21st Mar 2011, 19:11

I have a 2008 PT Cruiser and I have a couple of questions.

First, when my car is in park and I have the air on it is idling at like 800, and the air isn't even cold. I have to turn it off then turn it on again and the air works fine when the car is moving. Why would that be?

Also I had my brakes and rotors replaced a year ago and they are grinding badly. I live in the mountains in Asheville NC and wondered where and what parts to use to replace myself.

I am a 30 year old female that is broke, so I have to do it the cheapest way possible. Any advice would be appreciated!


23rd Jan 2012, 08:55

I have a 2003 PT. The dealership said replace the timing belt at 100,000 miles. At 72,000, the timing belt went while driving. Repair without valve damage and no new water pump was 1500.

Last week I had to replace the cam sensor assembly and oil sending unit sensor to the tune of 500.

At 72,000 miles this is a lot of work. I keep up the usual maintenance and oil changes.

27th Jan 2012, 10:03

I don't think that's a lot of work. But it is a lot of money for that work.

Look for an independent mechanic.

30th Jan 2012, 19:29

Original Poster here.

I have 154,140 miles on my PT Cruiser now, and it's still running fine.

Sorry it's been so long since I've put an update here, but I thought it's about time.

All who have been helped by the updates are very welcome. That's why I try to keep something up here.

Last summer I had to get the radiator cleaned out, since it got plugged by bugs and debris. That cost around $140. Not bad, and it fixed my overheating problem.

Everything was fine until it overheated again in the winter time and the coolant was low. So I took it in to the radiator shop again to get it checked out. The radiator was leaking from the upper gasket, and also the plastic where the upper hose connects to was getting old and brittle. I questioned it, then they showed me. I agreed it best to get a new one put in.

So I got the radiator replaced today, 1/30/2012. The cost would have been $325 to replace it with labor, but since the shop I took it to didn't catch the leak back a few months ago when I took it in, they gave me a $100 discount. I agreed with that, since the leak wasn't very noticeable until a month ago.

I didn't really mind this expense so much, but I still have a leak, and it's a bit of a "mystery leak", because when I'm driving it normally there's no coolant leaking much, though I still smell it a little.

The only time it really is noticeable is when I build the revs up, like when I pass a car or something like that. When I come to a stop afterwards, I see steam coming from under the hood.

When I open the hood, I notice the engine is wet around the thermostat housing, as well as I see steam coming from the front of the engine where the belts are.

I'm going to get that checked out tomorrow by taking it back to the radiator shop. I called, and they said it's one of two things. It may be either the water pump or the thermostat housing has warped over time and is leaking.

I'm hoping it is the thermostat housing, because that'll be much more affordable.

Getting the water pump replaced will be around $600. That is what I was quoted because of how long it will take to do the water pump, since it's run off the timing belt, and the engine bay is very, very cramped.

As much as I love my PT Cruiser, I hate the price of maintenance when it comes to something like this.

I'll try and post a follow up on what needs to be replaced and what the cost is.

8th Feb 2012, 01:40


After picking up my PT Cruiser today, I thought all was well until I got it home, then headed to work. After parking my car, I could smell coolant, so I popped the hood and had a look. It's still leaking from the same area.

Apparently it wasn't the water pump that was leaking, but something else. I can't see what it is, because the engine compartment is impossibly cramped with engine, so I'm taking it in again and having it checked out.. and I'm going to ask for my money back if the shop won't fix this leak they have obviously missed.

I'm thinking it's a radiator hose. I have no idea what else it could be, since it has never leaked until this shop worked on it last summer.

I'll update again after I get my PT checked out yet again.

16th Feb 2012, 04:32

OK, another update to what's going on with my PT Cruiser.

After taking it to the shop yet again, I find out it's the thermostat housing. Got it replaced, and now there are no more leaks.

What happened is the plastic thermostat housing got warped when the engine overheated last summer in 2011. This was an $87 fix.

All the repairs have been costly.

New radiator $235 (that's with $100 courtesy discount).

New water pump $696 ($131 for water pump, timing belt, serpentine belt and alternator belt, then $565 for labor).

New thermostat housing $87 (housing $26, then the rest labor).

I still love my PT Cruiser, but I'm not loving the price to do any kind of repair to this car.

Now I have a new problem that just started the other day 2/14/2012... Valentines day of all days. When driving my PT home from work, I noticed when I would slow down before stopping, the tranny would hard shift from 4th to 3rd when cold or even warm. I did a lot of reading up on this issue, and found that it is a common problem with PT Cruisers. Apparently the transmission control unit glitches and needs to be reset at the dealer. This is the next thing I'm going to do, hopefully this weekend or next week, since I'll be off.

I'll post on here whether it fixes the problem or not, and I'll mention what the problem actually is if it's found.

I have over 154,000 miles on my PT Cruiser, and am starting to have problems. The cooling system is my own fault.. the tranny hard shifting might be also.. reason why is when I left for work, I started up the engine and put my car into gear almost right away. I must have not let the T.C.U. and pump get primed, since they were cold and this threw it off (found this info out by looking it up online.. so it's my best guess). We'll see what happens when I get it into the shop.. again.

1st Mar 2012, 01:09

The O.P. again.

Since I've been driving my PT Cruiser some more, the hard shift from 4th to 3rd has gotten better on its own. I'm guessing the computer is learning how I drive again, or something like that, so I'm not going to worry about getting it fixed right now, until I know whether it's going away or not.

As for the cooling system leaks I had, there aren't any more leaks, and that's a big relief to me. That was a lot of money to fork out for labor.

The issue I'm having now is a scraping sound coming from the transmission. I only hear it while the window is down, and I have the car stopped and in gear. Whether it is in Drive or Reverse, I hear this noise.

It's made this noise for the past few years, but has started to get worse. The transmission fluid and filter have recently been changed, but the noise is still there. I'm just wondering if the transmission is on its way out, or if it's just something my car's doing.

If it is the transmission, then I'm going to consider getting rid of the car, and getting something that is cheaper to get work done on it from a shop, because repairs are ridiculous for this car. I was hoping to get to 200,000 before I started having problems, but they came early at around 150,000.

Until next time, I hope all my feedback is really helping someone out there.

7th Mar 2012, 14:13

Another update from the O.P.

Today, 3/7/12 the transmission went out on my way out of town to my friends house. I don't have reverse or 2nd and 1st is barely there. I had to "limp" the rest of the way to town since I was nearly there already.

Now I'm going to need to rent a car and see if I can fix my PT Cruiser, or sell it and get something else. Not sure yet.