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Chrysler PT Cruiser (2005 and earlier)



  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    any problems with the coolant. I also use synthetic oil. I have from the first oil change. It cost me more but I figure I will be keeping this car for a long time. I have to change it more than necessary for the warentee but I feel better about spoiling my car from the start. Synthetic lubricates better and holds up to heat better than most oils. If it is going to be good for your engine after 36 months think how far ahead you will be if you always use it. I doubt if someone that changes their oil every 3,000 miles will have any problem anyway but I fell it is a small investment to go with the good stuff anyway. I also use a quality filter, in my case a Mobil one but others have some good filters as well. I believe I will be required to meet the oil changing schedual for 100,000 miles however. I just don't feel as bad if I let the car go to 5,000 miles before changing oil.
  • Have used synthetic oil in every car, except my VW diesels, for nearly 30 years. My VW diesels used a lot of oil and having to add so much was like doing a continuous oil change, making synthetic too costly to use.

    Used to change to synthetic at 1000 miles, but have switch to first scheduled oil change based on car manufacturer oil change schedule. Usually see a decrease in oil consumption after switching to synthetic. Years ago I would also see a small mpg improvement after the switch to synthetic, but have not seen that with the last several cars.

    Synthetics can take a lot more heat that regular oil and are a good idea for turbo/supercharged cars. The turbocharger gets very hot and therefore the oil lubricating it does also. In addition, some engines, including normally aspirated ones, have 'hot spots' that can overheat oil. Mercedes and Toyota had some a few years ago. In those engines, regular oil would tend to gell due to the heat, which caused poor lubrication and rapid engine wear. Synthetics offer better protection for this situation too.

    Many manufacturers recommend longer oil change intervals, depending on driving condition, than the old standby of 3000 miles. Today's regular oils are very good and most likely do just as well as synthetics unless there is a temperature issue.

    Synthetic oil costs $3 to $4 more per quart and over the life of a car can add several hundred dollars to routine maintenance costs. Like insurance, it isn't free and you hope you never need it, but it tends to give one comfort knowing that it is there. Using synthetic oil that meets the manufacturer's oil requirements (most far exceed) will not void the warranty.
  • I think I'll switch to synthetic, I wonder if my dealership (it had its 5 star revoked) has synthetic oil. If not I'll have to change it myself, just like my 1984 Dodge Charger Shelby :)

    I guess I'll keep the orange radiator fluid in my car for now :)
  • My dealer uses Mobil-1 when a customer asks for synthetic. If you DIY, Wal-Mart frequently has 5 quart jugs of Mobil-1 for about $20, just under $4 per quart.

    I change my own (more convenient for me) and found the oil drain plug and oil filter to be easy to reach with all four wheels on the ground. No ramps or jacks needed. However, the end of the oil filter is very close to an exhaust pipe and I had to narrow the band on my band type oil filter wrench to fit between the filter and the pipe.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Finally got time to take the car in for its first oil change, at 5300 miles, this past Wednesday. The change was free, and I also had them check the car's alignment (Baltimore's roads are terrible, so I thought I knocked it out). I got a rental for the day, a Cavalier (why do they still sell these cars again???).

    I asked them to check the driver's window, which made a funny noise once or twice when lowering it. Turns out there was condensation inside the rubber, and rubbing the glass causing this noise. But, the service advisor said he checked all the windows and one of the rear ones sounded weird. Upon further inspection, he said the right rear window regulator was bad. They ordered the part and it will be in this week. I think it's funny for 2 reasons. One, I didn't even know that a problem existed, but the dealer found it on their own. And two, I had a VW (which are famous for the regulator problems) and never once had a problem with them, but had a problem with the PT's.

    Anyway, now at 5600 miles and still liking the car as much as the day I took it off the lot. Also, fuel economy is steady at about 23mpg, so it definitely has improved.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The PT Cruiser has had a run of bad window regulators. They manifest themselves through loud squealing noises as the windows go up and down. My wife had her drivers side window regulator replaced, the good news is that it hasn't returned. I have had no problem with mine.

    It sounds like your dealer is being proactive. Things will go wrong, the question is how the dealer handles it. Your dealer handled it.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I didn't know there was a problem with the regulators though. I am actually taking the car back tomorrow (now with 5800 miles) to get the part replaced.

    Good luck to everyone on the East coast in battling the hurricane. Here in MD, they already closed all schools and half the businesses on Thursday, so I think they are expecting one heck of a storm. Everyone stay safe out there! ;)
  • This forum has become very quiet lately. I see my local dealer is offering $5000 off msrp for 2004 Cruisers (all except base model). Have US sales fallen way off?

