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Chrysler PT Cruiser (2005 and earlier)



  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
  • This was on a 2004 model. What model is yours? I was thinking about buying the car but when I looked under the hood, I was concerned about the way some of the wires were attached/routed through the maze of the engine with the black tape instead of using a clamp, etc. I only looked under the hood of one car.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617 mischief. Chrysler doesn't use no steenkin' electrical tape. Just the usual plastic clamps etc.
  • My Cruiser has black tape around some wires - just like my MDX and Avalon. There is plenty on all three cars.

    Yes, the engine space is tight on a Cruiser, but does that matter? Routine service items are not a problem to reach.
  • What model year is your cruiser? What kind of highway gas mileage are you getting? Do all PT Crusiers require Premium gas or is just the GT Turbo models?

    I was surprised to read that the Avalon had black tape on some wires. I have a Camry and it does not have any.

  • My Cruiser is an 03 GT automatic. Mpg is rather poor for a small car. I keep a log and over the two years I have owned the car overall mpg is about 18. Freeway speeds are very high around here (75+) and A/C is used year round, so my highway mpg may be significantly less than others see. The norm is in the 22-23 range, though I have seen as high as 25. I rented a new Cruiser while on a trip (rented at EWR) last year a found the non turbo got better mpg, but that was checked only for a couple of tanks and the speeds, even on the NJ Turnpike, were much lower than around here. In addition there was no A/C use.

    You can run a turbo on regular, but performance and mpg will be reduced. If you are concerned about the extra cost of using premium instead of regular you are looking at the wrong car. Consider this: If you drive 18,000 miles per year you would use 1000 gallons of gasoline, based on the mpg my Cruiser gives for my combination of near gridlock and high speed driving. The difference in cost for a year by using regular, if one can get the same mpg on regular as with premium, is just $200.

    Based on testing I did with another car that has the recommendation to use premium, running regular instead of premium reduced mpg by 8%, showing there was essentially no dollar saving using regular. Performance was reduced using regular, so using regular instead of premium was a net negative.

    We like our Cruiser very much, but don't use it for trips. It is used locally, with an occasional freeway drive of not over 75 miles one way. We did try it for a 250 mile drive and found the seats comfortable, and the ride okay too.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    PT with a manual is quite capable of getting a 25 MPG average. Mine has a Cat back, K&N and TB spacer and I get 24 MPG day in and day out going up and down the mountain from Lake Arrowhead to San Bernardino. That is a 3500 foot climb every day. However if have to remember to keep my foot out of it or it drops to 22 MPG. Shifting at 4000 rpm just to hear the exhaust is not a good method of fuel conservation.
  • I had my spark plugs replaced at 29K miles with platinum-tipped ones. The car's average MPG increased by 2-3 if not more. On one highway trip (going through the mountains with the defroster running even!) I averaged 27.5mpg as a high. Might be worth a shot to try it.


    My 03 PT Limited now has 35K miles on it. The only problem I've had thus far is the heated seat switch indicator burning out for the 'low' position on the driver's side. The switch itself has been replaced 3 times, and it's currently on order right now. Weird. That, and the gear shift knob (auto) came loose a few times as well.


    I had the 30K done, and also had the brake pads in front replaced and the fuel injectors cleaned. I just had to have the serpentine belt replaced (the NA 2.4 actually has 2 of them) for a total of $159 from a private garage (dealer quoted $200).


    All in all, I have been extremely happy with my choice. It's rommy, comfortable, very versatile, and a good value. The only thing I would change would be depreciation (which is a bit steep), and maybe give it a little more merging power.
  • I still have the stock Goodyear Eagle LS tires on at 35K miles. They still seem to have a good amount of tread left, as well as good traction. How long have these lasted usually? I was just wondering so I know when I have to start deciding on which tires I would like to use to replace these.


    Also, a few suggestions wouldn't hurt either. ;)
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 254
    Hi all, my sister is considering an older PT cruiser, and I was wondering what problems have been had and are common with the PT? What are things to look for when test driving a used one? I appreciate any feedback.


