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advice on known issues with PT Cruisers

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Old 10 Mar 2012, 06:47 pm
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1
Default advice on known issues with PT Cruisers

Hi - just joined the forum and based in England - looking to buy a PT cruiser so just wanted to find out what the known issues are with used PT Cruisers that I should look out for when buying ?


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Old 10 Mar 2012, 07:03 pm
Obsessed Cruiser
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Mooresville, NC
Posts: 5,324
Default Re: advice on known issues with PT Cruisers

Oh Lordy, not an easy question. From my experience it all depends on the maintenance, or lack there of, performed by the previous owner(s).

There are some specifics that we suggest on almost every PT, and those are dependant upon the type - Turbo vs. Normally Aspirated (called NA on these forums).

On the turbos, you want to run synthetic oil versus the old school dino oil. Synth takes more heat to break down than dino oil, and heat is a big issue with the turbos. We suggest using a K&N drop-in filter type for the air filter - improves performance and does a better job of keeping smaller items out of your intake.

On all models, we suggest you immediately replace the spark plugs and the plug wires, most especially on the turbo models. The heat generated on top of the engine on the turbo models shortens the life of your spark plug wires. Personally, I run a 10.2mm set, that is the overall thickness of the wires. I would suggest getting at least an 8.5 mm thickness for a turbo, and an 8mm thickness for an NA.

On all PT's, it is highly suggested that if you are looking at one that is around 100,000 miles (around 160,000 km), that if you can not get verification that the owner has changed out the serpentine belt and the water pump, then stay away from it. That is an expensive exercise and a pain in the butt. Personally, I would suggest looking for a PT with mileage like around 60-70k miles, or around 96k km to 113k km. That's where you should find a very good price range.

Like any used car, there is an entire listing of items you should be aware of. Rather than belabor this issue here, you can go to our Tech/Performance section and look under my Technical Documents Library, and you will find in the third posting that there is a section dedicated to looking at used PT's.

I hope that helps, and good luck to you. If you get a good one, you'll be like me and many others here and fall in love with it.
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Old 11 Mar 2012, 08:00 am
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Dallas Texas
Posts: 3,722
Default Re: advice on known issues with PT Cruisers

Since it all depends on the maintenance or lack thereof

How should I have kept my fan from going out? Or my power door lock actuator? Is there maintenance for that??
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Old 11 Mar 2012, 09:32 pm
Capriman86's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: RI
Posts: 147
Default Re: advice on known issues with PT Cruisers

Mine was perfectly maintained and fully serviced from the dealer but since I have had it I have had to replace everything under the sun. If anyone was to ask me if I recommend one used the answer would be no no no. I wish I didn't feel that way but man, this car is nothing but issues upon issues.
2003 PT Cruiser SOLD
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