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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,964 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.

2002 Dodge Stratus drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Dodge Stratus Owner Comments

problem #4

Feb 132014

Stratus 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles


Grandaughter was returning home from college. Vehicle suddenly caught fire on highway between marble falls tex and burnet Texas.. her mother was following in another car and barely had time to rescue some of the personal items before entire car was engulfed in flames. Granddaughter barely escaped the vehicle without injury. She was able to get several pictures of the vehicle fire on her cell phone.. the fire begin either under the hood or under the front of the car and was completely engulfed in a matter of minutes.. grandaughter and her mom was very distraught and terribly upset until fire dept from burnet arrived on the scene. They were called (911) by a passing motorist. The burned out vehicle was hauled in to burnet Texas by advantage towing 512-756-7995. We have never received a recall from Dodge about the possible fire hazards on this vehicle.

- Early , TX, USA

problem #3

Aug 082013

Stratus 6-cyl

  • 108,700 miles
Noticed slight gear slippage travelling 35-45mph. All fluids checked, at proper levels. A week later, engine 'jerked' when coming to complete stop, check eng light illuminated. Progressively worsened. Once engine warmed up, started hearing a 'whirring' noise from lower-middle area of engine. Stopped @ local repair shop, they checked fluids and vac hoses, noise stopped, but noticed coolant in reservoir side 3/4 full & boiling, temp gauge on dash 'normal'. next day, while cold, I checked coolant level in reservoir (left side) still full, (hadn't flowed back thru system once cool). I added water to 'fill line', checked condition of pressure cap (looked fine), placed & tightened, started engine, let run a few minutes, loosened 'air bleeder' on top of coolant bleeder hsng. Then I slowly shifted thru all gears, w/foot on brake, let air bleed til solid stream of liquid and shut car off. Waited an hour, started up and drove. Ck eng lt= off. Fine for a few days, same issues started up again. Louder 'whirring', like a belt or band slipped. Irratic shifting, trans never failed. Ran both code tests on dashcluster=no dtcs. Jan 2014-drove to Dodge dealership: Disposition: Replace mopar 41te trans. My lost wages / loss of veh use(Dec/Jan) + burden of a loan to replace the transmission = more than I paid in full to buy the car barely 6 months ago. Unfair to customers: Ongoing computer and PCM/transmission failure since 1999. The 'oops' tech spec-correct trans fluid atf+4 how many damaged & failed transmissions? refused to honor powertrain warranty!! and continued placing. Shame on all of the corporate executives & engineers that got rich from robbing the consumers. You were 'successful failures' mopar, Chrysler-Dodge-daimer-iacocca, etc. 90+ tsbs, no recalls. Class actions dismissed! time for the consumers to prevail. Time for a California class action!!

- Placentia, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 022010


  • 78,155 miles
Dodge Stratus 2.7 liter trans replaced on 5-1-06 oil sludge engine failure on 1-2-10.

- Bridgeview, IL, USA

problem #1

May 012003


  • miles
Within one week of purchase the consumer had to have a new transmission installed. Now the brake lights illuminated when the vehicle made turns. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but the consumer was told that they will not look at it because the vehicle was not under warranty. The consumer wants to know what she can do.

- Readyville, TN, USA

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