such as wood or pointed metal. These can puncture your tires. Avoid putting heavy objects on top of these tires because they might lose their shape. Solvents, chemicals, or any flammable materials should also be removed from the tire's storage area. Keep them from harm's way by storing them properly.
- Know your tire's service life.
Your Tracker's tires are prone to wear-and-tear, and they will eventually need replacement. Review the vehicle manual, and check for tire replacement recommendations. Inspect each tire for punctures, cracks, or a bulging tire wall. If you see any of these signs, replace them immediately. Tires used for more than five years need to be inspected by a tire specialist. It's best to learn about your tire's service life to prevent driving accidents.
- Check the tires' valves and caps.
You may not realize this but tire valves and caps play a huge role in road safety. They keep air in while maintaining the tire's pressure. Over time, these tire parts wear out and need replacement. Tire manufacturers suggest replacing them when buying a new set of tires. Valve caps also need replacement since they prevent dirt and dust particles from entering your tires. Check the tire's valves and caps to ensure its longevity and maintain the correct pressure.
- New tires should be located at the rear.
Although the Tracker is a four-wheel drive light truck, placing new tires at its rear is highly recommended. It gives drivers better control when driving on slippery roads or while braking through tight corners. During these challenging driving situations, tires can help you control your vehicle and respond immediately.
- The more balanced the tires, the better.
Tire balancing is important because it prevents road vibrations, adding stress to the vehicle's front-end parts, tire tread wear, and suspension failure. Each tire must not be lighter or heavier than the other tires. Well-balanced tires protect the suspension system's shock absorbers, ball bearing, and steering system. Visit a tire specialist to have your light truck's tires balanced. He or she can make the necessary adjustments to keep you safe on the road.
Your Chevrolet Tracker's tires are your vehicle's points of contact on the road. Take note of these tips and avoid potholes while driving. Preventive maintenance is the key to keep your tires in good rolling condition.
The Chevrolet Tracker: The Certified “Light Truck” Mini SUV
The Tracker was a mini-SUV sold under Chevrolet and Geo badges, and was produced by CAMI Automotive at Ingersoll, Ontario in Canada. Although it appeared compact, the SUV was actually certified as a light truck due to its off-road capabilities and relatively huge cargo room. While GM sold the Tracker under the name Geo for nine years, the company decided to move it under Chevrolet in 1999. This was during the rise of the “buy American” trend in the late ‘90s, when a lot of Americans patronized their home brands. Under the Chevrolet nameplate, the second-generation Tracker was redesigned, though it continued to be produced in Canada alongside its Suzuki Vitara twin.
First generation: 1989 to 1998
The Tracker was introduced in late 1988 as a 1989 model and continued to be sold under the Geo nameplate until 1997. As a joint venture between General Motors of Canada and Suzuki, all North American Tracker models were built by CAMI at its Ingersoll plant.
The mini-SUV was originally powered by Suzuki’s 1.6-liter SOHC four-cylinder engine producing 80 hp (60kW). Its trim levels were base convertible, base two-door hardtop, and LSi hardtop. The base models offered a little more than cloth seats and power brakes. Meanwhile, the LSi came with three-speed GM Turbo-Hydramatic 180 automatic transmission. It also had special red/black front and rear bucket seats, chrome rally wheels, and spare tire cover to name a few.
In 1998, GM dropped the Geo brand and sold the Tracker under the Chevrolet badge. As for the trim levels, the LSi had been discontinued too, but its equipment became available for the base models.
Second generation: 1999 to 2004
A year after dropping Geo, the second generation of Chevrolet Tracker was introduced as a better-looking vehicle, differing from the Suzuki Grand Vitara. The designers at Chevrolet made a smoothly sculpted modern shape to replace the rough, blocky body of the first-generation hardtop. Changes to the outside dimensions were mostly minor save for a 2.1-inch increase in width. This made room for a third seatbelt in the rear that a small child could fit in. Because the rear seat is farther back, the legroom was increased, but the cargo space shrunk from 21 cubic feet to 20. While production of the new Tracker continued in Canada, some units were actually made at a Suzuki plant in Kosai, Japan.
However, because the 1999 and newer models reverted to a lightweight automobile-type rack and pinion steering, the Tracker lost its reputation as an off-road vehicle. Enthusiasts thought that the rack and pinion can be easily damaged and expensive to repair. This might have been one of the reasons to the decreasing Tracker sales from 2000 to 2003. In 2004, the Chevrolet Tracer was discontinued in the United States and Canada.