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Dodge/Plymouth Neon



  • enetheneth Posts: 285

    If you can get a head gasket on a Neon replaced for $100-400, more power to you. You must live in a low-cost labor area. Around here, it's over $1200 for a V6 for head gaskets, and more like $700-900 for a 4-cylinder model for labor and for parts. Whether it's a Honda or a Neon, labor is labor - and it's expensive.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    Well I checked more into neon headgasket costs. All factory parts required are less then $100. The actual labor involved is pretty simple, it's easy to access and goes pretty quick. Common prices paid for labor ranges from $200 at you local grease monkey shop to $500 at a five star dealer. The warranty has been extended to 5 years and 100000 miles on the headgasket with a $100 deductable. If the failure happens it almost always occures on the drivers side rear of the block and only involves the leaking of oil, seldom does a headgasket failure on a neon result in the mixing of any fluids. If you have an oil leak at this point still don't panic yet, the most common cause, (much more likely then headgasket) is the cam position sensor seal which costs under $5 for the part and 15 minutes tops to install. Many people have this slight headgasket leak for a long time before it gets worse. A few people at ran upwards of 50000 miles with the headgasket leaking oil before it finally started leaking collant as well, still the neon continued to march on until the fix was made. Of course a V-6 will cost more, it is exactly twice the work and parts with reduced accesibility. By your math if a V-6 costs $1200 a inline 4 cylinder should cost less then $600. Maybe other 4 cylinders are more difficult to work on then the neon, and I'm pretty sure a factory set of top end gaskets on a Honda will cost more then the $88 the neon's do. Anyway enough death and gloom about this headgasket thing. My point is there are so many other cars out there, that have more common problems, that will leave you walking in Hayward at 1 am, and ultimately cost more then the neon's headgasket.
  • Thanks Hersbird for shedding a little light on the 'horrible' Neon head gasket problem. I ran my 95 Neon to 94,000 miles with the original head gasket and found out after I sold it that the minor oil leak at the back of the engine was not
  • Thanks Hers bird for shedding a little light on the horrible' Neon head gasket problem. I ran my 95 Neon to 94,000 miles with the original head gasket. I found out after I sold it that the minor oil leak at the back of the engine was not from the valve cover but from the head gasket.

    The car ran fine and dint smell like coolant or lose coolant. The problem is hardly ever criticle. I have been quoted head gasket replacements for less than 400 dollars(or about the same of a good set of tires)

    If you have 50,000+ on the car its a good time to consider replacing the timing belt which wont siginficantly increase the cost of the entire job.
  • I have a 2K Neon with the 14" wheels and 185/65 Goodyear Eagle GA's with 20,000 miles on them. The tires were barely adequate last winter at 10,000 miles and they are terrible in the snow this year.

    I still love my Neon but if anyone from Dodge reads the Edmunds Town Hall is reading this I just want them to know the Goodyears are the worst set of tires I have ever had. I was hoping to get 40-50,000 miles out of them, but now I will be lucky to get 25,000.

    One failed on me at 1000 miles (sidewall failure, not from a curb or punture) and Goodyear did nothing about it. I have to get the tires balanced every 5000 miles to stop them from wobbeling. It works for a while but the wobble always comes back.

    Has anyone else had problems with the Goodyears?

    I am also receptive to recommendations on good all weather replacement tires.
  • 71charger71charger Posts: 116
    I must agree with edswords about the Eagle As. They came as original equipment on our Jeep and were completely worn out before 25,000. My Neon with the 15" wheels came with Good year AS tires and, so far, I've been pleased with them. I'm at about 13K with no discernible wear on them. They got me to work and back (80 mile round trip) in an ice storm. I do have traction control though.

    On the oil filter. The Neon 2.0 calls for the same filter that most of the old 2.2s (along with many Toyotas and Yugos) called for, Farm PH3614. It's a tiny filter and doesn't provided a great deal of filtering area. The short V-8 filter is an easy fit (Farm PH43) and it holds about an extra half a quart of oil as well as the increased area of the filtration media. I'm not advocating Farm or any other filter, Fram's just seem to be the numbers most people are familiar with.

    Also, I'd still like to hear from anyone who has had the PVC recall work done. Any change in driveability?
  • 71charger71charger Posts: 116
    On my last post I thought I had just told it to fix my spelling of discernible and it changed a bunch of stuff. Farm should be Fram, Eagle As should be Eagle GAs, Good year AS should be Goodyear LS. Oh well, live and learn.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    This winter I got a set of BF Goodrich studded winterfires mounted and balanced for $240 at Costco. They are great studded snows and I think better and cheeper for around town driving then the 'studless' tires like Blizzacks. My Jeep had Goodyear GSA's (Get Stuck Anywhere) as original equipment as well, just about anything would be better. The neon has 23K miles on the Goodyears and although they still have over 50% of the tread left I don't think I'll put them back on the factory rims in the spring. Instead I'll get a set of aftermarket 15 or 16" wheels and tires and leave the studs mounted. Even with studded snows when you get the light neon on a solid icy hill it's pretty hard to get going with the clutch and 150hp on tap, maybe I should use 2nd gear more. Spellcheck always wants to change what's right as well as what's wrong, It's why I stopped using it long ago. At least this new format has a 'edit' button you can go back and fix stuff.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    Hi !

