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1997 Dodge Neon Head Gasket



  • jmn2786jmn2786 Posts: 15
    Supposedly if you complain to Chrysler enough they will pay for half or all of the cost. This has worked for many people with 95-early 98 Neons.
  • piasamanpiasaman Posts: 1
    We own a 96 dodge neon with 30,000 miles on it. At 25,000 mi. the head gasket started to leak. The mechanic at a local repair shop found it during a routine oil change. He told me that all neon head gasket are bad (poor design) and to get hold of a Chrysler rep. He also said that on the new neons the head gasket have been redesigned. Well we went to the local dodge dealer ready for a fight. To our surprise they immediately acknowledged the neon head gasket problem and replaced it. They did require a 100.00 co-pay because the car was out of warranty. Not real happy with the co-pay with only 30,000 mi. on it, but I guess it's better than paying for the whole thing. Other than this problem ,the neon has been a great little car, fun to drive, handles well and pretty peppy too.
  • jodoinjodoin Posts: 1
    At 49K miles a head gasket replacement was required because of leaks. Cost $627. At 60K same trouble....Cost: $454. ...Chrysler paid for parts supposedly.
  • oilcan2oilcan2 Posts: 120
    I have a early 95 neon sport,4 lug nuts 82k
    I never have had a leak problem.I have used
    amsoil 0w30 oil and by-pass filter since 5k.I do
    not know if this is the reason but the engine
    generates less heat with this oil.the temp sensor
    stays a few degrees below half.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    Hi !

    I do own 96 Plymouth Neon Sport, which I bought new. I was happy owner for 4 years and a change. 2 months ago I noticed that something is leaking from the engine compartment. Car was 4 years and 3 months old with 51000 miles. Trip to dealer answers the question. It is infamous "head gasket problem".
    They fixed it for 651USD and I asked Service Advisor to put in writing that head gasked was broken (he put note on the receipt that gasket corner cracked or something similar). I made beautiful color copies of my receipts and sent them promptly to DCX. One month later I received phone call that DCX stands behind their products and I will receive reimbursement in the mail.
    Today I cashed the check for 651USD.
    I still like my Neon even though it is quite noisy (not quiet).

  • bbern214bbern214 Posts: 1
    Does anyone know how I can get my $650.00 back from the dealer for this problem? What have you done? E mail me at

    I had the engine gasket problem on my 1995 Dodge Neon at 69370 miles in November 1999. It cost 650.00 at a dealership and nobody ever told me anything was known about the problem. Today, May 15, 2000 at 77000 miles, I had my car checked at an independent garage and found out the main rear seal is blown, and that it will cost another 400.00 to repair. This is so outrageous I can't believe it. I will be selling my car ASAP and I will be buying a 2000 Honda Civic. I've had several Chrysler products and I will NEVER buy one again and I will do eveything in my power to badmouth the company! What is wrong with the Government? Why can't they force Chrysler to recall these cars? HELP !!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • chickysuechickysue Posts: 1
    im looking into buying a 1995 dodge neon for my 17yr old daughter the car has been diagnosed with the head gasket problem the seller is still under warranty and will have the gasket fixed do i still want to buy this car???? somebody help me with this decision is the warranty on this car transferrable? email me at please i dont want to buy this car for my daughter if it is unreliable
  • clayton3clayton3 Posts: 1
    This is old news, but here's my story. At 42,000 miles (no extended warranty beyond 36K) the local Chrysler dealership quoted me $650. They also told me that they would need to keep the car for possibly up to two weeks because there were 50,000 headgaskets on back-order! I returned the next day armed with customer comments from the internet (notably the Neon consumer homepage). The dealership fixed it for free and had it done in three days.
    The following week, the engine spit out a spark plug and stripped the threads. The dealership said they needed to remove the heads to rethread, hence a new headgasket for another $650. Go figure. A heliocoil did the job quite well for under $20.
  • kellyr2kellyr2 Posts: 1
    I would strongly suggest not buying a Neon.

    I have a 97 Neon with 35,000 miles on it and it has been the the shop for major things! One of them being the head gasket. I also had problems with the transmission, clutch, and fuel pump to name a few. Luckly it is still under warrenty.