    To be candid, as much as we like our PT GT we'd buy a 2004 Prius today. Drove one yesterday and came away very impressed.
  • The market for PT's are pretty bad. According to the WSJ, they're on a 141 day supply selling at their current rates (meaning they have enough 2003 inventory to last until Valentine's Day). The WSJ also said they lowered production in the Mexico PT plant too.

    On to your point about the Toyota Prius, well, I really agree there. I test drove a 2001 Prius a couple years ago and I was really impressed. The '04's seem so spacious for a car. I'm getting about 17-19 city-highway mileage with my PT. Maybe its that I drive 30% city miles, but I'm lucky if I get 18 a gallon. I fill up 12 gallons at a time every 210 - 230 miles.

    I love my PT, but the gas mileage isn't as advertised. I'm still impressed with the initial quality. No problems except for a tire going out (the Goodyear tire set me back 70 bucks). Maybe I'll keep it for 3 or 4 years, I don't know.
  • I didn't know the supply was so big. Explains the huge discounts. We love our PT too, but the Prius seemed like a luxury car by comparison.

    More room, much quieter, better ride, more safety items, and more luxury items for a sticker price thousands less than my PT GT. The almost triple mpg is an added plus. The one we drove had voice activated navigation (or use the touch screen), a fully automatic A/C system. a really nice sound system, and more. Curtain airbags and stability control, along with xenon headlights are available too and it would still sticker for less than my PT GT.

    My PT GT is much quicker, loads more fun to drive, and probably can hold more stuff inside, but I'd rather take a trip in the Prius and save money at the pump too.

    I didn't expect good mpg from my PT and my 17 mpg overall is about what I expected. No complaints about the mpg. I've seen as high as 25 on the highway, but 23 is the norm. It isn't driven much, so the cost of poor mpg isn't excessive.

    BTW, I've have two Goodyear tires that are giving problems. Goodyear won't take care of the problem. None of the Goodyears that came with the car look like they will last even 20,000 miles so the Goodyear problem will go away when I put a different brand on the PT in a few months.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I have been getting around 20-22mpg filling up, about 300 miles per tank. That's not really as advertised, but I also don't drive 55mph on the highway either (more like 65-75 usually). I like the car though, it's got loads of room inside for stuff and people and it's easy to maneuver in traffic.

    I seem to have a grip problem with the right front tire. I always seem to squeal the tire a little bit when taking off, even with light throttle. Goodyear tires have always given me trouble anyway, so I will definitely select a different brand when these need replacing.

    So far, 8700 miles. The only problem was a window regulator that went bad and the dealer replaced without me even knowing it was bad.
  • Any info out there on these devices for PT's.
    Any reviews by impartial parties regarding the performance of various brands. Any feedback helpful. Just got 01 with 3,800 miles.
  • Cold air can mean a bit better response and a bit more power, but don't expect much. Suggest you visit some of the PT Cruiser groups (PTOC, PTE, PTCC are three big ones) online for more detailed information.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    You also have to remember that CAIs can suck in water to the engine if the area you live in gets alot of rain. I know from experience with VW that the dealer might void your warranty if they find such a device on your car. Don't know about Chrysler dealers though, because I haven't had experience with them in that department.

    I actually have to take my car in one day this week for this buzzing sound in the right front. Sounds almost like a molding's loose or something on the right side of the windshield. No signs of it though, and no water leaks or anything. Considering the roads I travel over on a daily basis, I am surprised the car hasn't developed a load of rattles by now, but it hasn't. I have about 9700 miles right now, just had my second oil change on Thursday, and still very happy with the car.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    This may sound basic, but did you check for leaves. I don't know how loud your buzzing was, I had a buzzing on the drivers side. It turns out I had a leave underneath the windshield wiper so that it wouldn't blow out it just vibrated. When I opened the hood, I also had a few other leaves between the hood and the fender although they weren't the causes of the noise. Tis the Season.

    The PT seems to have a very tight body, neither my wife's or mine have any rattles and this will be their third winter each.
  • Rented a 2004 Touring automatic from National over the weekend while I was on a trip. Ride was better than my 03 GT and the car was much quieter too. The outside rear view mirrors have been changed a bit with what looks like small additions that redirect airflow around the mirrors and front side windows. Wind noise was much less than my 03 PT GT. The car was quite peppy away from a traffic light too. Much better than I remembered from a coupe of years ago.

    This car had the chrome package - grille, gas filler door, door spears, chrome wheels, door lock pulls, chrome inserts on the front door sills, chrome shifter bezel, chrome trim on the steering wheel, and metal trimmed pedals. Looked nice.

    It could use the formerly standard rear sway bar to get rid of the swing and sway when one drives any way but very easy. It feels like my GT did before the rear bar was added.
  • Do they have a rear sway bar standard or not?
  • Rear bar was not standard on 03 and apparently not on 04 (the 04 touring I rented did not have one).

