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Chrysler PT Cruiser Owners: Problems & Solutions

blackcloudblackcloud Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Chrysler
my wife recently bought a 2002"WOODY" PT. MY question is what kind of wax do you put on the "wood". My dealer has no idea what so ever. Does any body know ?


  • I have a 2005 Cruiser Convertible. I absolutely loved this vehicle. As you can tell that is in the past tense. At 1000miles the engine starting dying at every stop sign and stop light. Then the problems started with the gas tank, would not go above 3/4 tank, then would not go past empty, then would back and forth between empty and 1/4 tank. This car has been in for repair 6 different times, the 7th time coming on Monday, the idel is messed up again and there was a CD stuck in the CD player. I have decided against Chrysler all together. Anyone else with PT convertible with any problems?
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 737
    Hi all...I have a 2002 Limited Edition 5 spd in Steel Blue for about six weeks now. Great car! I am starting to notice a curious situation after filling the gas tank. Sometimes, within 20 miles of filling the tank, the gas gauge shows 3/4 tank, and other times, it takes 60 miles to get to 3/4. All with the same type of driving, and I usually get gas at the same station. This is not a comment about MPG, rather about getting a full tank when I get gas. It seems that it is hard to get a full tank. Has anyone else experienced this?
    The next time I refuel, I plan to keep clicking on the handle (topping off) several times to see how much more gas I can get in the tank. Has anyone else experienced this?
    Also, I recently parked overnight on a slight up hill, with the gas gauge indicating 1/4 tank when I shut it off. When I started up in the morning, the low fuel light came on instantly, and the gas gauge showed in the red zone, less than 1/8 tank. After driving on a level road for several miles, the gauge was back at 1/4 tank, but low fuel light stayed on. OK, the incline caused the gauge to read low, I problem. I shut off the car, parked on level ground, and later in the day, the gauge was still at 1/4, and low fuel light stayed on. Doesn't the light reset with the ignition if it is now above the trigger point?
    Thanks for any input.
  • waynerpwaynerp Posts: 35
    Is this the only discussion about problems with the PT? If so, the PT must be a really great car!
  • Reporter for a major business daily seeks drivers of the PT Cruiser ASAP, to share your experiences with the car and possibly mention your name in the weekly auto feature that I write. Please email me at [email protected]
  • Just bought a PT Cruiser and love the car, great to drive and it really does get 29mpg on the hiway, I got the 5 speed. I live on 3 miles of gravel and wonder if I put the spoiler on the back if it would direct the wind to clean off the dust on the rear of the car. I had about the same type of dust problem with a Plymouth Vouager. The dust settles badly on the rear window.
  • I've been driving a 2002 PT for about a month now. It's a rental and I'm considering buying one. There is a curious situation that's been happening. Sometimes the auto locks open and close on their own. My husbands says it must be a ghost. I was sitting in my office and I kept hearing click, click. I went outside to see the locks locking and unlocking. I opened the driver's side door and shut it real well and it stopped doing it. Then yesterday it started doing it while I was driving. So at a stoplight, I opened and closed the door and it stopped doing it again. I parked & locked it, went into my appt. and when I came out it was unlocked. Weird. Now I'm wondering if it's such a good idea to buy one. I really need a car that locks as I sometimes keep my cell phone in the car. Hmmm.
  • I experienced the 'mysterious' locking and unlocking with my PT also. I took it to the dealer, who fixed it. Since then, there has been no trouble. Apparently, some water, probably due to car wash, got into the front door lock, which then caused such 'automatic' locking and unlocking. Incidentally, I like my PT a lot. Don't give up your pursuit for a PT.
  • kaywkayw Posts: 2
    At 12,000 miles my brakes started squealing on my 2001 PT Cruiser. The dealer said is was a problem with the new brakes they were instalilng on cars and all the new brakes will do this. Something to do with a safety hazard with material on the older brakes. They indicated they could put the more expensive brakes on the car but they don't last as long and would probably need to be replaced at 20,000. Pretty embarrassing to be driving a new vehicle with squealing brakes. Anyone else with this problem?
  • I just got a 2003 Pt Cruiser Touring. Is it supposed to have a dual note horn? Mine sounds kind of sick with a single note.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The 2001 and 2002 models came with a dual note horn. Part of the decontenting for 2003 was a switch to a single note horn.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 737
    Hi all...I have a 2002 LE 5 speed 18,000 miles, and the brake pedal seems to feel "hard" after the car sits overnight...feels normal as soon as car is started. My first thought is this is a new thing (don't recall it feeling that way before), but now I am uncertain. I would guess that this is a leak of vacuum to power booster, but wonder if anyone else has this or what your thoughts are. Is it a concern?

