PT Masthead


PT Technical Library

What's New
PT DIY Club Membership
Ask Motor-Mike
PT Technical Library
Model Year Changes
PT Art Gallery
PT Resources
Contact Us
Search PT DIY
Pit Area Spacer
Pit Area Information & Signup
Pit Area Login & Member Help
Pit Area Main Index
The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ed.


Part Sixty Four Q&A 1576 - 1600

1576. I have a 2001 LE PT with 78k miles. This problem started slowly and is now chronic. When making a right turn on dry pavement, the traction control engages. The clicking sound comes from the right wheel and the traction control light comes on. The fault code is P0551. I see several questions regarding this fault and they sound similar except I can't find another instance where the traction control engages on drive pavement. I also noticed that the engine idle fluctuates slightly now. These clues seem to point to the power steering switch failure but I'd feel better about replacing it if I could find the traction control engagement as another symptom. Thanks. – Andy, from Pennsylvania.

In our experience with DTC P0551 it has never been associated with a traction control issue. It is important to keep in mind that the vehicle self test(s) provide visible results for a limited number of DTC's. There are many DTC's which are not visible with the self test and only become readable with the use of a DRB scan tool. You may have more than one issue.

The clicking sound you hear may be premature ABS cycling. Symptoms of premature ABS cycling include: clicking sounds from the solenoid valves; pump/motor running; and pulsations in the brake pedal. Premature ABS cycling can occur at any braking rate of the vehicle and on any type of road surface. Neither the red BRAKE warning indicator lamp, nor the amber ABS warning indicator lamp, illuminate and no fault codes are stored in the controller antilock brake (CAB). Premature ABS cycling is a condition that needs to be correctly assessed when diagnosing problems with the antilock brake system. It may be necessary to use a DRB scan tool to detect and verify premature ABS cycling. Check the following common causes when diagnosing premature ABS cycling: damaged tone wheels; incorrect tone wheels; damaged steering knuckle wheel speed sensor mounting bosses; loose wheel speed sensor mounting bolts; excessive tone wheel runout; excessively large tone wheel-to-wheel speed sensor air gap, or a damaged speed sensor head face. I would look at the right wheel speed sensor first; a few owners have reported failures.

Possible causes for fault code P0551 include:

Power Steering Pressure Switch (Z1) Ground Circuit Open
(K10) PSP Switch Signal Circuit Shorted To Ground
(K10) PSP Switch Signal Circuit Open
Power Steering Pressure Switch

In the majority of instances reported by owners it's the Power Steering Pressure Switch.

If you don't own a service manual, you'll find more information on all of these systems in the Pit area on the site.


1577. I have a 2003 TE (LO) GT with 43k miles. There is a noise issue with the rear drums. You can clean the dust out and a few weeks later it comes back. Still have over 50 percent on shoes. I have heard that replacing the shoes will solve the problem, but have also heard that replacing the drums with a high quality aftermarket will cure the problem. I know that the OE pads are organic and should not make any noise. Do you have any insight on the cure for the noisy brakes on the rear? I do not want to replace more than I have to or replace and still end up with the noise. Thanks for any help you can give. – Bob, from Kentucky.

This is common problem for most PT's that utilize the standard OE rear drum brakes. The metallurgy of the Mexican made OE drums is noise prone. The shoes and hardware are fine, but replacing the drums usually stops the noise. The top-shelf Canadian drums are quiet. I use NAPA 640-1453 drums. You'll find a list of suggested additional aftermarket brake components in the Pit area.

Follow up from owner - I installed the NAPA brake drums (about $82 each) last week and the rear noise is gone. The drums are not painted and they will rust very fast on the outside. It's a good idea, after cleaning them, to paint the outside of the drum. Thanks for your help.


1578. I have a 2001 BE PT with 64k miles. How do I change the fog light bulbs? – George, from New Jersey.

Review your owner's manual, or reach behind the lower splash shield to gain access to the rear of the fog lamp. Disconnect wire connector from fog lamp. Remove bulb from lamp.


1579. I have a 2004 LE (LO) PT with 22k miles. What is the function of the short rubber hose that runs from the left side of the engine into the air box? The air box has a housing inside it that holds a piece of sponge that evidently soaks up a small percentage of oil that runs through the hose. Is this designed to re-circulate oil blow back through the engine, part of a pollution control requirement? – Eric, from Colorado.

You are correct. The flexible hose is technically called a "make up air hose" and can be found on 2002-2004 model year PT's. It, along with the EGR valve on the 2003-2006 PT non-turbo engines is no longer utilized with the emissions system.


