ANNOUNCEMENT: The Car Book 2018 is now online!

Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here. 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
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
55,714 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2002 Dodge Stratus Owner Comments

problem #7

May 152008

Stratus 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Dodge Stratus. While driving approximately 30 mph on a wet surface, the contact depressed the brake pedal and the vehicle hydroplaned. He rear ended the preceding vehicle and the air bags failed to deploy. The contact received a concussion. A police report was filed. The vehicle was diagnosed by the dealer. The current and failure mileages were 60,000. The body shop informed the consumer the reason why the airbag did not deploy was because the sensors were mounted so low in the front and rear of the vehicle. Updated 05/30/08

- West Columbia, SC, USA

problem #6

Jul 172006

Stratus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles
First complaint...on more than one occasion on wet roadways I would begin to slow down farther behind than normal for my stop or turn. Every single time my breaks locked up on me and I slid. A couple of times almost ended in a collision. I was involved in an accident dealing with a train. When I stopped the train hit the front end of my car. It pulled off my bumper, hood, radiator, coolant each landing at least 75 feet away. It also twisted my engine, transmission, bent my frame, and rear axle. All the while my battery blew up. Out of all of that my air bags did not deploy.

- Crowley, LA, USA

problem #5

Oct 132006

Stratus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles
Started car, air bag light came on and passenger airbag deployed for no apparent reason. Broke windshield on passenger side of vehicle. Checked to see if there are any recalls none. Want to file complaint against Chrysler corporation.

- Potosi, MO, USA

problem #4

Oct 082005

Stratus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


: the contact stated while driving 35mph on a winding road, curving right, the steering wheel jerked and the vehicle turned left. The brakes seemed stiff when applied. The vehicle hit a fence and the driver sustained severe injuries. The airbags did not deploy, although seat belts were worn. A police report was filed. The vehicle was deemed totaled by the insurance Agency, but no determination was made as to why the airbags failed to deploy. However, the insurance Agency did determine the accident may have been cause by a steering or brake problem.

- Oak View, CA, USA

problem #3

Feb 072005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I was just pulling out of my driveway going less than 5 mph when I heard what sounded like a gunshot. I put my foot on the brake and looked over my right shoulder and saw nothing. I paused approx. 5 seconds before deciding to pull forward and to the side of the road to investigate. I took my foot off the brake and as the car began to roll forward there was a tremendous explosion and the passenger airbag deployed, shattering my windshield. I have asthma and have been having significant breathing problems since the occurrence.

- Waterloo, IL, USA

problem #2

Apr 282004


  • miles
Driving 35 mph, another vehicle caught in front of the consumer. This caused the consumer to T-bone the vehicle on the passenger side door. The consumer stated that, both frontal air bags did not deploy upon impact. The consumer had the vehicle towed to the dealership for inspection.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #1

Jul 122003


  • 46,000 miles
While driving at 35 mph consumer's vehicle was involved in a head on collision with a parked vehicle. Consumer was not wearing a seat belt, and air bags did not deploy. A citation was presented to the consumer by the police. There were no injuries to the consumer.

- Gurnee, IL, USA

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