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:
86,702 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Aug 152013

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 128,200 miles


Was driving daughter to work and began to smell a burning odor. However, I assumed it was a passing vehicle (streets were very well lit, and I would not have noticed my lights were out). The next morning my wife was heading out to pick-up our daughter from work, and was flashed by the local police for not having lights on. Through the process of elimination I decided to replace the multifunction switch. When I received the switch and attempted to install it I noticed that the wiring harness was slightly melted. Upon investigating the internet for a harness I came upon several websites with numerous complaints involving the same problem. (if everyone were to unite and post their complaints here there would be many) these problems seem to be related to a shorting out of the wiring caused by the oem fog lights. This however, did not cause either the dash fuse or the engine compartment fuse to blow, which is a real concern.

- Findlay, OH, USA

problem #21

Jun 192013

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 121,700 miles
Vehicle multi switch failed, causing stock fog lights to short, in turn, draining the battery while vehicle was idle and turned off. Updated 08/20/13

- Powel, TN, USA

problem #20

Feb 012013

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
Fog lights malfunction very frequently. For the past couple of months, vehicle's battery has been drained because the fog lights are on (which are never turned on or even used) and will not go off. Happens frequently and it's difficult to get the fog lights to go off, the lights control has to be jiggled just right to get them to go off so we know the battery won't be drained after a few hours. Lately, it has gotten harder and harder to get them to turn off and finally had to pull the fuse in order to make them go off.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #19

Sep 012012

PT Cruiser

  • 230,000 miles


I bought a 2001 PT CRUISER and within a couple of weeks the headlights stopped working. Replaced multi function switch but did not help. Had to re-wire the lights to make them work. Also it sounds like the passenger side front tire has something loose. Possibly bushings"? I've seen several complaints about the lights. What is it gonna take to get a recall in place" we got a ticket for it.

- Grantsville, UT, USA

problem #18

Sep 052012

PT Cruiser

  • 143,000 miles
Vehicle was used to drive to local store at night. Fog lights were not turned on at any time. I parked in department store parking lot and came out after shopping for about 45 minutes and noticed a burning smell coming from PT CRUISER. Opened the drivers door and odor became more apparent. Noticed smoke rolling out of steering column. Also noticed fog lamp indicator on dashboard was on. However, all lights and switches were off. I had to pull out several fuses until I found the one related to the fog lamps. That was the only way to quickly power off the fog lamps and stop the smoldering. This is a potential fire hazard!

- Schuylkill Haven, PA, USA

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problem #17

Jan 102010

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Web site topix will confirm the incredible # of folks that have had fog lamps turn on after car is shut down causing battery drain. 100's have paid for replacement part multi-function switch. This controls fog, head, accessory, & dash lighting. To prevent the fog lamps from coming on by themselves, most have removed fuse # 8 to remove the fog lamps from the circuit. People report smoke coming from turn signal lever, & the complete loss of all lighting is quite common. I personally have replaced the multi-function switch 3 times on my wife's 2001 P.T. cruiser with only 50,000 total miles & she being original owner. By parking her car minus fuse # 8, not using dome lighting, & always parking with the signal lever in the down or left turn position has prevented the mystery fog lamp issue, & kept her battery functioning. This "temp" solution has allowed her about 6 or 8 months of driving w/O the problems other pt owners struggle with. Sooner or later someone will lose lighting or a fire will occur inside the steering wheel which will cause serious injury, loss of vehicle & possibly death. Chrysler denies any knowledge, but wants more than $1,0000 to analyze & repair. Through the topix P.T forum I was able to learn how to do the work myself for far less than $100. Many are getting ripped off for hundreds while Chrysler knows full well of the issue. No less than an investigation, perhaps started with the topix forum will demonstrate the incredible number of failures that still plague the P.T. on later models such as 2001 thru 06 or 08. Also need 3rd. Brake job, & the rims do not seal causing low tires that hurt mpg. Driving comfort, & safety. Dealer & I have tried Michelin tires hoping the problem was with the factory installed goodyears. I still hear every 100 miles or so that my wife's P.T needs additional air pressure.

- American Canyon, CA, USA

problem #16

Oct 192006

PT Cruiser

  • 62,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Chrysler PT CRUISER. The contact stated that the headlights failed several times. The contact was told by the dealer that the fuse needed to be replaced, which was but the failure recurred. In addition, the horn and interior lights would also fail sporadically. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the multi-function switch was replaced to no avail. The contact was extremely concerned with the fact that the dealer was unable to remedy the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 62,000 and the current mileage was 100,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #15

Jan 112012

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 148,000 miles
I was driving on a 2-lane road, light snow coming down going around 45 mph when the headlights went out. Total darkness! I had been driving for about 25 minutes. If there would have been a car behind me I would have been in an accident. I stopped, turned off the engine, restarted the car and the headlights came on. I drove another 7 to 10 miles and the headlights started flashing. Again, I stopped, turned off the engine, restarted the car, but this time I kept the dims on. I had been using the wipers to clear snow off the windshield and also my brights and dims for on-coming traffic. I drove back home with only my dims on.....lights went out 2 more times. I don't feel safe in this vehicle anymore. Is it going to take a fatality before something is done?

