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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
99,515 miles
Total Complaints:
12 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new motor (10 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
2002 Dodge Stratus engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Dodge Stratus Owner Comments

problem #12

Jul 242013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,432 miles


I purchased this from a government auction in 2006 at around 40,576 miles. It drove nicely with power. I have always kept up with maintenance and oil change like clock work. No problems for 3 years until January of 2009 I heard a knocking sound coming from the engine. I took it to the mechanic and he said there are issues with the engine and I may need to rebuild/replace. However before he did that, he placed some type of lubrication in the engine and that seemed to help. However I drove the car as my back up car and drove a leased Honda Accord because I wasn't trusting my Stratus. I started using the 02 Stratus as a main car for the past 5 months since I returned the leased Honda. The knocking sound returned at over 102,000 miles. This time the mechanic said there is nothing that can be done and I can drive the car until it cease up. I have to replace the engine. I wished I had read about this car at before I purchased it. What a waste of my money.

Update from Aug 26, 2013: Today August 26, 2013 I sold my Stratus for a measly $300. This was the best way to deal with the faulty engine since it would cost approximately $3,000 to get the car functioning. That was more than the car was valued at. Never again will I buy a Dodge or any other car without checking

- , Fairfield, NJ, USA

problem #11

Dec 192012

Stratus 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

never again will i buy a dodge. i got this car so i could put our 1992 ford on the side as a back up since the ford has about 3 hundred thousand miles on it. but no after all the money i have put in the car and now more money is needed. i cant even sell the thing to try and get some of my money back because that would be wrong with the lemon laws. i have to give the person back there money anyway. i think dodge should step up to the plate on this one. replace the engines and lets us get back on the road again. not only that i hate it when my husband is right and told me not to buy it. he said it was junk. so now i am stuck with him being right and a piece of junk.

- , Littlestown, PA, USA

problem #10

Jun 012012

Stratus SXT 2.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,200 miles

Am also an unhappy owner of a 2002 Dodge Stratus 2.7. At less than 70,000 miles my car engine just stopped and I had to have it towed to the dealership where I was told they they had to replace my engine. My car had severed me well up until then, I purchased my car new Nov. 2001. I could prove that my oil changes and check-ups had been on time because most of them had been with the dealer, my extended warranty covered the problem for a $100 deductible. It took over 2 months for them to return my car they offered no loaner or any money replacement for my rentals. I was thankful that I got it fixed for just $100 instead of the full price. I fixed what ever was wrong with my car at the time it needed it even at that... when there was no warranty left on my car it broke down once again. This time when I went to them my warranty was over and they said they had no record of replacing the engine and they only replaced a lot of the parts. Needless to say I am now responsible for my engine replacement myself even though they either replaced most of the part or replaced the engine. My care just flipped the 100,000 mark so it has only been around 30,000-40,000 miles and should have not gone out this soon. I want to know why have there not been a recall on this engine issued?? Can anyone tell me where do I go to get some answers??

- , Columbus, OH, USA

problem #9

Mar 072010

Stratus SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


I have a 2002 Stratus. The 16 of March I will have owned it for a year. Still have 4 grand left to pay. I have not had a problem since I bought the car from a dealer. This car is a used vehicle. I had my oil changed in it and the same day my car shut off on me while driving and couldn't turn the steering wheel and the car wouldn't even turn back over. Someone looked at it and said my positive cord to the battery was loose thought the problem was solved.I drove it a day later maybe 25 miles and I heard a noise every time the car would shift didn't think anything of it maybe the muffler. Went to work had some sound not much come home from work and shut the car off for maybe a hour or so, started it up and it was extremely loud. But none of my lights came on ( Check engine or Oil)

- , Delevan, NY, USA

problem #8

May 282009

Stratus 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I have a 2002 Dodge Stratus, oil light came on then I noticed a knockin sound. Then the car stopped in the middle of traffic without warning. After I had the car towed, i was told by several mechanics that the motor has to be replaced.

- , Lewisville, TX, USA

problem #7

Apr 252009

Stratus V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

The sound started off just a slight knocking when I would turn the car on and once it got warmed up it would be gone, and then it got to be pretty noticeable when the car was in idle but not too bad and then recently it sounded like there was a lawnmower going off in my hood (and that is not exaggerating)!!!!! I guess this is typical of these cars and the only fix is a new motor! Good luck!

- , Clovis, CA, USA

problem #6

Nov 032008

Stratus SE 2.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


Im going thru the same exact things. Ive had my dodge stratus for a year now and Ive had so many problems out of it every since. My car is in the shop right now needing a motor due to oil in the water. The motor that the mechanic priced is $1700. I was planning on getting it fixed but after discovering this website and seeing that I am not alone I am not about to attempt to pay that much.. And make payments and pay insurance also.. I just dont see it, then no one wants to help. The dodge dealership has given us the run around over and over. I purchased my car from Dodge Chrysler in Spartanburg, SC only 35-40 minutes from my home. They sold me the car and they knew it was bad. It ran hot the same day I got it, I took it back and they say they did a head gasket job or something. Okay we trusted them so we left. I only had a 30 day/1,000 mile warranty on it so they say they fixed it. Then it ran hot again like 3 months later, I was told I needed a thermostat, so I got one. Then about 3-4 months later I had the same problem again.. Was told needed a water pump, put it in the shop, the mechanic called and told me the motor locked up and needed another one, its still sitting over there while we are trying to decide what to do about it. I also think something should be done about this, Dodge Chrysler made a fool out of me and my mom all bc we are females.. Now I don't have any transportation, and really no money, not to pay on a car which I still owe about $4,000 on, thats crazy!!!