  • Does anyone know of a kit (or method) to lower the driver's seat height on a PT ??
    I am 6'3'' and would like to lowr the seat by about 2"
  • larryj75larryj75 Posts: 1
    I've only had my PT Cruiser for a few weeks and already I'm having this terrible problem where once in a while it just refuses to start. I'm driving the base 2003 SE model, not the turbo. It doesn't seem to be a battery problem, however, as the starter seems to be working; it just isn't getting any gas. Of course, it doesn't happen all the time, but often enough to make it a pain in the tookus.
  • PTs are usually quite reliable. Hopefully you have a good dealer that will quickly take care of the problem.

    While mine has not been totally trouble free, the dealer (Rancho in San Diego) has been outstanding and has made necessary repairs quickly with no hassle.
  • Hi everyone,

    We are thinking of buying an 02 Cruiser Touring auto for the missus.I think I can get it for $12750, maybe 12500 from a dealer. It has 18000 miles on the clock. Can someone give me comments on the cost of running, servicing intervals and servicing costs and reliability. I know some think the 2.4 is underpowered with an auto, but for our use it will be fine. Coming from the UK, I will always choose auto. I used to change gear 1100 times a day on average!! Thanks in anticipation.

    Ian Jennings
  • My neighbor has a 2001 with about 50,000 miles on it. Mostly local driving and she has had no mechanical problems. Oil changes, an air filter, wiper blades, a new set of tires a little while ago, and new brake pads are the services so far.

    Mine is a 2003 GT and has had one significant warranty repair besides a routine oil change. Most owners I have spoken with say their PTs are very reliable and have been virtually trouble free.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Most Pt's seem to have been fairly reliable, those problems that have occurred have been taken care of under warranty. Generally as far as maintenance is concerned, the PT follows a fairly standard schedule with oil changes every 7000 miles. You didn't mention what you are switching from, you may find fuel costs to be the big expense, the PT can be a thirsty beast. Part of that is due to the fact that the PT is a fairly heavy car, well over 3000 lbs. In addition it offers the frontal area of a barn. Look for the fuel economy for the auto to be in the high teens for local driving and in the low-mid 20's for mixed driving. My wife has a commute of 22 miles each way with her touring edition, a mix of local streets and limited access. she has been averaging about 23-24 mpg even with the cold winter we have had.

    People have complained about the PT being sluggish, I would class the automatic as adequate. My 5 speed is a bit peppier than my wifes automatic but I have no problems keeping up with traffic in her car and heavens know that enough PT owners have managed to get speeding tickets. There are very few owners that are unhappy with their PT's.
  • Thanks guys for the response, it is much appreciated.
    We will be exchanging from a Grand-AM 2.4, also with 150 b.h.p and automatic. We average about 24 mpg around town and about 31 mpg on a run. In true GM tradition, top gear is very high and you often have to chnage down to 3 when going up an incline,so the PT wont be too different. We will get a test drive and see.
    One thing that disturbs me. I have learnt that ABS is an option which i personally feel is absurd!! This is a trend i feel needs reversing. It is the same on GM in the USA and UK where i come from. Am I right in saying that if a PT has rear drum brakes it has no ABS. If it has rear discs than it has ABS? Does anyone know this?

