Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
24,770 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser Owner Comments

problem #13

Dec 112009

PT Cruiser

  • 59,000 miles


With 59,000 freeway miles, at 65 mph vehicle downshifted abruptly and unexpectedly. Vehicle would only lurch along at a slow speed and unable to go into reverse. It had to be towed. Transmission overhaul required costing over $2,000 to repair.

- Campbell, CA, USA

problem #12

Jul 012004

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chrysler PT CRUISER. The contact stated that this vehicle had a transmission failure on four occasions while driving 65 mph. The hoses were repaired the first three times and the transmission was replaced the fourth time. During each failure the transmission shifted from low to second gear and then shut off. The mechanics stated that the gears malfunctioned and replaced everything inside the transmission. The current mileage is 61,000, and failure mileage was 13,000.

- Gibsonton, FL, USA

problem #11

Nov 172006

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35 miles
I have a 2003 PT CRUISER with 82000 miles on it. In March of 2005 with 47765 miles on it, I took the vehicle to a Chrysler dealer to repair a vibration while braking. The Chrysler dealer noted there was a grinding noise coming from the transmission and stated the compressor was rubbing against the front frame due to some kind of collision and stated there was a broken motor mount. We took the vehicle to the dealer where we purchased the vehicle to address this diagnosis since this was a new vehicle when we purchased it. The dealer claims they found no broken motor mounts, no signs of accident and did not even address the transmission noise. On 11/17/2006 I was traveling on a two lane highway with my 3 year old daughter at night, and without warning, noise, hesitation, or lack of power, my transmission went out. I was not able to move in any gear. The vehicle was towed to the dealership where I purchased it and they told me it has major transmission damage and the transmission needs to be replaced. The cost of the transmission replacement is $2715 and the dealer will not cover any of the cost.

- Visalia, CA, USA

problem #10

Aug 202006

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,414 miles


2003 Chrysler PT CRUISER vehicle with an automatic transmission with 56,414 miles on it began lurching when accelerating or slowing down on interstate. Problem started with no prior warning of transmission problems. Vehicle later died in the middle of a side street. Could not get vehicle to move in any gear, and check engine light came on and stayed on. Finally got vehicle to limp around the corner in drive, then vehicle died. No transmission fluid found in reservoir. Fluid noted on ground under vehicle. Had to tow vehicle 30 miles to dealership, who could not repair it after three days of waiting, due to lack of transmission service technician. Vehicle was ultimately repaired at aamco transmission, requiring another 20 mile tow. Vehicle had to have transmission replaced. Total cost of repairs was $2222.73 between Chrysler dealership and aamco transmission - not covered under warranty which ran out at 36000 miles.

- Norton, MA, USA

problem #9

Jul 132006

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,566 miles
: the contact stated while driving 55 mph on a highway on-ramp, the transmission seized up stalling the vehicle. The vehicle had to be towed to a repair facility. Also, the seat belt buckle constantly failed to remain secure. The vehicle was towed to an independent transmission shop for service. The manufacturer was notified, but the service dealer was not. Updated 10/25/2006 - the tech found that the transmission gears had slowly been grinding away, throwing metal shavings into the converter and the pump.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #8

Jul 132006

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,500 miles
I have a 2003 PT CRUISER that just went out of power train warranty 7K miles ago-with no warning, no hesitation, lack of power, my transmission went out taking the converter, pump and torque converter-leaving me stranded in the middle of a busy intersection! I was not able to move in 1,2,3, D or R-now I am stuck with a $2643.50 bill. My right front tire constantly vibrates, been to shop numerous time to resolve but no body can find anything-tires are fine, cv joint, nothing can be found. I am absolutely terrified to drive this car anymore-my seat belt unbuckles by itself, possibly leaving me with no restraint in the possibility of a wreck. I am filing complaints with Chrysler, BBB, district attorneys office, nhts, lemon law and anything else I can find-

