How to Deal With Problems in PT Cruiser Transmission?

PT Cruiser (PT stands for personal transportation) is a car model that is introduced by Chrysler in 2000. This line of automobile is designed with a variety of transmissions, including manual, automatic and semi-automatic.

In the transmission system, there is often a transmission machine to regulate the power of the engine in your car. In general, this part goes through nearly all of the pressure, which could be the result of friction or heat generated from the parts’ movement. As a result, the transmission if a PT Cruiser car would have a lot of problems.

For many people, finding out the problem with the transmission in a PT Cruiser car is a challenging task. In general, most common issues are both electrical as well as mechanical, errors in the form of sounds as well as sensations. In addition, it would cost you a lot of money to replace any parts of the transmission.

The following are some common problems with PT Cruiser Transmission and suitable solutions:​


1. Transmission Fluid is not Consistent

2. Retrain The Computer

    • After replacing the transmission fluid in the engine, the computer in your car needs to be retrained. Similar to most models of computer that control cars, watch the behavior and set up error codes. In times, the computer would not recognize the existing problems, but the issues that do not happen. Sometimes, it also shows some problems that are caused by other parts.

  • Good car dealers will have complex computers to provide your car a large amount of data when they are plugged in. Whenever the computer indicates a severe failure, it will activate limp-in mode so that you can get the vehicle to a professional mechanic or save the information to compensate for an issue in the sensor.
  • The transmission sticking in second gear is one of the major symptoms.
  • The Check Engine light may also lighten due to a loose gas cap.


3. Transmission Solenoid

An automatic transmission often changes gears by using hydraulic fluid under pressure. When this process happens, the computer in your car will activate the transmission solenoid, which directs the fluid to the valve body for correct gear engaging.

When the vehicle is moving down a road, the computer will analyze information provided by engine speed as well as vehicle speed sensors.

There are many ways that a computer in your car would control the transmission solenoid:​

  • If the car is made with a transmission control unit, it could use 12 volts signal to open or close the hydraulic circuit.
  • The Engine Control Unit or ECU could control the plunger of the solenoid by turning on and off the ground circuit.

A solenoid could control multiple or a single gear, depending on its design. There are some common signs of this problem:

  • The transmission does not downshift: This means that one of the solenoids might have been stuck closed or open, which keep the fluid from coming in the valve body and pressurizing the right gear.
  • Erratic shifting: a defective transmission solenoid could be the result of skipping of the gearbox back and forth, or up and down repeatedly.
  • Locked in the neutral or serious delay in shifting: in an automatic transmission, the solenoid has to control the pressure of the fluid to run the correct gear. When the solenoid gets dirty fluid or unstable electrical current, it would remain stuck open or closed. As a result, it is more difficult for gear engagement and makes the transmission locked in neutral temporarily.

After that, the ECU will register an error code and turn on the engine light, which makes the transmission go into a fail or limp mode.

When it comes to solenoid replacement, it often takes from 2 to 4 hours and costs between 150$ and 400$.​


Other Problems

The ground strap is broken or missing: In this situation, your vehicle requires a new computer or transmission.

Defective input sensor: When the input on the screen of a scan tool is 0 rpm, you should change the sensor.

Upgrade comp-firmware: The firmware in the computer might require an improvement.

– Loose electric connection.

Add transmission cooler: This would help to double up the life of transmission in your vehicle.

Additives: Even though ATF+4 are one of the most common additives used for car, you need to avoid using these substances if possible. Some major benefits of additives are as following:

  • Have better anti-wear and anti-corrosion feature.
  • Maintain frictional properties.
  • Control oxidation and eliminate deposit of contamination.
  • Prevent anti-foaming.
  • Have a low temperature for operation.

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7 thoughts on “How to Deal With Problems in PT Cruiser Transmission?”

  1. Hey John Henry, Please give me your thoughts on my PT problem. My PT is 2.4l. I started to hear a clicking noise and it accelerated and decelerated along with the engine RPMs. I stopped at a stop light and the transmission disengaged. Engine running fine, but no connection to the wheels. What are your thoughts.

    • Hi there, a licking noise in the transmission often indicates one tooth off a gear or a chip broke off of a gear. And this eventually leads to other signs as you can see. I think the best option in this case is bringing your car to a professional mechanic.

  2. I have a PT cruiser 2002 it rugoing down road gave little gas and it act like it was in N pulled over put in part then drive nothing check everything and everything in tack what’s your input I really love my car

  3. Hi there, I have a 2003 Pt Cruiser GT. I was driving like normal was coming to a stop sign so I let off the gas and applied the brakes. When I was ready to go again. I stepped on the gas and it just revved up and wasn’t going anywhere. It was in drive as usual. I was stuck and couldn’t move forward or backwards the shifter moved to all of the gears but just wouldn’t move. Park worked and nutural worked but nothing else Drive,reverse,low. It shifted fine through all the gears…but just wouldn’t go anywhere. I searched the net but couldn’t find anyone with the same problem.
    Any help would be appreciated.

    • I had the exact same problem this last weekend..except when it first happened I was able to let the car “drive” in idle. I had the car towed home. 2 days later in my driveway, I tried it to see what would happen. I was able to apply the brake and give it all the gas I wanted. I sat there and revved the stink out of it.. drive would not fail… BUT… there is absolutely no reverse.

      I would love to get some input on this.

  4. I have 2006 pt cruiser..transmission want shift..I put computer in It..tipm on it..sensors on it..change transmission fluid and filter.. Plz help..


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