Oil Sludge Resulting In Engine Failure

2002 Dodge Stratus (Page 1 of 2)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Dodge dealer.

CarComplaints.com Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague

CarComplaints.com 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:
99,000 miles
Total Complaints:
38 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (24 reports)
  2. not sure (11 reports)
  3. undisclosed warranty (2 reports)
  4. teardown and clean (1 reports)
2002 Dodge Stratus engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Dodge Stratus:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Dodge Stratus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #38

Mar 112013

Stratus RT 2.7L

  • Manual transmission
  • 145,000 miles


We changed the oil every 2,500 to 3,500 miles from the time we bought the car, at 85,000 miles. We always used synthetic oil. The timing chain tensioner still sludged up causing engine failure. We did not open it up but the oil does appear to have water related sludge. So sad that such an iconic American car company would produce a car of this poor quality. Upon inspection when this engine failed it appears it had been replaced prior to us purchasing it.

- rroos, Brighton, CO, US

problem #37

Aug 082015

Stratus ES 2.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,292 miles

Okay who designs and engine where the water pump is internal and powered by the timing belt? Seriously? So, when the water pump leaks, where does the water go? The oil pan... go figure. So, now that the oil pan is full of water and you take a 600 mile trip in the middle of summer in the Southeast heat, the water boils the oil to a consistency of molasses and the camshafts don't get lubricated. The result, a failed engine. Come on Dodge, fess up and do something about this! There are thousands of complaints and you choose to ignore it.

- Duane R., Saint Petersburg, FL, US

problem #36

Oct 102013

Stratus ES 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

Changed the oil about a week before, then my engine began to knock extremely loud to the point I thought the engine was going to implode. Had no choice but to junk it.

- kings019, Inkster, MI, US

problem #35

Jan 222008

Stratus SE 2.7

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles


Driving to work one morning, the engine just cut off in the middle of the road. I tried to start it and nothing. Thank God it happened 2 blocks from the house. I had 2 neighbors come and push it back to the house. When I was able to take it to the mechanic, he was willing to rebuild the engine but noticed there was a lot of sludge throughout the engine. The only other recourse was to have the engine replaced. We have been looking for engines and could not find any that had decent mileage for an affordable price. We started to look again recently.

Update from Oct 13, 2011: Milage was 82,000 miles.

- spyce67, Miami, FL, US

problem #34

Aug 292011

Stratus ES 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

My 2002 Dodge Stratus took a dump right after 100,000 miles. I found engine sludge which shouldn't be there because I took care of her. Then my engine started overheating a week ago and now it won't even start because of all of these coolant/engine problems. Then I found water in the oil which really pissed me off. If something isn't done about this I'll go to the ends of the earth to find an answer. Bullshit is what it is. Now, no car, no transportation, just sucks man.

- Ross H., Boise, ID, US

problem #33

Jun 022011

Stratus 2.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

If my complaint can save even one poor soul from purchasing a dodge then it will be worth me typing this. I own a 2002 Dodge Stratus that I was dumb enough to buy because it is a very nice looking car on the outside. Little did I know though, the engine was crap. I bought the car 3 months ago and it had 63,000 miles on it. I drove it for 3 months and 2,000 miles. It ran great. There were new tires recently put on it. I just spent $500 getting things tuned up like new brakes, new transmission pan put in, new fuel filters, air filters, etc, etc 1 month ago. I just put top of the line synthetic oil in it and treated it very nice.

None of those things however could stop the engine failure that took place 3 days ago. It drove so smooth and nice, until I stopped at a red light. It turned green, but my car wouldn't move. I had to get out and push my car off the road while cars behind me watched. The car was towed to the shop and the mechanic said that the engine had siezed and was done. The solution was a replacement engine installed for about $3000. After seeing that the Dodge Stratus 2.7L engine will not work for more than 6,500 brand new, I decided to cut my losses and never make the dodge mistake again. I agree that a recall needs to be issued, it is rediculous that they are ignoring such a common problem. Take responsibility Chrysler!

- Kevin B., Provo, UT, US

problem #32

Jan 082011

Stratus RP 2.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,276 miles


Yes, I bought a 2002 Dodge Stratus in 2002. There should of been a 8 year life on the car.

I have the oil sludge problem, I just bought new tires and invested on a new front end, There should be some law suit for this problem. Now I have no car, I cannot afford to fix it.