    I'm looking at getting rid of my Neon as soon as possible before anthing else goes wrong with it.
  • As of this morning, I have been in the process of obtaining a loan to purchase a '97 Plymouth Neon 3-speed with 55K from a private party but now I'm really worried after reading so much here about the head gasket problems. (I'd certainly much rather invest in a used Honda, Toyota, or possibly Saturn but cannot afford it at the moment and after a HORRIBLE experience with a Dodge Shadow once, I swore I'd NEVER buy an American car EVER again!)

    This original owner purchased a Premium Care Protection package ($100 deductable) that is transferable, and the 100,000 mile / 6 yr. warranty is also going to be transferable to the new owner as well. Would this not cover me just in case I should have some head gasket or oil leak problems?

    She's asking just the pay-off balance ($6,500) but I'm concerned about the resale value. The customer has kept the car in immaculate condition and has receipts for everything and did regular maintenance like clockwork as well. I test drove the car at length and didn't notice any louder than normal engine sounds and my only regret is that I wish it had more power going from 0 - 65 but what can one expect from a 3 speed?

    I would appreciate ANYONE'S honest input ASAP before I enter into this deal . . . Plus, I'm getting ready to move from Missouri to Boston at the end of this month so I'll be putting the Neon to the long distance trip test soon after purchase. Please advise :-)
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Hello mkbizwoman,

    Welcome to Town Hall!

    Perhaps you have already found all these other resources here, but I just wanted to point them out in case you have not.

    The Finance, Warranty and Insurance Conference is a good place to pursue your questions about the Premium Care Protection Package. The Smart Shopper Conference is a good place to check into things like used car pricing and resale value.

    From your ID, I assume you are a woman. If so, you might also like to take a look at the Our Turn Conference which is dedicated to women's automotive issues. We are fortunate to have had an automotive tech join us recently as co-host. Her name is Kristina and she posts under the ID md_tech. It's possible she may have even had some personal experience with this vehicle.

    I don't mean to be chasing you all over Town Hall, I just wanted to be sure you were aware of all of the resources available here for your particular situation.

    Meanwhile, we'll wait to see if anyone has any advice for you here in this topic.

    Again, welcome. And good luck.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I'm sorry to say but the Neon hasen't been a very dependable car. They don't hold their resale value and they seem to have a lot of mechanical issues. We just had one in recently a 97 with a Head Gasket problem,even thought, the car will still be under warranty you will live in the repair shop... This is the type of car they unfortunatly term "throw away". Personaly when I first saw the Neon I wanted the cute little car too... But I haven't been to lucky with American cars. I had a red Dodge Daytona that did me wrong and since then I haven't touched another American car. I don't even like to work on them!!!!They have a conference on Sedans you might want to check out... I heard the Nissan Sentra has really moved up in the compact cars review...(Check It Out) An don't forget if you have any other concerns you can find me at the Women Automotive Conference...

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • jbaird1jbaird1 Posts: 1
    Like so many others on this page, I have had major problems with my '95 Dodge Neon. I am not a car person, but here's the scoop:

    * Brake problems about a year ago; major expenditure.

    * Head gasket problem currently

    * Air conditioner leak currently

    Our Neon has about 83,000 miles on it. I don't think of this as high mileage, but apparently the folks at Chrysler do; when I told the dude at the 800 number the mileage, he made some comment about high mileage, and I shut him up by telling him about the Honda in my driveway with almost 200K on it that still works well!

    At any rate, I could use advice, if anyone has any above and beyond what I've already read in the past 40-something gasket entries. I did call the 800 number for Chrysler, not really helpful, just referred me to the closest Dodge dealer in the area. Brought the car in for a "diagnosis" this morning, really more for them than me, since I'd already had the problem diagnosed by a local independent car repair place. They quoted me $700+ for the gasket, and 400+ for the air conditioner repair. The diagnosis slip didn't list auto part numbers or anything, just the total -- no breakdown of what the cost consisted of. Shoddy, in my opinion. Also, when my husband went to pick up the car (we opted not to pay for the repairs until we'd called back the 800 number) the repair person had left his half-empty gum pack on the driver's seat, and an empty can of chewing tobacco (!) on the passenger seat. About halfway home, hubby realized that the hood hadn't been closed tightly, either. When we called the service manager to complain we got "hey, it happens sometimes". So, we paid $70 for the diagnosis, and an additional mystery fee of $7 for "rags". Needless to say, Antwerpen Dodge in MD will not be getting any more business from us.