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #7

Mar 282006

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles


I have a 2003 PT CRUISER with about 30,800 miles on it. This car when stopped in gear and your foot on the break suddenly goes into gear and it takes two feet on the break pad to hold it. This only lasts about 3 seconds and then stops. On 03-28-06 I was dropping off my daughter and as she went to cross in front of this car it jumped into gear and I almost hit my daughter. I took it to the local dealership and told them about this problem. They said they did a road test and drb test and showed no codes. They said wait until it gets more regular and bring it back in. I did email Chrysler Corp. On this and have not heard back from them yet. I don't feel this car is safe to drive until this get fixed. It seams they could rebuild the transmission instead of waiting for me to run someone over. My 3 year/36,000 will be up sometime this April. I don't feel its fare for me to wait till it gets worse and then dig me $1500 to rebuild the transmission especial after it has been brought to Chrysler attention during the warranty period. Very frustrated right now with all this.

- Hudson, WI, USA

problem #6

May 062005

PT Cruiser

  • miles
Automatic transmission went out after 42,000 miles, mostly highway miles.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #5

Dec 052003

PT Cruiser 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving at any speed, the vehicle stalled without warning. The driver tried to restart the vehicle and was able to do so. The driver noticed that the vehicle did not accelerate over 60 mph. While driving 60 mph, the driver applied the accelerator pedal and the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection numerous time. However, the mechanic can not duplicate the problem.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #4

Mar 042004

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 489 miles
2003 PT CRUISER GT turbo, bought new in 2004 with 400mills on it. Transmission will lag when down shifting from 2nd to 1st gear. Also, all lights will dim when braking or windows are brought down. Dealer said. " theres nothing they could do for the dimming lights." For the transmission down shifting lag, the dealer corrected output speed sensor connection. I'm still have the problem and in stop and go trafic I noticed when the vehcile was down shifting the radio stoped working and the lights dimmed for a second. Dealer said to wait to see if it does it again before repair.

- Streamwood, IL, USA

problem #3

Jan 052004

PT Cruiser

  • 23,000 miles


While driving 70 mph automatic transmission failed.

- Callahan, FL, USA

problem #2

Jan 012002

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving at any speed the transmission decelerated even when the consumers foot was on the accelerator it was difficult for the consumer to control vehicle. The transmission leaked fluid. The dealer continued to fix the hoses.

- Newport, RI, USA

problem #1

Jun 142003

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles
I bought my 2003 PT CRUISER turbo Oct 13th 2002, in Feb 2003 I took it in for service because I had noticed red fluid leaking. I was alarmed 2 C atf leaking from a car with less than 9,000 miles on it. Anyway I took it in & they replaced the seal & bearing on the left side. On May 28th I took it to a bodyshop 2 get ghost flames painted on it. June 12th came along and they called me to come see the car finished. It took my breath away. I proudly approved of the work they could then buff and detailed it. On June 14th after being buffed out the car was being driven to the detail shop on the freeway when all of a sudden the front left tire seized up and threw the car across 4 lanes of traffic and into an embankment where it came to rest.the driver got out of the car after collecting himself. The front left wheel was broken off, fluid everywhere. Utah highway patrol impounded the car until I could be notified. I got the call from the bodyshop owner, he took full responsability and was willing to do whatever to make my car new "again". upon investigating the damage he noticed that the left front axle would not come out of the transmission. He littrially had to take the right side apart and use a bar to pound out the left side. He got 2 second opinions before calling me 2 tell me that the axil had seized 2 the bearing inside of the tranny. He suggested that I call the dealer. Finially on the 23rd of June the dealer came and got my car where it is still sitting up till this current day. They found $5500 worth of damage to the transmission/axle and such. They called a accident investagator that showed up July 2nd. I took him to the accident site where after 3 weeks you could still see the skid marks. The investigator gathered all his information and went back to Chrysler. I have call nearly everyday. I have just found out that my file is in their "legal" department. No one is talking. Now 2 wait and see what Chrysler is going to do.

- Lake Point, UT, USA

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