Common PT Problems

You may think that this is a long list, but its nothing compared with some Italian or French cars I could mention and don’t worry, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed


Track Control Arm or Wishbone Rear Bushes

This is the most common fault on all PT’s whether or not they are diesel or petrol. I think the problem is partly design of the bushes and partly the layout of the suspension. The rear bushes purchased from your local Chrysler dealer do seem to be made from chocolate and the layout of the suspension gives an MOT inspector a perfect view of a failing bush, which is something other manufactures fail to do. The solution is simple replace then, with  either polyurethane ones which can be purchased from a number of PT Cruiser specialists, or you can replace just the failed bush or simply replace the complete arms.

I’d go for replacing the complete arm, ploy bushes do tend to give a harder ride but last, replacing only the failed bush will need the use of a press to get the old one out and the new one in, plus if one as failed it won’t be long before the other one goes or the ball joint develops excessive play


Fog light/Indicator switch failure

This fault shows itself by turning on the fog lights when indicating, failure of the fog lights, intermittent indicator problems, or even, in some cases a smell of burning or smoke! The quality of the internal parts and the fact that a rely is not included in the system.

As a temporary fix, if you find the fogs are coming on when you indicate you can remove the fog light fuse (if you have one!)

A preventative fix is available (please get in touch with me for a copy) if you are confident working with car electrics.

The simple solution is not to use the fog lights

The replacement part, the whole indicator stalk is be coming very expensive


Rattle from the rear

This is very common fault which all PT’s will suffer from at some stage. The most common reason is the rear brake pads which have a spring attached to the back which fits into the piston. This spring rots and breaks free of the pad allowing the pad to rattle. The fix is (a) fit new pads, not necessary as the brakes will still work efficiently and safely or (b) service the brakes and coat the rear of the pads with copper grease. The other reasons for your rear end rattling could be: loose spare wheel cage, worn anti roll bar bushes, rear shock absorber shields loose or fallen off, the plastic guard on the upper watts linkage bolt loose and rattling  and loose wheel centre caps. To check if it is your brakes, ride along your favourite bumpy road with your windows open, when the rattling starts, just touch your brakes with your left foot, if the rattling stops this is conformation, if it doesn’t check the other possible causes.


Radiator low circuit fan failure

Not as common as the rest but could be an expensive fix. The cooling fan as two circuits high and low, the problem arises with a fault in the low circuit resulting in the fan not coming on. This usually results in overheating, if you do not spot the gauge rising. If you catch it early enough the fix is easy and cheap. You simply cross the wires so the high circuit comes on first, the car will run normally from then. If you don’t spot it can result in a blown head gasket and even a blown radiator in some cases. To check for your low circuit put your heater control to de-mist, start your engine open the hood and listen for the fan clicking on and off, if it doesn’t check out how to do the fix in this website


Split turbo hose (diesels only)

If you get an engine management warning light come up and an error code P0243, or if you feel a large drop off in power it could be a split turbo hose.

Chrysler dealers seem to have problems diagnosing this problem resulting in expensive parts being fitted with sometimes high diagnostic labour costs. I have asked two Chrysler dealers to put a note on there systems to check the hose before selling customers a Turbocharger Waste gate Solenoid (which is what the error code suggests is a fault). Dealer’s labour charges for the fitting of a new hose can also be high as “the book” says that the radiator must be drained and removed. I can assure you that it does not, but small hands would be an advantage as it’s a tight squeeze. If you suspect your hose has split you can check it yourself. Look a the front of the engine bay between the radiator and the engine; you will just see the hose in question, it looks like a normal top or bottom radiator hose. Squeeze your hands down and feel around the hose for a split ( the ones I’ve found have had have splits to the right side of the hose at the back as you feel) if you cannot feeling split but your hands are now covered in black sticky oil, this is a sure sign of a turbo leak.

The “how to” on fitting a new hose is on the site


And finally, the latest one, The Lower Torque Control Arm


I am now finding lots of these arms with badly worn front bushes and/or stripped or loose bolts when I carry out my PTI‘s (Petmans Technical Inspections). The symptoms of this fault are a loud knocking noise on heavy braking and/or acceleration. The method of diagnosis is to open the hood then start the engine, engage 1st gear and drop the clutch as if to move off quickly, then do the same in reverse while someone stands at the side of the car and watches the engine. If the engine jumps backwards and forwards this is a sure sign that you have a problem “down below”

The solution is to change the complete arm or fit the poly bush, if it’s the rubber bush that has gone, or replace or retighten the bolt if its just the bolt. It maybe necessary to have the bolt Heli-coiled if the hole has stripped its threads


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