1580. I have a 2002 DC PT. I am trying to find access to the dome light wiring without having to go underneath the dash. Can I access the dome light wiring by another means? If so where and what color is the wire? Thanks. – Walter, from Indiana.

You can check under the A pillar on the right side of the windshield, but the SM indicates: look for a black 8 wire connector (C201) on the right side of the instrument panel under the dash. The dome feed is a 20 gauge yellow wire.

Follow up from owner - I am installing lighted sill plates on my PT. I was able to locate the dome light wire which is yellow as you stated previously. I used a test light to verify that I indeed had the correct wire. The problem was the test light only came on when the door was closed shut. When the door was opened the test light would go out. When I installed the illuminated door sills the sills would only light up when the door was closed and go off when the door was open. The sills should light up in conjunction with the dome light when the door is opened. What can I do to rectify the problem? (I even reversed the wires on the sill, but still nothing.

PTDIY Follow up - Try testing the connection on the outgoing side of the dome lamp. Look for a pink wire, same location as the yellow. If that doesn't provide you with functionality you'll need an OE wiring schematic to figure it out. If you don't have access to me, they are available through the pit area.

Follow up from owner – Thank you, the pink wire worked.


1581. My daughter has a 2005 BE PT with 29k miles, and lost her owners manual. The engine icon came on and I just want to know what this means. Is it the check engine or maintenance required warning? – Madeline, from Texas.

The engine light of Malfunction Indicator Light is part of the on board diagnostic system called OBD that monitors engine and automatic transmission control systems. The light will illuminate when the key in the ON position before engine start. If the bulb does not come on when turning the key from Off to ON, have the condition checked promptly. Certain conditions such as a loose or missing gas cap, poor fuel quality, etc. may illuminate the light after engine start. The vehicle should be serviced if the light stays on through several typical driving cycles. In most situations the vehicle will drive normally and will not require towing. Should the MIL light flash when the engine is running, serious conditions may exist that could lead to immediate loss of power or severe catalytic converter damage. The vehicle should be serviced as soon as possible if this occurs. Run the vehicle self tests to determine if there's a fault code presence which can help explain the issue. The engine light will remain on until the issue in question is addressed. Once addressed, dependent upon the DTC, the lit will either extinguish itself, or a trip to your local dealer may be necessary. In this instance the service department will use a DRB III scan tool to clear the DTC from the PCM to extinguish the light. Replacement manuals can be ordered here: 800-890-4038.


1582. I have a 2003 TE PT with 36k miles. The oil light keeps coming on, and it's not low on oil. It resets when the car is turned off and restarted. It's happened 3 times in about 3 weeks. – CK, from Florida.

If the light comes on and stays on while driving the vehicle, shut off the engine and determine the cause before restarting the engine. Failure to do so can result in engine damage. The oil pressure light indicates low oil pressure which can be caused by a number of factors including a low or excessive oil condition. (Excessive oil volume can cause oil aeration which can lead to engine failure due to loss of oil pressure or increase in oil temperature.) If the oil level is ok, additional factors that can cause the oil pressure to drop, include thin or diluted oil, faulty oil pressure sending unit, clogged oil filter or faulty oil pump. Your local dealer will have to diagnose it.


1583. I have a 2001 TE PT with 60k miles. The trunk/deck open warning light stays on while driving and parking, but goes away when in reverse. I checked the trunk and it's closed. It feels like something is loose underneath when going over a bump - may be the spare tire? – Oksana, from Oregon.

If you're talking about the liftgate ajar indicator it could be the latch switch, instrument cluster or a short circuit, if you have firmly closed the liftgate and the indicator is still lit.

Normally, it wouldn't have anything to do with the spare tire mounted below the deck near the rear bumper. That being said, if you hear a noise when driving over a bump check for obvious loose components in that area and under the vehicle. If you haven't checked the spare in a good while ensure that it is properly inflated to 60-psi while you're down there; never know when you'll need it. Your local dealer may have to help you diagnose the fault.


1584. We have a 2002 LE PT with 77k miles. The A/C recently stopped working and the dealer indicated that we needed a new condenser. We can't really afford a new one right now; are they repairable? - Willa, from Texas.

The condenser is integral to a cooling module which includes the radiator, the electric cooling fan, the fan shroud, air seals and automatic transmission oil cooler on models so equipped. The cooling module is located in the air flow in front of the engine compartment behind the front grille. The condenser cannot be repaired or adjusted and, if faulty or damaged, it must be replaced. You may want to check with the local salvage yards for a less expensive replacement.


