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The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.


Part Seven - Q&A 151-175

151. What kind of gas mileage should we expect with our 2002 PT with A/T? We get between 11 and 13 mpg and the dealer says everything checks out OK. - Fred, from the USA.

11-13 mpg would not be unheard of for 100% city driving. I average between 16-18 in a combination city/hwy before opting for some of the popular intake/exhaust/spark plug modifications you will find on this site. My mileage has improved about 4mpg as an average over the last 10K miles.


152. When I ordered my 2001 LE PT in May of 2000, heated seats were not an option. My dealer failed to inform me that they became available later in the year (my car was delivered in December 2000). On the invoice it stated "heated seats bypass, no charge." My question relates to the appearance that the LE has the heat elements in the seat, but without the controls installed. If this is correct, where can the controls be purchased and is installation a problem. I have been unable to get an answer from my local dealer. Thanks for your help. - Russ, form the USA.

I did not see any evidence of installed heating elements when I removed my seat while researching my passenger seat armrest mod. My LE was delivered in Nov. 01 without heated seats. There is no mention of them on my window sticker.


153. I have an Euro spec 2.0L Cruiser. In this country we do not have emissions specifications yet and leaded fuel is to be phased out in about 3 years from now. To improve the performance of my Cruiser, I initially thought supercharger, but your comments about the drivetrain dissuaded me. What effects (good and bad) can I expect if the cat converter is removed and a free flow exhaust system is installed? Or, if I remove the cat converter and utilize the OEM exhaust system? Will the engine management system be affected, or will it compensate? Thanks for your advice. - Dan

Opening up the exhaust lowers backpressure. This can let trapped hp out; it will also move the power band up the rpm range. Open exhaust lowers the torque at lower rpm. Removing the cat may make the exhaust sound unpleasant.

I would certainly expect the check engine light to come on and stay on forever. A code that tells us the secondary oxygen sensor is reading the same as the first will set. The second sensor reads the efficiency of the catalytic converter. Since the emissions will not be lowered, a code should set. Only a scan tool can erase a hard emissions failure code.


154. I have a new 2002 LE PT with manual transmission, with under 150 miles on it. I have arranged an appointment with my dealer but I'd like your help with the diagnosis before I bring it in. At low speeds under 35 mph the vehicle will suddenly pull to the left or occasionally to the right. I mostly notice this when I let off the gas while still in gear. At high speeds above 60 mph the steering wheel vibrates rapidly back and forth. This happens in 4th or 5th gear with TRAC control on or off. (The wheels are Mopar 17X7, P5007532, 7-spoke alloy with KUMHO P225/45ZR17 tires mounted at the dealer upon vehicle delivery.) I appreciate any insight you might have related to handling issues with manual transaxle PT's. Thank you - Michael, from the USA.

That's a serious safety problem. You should get that fixed ASAP! Most likely it's not the car. Since it pulls either direction and is independent of the TRAC control or brakes, I would have a close look at the tires. If they are directional, are they mounted correctly? Is the air pressure adjusted evenly in all 4 tires? What ever the problem is, it needs your attention immediately.


155. I purchased a used 2001 Cruiser with 33K miles on her. The spark plugs that are in it are Champion RC12YC5's, not the regular plugs that are listed under the hood. Will these damage the engine; it seems to run fine, although the plugs are physically shorter? Thank you. - Allen, from the USA.

Those should be in a 2000 or prior 2.4L engine (Stratus, Cirrus, Caravan). They are not correct for the newly designed PT head. This is certainly the fault of uninformed parts stores who still believe the PT is nothing but a Neon. Put in the RE14MCC5 plugs or the double platinum, but put them in soon! We have a Spark Plug Installation Guide in the Pit area.


156. I own a 2002 Cruiser and recently received a recall for the instrument cluster. Unfortunately I didn't get it to my dealer before the instrument panel went dark. They said they tried to "reprogram it", but were unable to. Now they say they need it for a "entire day" to run some more diagnostics. What do you think? I'm thinking about trying to locate a dealer who has some experience with this issue and can resolve it efficiently. Thanks, - Jack, from the USA.

