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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,740 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Dodge Stratus Owner Comments

problem #5

Jan 152014


  • miles


I had smelled a burning smell in my car while I drive it. My husband had tried his best to find where the smell is coming from. We could not find it and now my radio doesn't work, the dome light don't work and the locks don't work. In order to lock my car I have to push the locks down. Can you please help me with what could be the possibility of what's wrong with my car? I haven't been driving it.

- Texas City, TX, USA

problem #4

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 #3

Apr 302010


  • 113,000 miles
I have a 2002 Dodge Stratus SE and when I put the key in it will not start. It will not even turn over. All the lights work, and the radio works, the lights don't dim when trying to start it, and when jump started it still does not work. The security light is staying on while key is turned on. A diagnostic computer was hooked up to it and it said there was nothing wrong with it. Suggestions say the security system has my car locked down. How can you disable the security system to get the car started. We have looked at fuses and we have disconnected and reconnected the battery cables. This is ridiculous and I am very disappointed in this car and the dealership that sold it to me. A while ago I had a different Dodge Stratus and never had problems with it... is it just the 2002 edition or "??" it is very disappointing and aggravating. Also I just bought this car 2 months ago....

- Clay Center, NE, USA

problem #2

Aug 162008


  • 37,000 miles
In the past eight months the check engine stays on. I had the computer code read and reset twice. After being reset the light returned within 1-2 days. The third time it came on the dealer said the car had a vacuum leak and replaced a cracked hose. On the second day after getting the cat back the check engine light popped back on and stayed on again. They say that there is no short to the sensor or light on the dash yet the light will not go off. A year ago the main computer died and had to be replaced. The car is a 2002 Dodge Stratus with only 37,000 miles on it. The dealer is stumped, I am out several hundred dollars, and the problem remains. The car has been well maintained.

- Van Nuys, CA, 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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