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PT Cruiser Brake Problems & Questions



  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    They wanted to charge me almost $600 dollars for this because they said it is hard to get to the thermostat. Is this true???

    Which engine? On my wife's 03 turbo the thermostat isn't too difficult to get to. It's near the left front, as you're standing in front looking in the engine bay. Follow the big upper radiator hose from the radiator and it'll take you right to it.

    It looks like on my wife's car I might have to remove the intake manifold but that's no big deal - I did that when I replaced the spark plugs. You just should make sure you get the torque right when you tighten it back down. A PT Cruiser repair CD on eBay or Haynes service manual is a lot cheaper than the $600 they want to charge you.

    Does the noise it makes when turning sound more like a moaning? That is probably the power steering pump if so. Check the fluid level and PS belt tension and condition. Okay, now I remember you asked about the PS about a week ago. Did you look into that mesh screen in the PS reservoir possibly being clogged?

    Why would the brake fluid be so dirty if a shop supposedly flushed the system and replaced with clean fluid 4 months ago? Why do they think the caliper is sticking? Is that wheel hard to turn by hand when off the ground or is there uneven wear on the pads?
  • tomicatomica Posts: 23
    We just took our 2004 PT in for a tune up and to fix an assumed problem with the ABS light coming on. Mechanic could find no real problem with brakes. When we left, light was off but within 2 miles it came back on. Anyone have a similar problem?? Did you find a fix??
  • I have a 2001 PT Cruiser and a couple problems bother me and I need some ideas. Lately the brakes seem to be catching with a jerking before the car stops. The brake pedal is also a little soft. I get no brake light.
    Also my oil light keeps coming on and binging. The dealer says there is nothing wrong and not to worry right now. Just the sensor is damp. The binging is driving me crazy. Any ideas on either of these problems?
  • Also standing in front of my car with the hood open, where do I check my brake fluid level? :confuse:
  • I have an "01" also and it sounds like you got the same brake issue i have.. with my brother being an ASE certified mechanic, he's been doing all the work on my cruiser. the ABS and traction control lights both come and go on mine. turns out that when he hooked it up to the computer, there's a hydraulic brake malfunction thats causing the problem.... bad part is he's telling me its a $1500.00 fix.. i've had this car since feb 09 with 111k miles and already replaced the timing belt, both front wheel bearings and driver side axle. apparently there's nothing they can do about the sensors, every time it rains my airbag sensor goes off.
  • Muffler and brake shops are notorious for doing unneeded work. I've been in the industry for over 40 years and I've got a slew of horror stories. Always get a second and third opinion. Ask folks you know for a reputable place to take your car. Brakes, hoses, and belts are the biggest scams. After I bought new tires for my car and asked for an alignment I found that a tire store in Racine, Wisconsin had actually loosened my front end parts to make the wheels "wiggle" when they grabbed them,
  • in mt pt cruiser 2001 it was the rear calipers, i sent them for recon and and it was cheap and worked, however after a month one of them was discovered to be leaking and it made the brake pedal soft when applying brakes, but the recon has 2yr warrantty and im sending one back
  • my pt cruiser is 2001 limited and the handbrake was pulling all the way up, there were three issues

    1. the rear brake plates where the handbrake cable is attached has a small rounded dome which was worn out and had to be welded to form the rounded shape again, you can clearly see it if you remove the brake shoes there will be a worn out hole on the plate, some dont do good electric welding and it can wear out again in 12months or so, so make sure you see the welding before its pt back, it should be a small dome like shape not just a bit of spot welding

    2. when the brake shoes were replaced the handbrake lever will become loose, and if ignored the lever will pull up too much and parking brake will be soft or not work at all

    3. it is essential to open the 4 screws around the long console of the handbrake lever to reveal the handbrake mechanism, there are two bolts holding the lever down, easy to remove and replace if you wish, but you can detach the two rear cables and pull the cable fixed to lever as mch as possible and then insert a lock pin or thin nail to hold the spring, and then attach the two cables back and remove the pin, this will retension the spring in the lever, make sure the handbrake is bolted down when you do this, check handbrake light before returning the console back, there is cigarrete lighter cable attached to the console so just leave console on the side wheile working.