  • I'm interested in buying a PT Cruiser for my next vechile because I just love the way they look, and have heard nothing but great reviews about them. However, in the not to distant furture I will be moving to Northern Michigan where there will be loads of snow. Since I can't afford the turbo charged model, I will be stuck with the regular 4 cylinder and was wondering if that has enough power to survive the winters, or should I just go with an older SUV in my price range? Anyone back east have any advice? Thanks!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    The regular 4 cylinder would be preferable in the snow than the turbo because it has higher aspect tires, which provide greater traction in snow, than the low aspect rubber on the turbo model. It's also possible that the naturally aspirated (NA) Cruiser has a little more ground clearance in front than the turbo model, which would be a good thing, but I'm not certain about that.

    For additional traction, you could mount snow tires in winter, which would also aid in turning and stopping, something 4WD doesn't do. For the vast majority of driving in snow country, FWD, especially when combined with winter tires, is very adequate.

    As far as power is concerned, the power requirement isn't dependent on whether or not you'll be driving in snow, in that the NA 2.4 has more than enough power to spin the drive wheels wildly on a slippery surface, something you probably wouldn't want to do anyway. My point is that you need to decide whether the NA 2.4 is adequately powered for your general needs, since the snow issue is irrelevant, as it relates to power.
  • I have an 03 Limited with traction control and the standard tires that came with the car. I find that the traction isn't as good as other cars I've had, particularly when turning. In the wet it's fine, but the car has a tendency to break loose and also fishtail in the snow. I'm on the East coast.
  • vanaticvanatic Posts: 2
    I have an '01 Limited Edition, with the original style rear headrests.
    Two questions:
    1) Will the newer, low-profile rear headrests fit my '01?
    2) If so, where can I purchase them?

    Many thanks in advance!
  • zbjzbj Posts: 3
    About a month ago I purchased PT Cruiser, GT convertible. List of standard equipment on the web includes “Universal garage Opener” for GT, however, my vehicle is missing that option. I contacted Chrysler, as so far I was told what I already new that my car does not have it. I am trying to work through my dealer to get it, dod not hear much yet.
    Does anyone know if that is a standard equipment on GT convertible?
  • charlotte7charlotte7 Posts: 144
    Are PT Cruisers really made in Mexico?
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Yes they are. For a brief while in 2002, they were also assembled in Europe, however sales never warranted the two factories and I believe European production was discontinued quickly.
  • bobr3bobr3 Posts: 1
    Dark and Lite Side of PT

    My 01 Limited has tens of paint chips on the front end,being lower in the front,and like our noses,take it up front.I do live on a gravel driveway,but don't speed on it!!!!!!!!
    I don't know what all you race drivers ,do but I just checked my mileage and am getting 29.3MPG,for both town(small) and highway(up &down) driving,since gas prices,and try and average 55MPH.Thats not bad for a heavy" little car" I LOVE IT!!!!
  • sapansapan Posts: 6
    Hi, new to this board. Have been reading this board for some time. also read the reviews in other websites. it seems most owners are happy with their PT. My wife and I are graduate students. We want a versatile and economic car. After looking at some compact suvs, we finally decided to try PT. The car we test drove is base model with 5 sp and AC. We like its performance. It has enough power and it is fun to drive. Right after test drive, we talked to the salesperson to get a deal which is 2000 below invoice price. we will get our car today. My concern is the paint, looks like the paint job on PT is not that good, especially black car. Ours happens to be black. We couldn't find a similar around the area. Do you guys recommend simoniz treatment? How good is it? Thank you in advance for your suggestion and comments.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    You said:

    My concern is the paint, looks like the paint job on PT is not that good, especially black car. Ours happens to be black.

    I happened to take a flight back sitting next to a car detailer. He told me black is the hardest to maintain (from any brand) although it does look beautiful.

    I don't think there is any magic finish to protect the car.

    Maybe get it detailed once a year (clay to remove deposits, then apply any good wax or polymer).

    Please keep us posted on the 5 speed manual. I had a 4 speed automatic and was disappointed with the acceleration and gas mileage, but hear very good things about the manual. You can search old test reports on the car magazine websites.

    Beware of invoice pricing, it is not a reliable indicator of actual selling prices. You need to look at the "factory" sticker; factory incentives; and dealer discount. I got mine much more than $2,000 below invoice (invoice was only a grand less than factory sticker) after adding up the dealer discount ($1,800) the rebate ($2,000) and the Chrysler Financial extra rebate for financing with them ($1,000). This late in the model year, you should get a great deal.