1585. I have a 2001 BE PT with 94k miles. I was driving at about 65 mph and suddenly the PT sounded as if it had downshifted to 1st gear. I got off the gas and put the car in neutral immediately. I pulled over and shut off the car, the car would not start again. I was towed to a local shop - they diagnosed a broken timing belt and bent valves. I was told the cost of the repair was $2,200. After reading here and elsewhere that the motor is non-interference, I asked how they diagnosed the bent valves. The shop said they could hear the valves ticking by turning the motor by hand. I called several dealerships around here and they told me that you could not diagnose without seeing it (removing valve cover or verifying the valves not moving through oil cap, etc.) The shop called me back and said they called several machine shops and dealerships who said the motor is an interference motor. Is it possible that my motor is an interference design? - Mark, from New Jersey.

The PT engine is a non-interference motor, but only to a degree. Although the pistons will not hit the valves, the valves from both camshafts can hit each other. Valves hitting each other are very bad. Damage is normally accurately assessed during disassembly of the engine, not by turning the motor by hand.


1586. I have a 2002 BE PT with auto transmission and 117.5k miles. I have a transmission leak on the driver side, front of transmission. It looks like its coming from just above the front of the pan from a little square box bolted to the transmission with six screws. How hard would it be for us to change the (solenoid pack?)? Thanks. – Doug, from Maine.

I would not assume that the solenoid pack is faulty without having it checked by your dealer. Assuming that it is faulty, the solenoid/pressure switch assembly is external to the transaxle and mounted to the transaxle case as you described. The assembly consists of four solenoids that control hydraulic pressure to the LR/CC, 2/4, OD, and UD friction elements. The solenoids can only be serviced by replacing the assembly. The replacement procedure is not difficult for a DIY'er with good automotive skills however to complete the installation the technician must be familiar with the transaxle diagnostic manual and DRB scan tool operation to perform the transaxle quick learn procedure. This last task usually demands a more advanced skill set and equipment than the average DIY'er possesses.


1587. I have a 2001 LE PT with 90k miles. The engine light stays on. I had the car at the dealer last year and they said everything was normal. They changed the gas cap, but the light came on again a few months ago. If I disconnect the battery the light goes off for about an hour then goes back on. The car runs great. What should I do? –Alan, from New Jersey.

The MIL will continue to light as long as the issue exists. Disconnecting the battery and or erasing the code with a scan tool will temporarily extinguish the light, however it will return as soon as the engine senses an unresolved issue. If you don't see any fault codes when running the vehicle self tests, it's back to the dealer for a diagnosis.


1588. I have a 2002 TE PT with 79k miles. When I place my key in the ignition, the car senses the key is in the ignition and the chime sounds. When I go to turn the key, I am unable to turn it. My steering wheel turns, but will lock into position if I turn it enough in one direction. It remains locked until I am able to start the vehicle. I am unable to move the car out of park - depressing the brake pedal does not seem to release the gear shifter. Someone suggested that it sounded like the ignition or the neutral safety switch. I am inclined to think that it is not the ignition because the vehicle chimes when I place the key in the ignition and believe the neutral safety switch is not activating correctly because I am unable to move the car of park when this occurs. This has been an incredibly intermittent issue for a couple of years now. Two different Chrysler dealerships have been unable to resolve the problem as it does not replicate when I bring it into the shop. Would you have any opinion on this or guidance? Would you be able to tell me where the neutral safety switch is located? Thank you. – Don, from Florida.

That's correct, if the technician can't duplicate the problem it can be very difficult to diagnose and repair. By your description my initial focus would be on the ignition switch and Brake/Transmission Shift Interlock System. The Transmission Range Sensor and Park/Neutral safety switch are considerations however normally you would see a TCM fault code with a faulty switch which could be identified with a scan tool. If the dealer checked they probably would have noted this.

There have been a number of reported ignition switch failures with the PT, but very Brake/Transmission Shift Interlock System issues.

I would look at the BTSI system first since it's easy to check and sounds more descriptive of the problem. The BTSI is located under the shifter console. The following information describes the normal operation of the Brake Transmission Shift Interlock (BTSI) system. If the “expected response” differs from the vehicle's response, then system repair and or adjustment is necessary.

Action - Expected Response

1. Turn key to the OFF position. - Shifter CAN be shifted out of park.

2. Turn key to the ON/RUN position. - Shifter CANNOT be shifted out of park.

3. Turn key to the ON/RUN position and depress the brake pedal. - Shifter CAN be shifted out of park.

4. Leave shifter in any gear and try to return key to the LOCK or ACC position. - Key cannot be returned to the LOCK or ACC position.

5. Return shifter to PARK and try to remove the key. - Key can be removed (after returning to LOCK position).

6. With the key removed, try to shift out of PARK. - Shifter cannot be shifted out of PARK.

Additional information on the BTSI system is available through the Pit area on the site.


