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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


About the Author

Robert Bayly, based in Apple Valley, California, began writing in 2010, his "how to" articles can be found on eHow. With more than 15 years in the auto industry, Bayly has been an auto and diesel mechanic, service writer and parts manager. He received certificates from Pontiac (parts system), Cat Diesel (engine service), Saab and Fiat (parts- warranty system).

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