Chrysler PT Cruiser Years to Avoid (Common Problems)

The PT cruiser is a four-door passenger car different from most vehicles as its trunk is separate from the passengers.

The PT cruiser is exceptionally comfortable in ways you cannot imagine and offers you a relaxed and adventurous ride. Some of its features include a front-wheel drive and an SRT-4 engine.

Now, it is not all rosy with this vehicle as a lot of downsides peculiar to certain models have been detected over the years. But, not to worry, we’ll be highlighting these pitfalls simultaneously, pointing you in the direction of the Chrysler PT Cruiser years to avoid.

Let’s get started!

Most Terrible PT Cruiser Years

It would be impossible to miss out on two awful PT cruiser years. Even though the PT Cruiser has a lengthier list of bad years, this two stand out as they were not just terrible but a massive failure.

They include the PT cruiser years 2001 and 2006.

See Also: Toyota FJ Cruiser Years to Avoid

1. PT Cruiser Year 2001

This was actually the very first car model and the flaws detected were just unmanageable. Its battery was nothing to write about as it had many people complain of the same thing; abnormal battery draining.

We can, however, excuse the brand for the flops, considering the fact that it is their first attempt, right? Well, if we do that, what do we now say about the next terrible one?

2. PT Cruiser Year 2006

The PT cruiser year 2006 had various complaints bordering on just the engine alone. From the recounts of those who purchased it, the constant engine failure experienced caused a big hole in their pockets and took a toll on them generally.

List Of Chrysler Pt Cruiser Years to Avoid

Photo by Greg Gjerdingen via Flickr

Aside from the worst two years of the PT Cruiser, there still exists some other years though not as bad as the year 2006 or 2001 but equally very unsatisfactory by every standard.

You will find out soon enough why we use the word ‘avoid’. The PT Cruiser’s 10 years of active production were trailed with numerous complaints, criticisms and terrible reviews.

A lot of people had issues about its bodywork, faulty engine and almost everything in general. This is exactly why you need to know the years that are worth buying and the ones you should totally avoid.

The following list of PT cruiser years to avoid has been collated from the negative reviews, complaints and recalls from customers. Find them outlined in no particular order below:

  • 2007 PT Cruiser
  • 2004 PT Cruiser
  • 2002 PT Cruiser

The experience of most people who bought any of the years mentioned above was nothing short of a nightmare. The negative reviews and comments kept pouring in non-stop, and that is why they are on our list of PT cruiser years that you must absolutely avoid.

Common Chrysler PT Cruiser Problems You Should Know

We do not just want to tell you to avoid any of these vehicles; we’ll also highlight why you should. Below we have arranged issues peculiar to specific PT Cruiser year.

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Problems with the 2002 PT cruiser

The foremost issue complained about by the bulk of the buyers is the internal electrical system. If you are familiar with automobiles, electrical issues are not something that can be easily overlooked. They can destabilize the entire car system and sometimes prevent the car from starting.

Formal complaints reaching the desk of the manufacturers all hovered around the same thing; the car’s electrical system.

From loose battery connections to weak batteries to alternator issues, transmission failure, and wheel issues, the complaints were endless.

The most widespread problem with the PT cruiser year 2002 was with the engine. A lot of people complained about it not cranking properly.

When this happens, it is a clear indication of a faulty battery, one that gets weak too often and is definitely not a good experience as the car’s security system and other essential features collapse.

Problems With The 2006 PT Cruiser

Issues peculiar to the 2006 PT cruiser revolved around the engine. Buyers’ sad recount of how the minivans jerk uncontrollably on the road and then stop abruptly is better imagined than experienced. The buyers were left with no other option than to have the faulty parts replaced.

Battery, spark plugs, and even the engine itself all had to be changed in order to get the engine functioning correctly again.

Other issues were with the cooling fan, which resulted in an idle rough, faulty IAC valve, and defective wipers.

It would have been good if this was all there was to the 2006 PT cruiser, but unfortunately, there’s more.

Things began to take a different turn when complaints started to troop in about cases of sudden power spikes or a complete power outage. They soon figured out a way to resolve it by having the fuel filter unblocked and cleaned.

