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Dodge Stratus -- RELIABILITY???



  • readlreadl Posts: 1
    My 98 Stratus has 80K miles. Brakes were done at 74K and one head lamp bulb replaced at 70K. That's it other than one new set of tires. It's been a fine car. Then, last week my 4 speed heater fan stopped working except when set to the highest position which is rather noisey. I hesitate to take it to any mechanic without first attempting a fix myself. Where do I start?
  • njsruiznjsruiz Posts: 1
    ohhh where do I start

    I bought my 96 stratus with 16k on it and had the first problem with the windshield reservior leaking.Immediately I noticed the car burning oil and had no idea the head gasket might be the culprit.
    At 25k the front left rotor was replaced and I realized my car had a healthy appetited for brake pads at every 20k.
    At 45k the threaded o ring seal on my gas tank began to leak and almost blew my wife and kids off the continent. There is a 55k emissions warranty that covered this repair.
    At 50k my fuel pump failed and cost me $300 semolies.
    At 65k the exaust manifold was replaced.
    At 72k I began to have fuel injector problems which the dealership nitwitts misdiagnosed.All it happened to be was the spark plug wires needed replaceing.
    And at 120k I developed an oil leak and found out later at 148k that the head gasket has blown.
    Yea, I think mad cow disease is the only thing that hasn't happened yet.
    P.S. And this doesn't include all the factory recall work thats been done on it.
  • jhu2jhu2 Posts: 1
    I own a Dodge Stratus ES Sedan, 4 door. I love the car. My Stratus just hit the 41,000 mile mark. I bought it last year when it had 30,000 miles on it. I have only had to make two very minor repairs to the vehicle. The first being brake pads on the front driver side brakes and the second being a belt that goes around the air conditioning (hey Im a woman, I don't know the fancy terms). I had both of these done at the same time and it cost less than $200.00. Besides that, I have been very happy with the car. Plenty of inside room, comfortable seating, lots of head room. It does cost a little bit to fill up the gas tank, but that's expected. Im not driving a Metro here. I am currently looking at replacing this with a 2001 Stratus ES Coupe, 2 door. They look great, but best of all it still carries the same features as my Stratus. I am very happy with the one I have, but if I can get a newer one close to what I pay now, then great......but if not, hey Im happy to stick with my 98 Stratus...It's never let me down when I have stuck that key in the ignition!!!!!!
  • tason67tason67 Posts: 36
    Count your blessings. If this message board is indicative of the quality in a Stratus, you are among the lucky few. Mine has not been so good. Good luck with yours!
  • I just received the bad news about my 96 Stratus. I need a new head gasket, head and exhaust manifold on a 55k mile car. Appears to be about average from what I am reading here. Of course this in addition to the brake pads I replaced at 22k miles. Oh, did I mention the slipping transmission? To Tason67 or to anyone who knows, what customer service specifically did to contact to get your three head gaskets paid for? What are the chances of getting that number?
  • tason67tason67 Posts: 36
    Call 1-800-992-1997 for the Chrysler Customer Care Center. You should also write them; the address is the back of your owner's manual. Tell your dealer you want it fixed for free because of the high number head gasket failures on the 2.4. They may call DCX on your behalf; beleive me, your Dodge dealer knows and DCX knows about these gaskets. My service manager told me he does these gasket jobs all the time. DCX has redesigned the gasket since 96 model year and the replacement should hold. If you can't hold out for DCX to take action, get it repaired at a Dodge dealership, document EVERYTHING and write and call any and everyone at DCX customer service and marketing and complain. Sooner or later, they should reiumburse( sorry for spelling)you. Good luck!
  • I called the number you posted. Long story short, the district manager is suppose to make the call as to whether Chrysler will pay for the repairs or not. So our car sits at the dealership waiting to be fixed. Either way the car needs to be repaired it just comes down to who will pay the bill. I can't really afford to have my car in the shop for too many more days. I will put a letter together immediately and send it off to HQ.

    Do you still own your Stratus? I am serious considering jumping ship on Dodge, sounds like this car could nickel and dime me to death.

    Thanks again.
  • twill84twill84 Posts: 6
    I have a relative with a '98 plymouth breeze, has 110000 on it at present, has had very few problems. I dont denie that many people ahve had problems, but, las t year i followed the voyager /caravan /town and country topics for quite awhile. Most of what I read was bad, however, i know several people with voyagers ranging in age form early 90's to 2000's who have had no problems. I guess my point is that there arn't a whole lot of positive comments in a lot of these Chrysler topics.
  • tason67tason67 Posts: 36
    Yes, I still have my 1996 Stratus. It now has 56,600 miles ( I bought it new). Frankly, I would love to get rid of it. However, it will be paid off in August and I don't want to pay another note right now. See if your dealer will comp you a rental; I got one the second time, but on my most recent repair, they refused. I complained loud and hard to customer service and the service manager and he promised me a rental next time I have any repair done. I hope I am through with these major repairs. I bought a new vehicle just to avoid this kind of stuff, or so I thought. Good luck with your car. I am betting that DCX customer service comes through for you.
  • steve261steve261 Posts: 1
    I am considering a 2000 Stratus ES. According to the reviews I have read, the 1998 - 2001 have significantly better reliability than earlier models. I wonder if they just haven't had a chance to "perform" yet or if Chrysler actually cahnged the design. I plan to purchase a 100,000 mile extended warranty, but I'd rather not spend my life at the dealer!! Any input??
  • namfflownamfflow Posts: 202
    To the person commenting about brake failure and the complaints at NHTSA. My complaint is the 1st one you see. The problem is not brake failure but the design and use of antilock brakes in general in traffic. I have never seen antilock brakes that are useful in the leapfrog type traffic you get here in Silly-Con valley. I have seen and heard of these problems with antilocks regardless of brand. They are great on the open road when a deer runs out in front of you but actually take longer to stop a car in traffic.