1589. I have a 2001 TE PT with 94k miles. The car overheats after about two hours of operation. The needle goes to 3/4 point, and I can hear water boiling. It does not happen on surface streets, mainly on uphill climbs or highway speeds. The temperature gauge now fluctuates, reads slightly cold occasionally. The dealer tested and road tested. Fan Ok, relays ok, no problems. What is wrong? – David, from California.

There's not enough information here to suggest a specific course of action. The gauge will cycle up and down as the electric radiator fan cycles on and off. This is normal, except when the temperature cycles into the hot zone. If that's the case the dealer took the correct first step when they checked the fan/operation.

Once the fan was eliminated, the remaining components in the cooling system should have been checked while attempting to duplicate the driving conditions which cause the issue. The system consists of an engine cooling module, thermostat, coolant recovery/reserve system, coolant, and a water pump. The cooling module consists of a radiator, electric fan motor, fan, shroud, transmission oil cooler, hoses, clamps, air conditioning condenser and transmission oil lines.

Other possibilities which can cause temperature fluctuation include:

1. Temperature gauge or engine coolant temperature sensor defective or shorted.

2. Coolant level low in radiator (air will build up in the cooling system causing the thermostat to open late).

3. Cylinder head gasket leaking allowing exhaust gas to enter cooling system. This will cause thermostat to open late.

4. Water pump impeller loose on shaft.

5. Air leak on the suction side of water pump allows air to build up in cooling system. This will cause the thermostat to open late.

I would suggest that you obtain a second opinion. In the interim, do not overheat the engine. Heat makes aluminum swell almost three times faster than cast iron. The resulting stress can distort the head and make it swell in areas that are hottest like those between exhaust valves in adjoining cylinders, and areas that have restricted coolant flow like the narrow area that separates the cylinders. This can and has resulted in warped heads and blown head gaskets, which can cause a loss of torque in the gasket allowing coolant and combustion leaks to occur when the head cools.


1590. I have a 2005 TE PT with 30k miles. The brake light fuse keeps blowing...time period of problem is unknown but 2 weeks ago I temporarily disconnect and removed the car battery (I needed to use it to start another vehicle). No other electrical modifications have been made. Could a faulty switch be shorting the circuit? – John, from Georgia.

It's a relatively simple circuit. It could be the brake lamp switch on the pedal, multifunction switch, wiring, short, etc. A few owners have reported problems with the PDC and interior fuse box. Inspect fuse and holder # 12(15amp) in the PDC and # 2(15amp) in the interior fuse box for corrosion and or insufficient spring tension contact with the fuse. If all looks ok you'll have to work your way through the circuit with a service manual. You'll find diagnostics for both switches and wiring schematics in the Pit area if you need them.

Follow up from owner- I tested for a short by removing the brake switch and all 3 brake light connections. My test light showed no shorts and I replaced the fuse and all worked well...until I closed the hatch. It turns out that the wire was shorting out on the rear pillar metal knockout as the harness came through and bent downward. When the hatch was open it was fine but when it was closed stress was forcing the harness to rub against the metal edge and over time the car's vibration helped to wear to a short circuit. To fix I placed 3 layers of duct tape on the metal and around the harness. Problem solved...

PT DIY follow up - Great, but when you removed the brake lamp switch you may have caused additional issues. The switch has three internal switches which control various functions of the vehicle. Its main function is to control operation of the vehicle's brake lamps. Other functions include speed control deactivation, brake sensing for the antilock brake system and brake transmission shift interlock. The service manual is emphatic about the switch. If the switch is not adjusted properly during the initial installation on the vehicle or removed for any reason, a new switch must be installed and adjusted.


1591. I have a 2006 BE PT with 9.8k miles. I have had this happen twice, my e-brake has frozen on, so that the car spins or doesn't move at all. I live in an area that has been exceptionally cold (-20C with wind chill in the mid -30's) for the past 2 weeks. The first time the E-brake froze, I quit using the e-brake to park. After a week of not even engaging the e-brake at all, it froze again yesterday. I had it towed to the dealership and they checked and unfroze it and said there's nothing that can be done, it's just because the brake gets hot and when it cools off it freezes. To me this just doesn't make sense that you can't use an e-brake in the winter (or when it's really cold). This is a brand new car. – April, from Alberta.

Frozen brakes are not an unusual occurrence on most vehicles located in colder climates. As your dealer indicated the hot and cold effect can create moisture inside the drum which in turn causes the shoes to stick to the drums. During inclement weather slush and or water can cause the same effect. Frozen door locks and wiper blades can also be an issue. Some professionals suggest not setting the parking brake but instead shifting the transmission into "P" (automatic) or into first or reverse (manual) and blocking the front wheels during cold weather if it safe to do so to help reduce the likelihood of freezing.

