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Chrysler PT Cruiser Owners: Problems & Solutions



  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095 it's ;-)

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 252
    (I also posted this under the PT Cruiser forum)


    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 have a 2002 5 speed PT Cruiser and this winter have had lots of frost on the front and driver's windows. Dealership says door gasket may not be tight. Anyone else have this problem? It must be a warranty covered situation, right?
  • I have another question:

    I'm at the end of the original service contract (3/36,000)and would like to know if anyone knows about any repair trends. I have a 2002 PT cruiser, 5 speed and the only problems so far are computer related:


    - at 4,000 miles the windows wouldn't go down until I had shut off the engine and restarted. No diagnostics were done.


    - at 20,000 miles the airbag light came on for a 24 hour period in zero degree weather and shut off on it's own. No diagnostics were done.
  • Would someone please tell me how to remove the speaker grill on top of the dash?

    Thank you
  • Nicole, Since the PT is out of warranty about the only way you can receive compensation for repairs would be through a class action suit which would prompt Daimler Chrysler to issue a large scale recall. Best to monitor recalls /complaints at The following url takes you to the Office of Defects Investigation >>


  • njptnjpt Posts: 1
    Do any other PT Cruiser owners have problems with rodents building nests in the car? It's happened to us twice now.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    Welcome to Edmunds Forums!


    This problem is not necessarily more prevalent in one make/model over another. If you do a keyword search (to your left) using the words "mice" and "rodents", you will find a few archived topics that discuss this dilemma.

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • The vents on the defrost setting that blow to the side window are somewhat small. You need to turn the adjustable vents toward the side window and set the vent control so that it blows out of the side front vents for a minute or so. Usually the defrost setting is enough to keep this from happening, but if not, just use the other adjustable vents for a little while.
  • Most dealerships sell something called "friggie fresh" to spray into the ducts. Almost all R134A using vehicles get this probelm.
  • I have had the same problem with our local dealer. I would not let them work on a Radio Flyer wagon! I took my car to a local Toyota dealership where I know a lot of the mechanics, and within 4 hours, the vibration was gone, and it has been smooth saling ever since. I am sure my PT got a lot of funny looks while on the rack next to a bunch of Camrys!
  • I asked a local dealer about this product, they had it. It was pricey (about $20) but it worked!
    We will see about long term, but at least it didnt have the "hospital smell" of Lysol!
  • ptricanptrican Posts: 1
    My inside door handle in the drivers door broke. After inspecting it, I found out that the part that broke holds the long rod that controls the outside handle and the small rod that control the inside handle. It is a black piece that holds a blue clip and a yellow clip behind the panel in the drivers door. I'm currently stationed in Germany with the Army and the Germans told me that I need to order the complete panel because that part is attached to the panel. Please I need your help because I have to open my window to be able to open the door from the outside. Thanks
  • purplebugpurplebug Posts: 24
    I will be purchasing a new PT GT this year with a strong desire to get the Dark Plum one. However, if I can save more money getting another color because it will be in stock; does anyone know of a great car painter in NJ to redo the car in the color I want? Thanks in advance.
  • volvodan1volvodan1 Posts: 196
    Get a Plum. $4-5 large would be the starting point for a factory quality paint job, and that still ain't a factory paint job. You'd pay for the paint, then pay later because it's been re-painted.

    You "might, maybe" save a buck or two getting one in stock. If they don't have it, it won't cost that much to go get.

    I don't know what else to say except find a new one that's already the color you want.
  • They are correct. The inside remote handle (what you pull on to open the door from the inside) is part of the panel. Not much labor to replace the panel, maybe 30 minutes or so. I've taken mine off twice.
  • andy27andy27 Posts: 5
    I just bought a 2005 PT Cruiser Limited, and just went on a road trip to Phoenix from California. I noticed that once the car reaches cruising speed(in my case between 80-83 mph) there is a pretty significant vibration in the steering wheel. If I reduce or increase my speed, vibration seems to subside, although upon changing speeds again it seems to come back. Anyone know what this could be? This is a brand new car with less then 1000 miles on it, so I am surprised at its freeway behavior.
    Also, I wasnt expecting it to get "Honda Civic like" gas milage, but was disappointed at the fact I only got 19 MPG on the freeway. I think my GMC Sierra gets better freeway milage!!
  • There are a few things that cause vibration in the steering wheel. Wheel balance is a frequent cause, though the vibration get worse as speed increases. There can also be alignment problems as well as wheel and tire run out problems. Sounds like a dealer warranty fix is in order.