    Over all my Stratus has been trouble free. I am trading it in but not because of problems. It is simply that because of problems with my legs I can't drive it anymore and need a truck for the upright seating position.

    The car has been dependable and has not given me any problems at all. Actually there is one slight one. It is Forest Green and it seems that people can't see it. It has almost been hit too many times. That is why the truck I ordered is bright red. (also a Dodge).
  • dcdureldcdurel Posts: 1
    We bought a 99 Demo 2.4L Stratus with 6000 miles on it.
    Now we have 29,000. The rotors needed turning once. The mechanic said the pads were only a little used, so he left them on. Other than that it has been perfect.
    Handles great, takes the bumps lots better than my old Dodge Spirit, comfortable and quiet, except for some road noise on rough roads. My daughter has a 2000 Camry, but I like the handling of the Stratus better. The Camry steering precision seems a little vague compared to the Stratus. The 4 cylinder Stratus has better pickup than the 4 cylinder Camry, but the Camry is quieter and seems to get better gas milage. But the Camry cost 21,000 and we only paid 14,000 for the Stratus. (Of course it was a demo) And the Stratus has more room than the Camry. Even fits me, and I am 6'6". No rattles, smooth, powerful. Great car so far. And some writers rate the 2001 Stratus equal to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
  • tason67tason67 Posts: 36
    Sorry, but I own a 1992 Camry and a 1996 Stratus, and the Dodge is not even close. I am a DCX employee, but the truth is the truth. i wish you luck with your Stratus. Hopefully, the 99 is an improvement over my 96. Can't be worse.
  • I have recently received word from Chrysler that they refuse to pay for any of the work on my car. So unless I can figure out where to go from here I will be stuck paying for the head gasket, head and exhaust manifold out of my own pocket (~$1800). Any further advice would be greatly appreciated.

    On the issue of the Status s. Carry/Accord. I couldn't agree with you more. My parents are on their second Carry and they are head and shoulders better than the Status. They had 90k+ miles on their 1997 when they traded it in on their 2000. They needed nothing but routine maintenance on it (oil, filters, tires etc.) I have heard the same about the Accord. I am actively looking for either a Carry or an Accord as my Status' days are numbered.
  • tason67tason67 Posts: 36
    DCX is WRONG to treat you this way. I don't know what your budget is like, but I would suggest not getting the repairs done, contacting your local Toyota or Honda dealer and explaining your problem. Tell them about the repairs you need and get a trade-in value on the Stratus, then select a new or used car. They will more than happy to have your business. A two to four year old Civic should be affordable and reliable. Even if it strains your budget, I say do it;it's better than sinking $1800 into a car that you don't want. That kind of cash outlay locks you into another year of ownership, at least. I had to bite the bullet and get rid of a 93 Dodge Spirit (POS!) on a 92 Camry. I took a $2000 hit on negative equity, but it was worth it. 6 years and 65,000 miles later (had 41,000 when I bought it), going strong without any problems. Good luck!
  • dnr2dnr2 Posts: 3
    it's worth checking whether the fuel tank is "breathing" thru the vacuum lines 'n such to the charcoal cannister.

    I once had a new car with such problem - a pinched line. Took a while to find!
  • mwaddomwaddo Posts: 30
    I agree with Tason67 100%. Having owned a 1996 Stratus with numerous problems, I finally taded up to a 2001 Accord EX.

    I just wanted to add that even though an Accord or Civic (even a used one) may cost more, it will hold it's resale value WAY better than a Dodge. When I was looking for my Stratus replacement, I found that 1998 & 1999 Accord EX's were on avergae only $1,000-$3,000 less than buying a brand new one! While I was hoping to get a late model used one, these prices both convinced me to buy a new one AND to buy one!

    By the way, I got $3,000 for my 96 Stratus ES with 62K. It was ALMOST paid off.

    Good luck,

  • Just three days after spending nearly $2000 for the new head gasket, head, exhaust manifold, timing belt and plugs my "check engine" light comes on. Apparently the O2 sensor needs replacing. So out the goodness of their heart, Dodge offered to replace it and charge me only their cost for the part (~$67). Now that is customer service, they are picking up the labor costs, probably only about 15 minutes. Game over, show me the door! I wish we were in a better position to get a different car but I don't think I can afford to keep this P.O.S. either. I will be looking for the near same year (1996-1998) Camry, Accord or Civic. Eventhough I will be sacrificing a small amout of room with the Civic this car is not our primary family car anyway. I have looked at the postings in this forum for these three makes of cars and I haven't found the reoccurring problems that you see with the Stratus. But knowing my luck I can find the lemon of this group too.
This discussion has been closed.