    Finally, word is out now on the 2006 PT Cruiser. The interior looks worse imho, the exterior changes seem neutral to me, but they are improving the sound proofing quite a bit (my PT Cruiser was plenty quiet as it was). At least you owe it to yourself to Google 2006 PT Cruiser and see what you come up with, so you don't feel let down in a couple of months when the 2006's hit the dealers.

    Like you, I got the PT Cruiser in lieu of a small SUV, and liked it a lot for that purpose.
  • tcsmpsitcsmpsi Posts: 31
    We purchased an '03 PT new. 5 spd, base model and it is black. We have close to 60,000 miles on it and it has been an excellent and versatile vehicle.
    We have had a bit of trouble with the paint in the front. We had it part of the front repainted (warranty). However, my wife drives it to work daily and her path (except in the dead of winter) has a high concentration of bugs. One would have to clean it twice a day at least to keep the bugs from becoming an integral part of the paint job.

    Other than that, she gets a bit over 30 mpg and it is still tight and quiet even though the roads she travels (120 miles round trip) daily are backroads and notably rough.
  • My 2003 PT is red and doesn't have any damage to the paint at all. Chysler charges about $120 extra for red probably becuase they use an extra clear coat on top to give it the pearl coat, I'm guessing. It's too bad they don't just add another clear coat to all the paint colors.
  • I have a 2003 GT Turbo edition. I love my car and have enjoyed it for the past two years with no major problems. Until my air conditioner went out September 18 and I live in Illinois and we were still having temperatures in the 90's and was stuck in construction traffic with no air. They installed a new compressor and then told me they were going to have to install new hose lines. The problem with that was the hoses are on recall and now they don't know when they are going to get the hoses to install. Yes they have given me a loaner car but it's not my car and like I told the mechanic if you have given me a Chrysler 300 to drive around in you probably would never hear from me. First it was a Neon and now they've given me a Dodge Stratus. I'm really upset and I want my car back and running good.
  • mrzipmrzip Posts: 1
    When I bought my 2004 PT it was summer and never thought about winter. I have a turbo charged high output model. Last week we had 8 inches of snow and ice and I was had nothing else to drive but the PT. I was pleasantly surprised and had no trouble going where I wanted. I realize with the low front end I could not push snow but with the four wheel traction I had no trouble at all. My wifes 2005 PT has studded snow tires on it but I feel very confortable with out them.
  • I live in the uk ,i have a 2002 2liter pt. I am thinking of fitting a induction kit,has someone fitted one and are they any good?
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    induction, yes. It is easy and it breaths easier. But you need an exhaust system to make it work like it should. If it breaths easier it needs to exhaust easier as well.

    Like some others here I have decided to move to better plugs and like many have installed Platinum plugs. I just got back from a road trip to Texas from California and back and got a low of 25 mpg in a head wind and holding to 80 mph to a high of 35 mpg on the flat with no head wind and 75 mph.

    I got my PT in 2002 and still love it. Take out the back seats and you can load a lot more into the car than I could in my old Cherokee. I have 17 inch rims and have lowered it by 2 inches in the front and 2.5 inches in the rear so it rides flat.
  • Were is the battery at in a 2001 PT I need to replace it, I see were I jump it off but is that also were the battery is?
    I was told it is under the left fender
  • illini4illini4 Posts: 140
    Under the air filter box.
  • I am seriously considering buying a PT Cruiser convertible. I really like the new style and think the convertible style is so awesome! The only thing that concerns me is the engine. The engine seems to be kinda small for such a large vehicle. I don't want a huge car with a small get up and go. I have drove a Sebring before and was very disappointed at the engine size in that large car. Can someone tell me if the engine suits the car?
  • carlahcarlah Posts: 1
    JUST bought PT Cruiser and I'm having a whole host of ELECTICAL problems.

    I've had it for only a week and 2 days.

    I gave it back to the dealer after CLOCK WOULDN'T KEEP TIME
    and I COULDN'T SHUT OFF THE HEADLIGHTS. the keys where out of the ignition and the dumby bell was sounding when I opened the door. I finally got it to go off when I put the key back into the ignition and turned slightly.

    then I tried to open back door and THE REAL TAIL LIGHT FLASHED


    My car salesman told me they found a loose wire connected to the fuse box and they fixed it.