    Thaiks and regards

  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    If the rear brakes are drum, the car will not have ABS. The ABS came as a package which included the rear disk brakes, ABS and Traction Control. I also believe that you could not get the rear disk without ABS so if it has rear disk it would have ABS. You will also see a switch to turn off Traction Control if it is ABS equipped.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 737
    I have a 2002 LE 5 Speed with 21,000 miles. It has always started quickly on first crank, however, in the last week or so, it has been "slow" to start when warm after sitting about 20-30 min since driving. Outside air temp in the 70s. It cranks normally, but will crank longer than usual, then start hesitantly, rough idle for a few seconds, then rpms will increase to normal idle speed. The last time it did this, an observer seemed to notice a smell that might have been gas at the rear of the car. This is something new, as the car has always started on first crank for 21,000 miles, hot, cold or warm. It still starts on first crank cold or hot, just after sitting 20-30 min after driving does this happen. The dealer says, "can not duplicate, no error codes, or TSBs" (Does this means that there is nothing wrong?!) Anybody experience this, or have any suggestions/advice, other than a different dealer, or get used to it?

    Thanks for any input
  • I wonder if the problem is winter fuel on a warmer than normal day for that kind of gasoline. Have had similar problems for years. Started after oil companies started using oxygenated fuel (or fuel with a higher vapor pressure) during the winter here in SoCal. Cars always started and ran fine when the engine was cold, but gave problems when, as you mentioned, the engine and under hood had heat soaked for about a half hour. Once the hot fuel went through and cool fuel from the tank was being fed to the engine operation returned to normal. Problem went away when non winterized fuel was sold, usually beginning near the end of March or early April, only to return around early November when winterized gasoline was again sold.

    My newer cars seem to tolerate the winter fuel better and so far I have not seen this problem with my PT GT even though the underhood temperatures get very high after being parked for even a few minutes.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 737
    Thank you for your thoughts. You raise an interesting possibility, as I started experiencing this condition on a trip to SoCA from AZ. However, I have made similar trips to SoCA over the last few months, and not experienced this slow starting with warm engine. In fact, on these trips, I usually get gas at the same station in Yuma (cheaper than CA prices!). I will be filling up today at my usual station in Tucson, so I will see if that is in fact the cause, but I doubt it.

    I'm wondering if there may be some sort of delay in the fuel pump getting gas to the injectors on warm start, or an electronic malfunction in the fuel mixture controls for warm starting? I'm not very up on today's electronic systems in cars...

    I was able to demonstrate this condition to the service writer at the dealer, and his comment was " boy, is that subtle!" HA! I know this car, for 20,000 miles it has started on first turn of the key everytime. Something is wrong. Maybe it's time to try a different dealer. I'll post again after refueling.

    I really like this car, and this slow staring is really bugging me. Any other thoughts anybody? Thanks!
  • PTs do not come with long life spark plugs, but they should last more than the 20,000 miles you mentioned. In addition, if the gasoline you have been using contains MMT, spark plug life is sometimes reduced. "Reformulated" gasoline does not contain MMT.
  • riirii Posts: 2
    I have an '03 PT Base model and recently acquired OEM driving lights to self-install. The instructions indicate that if there is no wiring in cavities 13 and 14 of the 20-way connector (beneath the steering column shroud, connecting to the light switch) then the vehicle is not pre-wired. While checking out the driving lights cavities on the lower fascia, I found a wiring harness and plugs at each opening however have been unable to determine where the wiring leads and how to tap into it. Unfortunately the installation instructions do not address this situation. Does anyone else know where the existing wiring harness originates, or how to tap into this harness? I really do not want an extra harness and plugs dangling down behind the front fascia. My dealership is clueless (at least over the phone) and want to charge an arm & leg to look at the wiring (everything is "for a fee"). Thanks.
  • Suggest you try one of the PT club forums for more information. PTOC, PTE, and PTCC have a lot DIYers.

    The service manual only shows a LB wire running from the fog lights to the switch (the front fog lights are operated by pulling out on the end of the light switch on models that come with front fog lights.

    There is a large wire bundle visible next to the right front high beam headlight and that may contain the wire to the fog lights. I can see a LB wire in the bundle on my PT.
  • ggriffith1ggriffith1 Posts: 1
    Hi my name is gary. my sister is thinking of buying a PT Cruiser base model . Has anyone had any problems driving in the winter? She is looking at buying a automatic .
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The PT Cruiser is a very good snow driving car. My wife has the automatic and had no difficulty this past winter, with all the snow we had in the Mid-Atlantic region. I had no difficulty with my 5 speed, neither car has traction control. I understand that the cars with traction control did even better.
  • saxamesaxame Posts: 2
    I have 2003 pt cruiser for about 3 months and I have brought it into the dealer to fix oil leaks for the 2nd times already. Wondering if any other pt cruisers owners out there have the similar problem?
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    Where are your oil leaks (engine, transmission, steering)?

