3rd Jun 2008, 08:00

I have a 1996 Dodge Neon. The odometer stopped working at about 176,000kms last year. My speedometer works only occasionally.

I bought the car used, in 2003, it had only 36000 kms, so I was expecting to have no problems with the car. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I am not going to go into the litany of problems, enough to say that I had most if not all of the problems previously described by others.

The car is practically rebuilt under the hood! After replacing the radiator hose, the thermostat, and the thermostat case, my car is still overheating whenever I am in slow, stop and go traffic.

Mechanic one: ran the car for an hour, it did not overheat, he concluded there is nothing wrong with the car.

Mechanic two: (I took the car there steaming like mad... both me, and the car) tells me the car is burning oil inside of the engine, I need a rebuilt engine, cost anywhere from $1500 to $1800. (Canadian dollars).

In the meanwhile: there is a crack near the bottom of the overflow tank, and the car is loosing antifreeze through there. I can't put in antifreeze through the tank, or keep the level up, because it leaks right out.,Both mechanics seem to ignore this.

Since the car is bubbling there all the time, even when the car is not even at normal temperature, could it be that the problem is this constant leak via the overflow tank? ginababe2004@hotmail.com

9th Jun 2008, 14:32

Hi, I also have a 96 Neon. Mine has 155,000 miles on it, and up till now, have not had many problems with it.

My problem now is the water pump went out. Which as mentioned earlier, is a real pain to get to. In doing this I decided to change the timing belt, alternator belt and power steering belt. It is a good idea since everything has to come off anyway.

After doing this I started the car, it ran good so I took it for a test drive. I drove about four blocks from my house, and on my return trip it just died. I rented an OBD2 code check and found it to have a bad camshaft sensor. Changed this and found that the timing belt was off a tooth. So back apart it went to fix this.

Now it still will not start, it will crank over, but will not start, although it is getting fuel and spark. I also bought a new coil pack; still no starting.

To the young guy who just bought a Neon; my Neon has been a pretty good car. I have owned many different types of cars from all of the manufacturers, and my view is after 100,000 miles they all are junk, and nobody builds a car that you can work on easily, unless you are a contortionist.

If anyone has any help for mine I would appreciate it, and good luck to all of you Neon owners; it's obvious we need it.

Thank you.

10th Jun 2008, 17:12

Hi... have a 98 Neon, love it!

Re: overheating & bubbling. Need to replace the rad cap & overflow res. When coolant is heated, it expands into the res, when cool returns to engine. If the tank leaks, the engine will only fill with air; rad cap likely not holding pressure. Also check that cooling fan operates as it should. Instrument cluster can be repaired by re-soldering connector on rear. See Neon website for how-to.

Re: no start... Neon also has a crank sensor, usually both are replaced together. Also check cam sensor connector, had one which had the insulation worn off, where the wires bend & were touching, causing a short.

11th Jul 2008, 18:31

I bought a 1996 dodge neon when I was 18 and it was the best car! Little did I know that the tranny would need to be replaced after only 2 months of owning it... Something the owners did not tell me about!! And just so every one knows when going 10 and colliding with a granny car it doesn't hold up so well... My bumper looks like a fat lip and the airbags went off 2 minutes too late!! It smashed my radiator and my fan together. I am glad that I am selling it and letting some one else deal with it. I am just sad that I put 2,000 worth of a sound system in there, new cv joints, alternator, and tranny!

20th Oct 2008, 08:49

I have a 1996 Neon and the speedometer is not working, and someone said I had to get a whole new panel. My dash board is in pieces and nothing keeps it together.

My paint is chipping; it was also at one time a blue.

My radiator had leaks in it when I bought it (seller didn't tell me).

If you know any way to fix my dash board or my speedometer, let me know please, thank you.

17th Jan 2009, 22:08


I have a 1996 Neon, and right now it seems to squeal when I turn the steering wheel on a very cold day, but seems to go away after a few minutes of driving. If anybody can tell me what it might be, it would be appreciated. Naturally if it's too expensive then it's not worth fixing. Thanks.

Like many others here, my Neon has had many repairs over the years, but since it already has over 200,000 km on it, I guess I can't complain too much.

20th Jan 2009, 18:01

You need a drive belt - the rubber is glazed and causing it to slip on the p/s pulley when the pump fluid is cold and thick.

8th Jun 2010, 14:21

I have a 95 Neon, that my wife picked off the show room floor.

I'm not the best at changing oil on time, but I do pay attention to the car as I drive it, so I know when I have a unusual sound I need to look at. I currently have 200,000 miles on the car, and I still drive it to work. None of my vehicles I own are newer the 95.

My head gasket blew at 99,000 one snowy day, but the car got me home. So I replace the head gasket, timing belt, and water pump at the same time.

I did have to have the manual transmission rebuilt, because a raid bearing went out, but my teenage daughter was driving it pretty hard.

Anyway, now I'm having the intermittent speedometer issue, but I just found the fix is to re-solder the 16 solder points on the circuit board.

I work just as much on my Chevy Suburban and pickup as I do this car. What I can say is that it really has been a great car. For the price I paid it, I really got my money + out of it.

18th Jun 2011, 02:06

Your Neon's water pump is "in the engine and the transmission has to be removed to get at it"?

WOW! You must have the only Neon built this way... never has any other Neon ever needed the transmission to be removed to get at the water pump.

Consider yourself lucky to have such a unique Neon!

Seriously: you are being lied to... the water pump is a bit confusing to fix because the timing belt drives it, therefore the timing belt and water pump MUST be replaced at the same time... BUT BELIEVE ME: the transmission has nothing to do with a water pump replacement... PLEASE GET A NEW SHOP!

And a new car. Try an older Impreza or a older Legacy. You will be thankful.

Stay away from Neons. They really can't be kept on the road cheaply. Can't be done.

7th Jul 2011, 19:13

I also have a Dodge Neon, a '98, and have had a lot of problems with it. It's never ending with this thing!

As for oil leaks: I had the front main oil seal fixed for just under $300, and then the rear one for just under $400, and it still leaks some, but not enough that I am going to keep messing with it.

At the moment my issue is the left front blinker is going too fast, and now my back blinker and brake light on the same side are not working. Anyone have any ideas about that?

p.s. My trunk leaks too, but my paint is not peeling only on the bumper; it's got some chips coming off.

6th Dec 2012, 10:37

I don't know when this was written but in regards to the fast blinking turn signal and tail light, mine did the same, and all it took was replacing the turn signal bulb. Works great after that. Mine does anyway.