Last post on Jul 09, 2013 at 9:11 AM
You are in the Dodge Stratus
What is this discussion about?
Dodge Stratus, Sedan
Apr 26, 2001 (5:50 am)
One of the first signs of a failing head gasket is usually either an oil leak around that area, or disappearing coolant.
If you are noticing a transaxle leak, and have not yet purchased the car, look elsewhere. 50-60,000 miles is about the lifespan of these DaimlerChrysler 4-speed automatics before they require a rebuild or replacement.
Apr 26, 2001 (10:42 am)
I'm just about to buy my first car and I really like the Stratus. Since I'm a college student I'm thinking about getting a 1997 with about 50-60000 miles. Have a few questions though if someone can answer them.
How long life time does the stratus have? how many miles before I should expect problems? I've read about the head gaskets and the A/C.
Is 4cyl will manual a better option than automatic?
#79 of 490 myfirstcar
Apr 26, 2001 (4:50 pm)
When you ask about the life expectancy of the Stratus I assume you are referring to the engine and transmission. In my experience eneth is correct about the average real world life expectancy of the automatic. If serviced properly every 15,000 miles the normal transmission life for 4 cylinder Stratus can be more in the 70 - 80,000 mile range. My company has run them in our motor pool and this is what the service records reflect. But most owners will change their oil every 5-8,000 miles but only service their transmission once every 40,000 if that. This normal neglect is why eneth is correct about his estimate of realistic transmission wear in a used car. If you are going to purchase a car the size and weight of a Stratus and run a 4 cylinder engine, then I would recommend a manual. It will be less stress on both the engine and transmission. If you go to a 6 cylinder then an automatic is generally more reliable. Remember with a manual, depending upon how you drive you will be replacing that clutch in as little as 40,000 or maybe 60,000, if your better then average with using it. I had a Jeep with a 6 cylinder automatic that had 165,000 miles on the transmission and engine without any repairs what so ever on either. My wife had a Plymouth Acclaim with a 6 cylinder engine and automatic that had 85,000 miles on it when we traded it in. It required nothing but normal servicing for both engine and transmission and both were running strong when we gave up the car.
As I've mentioned in my previous posting, if reliability is a concern then look at the 6 cylinder engined cars (compact/midsize cars). Because of their better power to weight ratios the engine and transmissions are subject to less stress over the same number of miles. This means normally all things being equal, the 6 cylinder compact / midsize cars are mechanically usually in better condition.
If your concerned about mileage, there isn't that much difference between a 4 and a 6 cylinder engine in a car the size of the Stratus. When you consider repair costs and durability what you save in gas with the 4 you more then lose here. In otherwords the 6 will cost you less to operate in the long run.
All cars can have problems with head gaskets and AC. I've had a few Hondas and my family and company have had several. Head gasket failure was very common with them also. Fords also have had their share of those problems. Be careful when people talk about things like AC, etc. I would guess that the vast majority of problems are due to improper or poor maintenance, broken lines, etc. Many times the fix is relatively simple. When people start talking compressor failure I have to wonder. That sounds more like a mechanic looking to make big money out of a small problem. I've had 11 cars in my life and my company has has had a few hundred over the past few years. I have never had a compressor failure and my company has only had 2 maybe 3 which works out to less then 1%.
If you are dead set on a 4 cylinder car look at the Saturns. They have what is perhaps the best automatic for a 4 cylinder engine of any company. Their engines are low horsepower high torque which means they tend to operate at lower rpm's. This translates into less wear and tear per miles driven. These cars have a well earned reputation for reliability and durability.
Good luck to you in your search.
#80 of 490 Yeah. What...
Apr 27, 2001 (4:14 pm)
Especially about the V6 and the A/C compressor. It's amazing what you can accomplish when someone tells you the compressor needs replacing, and you get a second opinion.
Having owned a '93 Saturn SL2 automatic, I have to agree with xmann on that one too. GM may have no clue when it comes to switchgear or interior presentation (except maybe Caddy), but their A/Ts are beyond reproach...
Best of luck!