- Rose W., Muskego, WI, US

problem #31

Sep 302010

Stratus ES 2.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

Here's my story; 2002 Dodge Stratus, 2.7 motor, we purchased it 2 years ago and did all the oil changes at the manufacturer's schedule times. We have only put 22,000 miles on this vehicle and the motor took a crap at 121,000. The garage that looked at it thought that the motor was not the original from the manufacturer. The reason being is that when they install a replacement motor into one of these cars, they put a seal on the back of the engine so when it gets hot it melts off and that is what has happened. Seriously, something needs to be done by the consumer protection agency. This is ridiculous!

- mistratus, Olivet, MI, US

problem #30

Sep 162009

Stratus 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

For everyone having problems with 2.7 motor and sludge build up seizing the motor on your stratus I have some news. Chrysler set up a company strictly to deal with this problem. It is an undisclosed warranty. The reason for it is they don't want people randomly replacing motors. They will give you a good chunk of change towards the motor. They gave me about 1700 towards the purchase a used motor. Problem is supply and demand even used the motor is expensive. I don't know the number anymore but most mechanics do, that's how I heard of it. So ask your Dodge dealer, if they don't know anything about it they are lying.

- dherrington, Clearwater, FL, US

problem #29

Jul 242010

Stratus ES 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,410 miles

The car was serviced every 3,000 miles at the dealer we bought it from (oil & filter). I bought an extended warrenty 7 year 70,000 mile. The engine went out at 81,000 miles. The dealershit acted like they didnt know what went wrong. As soon as I went out to find a solution and I mentioned Dodge 2.7L every one in the auto world was like oh ya we hear abought this all the time.

- Karl D., Glenview, IL, US

problem #28

Jul 162010

Stratus ES 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


I really had not had any problems with this car until the day it died on me as I was traveling home from work. It died once and engine light came on. It started up again and I drove a mile further and it died again. That was it. Unfortunately, these engines are not worth replacing even if you could locate one. Anyone else have any ideas!

- Erin A., Fort Wayne, IN, US

problem #27

Apr 152010

Stratus ES 2.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Just another victim/s of the 2.7 engine. My fiance has a 2002 stratus with the 2.7lt engine. She has never had any major problems with it, and it has 125000 +/- miles. We've replaced/repaired minor stuff such as the oil pan gasket, coolant reservoir, water outlet housing, front and rear motor mounts. Well tax return time had just come around and we shelled out just under a grand replacing brake pads, tires and repairing headlights. We were toying with the idea of selling the vehicle, when just outl of nowhere on her commute to work she calls and says she heard a noise from under the hood, which then lead to the engine shutting down. We towed it, and a couple days later attempted to start the engine. To our surprise it started, but had a bad knocking, We tried driving it to an auto shop that way, on the road it gave out once again and since then has completely stopped working.

The car has been sitting due to our lack of funds and the news that another engine would be needed. Our estimate was about $2200 for a high milage engine and $2800-$3400 for a lower milage one. Vehicle is probably not worth the expense

- Steven G., Avondale, AZ, US

problem #26

Feb 082010

Stratus SE 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

I used Synthetic Mobil 1 ever since changing out the break-in oil. Oil was changed with filter by 7500 miles without fail. New timing chain and tensioner plus all fluids replaced at 105000 miles by Dodge. Was told by repair shop that the engine failed due to "oil starvation" oil return holes were plugged from sludge. That a total rebuild is necessary.

- johnbranum, Lancaster, CA, US

problem #25

Jan 182010

Stratus SE 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,319 miles

I bought this care brand new in November 2003. I purchased the extended warranty, 7yrs/85000miles. There have been numerous problems with the vehicle over the years. They were covered under the warranty as recently as April 2008. The original dealer has changed the oil most times at 5000/6000miles. My husband has performed a few changes when not convenient to take it in. We just recently had the body redone in December 2009 and along with 4 new tires. Car looked and ran great. I was driving on the interstate the morning on 1/18/10 and the car died. I coasted to the end of the exit ramp. I tried to start the car and all it did was click. A call to AAA and the vehicle was towed to the dealer who called later in the day to say the engine was seized. My Husband was furious. He confronted the dealer would commented that the 2.7L engine had a problem developing oil sludge causing the engine to seize. We paid to have the engine opened up hoping to find a problem with the timing chain. No such luck. The left head was full of sludge. I asked the dealer where we go from here and was told the engine would need to be replaced. No advance warning, not abnormal noises, just stopped. I presented the dealer with numerous articles realting to problems with the 2.7l engine and he said he was not aware of any problems. A conversation the mechanic would oipend the engine up for my husband to inspect revealed and much different story. Two 2.7L engines replaced in January 2010 and another scheduled for next week. Mine would be the 4th in a month. I wondered how they came up with the replacement costs so quickly. $4900.00 to repair a 7 year old car and no one at the dealership is offering any help. Cleary there is a problem with the 2.7L engine and Chrysler needs to come forward and admit there is a problem and offer a solution.

