How to Troubleshoot Transmission Problems in a 2006 PT Cruiser

by Sameca Pandova
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The Chrysler PT Cruiser's base automatic transmission has been a well-known weak link in the vehicle. Diagnosis of transmission troubles is a difficult, hit-or-miss process, but you can take steps to isolate or cure the typical failures before resorting to more drastic measures.

Step 1

Check the transmission fluid with the transmission dipstick in the engine bay. The fluid should be reddish, clear and at the "FULL" line on the dipstick. If the fluid is low, or if it is dark and smells burnt, then the fluid needs to be topped off or flushed. Make sure to use only Chrysler automatic transmission fluid, as different types of transmission fluids do not mix.

Step 2

Carefully record all the problems you are experiencing, and when they occur. Creating an accurate log of problems will be a help if you end up taking your PT Cruiser to a repair shop. For instance, if you are experiencing slight shudder from a start, this may be due to old fluid; if the transmission will not shift out of second gear, that may point to a defective part such as the output speed sensor.

Step 3

Have your PT Cruiser scanned for error codes. Check to see if the Check Engine Light is illuminated on the dashboard. If the transmission detects a malfunction, it will send a 0700 code to the engine computer, which is a general transmission malfunction code. The transmission may also send additional error codes, which will be useful for diagnostic purposes. Any Chrysler dealership or independent shop can read the codes for you. In addition, some automotive chain stores will read codes for customers for free.

Verify whether your 2006 PT Cruiser is covered under Technical Service Bulletin 1800707. If your PT Cruiser is a manual transmission model, a TSB was issued which reprograms the powertrain control module with new software. Contact your local Chrysler dealership to schedule reprogramming, if applicable.

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