#81 of 490 Looking for feedback on 2001 Stratus ES
Apr 28, 2001 (9:36 am)
Recently, I rented a 2001 Status AS for 4 days and put about just under 1000 miles on it. I was very please with it's look and performance and am considering buying one next month. Anybody know of major problems with this vehicle? (Other than normal things that are averted by regular maintenance.) I'd like to know the positives about it as well. (( In case it matters at all, I am moving back to the U.S.A. where I will be making my car purchase. ))
Apr 28, 2001 (10:08 am)
It's too new to have any reliability history, though given the old one, waiting until the 2002 model year (at least) would be wise, just to give DaimlerChrysler (Mitsubishi in the case of the coupes) a chance to work out the initial-model bugs.
#83 of 490 AC troubles
May 10, 2001 (8:06 am)
I have a 99 Stratus with the 2.4L engine, with only 40,000 km on it. Since day one we have been having problems with the AC.
There is an intermittent bad smell - they've sprayed it with the spray, they've replaced some hoses, even replaced the evaporator etc - been in the shop at least 6 times for AC problems - only had the car 2 years!
Apart from that its a solid car.
I spoke to the chrysler rep and they said that chrysler did have problems with the AC on several of their cars.
So be warned about the AC on these cars - and for those of you who say that an AC problem is a case of bad maintenance - gimme a break!! Exactly what maintenance do you do for your AC on a car with onyl 40,000km? There is NO scheduled maintenance for an AC system - either it works or it doesn't ...period!
If you go through posts on Chrysler/Dodge boards you will note that many owners have an AC problem.
May 10, 2001 (9:28 am)
A/C not working is one problem, bad smell is another.
Bad smell means there is mold / mildew in A/C system. It grows if the system is always wet. Either because the drain is plugged, or because you are using the recirculate mode too much, or both (mildew plugs the drain itself).
Given the car was at shop several times, the recirculation reason is much more probable. A/C is not designed to be run is this mode continousely, only for several minutes when starting (or when driving behind a diesel).
Teo from Impala forum explained what to do with the mildew last summer. It have to be "roasted", i.e. killed by high temperature. This takes about 30-40 minutes. If I remember it right:
With engine already hot (e.g. after returning from work), put car on park, with engine idling. Open all windows. Than put A/C on recirculation mode, maximal hot. Walk around for 20-30 minutes. The mold will be killed.
Than, with A/C still on maximal hot, turn it to the normal mode and run for another 5-10 minutes. This is to blow out the remains of killed mold from the system.
In case of a stubborn mold, or just to be sure, repeat the same two or three times, with interval of a week to month. If there is a mold in system, it will grow - so repeat this every year, or twice a year.
Of course, it is possible to do the same while driving - if you do not mind the heat torture.
#85 of 490 stratus ES
May 10, 2001 (8:32 pm)
I am in the process tonight of buying the 2000
Dodge Stratus ES. I started out looking for
Dodge Dakota Trucks but after gas prices jumped, I opted for a car instead.
I was going to buy a Dodge Stratus SE 4 cylinder, but happened across this board and decided to take a look at the ES 6 cylinder.
The 2000 SE 4-cylinder was going to be $10,995. I got the 2000 ES with 18,000 miles for $12,200 and took the 7 year, 100,000 mile warranty for $1300 after reading about some concerns about reliability, I thought maybe it'd be a good idea. I hope I keep the car that long and enjoy it.
This one has the autostick which i will admit i know nothing about. I enjoyed it on the test drive. Does anyone have this feature? What real world use is there besides fun? I guess it'd be good like in snow, etc because you can control the power etc.
I wanted to thank all of your for your posts and for taking the time to let others know your experiences. It sure helps...I'll contribue once i get possesion of the car (it's dark green, i'd of preferred maroon and it doesn't have a sunroof). I sure wouldn't mind one but oh well.
May 11, 2001 (3:39 pm)
By 2000, the Cirrus/Stratus had a decent repair record - DaimlerChrysler had solved the head gasket problems with the 4-cylinder (2.0 and 2.4) engines. And in this model line, the 4-speed automatic hasn't been as troublesome as it has in the other, larger models (leading one to perhaps conclude that it's underengineered for duty in large vehicles like minivans and Intrepids, but OK for smaller ones where it's under a lot less stress).