Since the cluster is also the Body Control Module (BCM), it may take quite a while to program a new one to your car. The VIN, options, mileage, and theft deterrent info must be manually entered. A junkyard cluster can NOT be swapped. The BCM is VIN specific to each vehicle. See the TSB section in the Pit area for information on the recall.


157. I am going to install a cat back exhaust sytem. I have narrowed my choices to the Mopar, Borla or Bassani. I noticed in the photo of the Mopar that they use a Borla muffer and indicate that the Mopar is specifically tuned for the PT Cruiser. Is there a performance difference between my three choices? - Bob, from the USA.

Since I used a Walker Dynomax muffler, I don't have personal experience with the others. Although the sound may be different, I believe the exhaust flow would be very similar.


158. I own a 2001 PT with a manual transmission and 17k miles. I got a check engine light and misfiring and had to down shift. I went to the dealer and they said one plug misfired and needed to be replaced. They suggested replacing all the plugs and wires, and cleaning out the throttle body. The charged me $225 for the entire job, does this sound like a correct diagnose? Anything covered under warranty? - John, from the USA.

You have a 36K miles warranty that covers any engine defects. The original plug failed. That certainly sounds like a warranty claim to me. Plus a throttle body service should not be needed at 17K. It would not clear up a misfire anyway. If there is a next time, use our guide in the Pit area to easily clean the throttle body, at a fraction of the cost a dealer would charge.


159. I wrote you a while ago about my right rear window. It stopped working for a few hours, then was OK. Since then, the left one did the same thing, then started working again and has been fine since. AND NOW ...lately, the door lock/opener on my key chain has ceased to work for a few hours, then miraculously started working again. This has now happened twice. My concern is the dealer won't look at it unless it's misbehaving. By he time I make an appointment, it's OK. It doesn't seem to be a battery issue, since once it starts working again, it works fine from a distance. I'm afraid once the car is out of warranty, these glitches will surface something serious (expensive). Any suggestions? - Don, from the USA.

If you take it in for these concerns and get it documented at least 3 times, you may be able to get warranty coverage for the failed part even after the 3 years or 36K miles. (Although not a desirable option, you can purchase an extended service contract.)


160. I have a 2002 PT Cruiser with 4400 miles. There have been many instances when I release the brake pedal and hear a noise, which seems to be coming from the master cylinder area. The only way I can describe is it is like a "toot" sound. I have taken it to the dealer, but of course it did not make the noise when I was there. Could this be some type of vacuum noise? Is there any way to eliminate the noise? It seems to be worse when the air is moist. - Paul, from the USA.

Diagnosing a sound online is difficult. The brake booster uses engine vacuum to operate. Some sounds are normal, and some are not. Make sure to get your concern documented by the dealer, even if they can't reproduce it. If something fails in the future, you will have a paper trail to make a warranty claim easier.


161. I have a 2002 PT. I was wondering how to install a cigarette lighter in the rear storage area. When I purchased my car the lighter was not installed. There was just an open cavity with a cap; are the wires visible once I remove the cap? Thank you. - Gary, form the USA.

The 12v-power port in the rear cargo passenger side panel is an option on all models, except for the base model. The wiring and connector should be in place behind the panel. Look for a red 16awg wire for power and black for ground. Keep in mind that it's only powered when the key is in the "ACCY/RUN" position. For an always hot installation on a base model Cruiser an option would be to run a hot wire from the center power outlet in the dash center bezel to the new rear power outlet and ground it back there.


162. I purchased a 2002 PT that doesn't have power door locks. I would like to add this feature to my car. Can you supply any information on how this can be done. A wiring diagram of the factor wiring harness would be helpful. Thanks - Jim, from the USA.

The most economical choice would be a generic lock kit from an alarm/stereo shop. Purchasing the OEM lock motors, switches, and hardware would be a very expensive route. Installation will require removing all four door panels and the lift gate cover. The wiring 'should' be there. I question the reaction of the Body Control Module (BCM) when OEM locks are added. That's one of the parameters the BCM learns when your car is built. Every BCM-instrument cluster is VIN/option specific. See our aftermarket AutoLoc Power Door Lock Installation Guide in the Pit area.