Given your circumstances and cold location I would suggest that you obtain a second opinion from another dealer to ensure that your brake system is functioning correctly. Perhaps they can provide you with some additional tips to avoid this issue.


1592. I have a 2001 LE PT with 94k miles. This morning, on my way into work, I noticed that my clock radio would not light up (digital clock or CD readout). This struck me as strange since I was listening to a CD at the time and all else seemed to be working perfectly. Would a fuse problem be so selective as to impair the clock face, but not the CD or radio function? I've searched everywhere for answers, but can't seem to find them. Any ideas or pointers? – Rebecca, from New York.

No display on the radio can be caused by the following issues:

1. Fuse inoperative - Check fuse #2 (15 amp) in the interior fuse box and the IOD fuse (#18, 20 amp) in the PDC under the hood. Reset the IOD fuse and see if that resolves the problem. See the Tech Library/Wiring subsection for IOD fuse information.

2. Radio connector or wiring damage – Look for a loose or corroded radio connector. Check the condition of the wires. Check for battery voltage at radio connector. If the weather has been especially cold check the battery and condition of the battery cables and connectors. Borderline batteries (old batteries and or batteries with poor or corroded cables/connectors) have a tendency to fail quicker during cold weather. If it's not putting out sufficient voltage, the vehicle will start shutting down unnecessary systems.

3. Radio ground damaged - Check for continuity between radio chassis and a known good ground.

4. Radio inoperative - The radio could be failing, a diagnostic would be necessary to make a determination.

5. Ignition Switch - Check the ignition switch when the issue occurs. Try jiggling the key to make sure it's fully inserted into the ignition switch. With the engine running, ignition keys have been known to vibrate out of the ignition sufficiently to cause issues with the radio.

6. Inoperable horn and radio display – If the horn and radio display are inoperable try moving the steering wheel up and down with the tilt mechanism (lever on the left side of steering column) while watching the display. If the display functions correctly while you're adjusting the tilt, tighten the tilt lever and test the horn. If both function, you have a temporary fix – there appears to be a relationship between the horn and display. Possibly the clock spring or a pinched wire can cause both to fail. Have the actual cause diagnosed by the dealer.


1593. I have a 2001 BE PT with 146k miles. How hard is it to replace the A/C compressor? Thanks. – Rich, from New York.

Your ability to replace it would depend on your level of DIY automotive skills. Although the compressor can be removed from the mounting bracket and repositioned without disconnecting the refrigerant lines or discharging the refrigerant system, it is necessary to evacuate and recharge HVAC system when you replace a compressor. If this is within your skill set you'll probably be able to handle the remainder of the procedure. OE guides are available through our subscriber based Pit area on the site.

Follow up from owner – Thanks, the guides were a great help. One question; I am in the military and have to drive 120 miles to the base. The clutch went on the compressor and I want to drive to the base and evacuate the system and recharge the system when I get there. Will this cause any harm to the compressor. I will not turn on the A/C and I am wondering if I can use the defroster as I live in New York and do not need the A/C as of this time.

PT DIY follow up - I would not advise it. The compressor can be engaged by turning the fan switch counterclockwise from the off position. It can also be engaged by placing the mode control in the mix to defrost positions. This will remove heat and humidity from the air before it is directed through or around the heater core. This interdependency between the compressor and defrost mode is very common in most modern vehicles.

You would only evacuate the system if you're planning to replace the compressor. Discharging the system is NOT necessary if servicing the compressor clutch or clutch coil, the engine, the cylinder head or the generator.


1594. I have a 2003 TE PT with 19k miles. It seems like I had mice get into the Cruiser while stored this past summer. Thankfully, they did not get into the interior. It looks like they started to make a nest in the engine compartment. Along with this, they got into the cowl area under the plastic trim where the wiper motor and windshield washer tank is. My fear was that they got into the air ducts but I see, upon removing the wiper arms and cowl cover, that the air intake has a plastic grill over it that looks undisturbed. I cleaned out the droppings and urine in the cowl area and thought it was a job well done. Everything smelled fresh after the cleaning. However, when I put the blowers on in the "fresh air" setting, there is still a horrible stench. While in "recirculating" it isn't that bad. So, it would appear that something may be "dead" somewhere after the cowl intake and the fan blower. I sprayed a great deal of odor eliminator (supposed to eliminate and not just mask the odor) into the intake when the cowl cover was off, but the smell persists. Since the intake plastic mesh covering was intact and I believe the holes are way too small for even a mouse to squeeze through, where else could they get into the air ducts? My last resort would be to take it to the dealer and have them take everything apart, however I am always leery of dealers and often find problems with their work. Heard any similar stories before or suggestion? The cold weather is here and I'll need the heat. – Bruce, from New York.

