Ditch a Chrysler?


I own a 2007 Chrysler Sebring touring. I bought it used with 34,000 miles in 2009, and so far, haven’t had too many real problems with it. Unfortunately, I’m rounding the ~65,000 mile mark and some weird things are finally going on. The transmission light comes on for a few days then turns off - for a few weeks one time, then it came back on for a day, and hasn’t been back on for a few months. Also the Airbag light will bing on for a few seconds, turn off, then a few minutes later come back on, and this happens randomly. (It also recently threw a wheel weight it seems, but I’m familiar with how to fix that issue!)

A mechanic friend of mine told me that rather than paying money to repair this car, that I should get rid of it - he suggests Chryslers like mine become junkboxes right around 65,000 miles. His shop (which is full of avid listeners of the show) affectionately refer to the car as a “boat payment” when it goes in.

I thought I’d come here and get more opinions! While the car still has a lease on it, It’s far less than what the vehicle is currently worth - I could trade it and still be on top, but I do know that if a dealership pays off the loan, it will just go on top of whatever new car I buy. (If it matters, I’m looking to get a late model Toyota Tacoma, but am still researching for any reliable late-model truck!)

Should I stick with it for another year or two and pay for repairs until my lease is paid off, or should I jump ship before it beats me to it??

Thanks so much for help and insight! :slight_smile:

Just my humble opinion but I’m in the dump the Chrysler corner. Especially if this vehicle had the dreaded 2.7L engine. These vehicles are famous for engine sludge issues, wheel bearing failures, poor suspensions, electrical gremlins, the list goes on and on. If anyone is willing to give you more then what’s owing I’d take it and run.


the 2.7l is a boat payment. what are the issues yoyr are having with it? it may cost less to make the repairs and wait till the lease is up to move on. i think you need more info to make a informed discion

How do you use your vehicle? You have driven 31,000 miles in 4 years. That averages out to about 8000 miles a year.
If you are using the car primarily around town and aren’t commuting very far to work, that is one consideration. If you are traveling a lot on the highway when you use the car, that is another issue. Does the Chrysler fit your needs? You said that you are looking for a late model Tacoma pickup truck. Do you really need the truck?
Right now, you are not upside down on what you owe for the vehicle. Maybe your best move is to keep up the maintenance and repair until you no longer owe for the vehicle. IMHO it depends on your vehicle needs.

How much longer is the lease? I’m not a fan of leases, especially used cars out of warranty. Try to avoid this next time around.

I really dislike Chryslers all around and see more of them with problems that other vehicles simply do not have. Some of these cars came with the dreaded 2.7L engine. If you have the 2.7L, DUMP THE CAR ASAP! These engines are terrible and seem to fail catastrophically no matter how often you change the oil, even with synthetic. I know several who have had them just blow for no good reason.


As far as small trucks go . . .

Consumer Reports likes the Nissan Frontier WAY MORE than the Tacoma

Frontier scores SIGNIFICANTLY higher

I believe the Tacoma is somewhat overpriced, versus the Frontier

Nissan Frontier has rear disc brakes.


Tacoma STILL uses rear drums . . . because Toyota is STUBBORN

I know, I know . . . drums are fine . . . we’ve talked about that too much already

I think it is lame that Toyota still uses rear drums on some of their vehicles, when many of the other guys started switching to rear discs some time ago

Not very competitive, if you ask me.

Thanks, everybody, for so much feedback!

@ Big Marc: I believe my car has a 2.4L so I may have dodged that particular bullet, but I’ll verify when I can. The only problems I’m having were mentioned in the OP - a thrown wheel weight (that I can manage), a problematic airbag light that comes on and off (Not sure what that means), and a Transmission light that went on a few weeks ago, but turned off on its own and hasn’t been back on. I’m usually a PC Tech but I think one truth is universal for any repair work at all… If it goes away by itself, it will be back by itself!

@Tridaq: I drive the car mostly to work, but it’s around ~40 minutes of driving a day, 4 days a week. That commute includes both highway and city driving, so I’m sure I’m driving it “roughly” as far as commutes go. My problems have just always been with cargo - I live by myself, and my work can move me around every few years, and moving is always an ordeal. I’d like a truck or at least some vehicle with a light towing capacity - I don’t need anything with a 10,000 pound hitch or tons of torque, so a light pickup truck or even an SUV will work for me. I’ll be valuing MPG, comfort, cargo capacity, and light towing capacity in a truck.

Thanks so much again, you guys are the greatest! I think I’ll look into some options a bit more - since this car doesn’t have the 2.7L as far as I know, I may not be in quite as bad a shape as I feared, but I think if I can get a private seller or even a dealership to make it worth my while to get rid of this, I think that would work out the best!

What does the transmission warning light look like? I think you may be looking at the check engine light. It might not be very expensive to get these things fixed, at least get it checked out.

@Nevada_545 Oh! I’m sorry, you’re right. It’s the check engine light. When I was last getting the vehicle inspected, the mechanic said he reset the light because the warning said something about the Transmission (unfortunately I can’t remember what exactly), but that he couldn’t see a problem with it. So he reset the light. It took another ~300 miles for the check engine light to come on, and it only stayed on for a day. It has been off for another thousand miles or so.

Can’t guess without a fault code. Could be anything from a controler software update to a failing torque converter clutch. The next time the light comes on get the faults read and write down the fault codes (P0XXX).

My son commutes a similar distance to work that you do. He was driving a 1995 Ford Mustang that his wife brought to the marriage. She has back problems and was no longer able to drive the Mustang, so it became the vehicle our son drove. They wanted a vehicle that both could drive (it had to have an automatic transmission since working the clutch was uncomfortable for my daughter-in-law with her back problem). They bought a small pickup truck–a Chevrolet S-10 with automatic transmission and a 4 cylinder engine. My son is satisfied with the S-10, the mileage is better than with the Mustang, and he can haul the garbage to the collection point (they don’t have trash pickup service) and bring home building supplies from Lowe’s or Home Depot.
A small pick up truck may just be what you need.
In used trucks, I think the condition is more important than the make. In my son’s case, the Toyota and Nissan were priced higher than he could afford. He looked at a couple of Ford Rangers, but when his mechanic checked them out, he told my son to run away from them. He finally stumbled on the S-10 that had been well maintained. If you are buying new, the Nissan or Toyota may be the way to go, but in a used truck, condition should be the deal breaker.

@Ranoa02, in the first sentence you said that you bought it and in the last you mentioned a lease. I suppose you meant loan, not lease, correct? If it really is a lease, you don’t own it, and I’d read the lease closely to see if you can turn it in or get the lessor to fix it.

@jtsanders you’re right - Sorry, I mixed up my terms. The car still has a loan on it, not a lease - Two years remaining on it.

It was a pretty unfortunate situation for me when I bought the car, so I got stuck with a long lease with fairly high interest, with no credit history and no cosigner. I think it might be the better option to see if I can’t sell it privately, or if I trade it in for more than the loan’s value, roll up the remaining value into a better loan.

I’m a big fan of fixing it first. If you trade it in, you’ll get $1100 less than you would if you fixed it and then sold it to a driver. If everything works and it passes any transfer inspections you need, the buyer can drive it as soon as it’s registered People are more likely to pay asking price if you do that. How much do you owe on it? It it is more than $6700, I’d pay off the loan first and then think about selling it. Don’t worry about what might happen, just about what has happened. The car might not be as bad as your mechanic leads you to believe.