    I am happy original owner of 96 Neon (Sport Sedan). My head gasket gave way around 50000 miles. My Five star dealer did work for (I wish I remember 500 to 700 USD) x dollars and I asked them to write on the bill that it was not due to abuse but else (typical damage was the wording). So I called the DC got the address and sent them the bill. Month later I got check which covered all the expenses. So I am paying it back by claiming how well I was treated but it should have been designed properly first.

    Now about the tires. My both cars came with Eagle GAs: Neon 185/65R14 and Passat 215/50R15. These both sets lasted around 30000 miles.
    On the Neon I had exact the same problem. Side of the tire developed air leak (no sign of damage) and it took me 3 or 4 Goodyear dealers to get one which replaced it for free but I bought from them additional service (roadhazard or something) but still cheaper than new tire.
    The Passat had different problem. Close to the end of their thread life the tires started developing cracks in the grooves. I had them patched first time but after second I bought new tires (Dunlop SP9000 and Pirelli Winter Ice).

    It is good that GAs do not last longer because I would not be able to enjoy different tires. My current Neon tires are Dunlop D60A2 and they are quite decent. My Neon has 60000 and by the end of the summer I will need new tires or sooner.

  • I had the recall repair done 3 months ago and the car drives the exact same - no difference.

    I appreciate the feedback about tires. I suspected I wasnt alone. I will definately be buying a new set of tires and I am sure they will not be another set of Goodyears!
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    That is OK. Actually I was trying to make my point
    that many of the problems Neon owners are facing are caused by incompetent mechanics. dtownfb has a valid point too. His point is also valid for Honda too. I was a loyal Honda customer for long time. new generation Hondas have lower quality than older generations. I know many people that have new Civics and have many problems with their cars. I can't comment on previous generation Neons, I never owned one. But the one we have is running pretty well. Good luck with your next purchase.
  • Ditto on the recall. I had it done and the car drives exactly the same. Love my Neon. Just hit 11,000 miles and it runs beautifully. Getting about 34 mpg on the highway, and the car got me through a bad snowstorm. (Have traction control). Has a BMW-like feel on the road. Couldn't ask for more.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Forgot to say that the PVC recall was repaired a couple months ago on my roommate's. It idled a little smoother, but that's the only change I noticed in it.

    Someone actually vandalized the car last weekend by partially ripping off the left windshield wiper. The dealership replaced it for nothing too, but they would not provide a rental car while the car was in service. Oh well, guess you cannot have enerything. :)
  • Can someone tell me about what I am hearing concerning a head gasket problem on a 1996 Neon? I have owned my 1996 Plymouth 4-cyl for 3 years. It has been leaking oil more and more lately and my son took it to look under it and came back and said that what he and his friend saw was not good. I am not completely dumb about cars, but neither am I a mechanic. He described a massive leak at the corner and said that it looked as if something had warped and oil was sprayed everywhere on the under carriage. I am very concerned about the cost of repair on this as I am not prepared for major repairs. I have 77,000 miles and really love my Neon. Could someone who has had a similar problem give me an idea of the cost of repairing this problem and is the car OK after a fix? I read in one of the posts about Chrysler and parts and also about it not being difficult to fix. This will help me to decide who I want to repair this problem. Any input is very much appreciated.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Yes, it's probably the head gasket, and no - don't let it go too long. Eventually, the engine will overheat and warp the cylinder head, or coolant will enter the cylinders and cause it to crack. Depending on where you have the repair done and how much is involved, figure on $600-800 if it's just the gasket. If it involves damage to the head, it'll cost more than that.

    You should probably try a Chrysler dealer first, since it's a known defect and they will in some cases pick up most of the cost of the repair.
  • greg116greg116 Posts: 116
    Ever since they came out in'94, I've been hooked on these things. Their looks, the commercials, the power. Ablout six moths ago I got to live with a '96 4-door auto SOHC courtesy car for a few days and aside from that horrid 3-speed auto, I liked it. I liked it a lot. Fast, light and fun to drive.

    I've decided that I want one for my first car. Specifically, a preferably somewhat base model, 5-speed stick and 4 doors. Any color works, particularly blue or red.

    Is there anything I should know about these things? Any special major defects? I dont care about lousy fit and finish, only a comfortable ride, a smooth stick and plenty of power. The A/C on the courtesy car was crap, all it did was surge the engine and didnt cool the air in the least.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    There's a great site that lists Tech.Service Bulletins for all car brands that might be helpful.[]It always pays to have as much info as possible as new cars are all so complicated even if they are inexpensive.It should keep you up to date on what changes in service procedures,redesigned replacement parts, etc.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Check out a recent feature on about TSBs: You, Your Vehicle and the Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) by Erin Mahoney.