    When I picked it up tonight, the service dept. told me that it still had the "fuse"? that the floor models have in them and that they where supposed to take that out when they sold me the car and switch it out.

    Then on my way home in the dark I was listening to the sterio when it felt cold and noisey. I turned on the dome light to find that THE PASSENGER REAR WINDOW HAD ROLLED ITSELF DOWN!!! i COULDN'T GET IT TO GO BACK UP.

    After parking it and putting the key back in the ignition a few times, I was able to roll the window up using the rear seat window things.

    I feel at this time that I want to return this "lemon" and get a car that isn't a Chrysler product.

    I had a Dodge Shadow 92 that also had electrical issues that where never resolved.
  • illini4illini4 Posts: 140
    Sounds like a bad body control module.
  • My Mom bought a 2001 PT Cruiser new. It's got a whopping 2200 miles on it since.(82 years young!) I've not gotten great gas mileage when I've driven it to keep everything working right. I did 40 miles and used 1/4 tank. Shouldn't I do better than that? Or is it because we haven't broken it in yet? Suggestions?
  • can you really improve the gag miles by putting platinum tip ones in? what is your gas on 2005 or 2006?
  • thinking about buying a 2006 pt are they still having problems with the oil leaks ?any other major problems with the 2006 or 2005 ?
  • PT Cruisers are not noted for getting good mpg. You can't go by what fuel gauge says, You must check based on actual miles vs. amount of fuel used, as shown at the pump. Depending on how the car is driven, mpg on a 2001 automatic will usually vary between 15 and 30. With so few miles per year, mpg should not matter from a cost point of view.

    Our 03 averages only 18 mpg, but I have seen as much as 27 on a long freeway drive.
  • In a word, no. However, the standard plug gaps tend to widen quickly and regapping may increase mpg slightly. I changed to platinum plugs so I wouldn't have to change them again. The OE plug gaps had increased significantly (over 20%) in 24,000 miles of use.

    Yes, I have seen a small increase in mpg (about 1 mpg) and the engine idles a little better too. It also seems to start more quickly. All of these observations would probably be the same with new standard plugs too.

    Because I also put new tires on about the same time as the plug change, the increase in mpg could be due to the new tires. The new tires are far superior to the OE tires with a better ride, less noise, better wet handling, and a higher tread wear rating.
  • Hello all,

    I'm a PT newbie--we just bought a 2003 PT Cruiser Classic and we love it. However, because it's the base version, it doesn't have power door locks. Does anyone have a recommendation for aftermarket keyless remote system installers? I live in the L.A. area (Redondo Beach for you L.A.ers). Any help you can give will be sincerely appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

  • I have a 2005 Cruiser currently at 18,000 miles. I get 24 mpg running the A/C and 29 mpg without. Mileage goes down when you let the air cleaner go more than 6,000 to 10,000 miles, also I use a good fuel injection cleaner every 15,000, both fixes have brought the mileage back up to 24/29. The replacement OEM air filters are $15 a pop, either at the dealer or NAPA. Please make sure it fits. After market OEM filters from Discount Auto Parts/Advance Auto Parts for all years are a half inch short on the width..... Currently I have on back order an Airforce One intake/airfilter which can be cleaned over many times and it supposedly increases 8 to 18 hp.(I should get in two weeks) AirForce One cannot keep up with the PT Crusier demand for these intake/filters.... I will let you know how it works out.
  • rtimacrtimac Posts: 4
    This is kind of an old post, but if you're still here then my opinion is to go for the Cruiser convertible, but get one of the turbos avaialable. The turbo "lite" gives 180 horsepower and does a nice job of zipping you around town. The turbo "High Output" is available on the GT models and has 240 horsepower. This is like a little race car! The downside is the high output turbo needs premium fuel.

    Go for it and have fun. The convertibles are a blast!
  • joey0708joey0708 Posts: 39
    your 24 mpgal was that on the highway? if it was what do get in the city ? did you have many other problems with it ? i took the pt out last summer for a test ride on one of those very hot days , and i must say the air works great.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    The dealer had the new Caliber, and it is very neat. It has good rear seat room and a very masculine look. It looks MUCH better in person than in any of the photos I have seen. The big wheels/tires set the car off very nicely - it has the same width tires as on our minivan!