    None on mine so far.
  • saxamesaxame Posts: 2
    the leaks are from engine area. first time was the gasket and the 2nd time is from the top of the engine
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    I won't say it's common but it's not unheard of either. Both my wifes car and my car certainly are within specs for oil use and it doesn't appear to be leaked out.
  • music287music287 Posts: 116 attach the inexpensive higher note horn? If I had that bolt the addition would take 10 minutes because the wiring and bracket is already in the one note horned PT LE I drive.
    Anyone know how to find out what bolt is used? It has a hex head and is threaded into the car frame. There is no access for a nut, btw.

  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The bolt is a self tapping 6mm X 20mm with 1.0 thread. What other installers have done if they can't find the self tapping bolt is to purchase a regular bolt. They remove the self tapping bolt that holds in the present horn and replace it with the conventional bolt. They then use the self tapping bolt from the first horn to mount the second horn.
  • svince99svince99 Posts: 1
    I only noticed one post about squealing brakes. I am considering buying a 2002 Cruiser. I have had 2 Chryslers in the past with brakes that squealed and a friend of mine has had the same problem. Is this a problem with most PT Cruisers?
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    Mine don't squeal or make any other noise I can hear. Have not heard any noise from my neighbor's in three years either.
  • We have a loaded 2001 PT with just under 10K miles on it. It is our 2nd car & quite often it isn't driven for 2 weeks or more. This year it died 3 times. We recharge it and took it to the dealer. He says if we are not going to drive it in a 2 week or more period we should disconnect a fuse. This would mean re setting everything when we re-connect. We thought this was a ridiculous answer to our problem so we called the factory & they said the same thing. Would like to know if anyone else has this problem. Sounds Mickey Mouse to me and poor designing. We love the car otherwise.
  • One would think a battery would last more than two weeks when the car is parked. Did the dealer check to see how big the current draw is when the car is parked for a long period? There should be some data on what is normal. If two weeks is the max there would be a lot of cars on dealer lots with dead batteries.

    If there is nothing wrong (no excess electric draw), your battery may be weak. You might also consider installing a more powerful battery.
  • My 2002 PT has always had a very bad (BO) smell from the air conditioning when first turned on but goes away after driving. What could be causing this? Anyone else experienced it. The dealer could give no explanation except to spray the vents with Lysol. Otherwise fine except for lousy gas mileage and brake dust.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    mold in the ductwork. It is a common problem with A/C units, not just Chrysler and the only solution is to spray a disinfectant into the ductwork.

    I have heard a number of people that claim that if just before you park, you turn off your A/C and run the blower for a couple of minutes, that helps cut down on the smells. Apparently it allows the ductwork to dry out so that mold can't form.
  • Lysol has worked for me. Make sure the Heater-A/C fan is running (A/C off) and the air intake control is selected to outside air. Spray the Lysol directly into the air intake, located behind the window washer tank. Creekhn is correct that this is a common problem in A/C systems. Also make sure the drain is open and water can flow freely through the drain.

    Sometimes where you park can cause water to collect in the evaporator case. If the drain is not the lowest point, when parked, water stays in the case and becomes a breeding ground for mold and mildew. For example, if the drain is near the back of the case and you park with the car pointed down hill, some water will remain in the case.

    Brake dust? My wheels used to be chrome color. Takes a day for them to be covered in brake dust. I'd change my brake pads except the factory ones stop well and will probably last 100,000 miles.

