1998 Dodge Stratus ES 2.4L ,4 cylinder,16valves from North America
The car is worth keeping despite some mechanical problems.
Generally the car has costted me little in maintenance because I do it myself. Just like many others, the head gasket blew, the exhaust manifold cracked and the car does eat brakes. But there is a cure for these problems (read below).
The head gasket problem can be saved by re-torque the head bolts every 10,000-15,000 miles (3-5 oil changes). Simply remove the valve cover and loosen the head bolts in proper sequence and then re-torque in the proper sequence just as the car manual says to do so. See the manual for proper torque on bolts. This costs nothing to do, but about 15-30 minutes and saves you hundreds of dollars in the future.
By doing the above procedure it will also put less stress on your exhaust manifold. If the exhaust manifold has already crack you can purchase an aftermarket manifold. I bought one for $70.00 (which included shipping) off the Internet. This aftermarket manifold is built out of thick cast-iron and is made to resist the cracking flaw of the original manifold.
The deal with the brakes is a simple one, but it does cost more money than an average brake job. When it comes time to replace your front pads and or rotors, replace the rotors with slotted/drilled rotors and the proper pads to go with the set. You might feel like you are buying parts for a race car, but that's OK. The orignal stock pads and rotors have a tendency to overheat. This is what causes the fast breakdown of the brakes. By getting rotors with slots/drilled holes, this allows the rotors to cool faster.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 14th August, 2004
Hi. My name is Amanda and I too own a stratus. I have the 1998 2.5L V6 ES. I have recognized some of the problems that you've noted. The brakes HAVE been a lasting problem for me. Even after I bought new rotors and brakes they still would squeak. So that led me to check the Master Cylinder. I had to replace that. I went to my local Car-Quest and I believe I paid about $100 no more that $135 for a re-manufactured one. Well that worked for a while until the new brakes and rotors I had replaced a few months earlier went bad. My pedal would go very close to the floor board of my car. I think I'm going to try the idea about the rotors with drilled/slotted holes and corresponding brakes.
Hi! My name is Marty. I bought a 98 Dodge Stratus in 2002 at about 50,000 miles. It worked great until last year when I finished payment on it. Now I drive it to work which is 100 miles round trip. I've had brakes, rotors, etc. repaired, but the most outstanding payment was for repair of an oil pan and or gasket in 2006 in which only a dealership repair was recommended. They literally took me to the cleaners. Dodge of Burlington County charged me close to $3,000. I need my car more now than ever too bad after a few miles it becomes more costly.
I'm actually thinking about buying a Dodge Stratus, preferably am ES model. As a owner of one, or any others out there, would the 2.5 V6 be a better choice? as in reliability, economically, and performance wise??? I hear that the 2.4 4cyl isn't a good choice. Is the V6 a better one? fill me in.