    During the early part of the 03 model year GT window stickers showed the rear bar as standard even though the cars were built without the rear bar. The rear bar was installed by the dealer on mine, after purchase. It looks the same as the 01 and 02 standard rear bar.
  • That would explain the tndency of the car to 'hop' sideways a little when hitting a bump when turning. I noticed my 03 does this sometimes, and it feels a little unassuring. Someone I know who has a 2002 base model said his is very troublesome in the snow, because the back end doesn't stay planted. I guess this change was made in the 02 model year, like you said. I might have to look into having the rear bar put on my 03.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    So you really like that PT Cruiser, huh Paul?


  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    I had no problems with my 2002 base level PT last winter and we had an unusually large amount of snow for the Baltington area. We found that both my wife's touring edition and my classic handled the snow just fine.
  • The car seems well planted to me, but the only thing I don't like is when I hit a larger bump in the middle of a turn, it makes the back end feel unstable a bit. Haven't driven the car in snow yet, but it's pretty surefooted in the rain.
  • Doesn't snow around here. I find the back end does quite well wet or dry, but the front tires tend to spin in the rain. However, the traction control keeps things under control.

    Crk, took me a while to understand Baltington. I moved from that area about 24 years ago in the midst of a blizzard (16 inches on the ground when the moving van arrived and over 30 when it left). My old 78 Caprice did fine without snow tires. It did have limited slip (positraction) and that helped me get out of Ellicott City and onto the interstate heading West. I have a feeling my Cruiser would do at least as well.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The Baltimore Washington Corridor has become one entity. So close together and so densely populated, the distinction between the two cities has faded more and more.

    The area can certainly fool a person with the weather. We can go for years without little or no accumulation of snow and then hit a period with very heavy snowfall. When I first moved to my present house, we were hit immediately after by a series of storms that kept dumping more and more accumulation. Then we had a series of years with more "normal" snow and then last year we were hit hard again.

    I missed your Ellicott City reference in the post. Although we live in Anne Arundel County, our church is located in Ellicott City. it made it fun getting home from the Christmas Eve service as it had started snowing while we were up there and just kept on snowing.
  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusPosts: 11,065
    Although I no longer own my '03 PT GT, I found that even with the "sport tires" that the trac control did an excellent job in the slushy stuff. On top of that, I drove it every day in what turned out to be one of the worst winters in recent memory last year in the OH valley.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • What did you get to replace the PT GT. My wife wants a 2004 Prius to replace ours.
  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusPosts: 11,065
    I really didn't want to get rid of my PT GT. Had someone who was anxious to buy mine. At the time, the turbo GTs were still scarce on the new car lots. So I drove it for a year and sold it to him. Only took a $1,500 hit, but still drove it for a year, so I felt OK about it.

    I'm intrigued by the Prious, but eneded up getting an RX8....have never been more pleased with any new car I've ever had in 25 years of buying cars.

    From everything I've read, the Prious is a very nice piece.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • My PT is 59 day old. It has rained on twice and went through one hell of an earthquake! I love it. It's peppy, roomy, comfy, and very purple. My recent (mostly freeway) mileage was 33.8. My only complaint is a feeling of the transmission slipping when leaving from a stop. I can actually induce a double slip if I pretend I have come to a red light which suddenly turns green, and this is NOT a "California stop". Service tells me all is normal.

    Since 1979 I drove Camaro Z28's or Iroc's. Then in 1999, my husband brought home a Chev Lumina LTZ because I thought I had grown up, and needed a grown up car. Them the PT came out but I couldn't imagine driving a 4 cylinder. (I need to get out of the way of the people I pull out in front of.) So then the Turbo came along & I decided I wasn't so grown up after all.

    I love my cruiser - here on the central coast of California, Cruiser owners waive or thumbs up other Cruiser drivers, - but I'm wondering if this is really normal for this car?

    I also have a "misfire" problem when pulling a small incline at 45 mph. Service tells me their computer says my cars computer check out "OK" for both symptoms.

    Any other feedback on these issues?

    I posted a message elsewhere, but I'm new at this and looking for info from other owners.

    Also, how do I find out about a local PT Club I hear exists in my area?
  • PTOC and PTCC have chapters all over the country. Both, along with PTE have very good web sites with many people posting. Many post on all three.

    Our local PTOC chapter meets every month for a meet and greet followed by a cruise. In addition there are national get-togethers as well as regional ones.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    In yesterday's mail, my car got a birthday card from the salesman that sold it to us. Steelblue will be two years old tomorrow and has a hair over 30K miles.
This discussion has been closed.