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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,502 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser Owner Comments

problem #7

Dec 202015

PT Cruiser

  • 60,245 miles


"takata recall " in my PT CRUISER the engine dropped down in the car and the front axle bar and frame was broken and the wheels could not turn or control the car I am lucky to be alive the vehicle was in motion on a city street trying to turn into a ice cream shop the car is still doing a sudden jerking when driven and after paying a lot of money to get it started and fixed I am still having problems with this car and no money to get another.

- Port Huron, MI, USA

problem #6

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 #5

Dec 182014

PT Cruiser

  • 180,000 miles
I filed a claim with Chrysler about the rusted out engine cradle and they refused to replace it.

- Carnegie, PA, USA

problem #4

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 #3

Feb 052014

PT Cruiser

  • 123,570 miles
I first sent this complaint on Mar 7, 2014 and received an email reply acknowledging it, but since haven't heard anything. Is my complaint being taken seriously? it is a serious complaint as follows: On Feb 5, 2014, my 2001 PT CRUISER shut down while it was being driven down a busy street. It didn't make a sputter or a sound, it just died. Luckily, it coasted long enough for me to pull off onto a quieter street and up against a curb. We had it towed to the automotive shop the explanation for the motor shutting down was alarming. The automotive tech reported the crankshaft position sensor needed replacing. As I understand, when this sensor goes bad, the engine automatically shuts down. With no warning. I had gas in my pt. I don't think people know about this; the tech said most cars that are 'newer' (as far back as 2002, at least) have this sensor. This is a serious safety concern and appears to be widespread. I looked through every page of my 2001 PT CRUISER owner's manual and didn't find any indication that there would be a problem like this or that the crankshaft position sensor should be tested regularly, if it could be tested, that is. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would be doing the public a lifesaving service to look into the danger of this failed design, not to just replace them in all cars with a new one, but with one that is not designed to fail at the risk of the drive and anyone else in the vicinity when a moving car decides to just shut down. With no warning. There is not a time frame for this part to fail, but cars that are around my cruisers may be ready to give out. Please look into this dangerous situation. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #2

Mar 122014

PT Cruiser

  • miles
The contact owns a 2001 Chrysler PT CRUISER. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, the engine overheated. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was found that the radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The failure mileage and VIN was not available.

- Lancaster, CA, USA

problem #1

Aug 312013

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 59,700 miles
I was making a right hand turn from a main road onto a side street. While the car was turning, I heard a clunk and the steering wheel was jerked from my hands. The car pulled hard to the right and crashed into the curb. The car was towed to the repair shop and the service tech showed me the engine cradle was completely rusted out and the K frame was cracked all the way thru. It's to rusted to be welded and I was told this is a common problem with the cruiser and Dodge neon, since they use the same frame. The tech also told me I was lucky that I wasn't moving at high speed or the results could have been fatal. He also told me that Chrysler is aware of this problem, they are completely out of replacement parts, and they basically ignore any complaints.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

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