1996 Dodge Stratus 2.4L, 4 cylinder. from North America
It's a reliable beast!
- Since I bought the Stratus, the left front "sway bar linkage" (a $40 part) has been "knocking/clunking" over every bump in the road. (I've chosen to deal with it -- not so much to save money as to force myself to be less irritable.)
- The power locks are a broke joke. Keys work just fine. The power windows are somewhat quirky too, but you can always get them closed without any manual intervention.
- As the miles have added up, some of the computer-powered on-dash readouts (tachometer, odometer, and gear readout) have become progressively less apt to show themselves. They usually "kick in" after about 10-15 minutes of driving. Apparently this problem can be remedied for around $100. Oh, well.
- For about four months (beginning around 135,000 miles), it started leaking oil like a sieve. Did you know that the Dollar Store sells oil? =^) I put in some Advance Auto Parts brand "engine stop-leak" -- just for the heck of it. About a month or two later of rigorous use (delivering pizza), the leak mysteriously ceased! I have my doubts that it was the stop-leak that actually did the job; but what was it then??? Weird.
- At about 143,000 miles, a soft plug in the engine "rotted out" and allowed the anti-freeze to drain out of the car and cause the car to rapidly overheat. It was a cheap fix (less than $60, including labor). This sort of thing is to be expected from a car "rescued" from a farm and driven as heartily as this one has been.
- At around 145,000 miles, the horn started honking every time I turned the steering wheel! I actually thought it was pretty funny! It made me laugh while I was driving. Eventually, it just honked continuously, so I simply pulled the fuse that controlled the horn and the cigarette lighter. The local Dodge dealership couldn't find the parts for the job, so I paid a visit to Lowe's and bought some rubber washers. It works just fine now (and I probably saved myself $20).
- The car leaks... something... to this day (about 148,000 miles). Everywhere I park, it leaves it's "mark." (And that's bad for nice driveways, of course.) I really can't tell what it is, other than that it's some sort of oil. Why don't I know what it is? Because all my fluid levels check out just fine every time! Yet again: weird. I've heard horror stories about these Mitsubishi engines and their blown head gaskets, but no problems here... that I know of, anyway. (^=
- Other than that, my "beast" (the Stratus, that is) has only needed basic maintenance (i.e., alignments, tires, tie rods, brakes, fuel filter, etc.). However, I honestly have no idea what repairs the previous owner had to put into it (pre-115,000 miles).
Despite the bad reputation that haunts the Stratus, I must say that Will Ferrell *should* have been very proud to "drive a Dodge Stratus!" I drove it as a pizza-delivery car for two years straight -- up in northeast Pennsylvania (hills, snow, ice, and salt; putting about 50-100 miles on it per 5-hour shift... three to five times per week)!!! It's a "point A to point B" rock (as far as economy cars are concerned)! It's certainly no Toyota, Volvo, or VW, but she's still kickin' to this day! I have no doubt that, when I get in my car in two hours, I will turn the key and it will start -- on the first try!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 23rd February, 2007