PT Cruiser Troubleshooting

by Tom Lutzenberger

Troubleshooting your Chrysler PT Cruiser is not a hard task, despite modern engines being more and more complicated. In fact, you can perform much of the same diagnoses to troubleshoot your car today as your mechanic can. The process involves understanding a bit about how a car works, the signs it will give when in trouble, and reading the codes from the car's onboard diagnostic system and computer.

Release your hood latch and raise the hood. Lock it in the upright position with the car hood stick if required. Locate the engine oil dipstick and pull it out. Wipe it clean with a rag. Insert it again and check the oil level. Make sure it's adequately full per the dipstick reading. Repeat the same procedure for your transmission oil to eliminate the lack of oil as a problem.

Disconnect the battery terminals, loosening and removing the black terminal first. Remove the red terminal second. Attach a battery tester to the car battery to check its load. Reconnect the car battery if it appears adequate and does not need replacement.

Purchase an OBDII compliant diagnostic scanner. Park your car in a location where you can work on it. Plug the input end of the OBD scanner to the receptacle underneath your steering wheel after opening the panel cover. Position a notepad and pen where you can use it. Insert your car ignition key into the car ignition and turn the car to the "on" position. Do not turn on the engine.

Let the car onboard computer load data to your scanner. Wait for the scanner to read the data, interpret it, and display the car codes detailing what problems are occurring in the car. Write down the codes displayed on your notepad with a pen so you don't forget them. Obtain further information on the trouble code and the problem associated with it using a computer and the Internet by referencing code website for the PT Cruiser.

Based on the code information retrieved from your car and the results you find on the Internet, take your car to a certified Chrysler mechanic to check and perform the necessary repairs


  • check Buying a more expensive scanner with a complete code reference library built in saves you the trouble of having to look up the trouble code definition on the computer later on.


  • close OBDII codes come from sensors all over the car. Many times a sensor going bad won't completely define the true problem in the car. If the problem continues after a fix is applied, you may have to blank the car computer with the scanner to see if it can repeat the problem code again to be sure of the true cause.

Items you will need

About the Author

Since 2009 Tom Lutzenberger has written for various websites, covering topics ranging from finance to automotive history. Lutzenberger works in public finance and policy and consults on a variety of analytical services. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Saint Mary's College and a Master of Business Administration in finance and marketing from California State University, Sacramento.