Notes: Chrysler has taken the boring small car frame of the Neon, grafted a 1930s-era roadster body on top and named it the PT Cruiser. While the new look may appeal to some, the vehicle has unfortunately also inherited many of the same problems as the Neon.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,403 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.

2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser Owner Comments

problem #8

May 092015

PT Cruiser

  • miles


Was driving vehicle going 55 mph and dashboard faults out with incoherent readings and transaxle shifts self into neutral. I shift gear selector into neutral and back into drive. Dashboard readings go back to normal and transaxle goes back into drive. 15 seconds later battery light comes on. Continue driving to find a place to park. After about 10 seconds engine stalls out. Shift gear selector into neutral and try to restart vehicle but it won't start. Coast to a stop and open hood. Notice an odd smell. Open hood and alternator is on fire. Close hood and grab personal belongings (except for phone charger) out of vehicle. Call 911 as vehicle burns up. Fire and police arrive and extinguish fire but vehicle badly destroyed by being engulfed in flames.

- Machesney Park, IL, USA

problem #7

May 152009

PT Cruiser

  • miles
I have had many problems with this car to include electrical, over heating (which was never fixed even after taking it to the dealership 3 times), and transmission. In 2013 as I was driving down a busy 4 lane hwy. I heard a sudden and loud booming noise and the car began shaking violently. Thinking that I had hit something in the road I began slowing down and making my way to the shoulder of the hwy. But before I could get to the shoulder of the hwy. The car made that loud booming noise a second time and shook violently again. It then lost all power to the front wheels leaving me stranded in the middle of the hwy. After removing and opening up the transmission I found that the drive shaft in the center of the transmission had sheared in half. Upon further inspection I believe that the slightly worn engine mounts cause a binding action on the drive shaft in the transmission thus causing the shaft which is made of a composite material to basically explode inside the transmission. This problem is so well known by us car buffs that jasper engines Inc. (a well known company that remanufactures engines and transmissions) replaces this stock shaft with a stronger more robust one when they remanufacture these transmissions. The violent shaking of the car that happened when this transmission shaft failed almost cause me to loose control of the vehicle on a very busy hwy. Chrysler should recall all transmissions with this type of composite shaft.

- Lafayette, GA, USA

problem #6

Apr 112014

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 185,000 miles
Pulled into work shut car off noted leakage part on ground was told pressure switch.

- Dalton , NH, USA

problem #5

Oct 192013

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


Upon inspection during a repair for another problem it was discovered that the front suspension crossmember known as the K-frame is severely corroded and will likely not pass another safety inspection. The rest of the underneath of this car is relatively rust-free and this is a low mileage vehicle for its age. If this part fails going down the highway the engine, transmission, etc. Will all drop and cause the vehicle to lose control.

- Ellsworth, ME, USA

problem #4

Oct 302008

PT Cruiser

  • 51,200 miles
During routine oil change the mechanic found that the threads welded into the oil pan had come loose. Car needed a new oil pan. I was told that this is a "fairly common problem" because the pan is aluminum and the threaded piece is steel and since the two metals have different expansion and contraction temperatures that over time the weld is broken and the thread "breaks loose" from the pan. Seems to me this should be a recall as it is a poor design.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

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problem #3

Nov 272007

PT Cruiser

  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Chrysler PT CRUISER. The contact purchased the vehicle in November of 2007 and the wiring harness was replaced due to electrical failures. In April of 2008, while driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle accelerated on its own. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and they replaced the brake pads and calipers. Recently, the engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. The dealer's diagnostic indicated that the transmission solenoid switch needed to be replaced, along with the power steering pump. The dealer stated that the warranty does not cover the parts. The manufacturer stated that there were no recalls that applied to her VIN. The failure mileage was 68,000 and current mileage was 75,551.

- Wisconsindells, WI, USA

problem #2

Apr 242002

PT Cruiser

  • 8,023 miles
During the first couple of minutes of operation, during closed phased of engine operation the vehicle will hesitate during acceleration. This is most noticeable in first, second and third gear and during cooler damp conditions. Also during this closed phase, there is popping noise in exhaust system upon deceleration using the engine. The other major concern is a vibration from the engine and or transmission upon full accelerations in 4th gear. This even occurs when the engine is at or above 2500 RPM(recommended speed for starting 4th gear), and dissipates as the car speed increases. It is particularly a concern when entering express ways from on ramps. ****dimsii IVOQ entry posted after 12-12-02 cut over to artemis****761677

- Monona, WI, USA

problem #1

Mar 222002

(reported on)

PT Cruiser

  • miles
Upon starting vehicle air bag light illuminated/ radio did not work, and tail lights malfunctioned. Also, speedometer raced without the vehicle even being on. Took vehicle to dealer.

- Leesburg, OH, USA

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