    do this before buying new handbrake cables or handbrake lever
  • trac control & abs light staying on in dash on pt cruiser 2001 limited

    well had same problem with my pt cruiser 2001, firstly there is no need to plug in computer under the dash for pulling abs error codes,
    because the problem can be the cracked abs ring on the drive shaft/cv joint,

    turn your steering all the way to left and ask your colleague to see if behind the tyre the abs ring is broken or cracked,
    it is circular like a bracelete with grooves, then turn the steering to the right and repeat the inpesction,

    if the abs ring is cracked then look on ebay or web for pt cruiser abs ring or kia abs ring, should cost about £5-£10 each
    and a garage could heat it up with gas and hammer it into the drive shaft/cv joint for you for about £20-£30,
    takes about 30min to 45mins, make sure the garage dont heat the cv booth kit rubber next to the abs ring when heating it up.

    i heard you can only buy abs ring for front wheels and its not available separately for rear wheels,
    so for rear you may need to buy the whole part it comes on

    the front abs rings are easily visible when you turn the wheel to one side, the rear ones may not be visible as i have not seen them

    so if the abs ring are good then it wil probably be one of the wheel sensors, in this case you you may look for a garage who will hook up
    the computer and pull the code for you, be carefull if the say there are no abs error codes it means the sensors are ok and most of it

    there is no need to buy abs sensor for any wheel when there are no error codes

    on pt cruiser you can pull engine error codes yourself without a computer, just do the key dance on the ignition,
    turn key until dash lights come on then switch off and then again turn key until dash lights come on then swithch off,
    then turn key for third time again until dash lights come on , you will see engine error codes displayed then says done,
    if there are no error codes it will say done, howevere these are engine error codes only not abs error codes,
    abs error codes are pulled using abs diagnostic tool

    incase its a faulty wheel sensor, will cost £45 at dealer or £20 from scrap, then a garage can removed the tyre and plug out the old sensor cable
    and replace it with a new one, one end is easy to plug in but the other end has to be pushed in at an angle,
    its about 30min job and garage can charge £20 or so

    my pt cruiser is back on the road with just one abs ring replaced and it all cost me £30 alltogether
  • Maybe someone can give me a heads up as to the source of my problem: a few weeks ago while approaching a red light in my 2007 PT Cruiser convertible there was what appeared to be a puff of smoke from the hood and the right front quarter panel. It smelled like an electrical malfunction. A few days later the right front wheel acted as if the wheel was severely out of balance. At my earliest convenience I jacked the car up, pulled the wheel off, and pulled the caliper off and inspected the disc brakes on the passenger side and discovered the inner brake pad had worn slightly to one end. I checked all the parts thoroughly, compressed the piston back into the caliper with no apparent problems, and reassembled everything. All went well for another week or so, although my wife said she thought the car engine was lugging. Finally today I bought a new set of brake pads and installed them on both left and right front wheels. It feels as if the pistons are not retracting after application as both wheels are getting hot even driving short distances and there is a strong smell of burning brakes.

    Everything electrical seems to be working fine, and I found no evidence of any fluids having been ejected on any part of the engine or compartment. But evidently there is something that is not allowing the pistons to release to allow the brake pads to retract off the rotor.

    And ideas?
  • i think i have been thru a similar issue couple of times, the garages help me with their wild guesses which i take no notice of at all,

    its most likely your caliper is jammed (i mean the piston comes out during braking but not retracting back after braking),

    this problem will require either get new caliper or recondition the existing ones, (i bought some from from junkyard or salvage and take them for recon and then get a garage to replace them for me, and next time after 2 years i would take the old ones, which came out from my car, for recon if i have to),

    the smoke is probably from leaking brake oil from the brake caliper, or even maybe you had sprayer brake cleaner when fitting or examining brake, yes it does make a bit of smoke but in my case it was only for a day, after i drove the car from the garage and it never happened the next day, it was probably just heat and brake cleaner fluid reacting into smoke.

    good luck.
  • I have a 2002 PT Cruiser. Yesterday both front breaks engaged and would not disengage. By the time it got to the shop the breaks disengaged and can not be duplicated. Now I need new shoes, calipers and rotors. Any idea what happened and what the cause was? This is the second time this happened but the first time was just for a short period.

  • My 02 pt cruiser brake pedal goes to the floor whats wrong
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