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PT Cruiser Electrical and Lighting Problems



  • Just a follow-up. While the service tech hadn't heard of the fog lamp problem, he had heard of the headlights coming on all by themselves. They couldn't reproduce the problem, but went ahead and replaced the multi-function switch based on the information I printed out from this discussion thread. I have the 7 year/70,000 mile Chrysler extended warranty, which they honored. All I had to pay was the $100 deductible. (Of course, it probably didn't hurt that I told him I'd already called Chrysler to report the problem.) It's been over a week now and the problem has not reoccured.
  • No real advice other than to report the problem to Chrysler. I've never had the flickering light problem or any oil/exhaust smells (thank goodness). I have had to replace my brakes and still have occasional squeaking. As for gas's definitely not great. If I drive mostly freeways, I might get 23 mpg. In combined city/highway driving, I get between 19 and 21 mpg.
  • I purchased the car not only for it's looks, but it's supposidly good MPG. The sticker says 20/26 City/Highway.

    I've been testing it since the day I bought it and I can only get 20mpg from it. I drive 70 miles a day for work. Nearly all Highway but a few miles. I've driven an entire tank at 65mph as well as 70mph, 75mph, and 80mph to see what I can get. 80mph get's me 19mpg while 65/70mpg get's me 20mpg.

    I had Chrysler perform a test because I felt the car was not getting the advertised mpg for highway miles. They tested the car at 20.86mpg at 70mph.

    I do love the car, but I'm very unhappy with the mpg. Are there any American model cars that get mpg as the Japanese and Korean's do? I don't want to buy one, but curious to know what cars our country produces in this catagory that complete with the foreign cars.
  • whunt1whunt1 Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 pt cruiser with a battery problem, but do not have fog lights. The problem sounds the same as the fog light problem. Everything is fine and then you go out to start the car and it is dead. Have had the car 2 1/2 years and 3 batteries. No one seems to be able to find the problem. Have had the alternator checked several times and someone even did the jump across the starter solenoid and it started just fine but they said the starter solenoid was shot and we replaced the starter ( solenoid not sold seperately). I make sure that EVERYthing is turned off before getting out of the car (dome light, radio, fan for heater) and the car still occasionally won't start. Help!!!! I have a haunted car.
  • I have a 2003 Pt cruiser with a little over 23000 miles on it garage kept. It has been to the chrysler dealer twice once under warranty and now out of warranty. It sound like it may be coming from around one of the belts. The first time they changed the thermostat and second put a new altenator on it. H
    Just trying to see if anyone had anything's kind of a high pitched sound.
  • I have the 2003 Turbo, seldom used, with under 10,000 miles. Most of the time it's stored with occasional starting to keep the batter charged. A year ago began having intermitted starting problems, the dash lights come on normally and the turbo fan comes on but the engine won't turn over. If I keep turning the key off and on it usually starts after who knows, 3, 5, 10 times it depends. Sometimes it starts right away, I'd say this happens about every 2-3 starting attempts. It doesn't matter how long the car has run or how long it's been turned off, it will do it right away sometimes after I turn it off and on again. Sometimes it will have run for an hour, turn it off, it won't start. Other times it will. Dealer replaced the battery and the cables, fixed the problem for a couple of months now it's back. Replaced the battery again myself, no change. I've tried jiggling the key, no help. I'm at wits end and thinking of trading in. I've seen similar problems posted by others, can't believe there isn't a service bulletin out. Is the PT Cruiser just another American junk car, good on looks terrible under the hood?
  • I also heard a chirping sound coming from the passenger side of my 2004 PT Cruiser. My battery light kept coming on and off also. They replaced the belt that is on the left side of the car if you are looking from under the hood. Two days prior to that they replaced the fan in front of the radiator because the compressor kept coming on and off sporadically while the car was idling. It didn't do it if you were driving only at idle. I have an extended warranty with a $100.00 deductible which they made me pay twice in one week because they said the problems were not related. Yah, we will see. They have had the car since Saturday March 31, to put the belt on it is now Monday night and they still have not finished it. The car is still in the shop. Grubbs Chrysler Nissan. :sick:
  • wallacerwallacer Posts: 1
    Yesterday driving home, I thought that I could smell a faint odor of burning wires. I opened the hood and didn't see anything at that time. This morning when I started the car the accelerator raced to 3000RPMS and only slowed down slightly after warm. It's just as if I have my foot all the way down on the gas pedal. Even in neutral, the acceleration overrides the brakes.