Due to these many problems encountered by customers and more, you will agree with us when we say the 2006 PT cruiser should be crowned the ‘All-time worst’.

Problems With the 2001 PT Cruiser

Remember we earlier tagged the PT cruiser 2001 as one of the overall worst PT cruiser years? Here’s why:

Imagine battling with the general electrical system of a car alongside internal accessories, and that’s not all; there’s the issue with wheels too that you have to constantly face.

How’s that for a start? Not too good? Well, hang in there because it’s yet to be over.

The PT cruiser 2001 is the first model produced by the Chrysler brand. Customer’s excitement upon purchasing it was soon watered down as one issue would unfold right after solving another.

One peculiar issue was that of slight cracks found on the dashboard.

Weak battery was also a thing with this PT cruiser debut, and that always led to a loss in radio signals or its total shut down. The frustrating aspect of all this was that changing the battery still did not solve the issue.

The 2001 PT cruiser spotted a lot of electrical problems too. The issues were just too many, from malfunctioning brake lights to car horns that choose when to work or not.

Have we mentioned the tire issues yet? Customers soon got tired of having their tires and rims replaced as the rims always spot one tear or another, causing air leakage from the tires.

All these earned the 2001 PT Cruiser the tag of the worst PT cruiser year. Rightly deserved, too, isn’t it?

Problems With The 2004 PT Cruiser

Like the 2006 PT Cruiser, customers who bought the 2004 PT Cruiser also had a long list of complaints about its engine.

They battled with the engine light staying permanently on and unable to switch off, and not until they had components like wires and knots changed did they get a bit of relief.

But it didn’t end there. Negative reviews on how the engine abruptly stops due to several faulty parts like fuel filters and fuel pump.

As expected, the solution was a total replacement of the faulty components. Away from the engine, there was still the car wheel to contend with. As a result, it was a common practice for the 2004 PT cruiser users to have wheel bearing fixed or outrightly changed.

Problems With the 2007 PT Cruiser

Yet another PT cruiser year with a complete engine failure. Funny how they never seem to get it right. For its users, abnormal oil leakage was a regular occurrence.The good thing is that with a change of the shaft and bearings, you can get the engine in top shape again.

Alas, the engine issues were not just the only thing that owners had to deal with. There were issues with the clutch; it often refused to release. Problems with suspension, faulty lighting, and cracking windshield, to mention just a few.

For a small crop of users, they complained about their heater core exploding barely a few weeks after purchase.

Are All PT Cruiser Years Problematic?

Are all PT cruiser issues laden? It is important we know this before writing them off.

Well, we have some PT Cruiser years like 2003 and 2005 with little to moderate issues. Fast forward to the newer models of the PT cruiser, which recorded minimal problems and, as such, had lesser complaints from users. Some of them like 2008, 2009, and 2010.

These models finally sought to correct the engine issues that previous ones faced. You might not actually get freaked up about the design, but it sure offers a hitch-free ride devoid of engine problems.

Fast forward to the PT cruiser 2009, you get to see a lot of positive changes in problematic areas of previous models. The vehicle offered a high level of comfort, with upgrade body works and designs. The PT cruiser 2009 was better received with fewer complaints recorded.

Finally, we have the PT cruiser 2010 model with increased flexibility and added comfort.

PT Cruiser Years With Their Number Of Recalls

This comprehensive list will help you better understand what PT Cruiser years you should go for or avoid.

Out of all the PT Cruiser years, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 have no recall record. While the:

  • 2006 has 1 recall
  • 2005 has 5 recalls
  • 2004 has 3 recalls
  • 2003 has 4 recalls
  • 2002 has 5 recalls
  • 2001 has 7 recalls

From the above, you can deduce the problematic years judging by their number of complaints and recalls.

See Also: 6.7 Powerstroke Years to Avoid


Getting discouraged by the long list of problematic PT cruiser years? Well, you are not alone as the Chrysler company itself somewhat got to that stage too and had to discontinue right after the Pt cruiser 2010 due to low patronage.

But then, we are not writing them all off altogether as it is not all bad news for every PT Cruiser. The vehicle itself offers a very smooth and comfortable ride.

After reading this article, you’ll be able to detect the best one to purchase from Chrysler. We’ll say the most recent models are your best bet if you ask us.

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