During the last five years we have received a handful of reports from owners who store their vehicles during the summer or winter months and have discovered nests and or experienced damage to their engine compartment. Chewed up wiring is very common and is usually attributed to mice, rats and squirrels however no HVAC system damage was reported in these instances.

The only issues which have been encountered and reported with the HVAC system have been related to noise and HVAC system contamination. Sometimes vehicles are stored outside with unprotected cowl areas. Occasionally small amounts of debris can pass through the cowl screen and make their way into the blower motor, which creates noise when the blower is operational. Pulling and cleaning out the blower motor usually resolves this issue.

The second issue, which occurs frequently with the HVAC system in the PT and many other vehicle's is the growth of certain molds and mildew which contaminate the HVAC system and create a noticeable odor when the HVAC system is operational.

It's important to keep the air intake cowl opening free of snow, ice, leaves, and other obstructions for the system to receive a sufficient volume of outside air. Leaf particles and other debris that are small enough to pass through the cowl plenum screen and can accumulate within the heater-A/C housing. The closed, warm, damp and dark environment created within the heater-A/C housing is ideal for the growth of certain molds, mildews and other fungi. Any accumulation of decaying plant matter provides an additional food source for fungal spores, which enter the housing with the fresh air. Excess debris, as well as objectionable odors created by decaying plant matter and growing fungi can be distributed by the heater-A/C system operation.

The distribution of air through the HVAC system is as follows. Outside air enters the vehicle through the cowl top opening at the base of the windshield, and passes through a plenum chamber to the heater-A/C system blower housing. On air conditioned vehicles, the air passes through the evaporator. Air flow can be directed either through or around the heater core. This is done by adjusting the blend-air door with the Temp control on the instrument panel. The air flow can be directed from the panel, floor and defrost outlets in various combinations using the mode selector. On A/C equipped vehicles the ambient air intake can be controlled by opening and closing the recirculating air door. When placed in RECIRC, air that is inside vehicle is removed continuously and rtecirculated through unit housing. Ambient air cannot be controlled on vehicles without A/C. The system uses outside air at all times. The air conditioning compressor can be engaged by turning the fan switch counterclockwise from the off position. It can also be engaged by placing the mode control in the mix to defrost positions. This will remove heat and humidity from the air before it is directed through or around the heater core.

I think I would rule out a deceased rodent in the HVAC system since (a) it is unlikely that a rodent could gain access through the only engine compartment entry (cowl) point,(b) and you do not hear noise (blower motor) when the system is operational. It is more likely (a) residual excrement deposited by the rodent through the cowl area has not been completely removed, (b) and or mildew stagnation occurred during the storage period which caused system contamination. In either case a noticeable odor would be apparent in the fresh air and re-circulated air mode.

The service manual does not provide a method of treatment for this issue however I've put together some A/C Odor and Treatment Information you can review and apply. A good A/C pro shop would be another alternative if you decided not to DIY.


1595. I have a 2003 BE PT with 40k miles. How do I remove the spare tire from under the car? Where can I find a diagram or owner's manual on line? – Patricia, from California.

To the best of my knowledge there are no owner's manuals available online. You can order one through DC Tech Authority at 800-890-4038. The compact spare tire is stowed under the rear of the vehicle by means of a hook/basket mechanism. To remove or stow the spare, use the jack handle to rotate the “spare tire drive” nut, located under the rear scuff plate at the right rear of the cargo area, just inside the liftgate opening. Lift up the cover and fit the jack handle over the drive nut. Rotate the nut to the left until you can remove the swivel hook from the stowage basket. Swing the basket down to remove the compact tire.


1596. We just purchased a pre-owned GT (HO) PT with 94k miles. We had our mechanic check the battery and charging system. The charging system checked OK, but the battery needed to be replaced. I decided to replace it myself. After leaving the mechanics shop on the way home we were stuck in a traffic jam and the car idled for about 20 minutes, then the engine light came on and some minutes later the engine oil light also popped on. When we arrived home I replaced the battery and all was well for 2 days, but now the oil light pops on sporadically. Thanks. – Garry, from Canada.

Well, the good news is that the PT registered a fault code, which provides you with a place to begin diagnosis.

P0522 - Oil Pressure Sensor Low - Oil pressure sensor input below acceptable voltage.