163. I have a 2001 PT. I was wondering if there is an easy way to hook up the rear lights to the daylight running front lights, and if it is possible to add low beams or fog lights to the daylight running lights? Thank you. - Roger, from Canada.

The daytime module is part of the Body Control Module/instrument cluster. It cannot be reprogrammed. If you tied the other lights into the circuit, they would all blink with the turn signals. Simply turn on the lights when you start the car.


164. Follow-up regarding steering wheel vibration and steering pulling on new 2002 PT cruiser. As you suggested I had the vehicle serviced and they corrected the problem by resurfacing all four wheel's rotors. I have two questions: What could cause the rotors on a new vehicle to become warped? Is there a downside to accepting this repair vs. new rotors? Thanks again. - Michael, from the USA.

The downside to refinished rotors is that they are now 20-30 thousands thinner than before. This will mean that when the pads are worn out, most likely the rotors will be too thin to resurface again.

If you had the wheels removed for any reason, rotation, balancing, new rims, springs, etc., the guy may not have properly torqued the lug nuts. 100 ft/lbs. is maximum. Most guys hit 'em with an impact gun with 175lbs of air pressure. Overtightened or mismatched torque can lead to rotor warpage. Hard breaking can also overheat the rotors enough to warp them. I ALWAYS use a torque wrench on the lug nuts. Some places use 'torque sticks', colored extensions, to tighten the lugs. It's my opinion that they are not calibrated close enough to please me. I refuse to use them. (I'll get hate mail from Snap-On for that one)


165. I have some braided stainless hose covering I would like to put on the hose coming off the power steering reseviour. Can I remove this hose without worrying about getting air trapped in the line? Thank you. - Michael, from the USA.

I cannot guarantee success, but any trapped air will be flushed to the pump as soon as you start the motor. There should be no problem.


166. Do you know what the universal/common part number is for the interior bulbs? I want to change the light bulbs in the interior of my 2002 PT Cruiser to blue bulbs. I looked up the part numbers in the owners' manual and physically checked the numbers on the actual bulbs. Two bulb companies that I checked with do not have the part numbers that I identified and can not reference them. I'm assuming they are Mopar part numbers, but Wyckoff Chrysler didn't have any information on them either. Thank you. - Anonymous.

The console shift indicator is a simple 194 bulb. That's the most common interior bulb. It's Chrysler P/N L000 0194. The cluster lamps are PC74 - P/N L000 PC74. The cargo lamp is 168, and the Dome lamp is 579. The AC lamp is a mystery, Chrysler P/N 5003 281AA. Maybe blue model paint would be easier.


167. I have a 2.0 Euro PT. I am thinking of putting a PT Tuning Twin Cat Back Exhaust system, would there be any difference between the US and European models? Will this effect the onboard computers and sensors? Thank you. - Keith

There are different part numbers for export converters and mufflers. They are not the same as the US models.

US = 5278 195AB
Export = 5278 502AB

However, the midpipe part number fits both. From this, I cannot say if an exhaust system for an American 2.4L engine will fit an export with a 2.0L motor.


168. I own a 2002 Euro 2.0L PT with manual transmission. When I start my car, and the engine is running for about 30 seconds, the cooling fan for the motor turns on. This occurs even when the motor temperature is cold. The fan revs up and down in speed, and as the motor warms up the cycling ceases. Is this normal or should I go back to the dealer? Thank you. - Theo

Most likely, the heating system is turned to A/C or defrost (windshield vent). The A/C compressor will cycle in those settings, causing the cooling fan to operate. This is normal and helps to remove moisture from the glass.


169. I have a 2001 LE w/power door locks. The lock on the passenger side rear door only works manually. I tried replacing the door lock motor, which did not resolve the problem. I checked the voltage to the motor; when the switch was pressed the meter registered approximately 6V on the passenger side. I checked the driver side (which works) and it read 10V. The passenger rear hatch lock does not seem to have enough voltage to engage the lock motor. Any help will be greatly appreciated. - Steve, from the USA.