    Is there a fuser or switch, possibly for an automatic choke, that I should look to replace?

    Any ideas what part I should be looking at?

    Thanks for your help,
    Wallace R
  • I know this is a bit late, but are your replacing the battery with a factory OEM battery - MOPAR battery? Have you tried a different battery such as Diehard, Interstate, etc. I know that the MOPAR battery is free because of the warranty, but I had a 2000 Dodge Neon, in the first two years I had 2 new Mopar batteries and they could not figure why it was dying either. I just got fed up with it and being stuck twice and needing a tow, I bought a diehard gold battery and did not have any problems upto the point when I got rid of the car. Just a suggestion or thought.
  • I concur with this. I had a 2000 Dodge Neon, within the first 2 years I replaced the factory Mopar battery twice. Nothing they could find was wrong with the car. I was fed up with being stranded and having to get towed that I bought a Diehard Gold battery and had no problems after that. Mopar batteries are just poor quality. They are as cheaply made as possible.
  • I'm posting this long question in this thread because we went thru the fog light/multi-function switch replacement last year and have had a new problem that just cropped up.

    Last week the wife's 2001 PT with 70k miles refused to turn off the dash lights when the ignition was turned off. Then it wouldn't start, but did when jumped after the battery drained. Then when I ran it to charge up the battery, it kept running when the key was turned off! The wife got in it and, for unknown reasons (I guess it just likes her better since she babies it so) it did turn off.

    I checked the battery terminals and found some corrosion, so I cleaned them off, sprayed on some stuff I had to prevent that corrosion and it ran well over the weekend.

    Last night, out of the blue (or was it the black), it was parked outside the house and for no apparent reason the panic alarm went off and I had to go out and click at it with the key gizmo (~ pardon the technical jargon, please). No, there was no one messing with it ~ the same thing happened the next morning (today) about 8 hours later. Again, it turned off when we clicked at it, but when my wife went to start it, the battery was again dead.

    We had it towed to our non-dealer mechanic. He charged it up, trouble-shot the usual things like the ignition switch and such and they checked out fine, but the car dash lights stayed on again when the ignition was turned off and it wouldn't turn over when he tried to start it. At that point, the mechanic started pulling fuses to see which one controlled those lights. They stayed on until he pulled the 10A fuse for the air conditioner (!). He plugged it back in and the car started right up. It continued to start and work fine for a couple hours and he called me to come pick it up, admitting that he didn't know what he did, if anything, to correct the problem, but it was working fine now. That fuse, which didn't even need replaced, cost $150 ~ so far.

    (I note at this point that we have used this mechanic for a long time and trust his work)

    I went in to pick up the car. It started up fine for me and I drove it to a nearby gas station where, after the fillup, the car again refused to turn over although the dash lights turned on and off appropriately when the key was turned.

    The mechanic drove over and fiddled with it to no effect. At that point all we could do was have it towed back to his shop where it sits until tomorrow when he will dig into it again. But he admits he doesn't know what else to do at this point except more of the same.

    Anyone have any suggestions as to what he should check? After visiting this and other sites, I will suggest he check the multi-function switch again as well as resetting the battery polarity. What else?


    PT gone whacko electrically
  • I have a 2001 PT w/ 89,000 miles. The good news is that it has been a very dependable car for the past 7 years. The bad news is that it has started doing quirky electrical things. From the beginning, the bun warmer on the passenger side would come on without being pushed. No biggie. Two months ago I had to replace the original battery- no problems, just did it per advice of the mechanic. Last month the car wouldn't pass inspections because the fog lamps would not work. It wasn't the bulbs or the fuse. I took it somewhere else ona day that the fog lamps worked and it passed. No fog lamps since. In the last two months odd, random electrical things have occurred- the overhead light will come on, the dash lights won't come on, the temp/compass overhead light won't come on at night, etc. I plan to call Chrysler tomorrow. TG I got the inspection sticker but I'm starting to wonder if I ought to go ahead and sell the car now (I'm single, in a new city, no alternative transportation, etc)??? O my, that's not in my financial gameplan.