- , Laurens, SC, USA

problem #5

Nov 032008

Stratus SE 2.7L

  • CVT transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I use to always see dodge stratus' and I thought they were cut cars.. Then I got a job at this place and met this girl she had one.. She still has it hers is a 2004 Dodge Stratus, I always admired it.. So I went to Dodge Chrysler in Spartanburg, SC looking for one. At the point in time they didn't have one. But they continued to look and they finally found me one like 2 weeks later. So they called me and my mom. We live about 40-45 minutes away. So we drove down and test drove it. I loved it, it was red with tint on the windows. It just made me so happy. So at the time I was 21 still young didn't really have credit established so my mother co-signed for me and I put $500 down. We did the paperwork and everything, they cleaned it up for me put gas in. So we come back home. How about later that night it ran hot. We had a 30 day/1,000 mile warranty. So we took it back that Monday bc we bought on a Saturday. They suppose to did an head gasket job or something so they so. So we didnt know what they were back there doing, we trusted them and got the car went on back down the road. Like a month later had ignition problems took it back even tho the warranty was gone, they replaced bc my mother went up there and showed out. So about 3-4 months later ran hot again. People said I needed a thermostat, okay I got one. 3 months later ran hot again, ok got it towed all the way back to spartanburg that was $150, they say it needed a water pump and had an oil leak...$1500. Didn't have that kind of money, had to pay $150 to go back down there and get it. So I kept putting water in it in the process of trying to find someone to fix it a lil cheaper. Okay 1 month ago, Nov 3. it ran hot again and was making noises like it was just on its last leg. Took it to a local shop they said a timing belt and water pump, oil leak for $700. We said ok call us when its ready. 3 weeks later they say the motor done locked up need a motor, $1700. So its been there at the shop since, we been trying to decide what move to make now. I cant afford to pay for repairs and make car payments. Cant afford a new car right now, I need transportation been without for over a month. Dodge in Spartanburg is full of !! They knew it was a bad car from the jump, they just tried to get over bc we were women and they did.. Then they never wanted to help. I think it should be against the law to do people like that. I will never buy a dodge again, they are to much trouble and the labor work is an arm and a leg on top of how much the parts are. Now im stuck with it all bc I was sold a lemon from the start.. Something needs to be done about this!!!!!!!!!!

- , Laurens, SC, USA

problem #4

Apr 202008

Stratus ES 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

So heres the situation, my water pump goes out. I get that fixed. Shortly thereafter my engine starts spraying oil every which way.

- , Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #3

May 122006

(reported on)

Stratus SE

  • 22,546 miles

So I purchased this car in January 2006 only to find the knock I was hearing was my engine, yes stupid me for buying it, but I'm a single women and had no idea what it was and no man around to check it out. Good thing the engine was covered under the warranty. It needed a NEW ONE at 23,000 MILES! What the heck, did the people who owned it before me not know what "CHANGE YOUR OIL" means? Good thing I own it now, she'll get her oil changed faithfully!!!

- , Provo, UT, USA

problem #2

Apr 162008

Stratus SE 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

lets see. my oil light kept coming on as i would brake sometimes. and then it started getting worse to the point it would pop on for no reason. I regularly did my oil changes and added new parts as it needed them. 2 days ago it started slightly knocking so i figured i was due for a oil change so i went to get one. turns out that didn't stop the knocking. well as i was driving yesterday home from school the knocking was getting worse and car was just not acting right what-so-ever. so i parked up and left it for about an hour started it back up and knocking is now worse. Car is gonna go if i even try to drive it. THANKS CHRYSLER FOR YOUR PIECE OF SH*T CAR THAT I STILL HAVE 4 YRS TO PAY ON!!!!!

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #1

Sep 202007

Stratus RT 2.7L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I bought my 02 stratus with 11,000 miles on it in 03 loved the car did oil change at 12,000 miles with synthetic oil, and followed the maintenance manual to a T. I was driving down the road and it started to knock, took it to a shop they put it on a lift and tell me my motor is shot I have spun an internal bearing. This motor is known for this and dodge did nothing about it. He said it's a design flaw with the oil pick up tube from the oil pan to the top of the motor. $4000.00 for me to build a motor with a block from Jasper motor company. I call dodge and won't help me out at all. I am a dodge guy to the core and am very disappointed with the situation. I had 55,000 miles on the motor I haven't done this much maintance on a vehicle and got so little out of it.

- , Fond Du Lac, WI, USA

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