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How to Check for Bent Valves in a PT Cruiser

by Robert Bayly

The Chrysler PT Cruiser was produced from 2001 through 2009. It has a 2.4 liter, dual-overhead cam engine and is available in a turbocharged version. The PT Cruiser’s engine is a non-interference type. This means that if the timing belt breaks or slips, the valves will not hit the pistons. While the valves fail to hit the pistons, there is a possibility that they will hit each other if the timing belt breaks or slips at high rpms.

Step 1

Park the PT Cruiser on a level, paved surface and set the parking brake.

Step 2

Remove the spark plug wires from the spark plugs one at a time. Wrap a piece of masking tape around each wire and number it with a pen so you can put them back in the same place.

Step 3

Remove all of the spark plugs with a ratchet and spark plug socket.

Step 4

Screw a compression gauge into the first spark plug hole. Ask an assistant to turn over the engine with the starter for about three seconds. Write down the reading on a piece of paper. It should be in the area of 120 psi. If the reading is extremely low or non-existent, unthread the gauge and squirt two or three squirts of motor oil into the spark plug hole. You will need a small, metal oil can to put the motor oil in.

Step 5

Screw the compression gauge back into the spark plug hole. Have an assistant turn the engine over again. If the reading on the compression gauge does not change, you have a bent valve in that cylinder.

Repeat this process for the other cylinders.

Items you will need

  • Masking tape
  • Pen
  • Ratchet and spark plug socket
  • Compression gauge
  • Assistant
  • Paper
  • Motor oil
  • Small, metal oil can (squirt type)

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