- hweaverjr, Seekonk, MA, US

problem #24

Oct 222009

Stratus 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

All in all this car has been fairly reliable with no real problems until last year. All of a sudden I started hearing this faint knocking sound from the engine, over a period of less than a week it went from faint to sounding like aI had a tin knocker under the hood of my car. It hasn't actually failed yet, but its a matter of time, and nothing I can do about it besides replace the engine. Since these are "non common" engines, the cost of replacing even just with a short blick and doing the work myself is ridiculous- Let alone the cost of a crate long block LOL.

- jmccormack, Norwood, MA, US

problem #23

Nov 152009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

I have had my 02 Dodge Stratus for three years and never had a single problem with it. Then one day I stopped at the gas station on my way to work and my car wouldn't start again. I had it towed to a mechanic. They said they couldn't fix it and recommended that I take it to the dodge dealership. After a couple of days I got the dreaded call that my engine was shot due to sludge. No warning. No signs. Nothing. One minute it was a great car. The next it was a pretty piece of crap that costs more to fix than it was worth. Then I did some research and found this site and now I know that I will NOT be buying another Dodge Stratus ever again!!!

- Cate P., Cincinnati, OH, US

problem #22

Dec 272008

Stratus ES 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,221 miles

The car had an oil leak from the valve cover. I fixed it and did an oil change. I drove it about 3 miles. and the engine seized. It spun a rod bearing and I fixed it. As soon as the car warmed up the oil pressure dropped and it seized again. ( 1.5 miles ) the drained oil has a metallic look to it. The engine needs to be tore down, cleaned, and rebuilt..I had to buy a new car to replace it.Now I have a great looking car that I can not drive.

- Anthony J., Rancho Cucamonga, CA, US

problem #21

Feb 212009

Stratus 20.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,000 miles

While I was replacing several gaskets on this engine I had opened the valve covers and discovered a very serious sludge problem had been developing in the engine. I then decided it best to remove the heads and clean them outside of the engine as to avoid getting any debris down into the crankcase. Thankfully I came across this problem before it caused engine failure. I noticed something strange about the heads when I removed the valve covers, all of the little areas where oil would naturally pool, most contained no oil except for the thick encrusted sludge. Most of the sludge looked dry making me think that the heads have a serious lack of oil supply. However there has never been any problem with the lifters making any noise. So either the heads easily clog and do not supply enough oil or the oil supply to the heads is inadequate. The little bit of oil that did make it into the heads was baked onto everything. If you suspect your engine may be building up sludge take a look at the oil cap and it has baked on soot you may have a problem.

- Chaz W., Spring, TX, US

problem #20

Nov 022008

Stratus SE 2.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

I am also the unlucky owner of a 2002 Dodge Stratus 2.7. At 52,000 miles my car broke down and I had it towed to the dealership where I was told my car had engine sludge and that the entire motor needed to be replaced. If I could prove that my oil changes had been on time, my extended warranty would cover the problem for a $100 deductible. I presented the paper work and it took 2 months for them to return my car. I was thankful that I got it fixed for $100 however since that time, I have only used the synthetic oil by Mobil 1 every 4000 mile instead of the recommended 6000 and now at 87000 mile and no warranty left- my car once again is broke down with sludge in the oil. Now I will be responsible for replacing the motor myself even though the one they put in for me only has 30,000 miles on it. I have never heard of a new motor breaking after 30,000 miles! I can not afford a new car, and I do not have $3000 for a new motor and this is the second time this has happened to me with this car!! Why hasn't a recall been issued????

- Sandi L., Las Vegas, NV, US

problem #19

Sep 012007

Stratus SE 2.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

Go American Buy American I love America just not American auto makers. Thery are the most money hungry bastards. They know that they can make more money off the American people when the piece of S*t breaks down,and you have to go buy new parts. I love working as hard as I can to get a so called dependable car for my wife and the security for my kids. It just sucks paying for something when the damn thing doesn't run. Too bad I couldn't get a mulligan on this one (a golf reference). It is absolutely ridiculous!! We still owed two years on our loan when the piece of sht broke down. Was Daimler Chrysler willing to do ANYTHING to help us out? NO! A**holes keep getting richer while the measly little blue collar workers keep getting SCREWED!!! So much for Dodge. Thanks. 2002 Dodge Stratus = Piece of CRAP!

- pissedoffchick, Portage, OH, US

Read the next 18 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?