    Re gas mileage, I used to get 20-23 mpg city and 25-30 long distance. Gas mileage has definitely declined with age. I put a STP treatment in it a couple of months ago but that only helped slightly for a short period of time.
  • bandaidgoozbandaidgooz Posts: 10
    I've just experienced this simultaneous failure of the power locks, exterior lights and dash lights. I have not had any previous electrical problems on my 2001 Limited with almost 100,000 miles. One mechanic has checked all of the fuses and found no failures. I have an appointment with my Chrysler dealer but would like to be ahead of their highway robbery plans for drawn out trouble shooting and high priced module replacement. Any help would be appreciated!
  • We have left our PT I talked about a couple posts ago at the shop for the last week and the mechanic has tried it when hot, cold & lukewarm, driven it from time to time and it has worked every time! Gawd, this is frustrating! Can't do anything if it is running right! We'll give him a couple more days and see what happens...
  • caliberchiccaliberchic Posts: 402
    I hope you can get it figured out! :sick:
  • Here's the solution to the problem I experienced. Upon further investigation, the dealer found some wires were melted that connect to all of the related components. Thanks to a little pre-dealer leg work with a salvage yard, I found the dash cluster was not the problem and kept the dealer from charging $600 to replace it when it was not defective.
  • deshoneddeshoned Posts: 1
    Okay, my car is expericing the same thing. The car just will simply not turn off even with the key out of the ignition. I am taking it to the dealership tomorrow, but I wanted to know if you ever got your wife's car to act right. My father dies in september and I got this car from him. I'm not sure of anything that he may have done to it previously, but it sounds like I'm having the same problem as you. Any advice for me?
  • It is difficult to type a reply with all my fingers, toes, arms, legs, eyes and intestines crossed, but here goes. The symptoms...

    We had the car at the mechanic for nearly 2 weeks so he could try various options (cold/hot start ~ moving/not moving & etc) and the problem just stopped happening. It's been a month or so and no repeat of any of the problems.

    The unable-to-turn-car-off situation only happened once. Wish I had more concrete solutions for you, but it is what it is. We were fortunate in that we had transport options and could 'wait it out' (not that it necessarily was a solution). Just be aware that a dealership might do what someone above mentioned ~ start replacing $600 wiring harnesses or whatever ~ until the problem disappears. And that it might not even be the fix it needed.

    Good luck.
  • Hello,
    I just bought and a 2006 PT Cruiser and it quit for the very first time last Sunday (doing 70 mph). All I can think of is, oh great I'm stuck with a Lemon. At any rate I have had Chrysler vehicles for years and one thing that always seems to go out on them is the Ignition coil, which controls the spark. The coil heats up and shorts out after it cools it is good to go again. They always seem to be weak in Dodge and Chrysler cars and trucks. Did you ever have the coil replaced on your car? I'm thinking this will be my first plan of attack... unless you tried it and it didn't work then its plan B what ever that will be.


    Sincerely, Kevin
  • hzleyeshzleyes Posts: 2
    I would like to know of any solutions to this problem. My wife's car is having the same problem. A mechanic friend of ours said it is possible that it is lead number 7 but he can't find the exact cause. We would rather not take it to the dealer.
  • kpatriciakpatricia Posts: 3
    I've got a 2002 PT with about 89,000 miles on it. Have begun having the fog light problem that I've read about here. Fog light indicator goes on, I jiggle the switch, they go off for a second and then back on. The other day while my car was parked, not in use and not running, noticed that the fog lights were on even though I hadn't driven the car since the previous day. Jiggled the handle, fog lights went off. Next day went to drive my car and battery was completely dead. I called Chrysler's recall number, and no recall had been issued for my car. They transferred me to customer assistance where I was told that they'd never heard of my particular problem before but that they would record my call. Not happy about that. Just towed my car to a local trustworthy mechanic--not the dealer.
  • nfrostnfrost Posts: 3
    Hi Everyone,
    I have a 2003 PT limited which has the fog light issue, exactly as everyone has described.
    I have found mine starts to act up when the interior is very hot (i live in Florida), the fog lights keep coming on and i keep taping the multi function switch on the end to turn them off, once the A/C cools the interior they stop coming on by themselves.
    I also found that when i leave the car the only way to stop them coming on is to turn the left turn signal on, just as described.
    Its good to know other people have gone through this, and tomorrow i will be calling the 800 number which was posted earlier.
    Thanks to everyone who has offered advice.
  • mybell222mybell222 Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 PT Cruiser GT. I love this car, however, lately I have been having problems and I was wondering if anyone might know what is going on. It all started at the beginning of this year when my turbo went out at around 35,000 miles. It was replaced under the Powertrain warranty. Early June I was running errands (it was hot outside) and all of a sudden my car over heated (the light went on and the gauge was close to the max). I turned the air conditioner off (which helped to get me home; I was really close). The car was running hotter than usual so I took it in and by the time they got to it the next day there was nothing wrong and it was not running hot.