The Powertrain Diagnostic manual lists the following possible causes:

Good Trip Equal to Zero
Oil Pressure Sensor Internal Failure
(G6) OPS Signal Circuit Open
(G6) OPS Signal Circuit Shorted to Voltage

The only bad news is that a return trip to the dealer may necessary to diagnose the code with their DRB lll scan tool.

A few more ideas:

If you changed the battery and the system was ok for a day or two then the oil lamp popped on it still may be an issue with the battery, or more directly the necessary voltage required by the sensor. Recheck the installation; dirt, grease, corrosion on the clamps or battery terminals and or loose clamps can make for poor electrical connections.

Review the OE battery guide here. If the battery is ok, other issues which can cause an intermittent oil light are discussed here.

You might try checking the condition of the connector and wiring on the oil pressure sensor prior to visiting the dealer to see if this resolves the problem. You can review the sensor information here.


1597. I have a 2002 LE PT with 91k miles. I ran out of gas and filled the tank with four gallons, but the car refuses to start. Have cranked for over a minute (twice) and ran down the battery while doing so. All that happened is that I ran out of gas, unless it was combined with fuel pump failure. – Bert, from Florida.

Check for gas at the plugs. If you have gas at the plugs, check for spark.

Follow up by owner - I have no gas. Is there a "safety switch" that shuts off the fuel pump? Maybe running the pump dry caused mechanical damage that caused it to fail.

PTDIY follow up - We have never heard of an instance where an owner ran out of fuel and encountered a fuel delivery issue after refill. There is no safety switch mentioned in the SM. Voltage to operate the electric pump is supplied through the fuel pump relay located in the PDC under the hood. The pump is located under the vehicle on top of the gas tank. You should be able to determine if the fuel pump is operational just by listening. Have someone key the ignition without starting the vehicle while you stand near the rear of the vehicle. You should be able to hear the pump start. If the pump is operational you'll have to check the fuel path. If you don't hear the pump check the relay and fuse #13 (20amp) in the PDC. And fuse #11 (10amp) in the interior fuse box. I don't know if it's possible to air lock the pump therefore that may or may not be a possibility. If found faulty, the pump is not serviceable; the complete fuel pump module must be replaced.

Follow up by owner - This morning I checked fuel pressure at the manifold, and there was "enough"...maybe 60PSI. I am not sure of specs, but think that should be enough. If so, then off to check for spark.

PTDIY follow up - Sounds good. The fuel pump has a maximum deadheaded pressure output of approximately 880 kPa (130PSI). The regulator adjusts fuel system pressure to approximately 400 ±34 kPa (58 ±5PSI).

Follow up by owner - So, I have fuel pressure, but no spark. I used the OBDII reader from Auto codes. I ran the self tests and they were ok. By reading your site, I thought it could be either the coil or crank position sensor, but would think I would get a code for either of those problems.

PTDIY follow up - Yes, it could be ignition coil or crankshaft position sensor. Or the camshaft sensor or ASD relay. The Auto Shutdown (ASD) relay provides battery voltage to the ignition coil. The PCM provides a ground contact (circuit) for energizing the coil. When the PCM breaks the contact, energy in the coil primary, transfers to the secondary causing the spark. The PCM will de-energize the ASD relay if it does not receive the crankshaft position sensor and camshaft position sensor inputs. You may or not see a DTC with this issue. And the self tests will reveal some DTC's, but there are many it won't. I would be hesitant to use the Auto Zone scan tool, especially the OBDII model; some owners have reported no codes with it, only to discover recorded DTC's using DC's DRBIII scan tool.

Follow up by owner - You sir, were correct. I was bewildered to read your note...which cable to the coil should I test for voltage? Then I saw this about the ASD relay. It was the ASD relay. Plugged in the spare and she cranked right up. Just like always. So another heartfelt thanks. Much appreciated. (Last night I drove it. Turns out the transmission will not shift. It stays in one gear and will not upshift. Turns out that "spare" relay I used was the EATX relay (whatever EATX means). So I took out the horn relay and put it in that slot and it now shifts OK. Off to buy a couple of for the horn and another one as a spare

PTDIY follow up – The ASD relay is a good starting place and the easiest component to check. Now you can stop worrying about the PT and enjoy your holiday. I bet you don't run out of gas again soon. ETAX is an acronym for the Electronic Automatic Transaxle, which you have already discovered. The horn relay is a much better choice but replace the bad relay as soon as possible.


1598. I saw that in question #551 you recommend using Mopar ATF+4 in the power steering unit in a 2002 PT Cruiser. I have a 2001 Cruiser and submitted a question to Chrysler, and a senior staff representative told me that the proper fluid is "Mopar power steering fluid MS-9933 or equivalent". He goes on to say that "The use of ATF+4, which is a type of transmission fluid, is not recommended for use in the power steering system. Doing so may result in damage to the system as it is not designed to operate with that type of fluid" Mopar reference number 15802671. Now I'm really confused. – Ray, from Washington.

