ANNOUNCEMENT: The Car Book 2018 is now online!

Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here. Notes: The Dodge Intrepid, Stratus & other Chrysler sedans are infamous for oil sludge problems with the 2.7L V6 engine. If someone offers to sell you a 2.7L V6 model, it's only worth the price of the scrap metal it's going to shortly turn into.

NOTE: Only the 2.7L V6 has the oil sludge problem. Our "Avoid like the Plague" designation is ONLY for models with the 2.7L V6 engine. All other available engines are very reliable with no major problems.

Even with regular maintenance, the oil sludge defect eventually destroys the 2.7L engine typically around 80,000-100,000 miles. The only true fix we know about is to put in the larger 3.2L engine, which has a great reputation.

This issue was never deemed a safety defect by the Feds, so there was no recall. In the end, Chrysler got away with FOUR YEARS worth of defective 2.7L V6 engines in their sedans.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
30,850 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. steering rack needs replacement (2 reports)
  2. mount/balance tires & replace pinion assembly (1 reports)
  3. would have been rack and pinion replacement, dealer wouldn't (1 reports)
1999 Dodge Intrepid steering problems

steering problem

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1999 Dodge Intrepid Owner Comments

problem #4

Aug 212014

Intrepid LS 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles


I'd noticed there seemed to be more play in the steering of late and a little clunking sound once in a while, but didn't pay much attention to it. As I was turning a corner to head down the street toward a freeway on ramp, I realized I was turning the wheel a whole lot to make the corner and even more to straighten out my wheels. That's when I noticed, despite the fact I was moving straight ahead, my steering wheel was pointing 90 degrees off from where it was supposed to be. I decided to avoid the freeway, and instead made my way to my mechanic's shop (luckily only 2 miles away). It was an interesting drive because of the diminishing relationship between how I turned the steering wheel, and what the wheels actually did. He later called to say not getting on the freeway was the smartest thing I did that day, and it would likely cost about $800 to replace the steering rack and do a realignment. Never having had a steering problem before I'd never looked up steering issues with 1999 Intrepids. Now I know. I have had relatively few problems with the car (replacing the unit controlling windows and door locks was pretty pricey). I have been lucky. The car had great potential but a poor engine design (oil sludge issues), and crappy manufacturing standards, have made it kind of a nice looking turkey. I think I have not hit many of the most noteworthy/common Intrepid problems because I use public transportation, bike a lot, and put few miles on the car annually. Most the time it's been fine. Plenty roomy for tall folks in front and back ( a big selling point for me) , huge trunk, great on the freeway (although weak on steep hills). Once the steering repairs are done I think it'll be time to let it go and get something more contemporary...and better built.

- asalex, Portland, OR, USA

problem #3

Aug 132008

Intrepid SDN 2.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,250 miles

This car looks like new. With 40000 miles there should be no problem with the steering rack. My garage tells me that it will cost between $400 to $600.

- J D M., Bethel Park, PA, USA

problem #2

Jan 142003

Intrepid 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,861 miles

Then February 4, 2003, less than a month later, I had to pay another $180 to have one tire replaced and then all four tires rebalanced. Don't know if this was an actual car problem or mechanic stupidity and consumer ripoff.

- Pam M., Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #1

Dec 142002

(reported on)

Intrepid ES 2.7L V6

  • 28,200 miles

Suspension repairs at 10,437 miles because vehicle was drifting in both directions (previous owner). Steering problems experienced at 28,200 miles, steering had play, vibration, sometimes felt loose, steering would wander and would almost never drive straight. Chrysler dealer supposedly could never "duplicate" any of these problems. Excessive outer front tire wear reported at 32,683 miles, dealer blamed tires, missing left lower suspension control arm washer, dealer could not explain why this was missing. Vehicle totaled after sudden poor steering control, DaimlerChrysler accepts no responsibility for anything and blames everything else other than this obviously defective vehicle.

- intrepidproblems, San Leandro, CA, USA

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