    Cruisers don't get great mpg. The mpg on ours increased about 10% at around 3000 miles and continued to improve another 5% over the next several thousand miles. Even then, the mpg is poor. Our 03 GT automatic gets 22-23 mpg at high freeway speeds (75+) with A/C on. Overall, our PT GT gets only about 1 mpg better than our MDX. The best tank I have seen is 25 (twice). Non-turbo Cruisers get much better mpg.
  • andy27andy27 Posts: 5
    Thanks for the input on the vibration. I'll have the dealer check it out at my first oil change.
    As far as the gas goes, hopefully it improves over time, but even if it doesn't the positives about this car far outweigh the negatives! The thing is a blast to drive!
  • To clean dusty wheels, try Windex window spray. The dust comes off easier with this than anything I've tried, its cheap, and new dust buildup seems to be a lot less.
    Most of these commercial wheel cleaners are really smoke and mirrors. All vapor and no substance.
  • Mine did that after the first rotation. Rebalancing the wheels did the trick. Be sure they use the proper weights (the dealer, Sam's, & Costco).
  • hojohojo Posts: 6
    Agree with everyone about poor gas mileage. My best with my 2002 PT with auto is 25. My other 4 cylinder cars have averaged 35 mpg or better. A friend's transmission just went out at 40k miles ($2,600) - that has me worried. If you want better acceleration, try Bosh Platinum +4 spark plugs (Big difference, but I'd like to smack the engineer who designed the air intake manifold attached to entire top of the engine, turning a 10-minute job to a 3-hour job). My engine malfunction light came on at 37k miles and the dealer has ordered a new PCM (computer). I thought it was just a smog reset or something. I replaced my original battery last week and now the power door locks, keyless entry & alarm system do not work. I find no reference to resetting any of this and the fuse is fine. Anyone have a clue?
  • I have a 2001 PT Cruiser and just recently have been having a problem with the key. Once inserted in the ignition, it won't move. You have to keep playing with it, and then it finally clicks. We were out of town last weekend and it took almost 1/2 hour of playing before we could start the car. Sometimes it's just 3 or four tries. Took it to the dealer today and they said it was the remote and we had to buy a new remote and get our key re-keyed. OK, we did. It did the same thing tonight after class. Now what? Anybody experienced anything like this??? Thanks!!
  • charlotte7charlotte7 Posts: 144
    Hi all,

    I've loved the look of the PT Cruisers for quite a while, and am considering trading in my 04 Subaru Outback for one (the Outback has had a host of problems--I'm one unhappy Subaru buyer).

    My two main concerns are cargo space and mileage. I have a 70-lb German Shepherd and without taking her to the dealership with me, it's hard to tell if she would fit in the back with the rear seats up or if I'd have to put the seats down. Any Cruiser owners with dogs want to weigh in?

    Also, one of the things I'm dissatisfied with my Outback is the mileage. It doesn't run well on anything but 89 or 93 octane, and it gets 16 mpg in city driving. This is a 163 hp 4-cylinder engine, and this is honestly about the same I got with my 95 Z-28, which was a lot more fun to drive! Can you run your Cruisers on 87 octane without ferocious pinging?

    City commuters, what kind of mileage are you getting? I drive about 10 miles roundtrip each day, which isn't much, and I make a few more short trips in the evenings for classes, etc. I usually only do highway driving on the weekends.

  • Don't buy a Cruiser if mpg is a major concern. Cruisers are heavy for their size and have a lot of air drag at higher speeds. Both of these cost mpg. Our GT gets about 14-16 mpg in local driving. The non-turbo models usually do a little better. In 20K miles our Cruiser has averaged only 18 mpg (mostly local driving) with high speed freeway driving giving about 22-25 mpg

    We love our Cruiser (03 GT). Our 85 pound dog rides in the back seat. While there is room for the dog in the way back, the seats are tall relative to the floor, so it is like a big open top box. If this is where the dog must ride be sure to try before you buy. If your dog is like mine, the cargo area, with both back seats up (so people can sit in the back), will not be a happy place.
  • sisusisu Posts: 2
    You may have to get a new ignition. I had the same problem with an '82 Accord & the dealer couldn't seem to figure out what the problem then either. Finally told them to replace the whole thing on the steering wheel.
  • peach1peach1 Posts: 2
    May be the gas cap wasn't put on correctly. Just a thought.....had that problem myself, and thought I'd pass that bit along.
  • jonmicjonmic Posts: 1
    Got a 2001 Cruiser. When we unlock the passenger door, and lately the driver door, the horn starts going off. It stops with the key in the ignition. I have yet to get an owners manual, and would like to be able to get into my car quietly to go get one. Please help!!!
  • I have a 2005 PT Cruiser and a 120 pound Lab . My lab will fit great with the seats taken out or folded down . On a return trip ( purchased way too much junk ) I even left the seats up and she fit Ok back there but not as comfortable as she would have liked to be . I also use regular gas and do not get any pinging . I do however have a motor problem I will address in another message.
  • When my 2005 PT Cruiser got 2000 miles on it I discovered an oil leak . After many many hours at my dealer and many many loaner cars while Chrysler among other things replaced first the head gasket then the head . Then it really started leaking oil .By now it had only 6500 miles on it .The dealer said it had a busted block ! I demanded another car and held my ground .It had been worked on 7 times. :lemon: Chrysler wanted to completly redo the motor. I did get my replacement identical car ( I had to pay only for the mileage on the first one) . It has just under 2000 miles and much to my shock ......I discovered an oil leak under it today...... I just left my car with my dealer (again) and they said they have reports that the 2005 PT Cruiser sometimes needs retorked .This would be the head bolts are not properly torked or tightened to specs . Once the motor has heated to running temp may already have damage to the aluminum head. Everyone please ...if you do not park in a garage ...put cardboard or something under your car and check for an oil leak , it is near the front left ( drivers side ) and very minor at first but this could really cause problems later on down the line after the warranty runs out .
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