- Ontonagon, MI, USA

problem #14

Aug 302011

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 69,896 miles
I am the original owner of this PT CRUISER, purchased on November 22, 2000. My multi-switch will not turn on my fog lights and the indicator in the instrument cluster does not light. I have read many online articles from owners with the same problem. Why won't Chrysler fix this on going problem?

- Parkville, MD, USA

problem #13

May 262011

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 78,640 miles
Multifunction light switch in PT CRUISER is poorly designed, resulting in unreliable exterior light operation. Either can turn on fog lights, or lights remain on when car is off and switch is off and drains battery. Mine has occurred 5X. Internet search finds this to be common to pt's, with others reporting electrical short, smoke, and total meltdown of the multifunction switch.

- Avon, IN, USA

problem #12

Oct 032010

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 112,005 miles


High beam headlamps went off while driving at night. This occurred last Oct. 2009. I replaced multi-function switch. Then last week Oct.3, 2010 same thing occurred. Almost got hit by another car while stopping without headlamps. I cannot see why Chrysler will not be held responsible for faulty switch. I will not drive at night until Chrysler comes up with a fix for its poor switch design.

- Boyertown, PA, USA

problem #11

Aug 072010

PT Cruiser

  • miles
2001 PT CRUISER floodlights stay on after engine is turned off. Will only go off if the left turn signal is engaged. This site has over 500 complaints about the same thing. after reading this site, I realized that this has been an ongoing problem from the beginning(looks like it took approximately 6 years or 60,000 miles for it to start) I ordered my car in 2000 and was one of the first in our town to get one. It has 66,000 miles on it and has been maintained according to the owners manual. Now I am afraid to drive it wondering what will happen next. I certainly can't drive it at night by myself and feel confident that I will be safe in it.

- Salem, VA, USA

problem #10

Aug 012009

PT Cruiser

  • 64,000 miles
Faults within the headlight/foglight multifunction switch on the 2001 PT CRUISER causes the foglights to illuminate, even when the switch is off. I replaced the switch, and although the foglights now work properly, there is now a fault in the dome light function, which causes the dome light to illuminate when the switch is off. I researched the component on-line and retrieved reports of headlights turning themselves off at random intervals. Headlights, foglights, dashboard illumination, dome light and turn signals are all in the same component. For foglight defect, mechanic removed the appropriate fuse from the fuse panel as a temporary fix.

- Lena, IL, USA

problem #9

Jul 042009

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Chrysler PT CRUISER. Whenever the contact drove the vehicle at various speeds, she would hear a clunking sound coming from the front end. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the lower control arms and the bushings needed to be replaced. The current and failure mileages were 59,000. Updated 08/28/09. The radiator needed to be replaced. The fog light would come on with no warning. A neew multi-function switch was needed. Updated 09/02/09.

- Parkville, MO, USA

problem #8

Jul 132009

PT Cruiser

  • 55,000 miles
2000 PT CRUISER with 50000 miles. Multifunction light switch on steering column has failed in past two weeks. When vehicle turned off, fog lamps stay on. Only way to get them to turn off is to turn on left turn signal. Went to dealer to get replacement switch and we are #1500 on waiting list for new switch. Chrysler has no outlook for when new switches will be available. Pulled fog light fuse to keep fog lights de-energized. Great risk according to widely distributed reports that light wiring harness can fail, melt and start fire. The only safe thing to do is park car and remove battery until new switch is available.

- Fitchburg, MA, USA

problem #7

Jun 282009

PT Cruiser

  • 80,000 miles
Short in multifunction switch causes fog lights to come on resulting in a dead battery. I am concerned because this is a 15 amp circuit and it may possible cause an electrical fire also. Appears to be a common malfunction with the PT CRUISER for all years.

- Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #6

Mar 232008

PT Cruiser

  • 128,000 miles
Fog lights stayed on until the high beams where turned on then they would go out. Had to have entire left arm control switch replaced at a cost of $189.

- Melrose, FL, USA

problem #5

Dec 292008

PT Cruiser

  • miles
Fog light switch is always on unless signal arm is placed in left turn. If I don't do this, the battery drains from the fog lights staying on. Internet search and complaint search on this site reveals this to be a common problem with the multifunction switch, costing approx $200 to fix. From internet research, appears to be happening not only with 2001 PT CRUISER but also later years.

- North Charleston, SC, USA

problem #4

Feb 042008

PT Cruiser

  • 105,000 miles
Multifunction switch for turn signal, headlights and fog lights is defective. Electrical failure causes melting, smoke, burning and malfunction.

- Kenwood, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 012004

PT Cruiser

  • 45,000 miles
Multipurpose switch turn signal, fog lamp, dimmer. Malfunctioned and leaves fog lamps on intermittently, whether vehicle is occupied or not. Drained battery multiple times and required removal of fog lamp fuse. My positive battery cable melted and lost electrical function of entire car.

- Emory, TX, USA

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