    So, a couple days ago I was running errands all day in the heat again and the car STALLED while I was driving. It took constant turning the car on again to get home. The engine light was on. We took it to a dealership across the street Sat around 5pm (could hardly get it there- cont. to stall repeatedly) and come Monday day the tell me that they had to replace the battery of the car to do the diagnostics and nothing was wrong with it! It was back to normal. That problem was not my battery-the car started fine it just shut down when you tried to drive it. I don't know what to think but I am very frustrated. I know there is something not right. Anyone have any suggestions?? :cry:
  • Two days ago my cruiser decided that it didn't want to start. It had started fine all day long and I made one last stop before going home and it wouldn't start. The dash lights, and the interior lights come on just fine, but when you turn the key all you hear is a click. The motor doesn't even try to turn over. My husband thought it might be the starter so we replaced it and still nothing. The battery is fine, the cables are fine and everything is hooked up. My check engine light came on a month ago and the only codes it displayed were for the battery cables and power steering...checked all that and the light went off until the next time I hit a bump and the light came right back on, and the codes were the same. I've also had a problem of when the car was starting ...the engine would sound like you were holding the accelerator to the floor. I am desperate for any help or advice.
  • I own a 2001 cruiser with about 61k miles on it. Very reliable, no problems, until this evening. I got in my car this evening(not the first time driven today)and I started driving, about a block later the car beeped like a door was open. Checked all doors, all closed. For the rest of my drive home (about 2-3 miles, all stop and go) the car would beep like a door was open, the map lights would come on and go off, and everytime the car hit 20 miles, the doors would lock, even though they were already locked from the first time the car hit 20. Then when I got home, I parked in the driveway, locked the doors, and as soon as I got in the house the panic went off-lights flashing, horn going, the whole 9 yards. Went down with the key, but by the time I gone down, the car had reset itself. Happened again about 5 minutes later. At that point I decided to leave the car unlocked. This has worked, but my car stays outside. Luckily I keep it covered with a locking cover.
    Someone please help.
  • I have an 03 PT Cruiser, which I really love. I have done all the work on my car so far and don't really want anyone else working on it. But at this point I am stumped. I Live in Phoenix AZ and really need to fix the problem. It first started where randomly my windows wouldn't go down and the A/C would not turn on. After moving the steering wheel up and down it started working randomly again. Then every once in a while Air Bag light comes on. I know it is something pretty simple but I sure can't figure it out. I don't want to change a whole bunch of things if it might be something pretty simple. Moving the Steering wheel up and down is no longer working. It usually happens when it is really hot outside. Can anyone help me with this problem? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  • I test drove an '06 pt cruiser. It not only vibrates at idle, but also while cruising at highway speeds, under load. (When stepping on the gas). I had it checked by my mechanic, but they didn't take it on the highway, and said the motor mounts were good, and vibration at idle, is normal. I don't remember the other ones I drove, doing this. (An '03,'04, another '06 and an '07) Any thoughts on this? Or, has anyone else experienced this?
    The body is just cherry on this car. No nicks or scratches. Inferno Red. Very slick. Every power option that I like. But, don't want to buy it, if it's going to be trouble. Been there, done that.
  • bjc25..I own a '07 Cruiser, 1650 miles, have vibration problems. Took it to my mechanic after the dealer said it was tire problems. The mechanic of 20yrs predicts it to be the powertrain. Vibration in the steering wheel while in idle, vibrates at 40-45 mph then with new tires at 60mph. Dealer put new brand tires on it, problem not solved. The dealer told me the PT basic cruiser has the vibration characteristics. I won't settle for that answer. I will either have it fixed or file the "lemon law" where I live. Bought at SANDY SANSING, PENSACOLA, FL
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