There has been a good deal of confusion regarding the fluids used in the power steering system and transaxles. Much of the confusion lies with inconsistent wording over multiple model years, contradictory information in the service vs. owner's manual and changes in the recommended fluids per TSB's issued by DC in August 01 and August 03.

You won't find any information about which power steering fluid to use in the 2001 owners manual, however it does say NOT to use the ATF+4 transaxle fluid. I don't have a service manual for that year, so I'm unable to check the recommendation there.

The latest power steering TSB issued in August 03 indicates that the “factory fill” for the 2001 was MS9933 as indicated by the Chrysler rep, however under the TSB, the “approved service” power steering fluid is MS9602. This indicates that you should use MS9933 to top-off the OE factory fill, but when replacing the fluid DC would use MS9602.

Mopar ATF+4 automatic transmission fluid (MS9602) is now being utilized because it provides superior performance at both low and high temperatures. The TSB states that the bulletin supersedes owner's and service manuals for the vehicles listed (2001 PT among other makes and model years) that may state to use MS9933 in the power steering system, and that may state not to use automatic transmission fluid in the power steering system.

The “factory fill” for the 2002-2005 model years was MS9602 and the “approved service” power steering fluid is MS9602.

The 2006 service manual states that the recommended fluid for the power steering system is Mopar Power Steering fluid + 4 or Mopar ATF+4 Automatic Transmission Fluid. Both Fluids have the same material standard specifications (MS-9602). Mopar ATF+4 (and Mopar Power Steering fluid + 4), when new, is red in color. ATF+4 is dyed red so it can be identified from other fluids used in the vehicle such as engine oil or antifreeze. The red color is not permanent and is not an indicator of fluid condition. As the vehicle is driven, ATF+4 will begin to look darker in color and may eventually become brown. THIS IS NORMAL. ATF+4 has a unique odor that may change with age. Consequently, odor and color cannot be used to indicate the fluid condition or the need for a fluid change.

The TSB is available in our Pit area if you wish to review it.


1599. I have a 2001 BE PT with 80k miles. When I start my PT the fan comes on, runs one or two seconds and stops. This continues. I can't hear it when I'm driving, but around town it still keeps doing it. There is about a ten second interval between cycling. I took it to the dealer and they say this is normal. It has always done this, but now is becoming more annoying. I doubt this is a good thing! Thank you. – Bill, from New York.

Radiator fan operation is controlled by the PCM with inputs from the temperature of the coolant, sensed by the coolant temperature sensor, and vehicle speed, measured by the vehicle speed sensor. The PCM turns on the fan through either the high or low speed fan relay. Intermittent operation of the fan is normal in many instances dependent upon the variables mentioned above. In addition, when you are in the heat or defrost mode the compressor will automatically intermittently kick in and turn on the fan.

If the engine temperature gauge indicates normal temperature readings during a cold engine start and warmed up engine the fan is probably working correctly. This can be verified by the dealer using the DRB scan tool and diagnostic test manual.

If the radiator fan operates all the time that's a different story and usually indicates a malfunctioning electrical component or circuit or low coolant level. The dealer would once again use their DRB scan tool and diagnostic test manual to troubleshoot the issue.

If you believe that the behavior of the fan is not normal, I would suggest that you obtain a second opinion from another dealer.


1600. I have a 2004 LE PT with 44k miles. I lost the Spare Tire Swivel Hook while driving to get a flat tire repaired. Do you know what the part # for the swivel hook (or bolt) that holds the spare tire basket to the frame of the car and screws into the "Spare Tire Drive" nut? Where do I find a Spare Tire Swivel Hook? – Ben, from Florida.

Like the majority of parts on the PT, order one through your local dealer, or check with local salvage yards. HOOK, Spare Tire Attach P/N 5027 000AC


Bar Terms of Service

Welcome to, also known as The website is currently provided free of charge with the exception of the Pit area, which is accessible to users who purchase an annual Pit Pass. By using any of the information or services available on, you are indicating your agreement to be bound by our Terms of Service. If you do not agree to these Terms of Service, do not enter the website.

Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth Prowler, PT Cruiser, PT Cruiser face and logos are registered trademarks of the Daimlerchrysler Corporation. is not employed by Daimlerchrysler Corporation and or its website are not affiliated with Daimlerchrysler Corporation., and or Daimler Chrysler Corporation are not responsible for errors published on this website. All rights reserved.