    Called the 800# (which I about have memorized at this point) after that mess, and they called Antwerpen about it. Upshot was that the dealer would cover 20% of the repair cost. Big Deal. When we asked the Chrysler people about using a different (better) dealership, they said we'd have to start fresh with each dealer, meaning a new diagnosis, etc. I am so mad at this point, and I'm feeling really impotent and powerless.

    It probably goes without saying that the new minivan we plan to buy in the next month WILL NOT be a Chrysler product. In the meantime, I'd love any additional advice you car-savvy people may have. Thanks!
  • focuszx3rfocuszx3r Posts: 92
    My bro has a 96' neon with prob bout 80-85k on it--never a problem--especially head gasket problem. the key is to ket the engine warm up by idling it, and if you must drive, be very very very light on the throttle. My mom's 90' spirit b;ew head gasket at 45k (warranty) but she never warmed it up. Dad's 97' Dakota had it replaced at 20k under warranty, now has 80k and is fine. if you take care fo the car and warm it up correctly you wont have these problems. it just seems that these dodges are more prone to this because of the cast iron block/aluminum head combo and the use of cheap gaskets that are incorrectly torqued at factory. if they spent a bit more and used steel gaskets their wouldnt be all these probs
  • fula2958fula2958 Posts: 1
    I have a 1997 Neon Highline, SOHC with 88,900 miles. I replaced the head gasket at 81,000 (before i knew that Chrysler would take care of it) my mechanic says he'll never work on this car again. What I'm wondering is if this is a problem on the DOHC's as well as the SOHC's. My brother has a 1998 neon sport and has never had any problems out of his car, so I'm thinking of just having the DOHC put in my car. Anyone tried this?
  • zavadazavada Posts: 1
    I leased a 97 Dodge Neon and had to replace the head gasket at 34-thousand miles. Fortunately it was covered by the warranty. I "unloaded" it shortly afterward. Next I leased a 98 Dodge Neon thinking Crysler Engineers would have resolved the problem. No such luck! I now have 23,900 miles and have developed a serious oil leak. It is at the end of the lease. Even though I have a favorable residual balance and my wife loves to drive it I fear that time when the first replaced head gasket goes (about 44 thousand:-() and I have to get it replaced on my own money. Why can't Crysler ever get it right? I would not think twice about buying the car if it weren't for this problem!
  • My 98 needed a new head gasket at 18,000 miles. It was already leaking at 23.000 miles when I traded it. Although this IS a WARRENTY repair, isn't there anyone else out there who expects more from their car, at low milage, than to compete for repair space at the dealership? Is there anyone else who thinks Chrysler should stand behind its product enough to recall it, if that's all that will work? These posts represent many years of the same problem.....and there are other identical and frequent problems, as well.
  • jsh3848jsh3848 Posts: 1
    My Green Machine reciently died at 56,xxx miles. It Replaced my 1989 Dodge Shadow. It seemed like a nice car at the time, At my work, 2 other employees have Neons. Both of their head gaskets failed. The cool, "car guy" I am (which I am not) told them that they needed to check the oil ever so often. I had oil in my car, and it still blew a head gasket. I went to the Chrysler dealer and told them about the problem. The jerk told me in his words, "Wow, this is a rare occasion, never heard about one with this problem". gave me estimated repair costs which was over $1400!!! Certinally I did not get my $12,000 out of this car, and never seen a car die at 56,000 miles! After the fixes, maneged to sell it for $5000. I am never going to buy another Chrysler product ever again! I went and bought a 2000 infiniti G20. Great warentee, and nice people to deal with. Never buy a DODGE/Plymouth/Eagle/Chrysler product ever. Rude people. No direct answers. Never again!
  • I had my new headgasket put in this April. Assuming that the newly designed gasket was put in, can I expect not to have future gasket problems? Seems by now we should have some history as to whether the new MLT (?) gaskets have worked or not.
  • glennkglennk Posts: 1
    I bought one of the very first Neons sold here and currently have 212,000 plus miles on it. All told I'm pretty happy with it but the head gasket problem is a pain. I replaced the first one at 110,000 and 2 years later at about 160,000 replaced another one. Both done at Dodge dealers and no offer of payment was made by either. I think I am close to blowing another gasket but at the age of the car, will probably get rid of it this time. It's about an $800 dollar repair where I live and I don't think the rest of the car is worth putting that much into it.
  • After rebuilding the engine (myself) last year, and replacing the waterpump and timing belt (not to mention having my machine shop repair the head and add new valves this year), it is finally time to trade the Neon monster in.
    Some of the things I learned about it in my 5 years of ownership:
    --only use chrysler/mopar parts. I had the accessory belt break 5 times in one month because I used another brand.
    --keep an eye on all systems. I have replaced everything at sometime or another over the past five years, including the the rebuilt parts of the engine.
    --I put 126,000 miles on this car. Most of the time it was a good car (except the aforementioned repair times). Just takes a little extra care.
  • Well I'm glad to hear that this head gasket thing is common. Well I'm not glad, but you know what I mean. Now If I'm not mistaken this is why the oil leaks in your car right? 'Cause this is my problem. I say that I should just keep adding the oil as i need to b/c it seems to be cheaper in the long run. By the way I've got a `95 Dodge Neon (71,000 mi) in the "nitro-yellow green" color. Very Rare. Anyone else have this color PLEASE E-Mail me! I'd love to hear from you!
  • Here is how I got mine replaced at no charge - and I was calm throughout the whole thing (key).
    1995 Neon, leaking at 50,000. Finally got it in around 65,000. Call Chrysler and explain head gasket failures are common and local mechanics told you to call chrysler for warranty replacement. Customer service person will start a file and make 'no claim' as to what Chrysler will do for you. He/she will inform you to take it to local dealer for inspection. SAVE YOUR FILE NUMBER! Now, service person checks it and says 'yep shes a leakin' and says Chrysler will pay for gasket you pay labor 400-600$. You say that is unacceptable and tell THEM to contact Chysler with your file number and get it taken care of under warranty. They will call their regional service manager. You should receive a return call stating that Chrysler stands behind its product and will cover it. They may recommend a timing belt change and will only bill you for the part and can install it at gasket change time. Take advantage of this! ~$92.00 So for $92.00 you will be taken care of. The key is to remain calm, stay in control of each situation and always direct the conversation in the way you want it to end up. Do not accept less. You will walk away a happy Neon customer.