The liftgate and both rear doors are all powered through the remote keyless entry module (RKEM). If only one is not working, the circuit effected gets much smaller. All 3 splice at S219 (lock) and S236 (unlock). From there, only connectors C203 and C301 carry power to the passenger rear hatch lock motor. If your 6 volts was measured without the lock motor connected, you have a high resistance that's not letting 12 volts get through. If 6 volts is with the motor connected, it may be that the mechanism is binding and dragging down the motor. C202 is green and in the lower right kick panel. C301 is black and in the right B-pillar midway between the hinges.


170. Where can I pick up a new speedometer for my 2001 PT? It seems that the local dealer wants to see my old one, register it, etc. Are they difficult to install? -Lee, from the USA.

You can't. The speedometer is part of the instrument cluster, which is also the Body Control Module (BCM). It is programmed with your VIN and vehicle options. A replacement cluster would have to have all your information transferred to it. The days of turning back your mileage to sell the car are long gone.


171. I would like to install a Gentex self-dimming mirror. I will need to run the wiring from the rear view mirror to the headliner, down the driver side A pillar, then to the fuse box. Will I need to remove headliner to do this? Seems like I can tuck in the wires between headliner and windshield. How do I remove the A pillar cover and will I need to remove part of the dash to snake wire down to fuse box? Thank you. - Ted, from the USA.

Use our Dash Cover Removal Guide in the Pit area to partially remove the dash cover. That will allow you tuck the wires under the panels. The A pillar covers simply snap off.


172. I have a 2002 PT with 5,800 miles on her, that has a shake and pull since I purchased it. Six tires, new wheels, and one brake rotor later, now they are saying it's the tires again. It's good now, except for a torque pull under acceleration that changes as we rotate the tires. The dealer wants to swap the OEM Goodyears out with BFG's this time. This is the fifth time it has been in the shop. If the tire swap doesn't correct the problem, should I consider the car a lemon? Could this have been caused by damage they can't see? Thank you. -Tim

That's a tough call. My first choice would be to test drive another PT. If it drives perfectly, install your tire/wheels on it. If the demo drives OK, look closely at the suspension, steering, and especially the drive axles. If anything is bent by only a few thousandths, it can really screw things up. Don't discount the possibility of a manufacturing defect in the front end parts. I've seen a half shaft cause a vibration and it was bent so slightly that you couldn't see it with it installed on the car. Each state has its own definition and requirements to meet under the Lemon Law statute. See the State by State Lemon Law resource in our special reports section of the the Pit area.


173. I have a 2001 LE PT w/18000 kilometers on it. I have been experiencing a wind whistle noise that appears to be around the windshield at highway speeds. It is becoming increasingly louder and occurs at times when there is no wind outside and then shifts to the left or right side depending on which direction the wind is blowing when there IS a wind. I've checked all around the windshield and the seal is tight. Any suggestions, beside "drive slower"? Thank you. - Grant, from Canada.

Wind noise, along with rattles and squeaks are covered by your warranty. Your dealer diagnoses these concerns every day. A noise is almost impossible to diagnose through e-mail (without a corresponding TSB).


174. Someone tried to open my Cruiser by inserting a metal object between the driver's door and the frame, about 4" above the window. There is not much to stop this kind entry - have there been other instances? Is there any modification that can be done? Thanks. - Roger, from the USA.

The newest lock-out (Slim Jim) tool on the market is a 3-foot, flat, thin metal strap. It slides in exactly where yours was. The tool even glows in the dark to aid in opening a car at night. All the tool suppliers are selling them. Remember; locks only keep out the honest people. If someone wants in, they will get in.


175. Does the Traction control on the 2002 PT work in reverse gear? I had trouble backing up a short ramp into a barn! - Rick, from the USA.

The controller (CAB) monitors wheel speed. During acceleration, if the CAB detects front (drive) wheel slip and the brakes are not applied, the CAB enters traction control mode. Page 5-72.

This means that if the brakes are applied, the traction control is disabled. Backing up ramps into your barn obviously requires brake use, thus turning the traction control off. There is no mention of traction control only working in forward gear. Traction control inhibits wheel-spin by applying the brakes to the slipping wheel.


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