    Erin talks at great length with a very helpful Town Hall member, Tony Murray, who uses the Town Hall ID of 0patience. Tony founded a site Bat Auto Technical for the purpose of making otherwise unobtainable information available to the consumer at no charge.

    You can request the full text of any TSB and the site will provide it free of charge.

    Check out the article. And say "hi" to 0patience if you see him around - he really is a very valuable Town Hall community member.

    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Board
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    Thanks Pat; I don't even own a Neon, but discovered the site I posted about and pulled down some info on a car that I do own!Glad I peeked into the Neon board.Best, Dave
  • Have a 95 neon with a ghastly smell that several garages cannot find answer to. It only happens when at slow speeds, is worse when driver window is open. At high speed its not apparent. Has anyone else such a bad odor. One garage said I shouldn't be thinking of a new catalytic converter.
  • I am thinking about buying a used Neon ('95-'97).
    I thought that the best people to ask about this would be previous owners. Would you recommend this car and what should I watch out for?? I would love to hear from everyone.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Get an extended powertrain warranty - you will replace the head gasket, if the original owner hasn't - or if the original owner didn't get the corrected version. The brakes are a weak point, as is weather sealing, and the car is prone to electrical malfunctions, like most other Chrysler Group products.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    My wife's 2000 Neon just passed 2k with no problems. I am an accord owner but I really like that Neon.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    My roommate still has his 2000 Neon ES. It's been in the shop like 10 times for various things including trunk and door latches and the radio. Now, the alarm just goes off when it wants. The engine makes the entire car vibrate when idling. It doesn't make any sense, especially in a brand new car. Chrysler has some nice cars, but their quality assurance and customer service SUCK!
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    Why do you feel obligated to post bashing comments about Neon whenever you see something good about them?
    You have been repeating yourself like broken LP. I recommend you to stay in Mazda Protege Problems topic to read what type of junk Ford manufactures.
    I am a former Mazda owner (87-323, 97-626) and Chrysler owner (91 Plym. Sundance- bought it 94K crashed it at 128K). Both Mazdas had many problems. 323 was visiting the shop every month like I was making car payment. 97 was in the warranty, tranny, valve cover, AT locks are changed along with many small parts and car never run properly (you can read the detailes in 626 problems topic). But my sundance was never in the shop except oil changes.
    These are real owner experiences unlike what you post.You are reflecting someone else's problems here.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    I would NOT reccomend a power train warranty. Why? because it will cost you more then it would cost just to go ahead and fix a head gasket. Then it will not need it again. The power train warranty will not cover any other potential problems you may face on a 95-97 neon. Even the automatic tranny being the sucky 3 speed variety just means it's more reliable then the 4 speed. The manual is about impossible to break, the only thing would be the clutch will wear out (as in any car) but this would not be covered by any warranty either. I disagree that the brakes are poor in a neon, especially if it has 4 wheel disc. My neon did not have them and it still never showed any brake problems even with hard driving. The early neons are SCCA club racing champions, they have few shortcomings when it comes to performance (starting, turning, and stopping). Personally they did improve on vibrations and reducing rattles on the 98's and 99's. I just traded in my low mileage loaded 98 sport for $7000 (it was $10,500 new exactly 3 years ago so a little over $1000 a year ain't bad) The dealer now wants $9700 for it but of course they would go less. I bet you would have to pay almost $5000 for a pretty basic 95. I'd be willing to spend $3,000 more to get power everything and sunroof with only 24,000 miles. Also do get a manual, the automatic really does suck unless you care nothing about performance.
  • My 2000 ES came with the aluminum wheels and the 185/60-15 Eagle LS. The only tires I see in that size are the Eagle LS and one other Goodyear. I saw another Neon just like mine in a parking lot and it had 195/60-15 B.F. Goodrich (don't remember the model). Did these cars come with both. It would be nice to have a wider selection than two models when new tire time comes along. I've even considered the 195/50 that are on my Shelby Charger, even they are more common than 185/60.

    At 15,000 miles and the car has only had oil changes and a tire rotation. Everything works as it should, zero defects. What a difference from my 82 Camaro and 83 Charger.
  • My friend is selling his neon with 71k on it, and replaced HGs. He's the second owner and has only driven it for about 5k miles, and he was the one who had to replace the gasket. It has a little bit of paint peeling, but a bra covered that up, and no other peeling has occured. He has had no other problems with it.
    My question is how much longer will it last, and could there be any more possible problems i may have to worry about?
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Not to poo-poo your idea or anything, but why is he getting rid of the car after only 5000 miles? Wouldn't that be a flag to you? Just curious...
  • As an owner of a 95 Neon, all I can say is DON'T BUY IT!
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