    There was one major reason, and two minor reasons why we didn't get the Caliber instead:

    First, the Caliber is stickered high, at least with the basic options you'd want. It was stickered $2,000 more than the PT (but had some extra goodies, like side curtain airbags, ABS, tire pressure monitor, etc.) More importantly (I would have paid the difference for the extras) there is only a $500 rebate and the dealer would only offer $500 off the MSRP. This is because the car is new. So it's just way too early to get bargains.

    Second, third, and fourth, (1) its not as spacious feeling as the PT, and the trunk seems smaller - I don't think you sit as high up in it (all these factors make it less suitable for hauling around 4 people - two small adults, an infant, and a pre-teen); (2) the CVT is untested, imho, and has a different "feel" from a 4, 5, or 6 speed automatic; and (3) the interior isn't as nice - it's plain instead of dressed up like in the PT. Of course that's part of the "little SUV" design cues Dodge is intentionally using.

    BUT if I were buying for myself, and Dodge was offering $2000 in rebates and the dealer was offering $2000 in their own discounts (as they were doing on the PT), I would have made up the difference in MRSP's in an instant and bought one...even as a first model year, with all the pain and suffering that implies, it is such a winner.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    I also put in platinum plugs because the gap does increase faster than I expected. Other than that the car has been trouble free. I have a K&N with a home made cold air made by following the directions on one of the FYI PT cruiser sites. With a Dyna Max exhaust and cold air it isn't very quiet but it does give that sound I was looking for. I have averaged 24 MPG to and from work for the last two years and I had a high of 33 MPG on a trip to Fort Hood last december. But I don't expect to get great fuel mileage from a car designed like a PT. I did have the stock air box in on the trip to Texas. I forgot to clean the K&N the day before we left so the stock box had a new filter in it so I put it back in the night before we left.

    The car holds a lot for a small car. I can get my drum kit and my hand drums in at the same time.
  • jim7689jim7689 Posts: 15
    I just bought my daughter a 2003 PT Cruiser Touring Edition. When I put gas in it I noticed a strange looking key attached to the gas cap tether. Does anyone know what this is for?


  • I bought a 2003 PT Cruiser 2 weeks ago. It has 78.000 km's on it. When I took it for a test drive in the lot at the dealership, the brakes
    were squeaky. The dealer told me it was because it had been sitting on the lot for a while, and
    we had had wet weather. Whenever it rains, the brakes squeak ( squeal ) should it be doing this? We never had this with our Jeep TJ! Rain or not. I called the dealership, and spoke to them. They told me they pulled the inspection report, and the brakes were 70%. I want a copy of that report. My wife is concerned about the car not being safe to drive, even though this only happens when it rains. Does she have a legit concern? I use my vehicle everyday. Does anyone else have this problem? What could it be? A rock? bad rotars? any ideas? Iam going to take the car to the dealership and request they check the brakes in my presence. What would be your advice? Thanks all!
  • janeinelkjaneinelk Posts: 1
    This might sound dumb but, where is the horn located in the engine compartment?
  • norrmanndonorrmanndo Posts: 81
    under the front passenger wheel panel. I took off the black panel once and the horn is just in front of the wheel.
  • What is the best highway speed for the PTs to go at on the highway for maximum efficiency. Also, where should I be keeping the RPMs. I have an 01 and just about always get 24-25, in about 60 Highway/40 city. I've never seen anything higher.
  • I am buying one after owning a 2000 Chrysler sebring convertible that has been nothing but pure grief, I swear this car only stalls out just to let me know it is not done driving me into a crazed frenzy...

    I managed to get approved for a loan all on my own, I just got to turn over the keys and the title for the ol' lemon from hell! Cheers to all u PT CRUZER owners, and long live the PT!!!
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,403
    Please check the discussion list here in the Chrysler PT Cruiser Group for the appropriate discussion to post in.

    We're moving away from these large generic discussions, and setting up smaller more focused ones. This is a work in progress, so if you don't find a discussion that fits the issue you want to talk about, please feel free to create a new one and we can adjust things later if need be.

    Thanks for your patience and assistance as we move the furntiure around!
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