Notes: The Dodge Stratus, Intrepid & 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. Also the 2.4L engine doesn't have the oil sludge problem.

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:
No data
Average Mileage:
63,444 miles
Total Complaints:
9 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. have car professionally repainted (6 reports)
  2. not sure (3 reports)
2002 Dodge Stratus body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Dodge Stratus Owner Comments

problem #9

Mar 012010

Stratus ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


I bought this Stratus brand new in 2002 and loved it! It's been a pretty good car except the paint! My car has been garaged the entire time I have owned it. It started fading in 2010 really bad but had spots in some areas long before that. It now looks like a hunk of junk from the outside!! I have taken care of this car and the interior is still perfect! I think its time Dodge steps up and does something about this! Every black Stratus I see looks the exact same! I liked Dodge for many years but if something is not done about this I will never buy a dodge again and will tell everyone I know not to buy the pieces of JUNK!

- , Greenfield, IN, USA

problem #8

Mar 312007


  • 53,000 miles

What a piece of SH*T CAR. DODGE/MITSUSHITTY. As most of you know who have the Coupe 3.0 Dodge Stratus you are well aware of the black paint fading horribly or the clear coat that disintegrates until a matte black. The car is manufactured by Mitsubishi aka Mitsushitty. Almost every black Mitsushitty car painted in the same year, same color has the same problem. I've seen this on the Galant and Eclipse. So that is more of a Mitsubishi defect. Either way the car pre-maturely ages 3-4 years because of this problem. When I first got this car in 2004 I washed and waxed it every weekend and took care of the paint job well. Now it looks like a piece of sh*t.

- , Revere, MA, USA

problem #7

Jan 012006

Stratus SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

i bought it used in 2005, paint job looked really nice(black). now paint is fading all over, it really sucks, it looks awful. they should have all of them repainted FREE

- , Vandalia, OH, USA

problem #6

Jul 012008

Stratus R/T Coupe 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


My wife and I purchased a 2002 Dodge stratus R/T coupe "Silver", new from the dealership. In the past year and a half we noticed that the paint was starting to fade in small areas. now the paint and clear coat flake off in large areas. This troubles me because I used to detail new vehicles at a dealership and I know how to keep my vehicles clean. Secondly the Stratus is garaged every single night! There should be no reason this should happen. I have taken the car to two auto body shops in which I no the owners of each. They both have stated that the paint and clearcoat are very thin when the cars are painted. It will cost me in the area of two thousand dollars to repaint the car by people I know. I do believe the Dodge should repaint these "problem paint jobs". I also have a 2007 Dodge dually and have had it partially repainted because of some factory paint issues. I hope it holds up better thatn the Startus. As I have scene on the internet there are several people having the same issues with many of todays new paint jobs. It's time for dodge to step up and take care of this issue!

- , Imperial, MO, USA

problem #5

Sep 092007

Stratus ST/T V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I bought this beautiful black stratus back in 2002. I absolutely love it but I hate the paint job. It looks horrible. I would think that this should have had some kind of recall because it it is not a very good advertisement for the Dodge corporation. I have seen 2 other cars with the same kind of problem. The paint job on these vehicles suck...... and they are all stratus'.

Other than the absolutely horrible paint job, the heater core just went, but the paint job really really annoys me and I am tired of people asking where the paint is going.

- , Hammonton, NJ, USA

problem #4

Jul 012006

Stratus R/T Coupe 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

click to see larger images

exterior black paint faded

I bought this beautiful black, shiny, spanking brand new car in June of 2002 - my first ever totally brand new, own only by me, car. Needless to say - barely five years past purchase - the paint was starting to look "ashy". All I was told to do repeatedly was wax and buff it. Well I had it waxed and washed (often detailed) religiously, so that should have never happened. Now it looks flat out terrible. The person who described the wear down of the paint to the point that it looks like an '80's oldie is right on the money. I have had nothing but used cars before this one and NONE of them EVER had that kind of issue (with the exception of one '84 Olds Cutlass Calais that had peeling roof paint, but it was already 10 years old before that started!).

I was very disappointed to search online for Dodge Stratus recalls and find that paint/body issues was not even one of them. They should back their product, right down to the 'skin'. If anyone has any luck getting through to Dodge - please let the rest of us know.

- , Atlanta, GA, US

problem #3

Jan 012007

Stratus SXT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


My 2002 Black Dodge Stratus..well lets just say it's not black anymore!!..The paint is chipping away in places and turning white and gray.We called the Dodge dealership where it was purchased, and they will do nothing about it, claiming that there is no recall or paint defect. I have kept it in the garage and well taken care of since the day I got it, so I do not understand how this is in any way my fault..rather bad paint used by DODGE.

- , New Albany, IN, USA

problem #2

Aug 162005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Within a year the paint on my Black 2002 Dodge Stratus R/T started to chip off. The problem is not from being miss treated either, there are other owners in my town with the same problem, just not as bad. If anyone has any answers or solutions please contact me I am tried of driving around in a multicolored stratus

- , Muscatine, IA, US

problem #1

Oct 242007

(reported on)

Stratus R/T 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Purchased my black stratus r/t new in 2002 and drove a significant amount of mileage in the first year. By 2003 the paint on the roof behind the sunroof had started to take on a white/grey tone. I went to various dealerships to have this problem looked at. I was told by one body mechanic that I just needed to buff the roof with wax and that would take care of the problem. I called Dodge on several occasions and even though I was below the 3 yr warranty by 2 years, I was over the 36000 mile warranty and they wouldn't do anything.

Fast forward a few years and 80000 miles, and the trouble spot, which is the black paint fading/peeling away, has grown and taken over the entire back section of the roof, both back quarter panels, and the top of the trunk. The paint has worn down several coats to the dull black metal. I have seen a few other cars (same year/model) with the same issue but not as severe. I was completely shocked that a car made this century would have paint issues like an early 80's vehicle... but not shocked by the poor customer service from Dodge.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

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