    Good luck!
  • sumpsump Posts: 1
    Same problem. 37,000 miles and head gasket was shot along with water pump, oil filler(?) and assorted other problems. We have changed the oil
    every 3000 miles religiously and think this spells
    poor quality. We are (unfortunately) going back to Japanese.
  • Dodge Neon 98, head gasket went at 39K, called local 5 star dealer and to my surprise EVERYTHING was paid for 'under warranty' even though I exceeded the 36k base warranty. They did it no questions asked. I was fully prepared for a battle, what a pleasant surprise...
  • Well, I sure wish I had known this site existed prior to purchasing our 1996 Neon. I had the head gasket replace in Feb. and need to have another one replaced now. The thing that bothers me is that the working people who don't have a lot of money to sink into a car get stuck with the cars with the most problems. My friend says it is called Failure engineering. The automobile companies know that they can make more money by having a part fail than by having a car last. Remember when appliances lasted 20+ years now they only last 5+ years. If it lasts you don't sell as many. The problem is, is that they hurt the ones who can afford it the least.
  • planned obsolesence...or even a better word...
  • My Neon's warranty just ran out in August 2000. During the warranty period I found oil in the #3 and #1 spark plug tubes. Could this be from the head gasket problem. I had to take it back two times to have it fixed. The second time, they gave it back to me and said that the oil that I found was left from the last spark plug tube oil problem. Aha!
  • i have a 97 neon and i just found out the head gasket is starting to leak.
    my warranty has expired, but i was wondering if chrysler will fix this problem for me, since it seems to be a recurring one with neons.
    other than the gasket the car has been great, but i don't have the $600+ to fix it.
    please let me know what options i have, other than selling the car.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    You don't - it has to be fixed, relatively soon, or it will eventually destroy the engine.

    The head gaskets are well-known defects in DaimlerChrysler's 4-cylinder (2.0 and 2.4L) engines. See if you can get the dealer to go after DC to pick up at least part of the repair cost.
This discussion has been closed.