Which PT Cruiser Years to Avoid and Why? (Explained)

The PT Cruiser is a sedan that offers a relaxing and enjoyable driving experience. An SRT-4 engine is used in these minivans. A front-wheel-drive is standard on the PT Cruiser.

The company has experienced some backlash over the vehicles’ appearance. Also, some models are complete failure which suffer from engine failure, electrical problems, interior design issues, and cooling system issues.

In this article, I’ll explain which years you should avoid and why you should do so. There are however some years that you might want to consider purchasing since they have gotten fewer criticisms.

PT Cruiser Years to Avoid (List of Year)

The PT Cruisers were in production from 2001 until 2010. The early and mid-period minivans attracted the highest amount of criticism.

According to Car Complaints, these are the PT Cruiser years you should never consider buying:

  • 2001 PT Cruiser
  • 2002 PT Cruiser
  • 2004 PT Cruiser
  • 2006 PT Cruiser
  • 2007 PT Cruiser

In their 10-year run, most of the Chrysler PT Cruisers were a production disaster. Customers who owned the PT Cruisers from the mentioned years faced the most problems. So, these years received the most complaints.

2003 and 2005 were some of the moderate years. Still, engine stalling, the check engine light remaining on, and camshaft position sensor problems were common among many of these models.

Worst Years of PT Cruiser:

Two significant years received many more complaints than the others. These are-

  • 2001 PT Cruiser
  • 2006 PT Cruiser

The 2001 model was the first model with hundreds of bugs. This year suffered from battery draining and cranking issues. But the worst of the worst, the PT Cruiser 2006 received 52 complaints regarding engine issues.

What Makes These PT Cruiser Years Worth Avoiding?

The PT Cruiser is often regarded as Chrysler’s worst vehicle line. The years that have contributed to this have tarnished the company’s image.

Let’s take a look at the most common obstacles with these minivans.

2001 PT Cruiser Problems:

The PT Cruiser 2001 has received 40 complaints on internal accessories issues and 29 each on electrical system and wheels.

The most prevalent and well-known issue with the introductory model is a cracked dashboard. The dashboard was replaced as part of a mass recall. This year, it was also quite typical for radio LEDs to fail and stop operating even after the battery was replaced.

The model also had many electrical difficulties, including a faulty horn, a failed powertrain control module, and a brake light that refused to turn off. Hesitation and backfiring were also frequent.

The PT Cruiser 2001’s chrome rims had severely torn away, causing air to leak from the tires. Grinding sounds and noise from the rear hubs were other issues that many customers faced.

2002 PT Cruiser Problems:

The most common complaint this year is with the electrical system.

Other than the 30 electrical complaints, wheel and hub problems, engine starting issues, cooling system problems, and transmission failure were also very common this year.

Many buyers complained of cranking problems with the PT Cruiser 2002. The battery would continually deplete, and the radio and horn would also stop functioning. Auto-locking and cruise control malfunctions were also common.

2004 PT Cruiser Problems:

Engine issues plagued this year of the PT Cruisers. Check engine light staying on most of the time was the most prevalent one.

Replacing the plugs or wires fixed the problem for some users. Faulty oxygen sensors or damaged fuel injectors also caused this issue. Some people even had to replace the whole engine.

The engine also had a bad reputation for dying mid-travel. If this happened, changing the fuel pump, oxygen sensor, or the fuel filter fixed the problem.

Other than the numerous engine issues, problems with the wheels such as wheel bearing failure were also another mishap. Replacing the bearing was a common procedure for the PT Cruiser 2004 users.

2006 PT Cruiser Problems:

This year of PT Cruiser is the worst of the Chrysler company. Engine problems were the most common with 52 complaints on Car Complaints.

As a result, you may need to swap out the faulty components, such as the ignitor and spark plugs. The minivan would start shaking sometimes while the rider was traveling. After a while, it would stall eventually.

For many people, restarting the engine would seldom fix the problem. The majority of them had to figure out what was wrong and replace the engine or the battery. The engine might potentially stall due to low fuel pressure or a broken fuel pump.

Many customers were dissatisfied with the case of a sudden power spike or loss of electricity. The sweet and burning smell of coolant and blue exhaust smoke from the tailpipe meant that the PT Cruiser 2006 was having a power surge. The problem appeared to be resolved after cleaning the blocked fuel filter.

Rough idle even when the AC is on, windshield wiper not responding, and seat control panel breaking due to pressure were also seen in many 2006 models.

2007 PT Cruiser Problems:

The PT Cruiser 2007 suffered mostly from, you have guessed it, engine issues.

Numerous individuals were affected by a massive oil spill from the engine. A popular solution for the leaking problem was to replace the crankshaft and bearings. It was also necessary to replace the engine block on occasion.

Suspension troubles, seat belt issues, defective lighting, windshield cracking, clutch refusing to release, and other faults plagued the model. After barely three months of driving, some users discovered their heater core had blown.

Which PT Cruiser Years are Safe to Buy?

The latest years from the PT Cruiser had fewer and fewer issues. As a result, these also received fewer complaints.

If you want to buy a PT Cruiser, these are the safest:

  • 2008 PT Cruiser
  • 2009 PT Cruiser
  • 2010 PT Cruiser

The 2008 PT Cruiser had finally got rid of the engine light issue with most of their cars. The model is a good choice for a four-seat convertible. Although the design is old, the ride is very smooth for a low cost.

If you think about comfort and exterior design, the PT Cruiser 2009 is an improvement from the earlier models. Even though the model is rarely different from the year 2008, it has fewer complaints on the forums.

Lastly, their final model, the PT Cruiser 2010 is the best one to buy from Chrysler. Although the company discontinued due to the lack of customers, this one has a versatile cabin and a smooth ride.

Below is a chart consisting of a total number of complaints and recalls taken from the Car Complaints website:

Model YearComplaints RecordedRecalls
2001 PT Cruiser1677
2002 PT Cruiser1105
2003 PT Cruiser594
2004 PT Cruiser733
2005 PT Cruiser625
2006 PT Cruiser1891
2007 PT Cruiser990
2008 PT Cruiser410
2009 PT Cruiser310
2010 PT Cruiser90


After reading this article, I hope you will have a better knowledge of the best and worst years for Chrysler’s PT Cruisers. The body types come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as for trim levels.

The vehicle has a solid reputation for dependability and safety. However, the PT Cruiser has developed a reputation for several recurring issues that owners and prospective purchasers should be aware of.

I’ve discussed the difficulties as well as the years. If you’re looking to purchase a PT Cruiser, follow my advice and get a 2008, 2009, or 2010 model.

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