    I didn't mind the mpg until gasoline prices went above $2 per gallon. At $2.30 per gallon now common around here mpg will be a major consideration on my next car.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    My PT has chrome wheels, and I noticed the brake dust on the front is pretty heavy in normal driving. I bought this wheel cleaner from Pep Boys that's meant to be sprayed on and rinsed off. I used it last weekend after not cleaning the wheels in a month/2000 miles, and they came clean with just spraying wheels with water after the application of the cleaner. The bottle was $6 or so from Pep Boys.
  • Hi we were thinking about buying a pt but I was wondering if you have to haul something like a tv or something bulky how long does it take to remove the seats and how hard is it. Right now we have a base p\u and with a baby there isn't a 3rd seat so we thought this vehicle might work if you could fit stuff in it pretty easy. Would appreciate any comments. Thanks
  • Easy and fast. Suggest going to a dealer and trying it. Consider getting the bumper scuff plate ($20 or so) if you plan on putting large items in back. I've found that most of the time just folding the seats flat is enough.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The PT modular seating system allows you a number of options. The two rear seats remove completely. They are heavy but one person can do it. They also fold flat and if the parcel tray is positioned correctly it will give you a flat floor to the back. They also flip forward against the front seats giving you a deeper flat floor. You also have the option of doing either the 60 or 40 % seat, leaving a single back seat.

    I got a 27" television this Spring, I had my two sons with me at the time. I had my one son up front (he was big enough) and the other son in his booster seat on the 40% portion of the seat, with the 60% portion flipped forward. The Television slipped neatly into place.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    The rear seats can fold flat, tumble (and there are 'clips' to hold them in place!), or can be removed completely (took me 5mins. to remove the seats, and they aren't heavy either) for your hauling needs. Even in the cargo area, I have had no problem fitting about $200 in groceries with the rear seats in use and not folded.

    The parcel shelf is very handy as well for tailgate parties. There is also a power outlet back there for pluging in a portable radio or something of that nature.

    Just the other night, I had myself, my best friend, her 2 toddlers, and her niece (who is 10) in the car and everyone had enough space to be totally comfortable. I am totally thrilled, as my last car was an 02 VW Jetta which had no room in the back seat when I was sitting comfortably in the driver's seat.
    After owning this car since July 9 and for 6500 miles, I can honestly say it's the most versatile, accommodating vehicle I have ever had (out of 7 cars, from a Cavalier all the way to a Bonneville).
  • $200 in groceries? Is that three or four bags? Kidding aside, we fit more than a dozen plastic bags on the floor and another ten or so on the package shelf so we don't have to put bags one on top of another.

    We have found that the Cruiser is longer and taller inside than our MDX and as a result has carried items that didn't fit in the larger car.

    My old 1984 Toyota Van was only about 6 inches longer and about the same width as the Cruiser, but it easily sat seven real adults and took their luggage at the same time. It also held 4x8 sheets of plywood without removing the seats. That was my most versatile vehicle. It got better mpg than my Cruiser and turned on a dime by comparison. The Cruiser is a lot more fun to drive.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    my thoughts exactly

    $200 worth of groceries is only a couple of bags, nowadays.

    That said, as a result of Isabel, I have had to make a few dump runs in the past week or so. Between carrying branches or spoiled food or the waste from a closet we cleaned out (not Isabel related), the car has swallowed everything we put into it.
  • We just picked up a used Ltd Edition (no turbo) with 14K miles on it a couple weeks ago. AFter two weeks of carefree driving, the other day when it was raining and very damp, we noticed that the car was running a bit rough when we were stopped at a light. We tanked up and also had a clearing of weather and the car is running fine again. Not quite sure what to make of it yet. It could've been a bad tank of gas or maybe the weather, but weather should not be causing a relatively new car any grief. Waiting for some more rain to see what happens.
    Anyone out there have a similar problem perhaps?
    Solution maybe?

  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Previous years of the PT Cruiser have been plagued by a problem with rough idle. I'm not sure whether it carried over to the 2003. If you have only 14,000 miles on it, it should be under warranty, you should take it to the dealer for service.

    If you search the various internet discussions you should find discussions of the rough idle problem. I believe a number of the complaints have been cured by the replacement of the plugs, spark plug wires or both. The fact that it happened in damp weather would make me suspect the plug wires.
  • I have a 2001 pt le.It has started leaking transmisson fluid, not all the time, about a drop or two every day or so.I think it is the pan gasket but there is no gasket from the factory. is there a after market one ? it has 54000 trouble miles on it till this started. any info would help.
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