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Dodge Stratus Engine

My husband has a 1999 Dodge Stratus in which he put oil but forgot to put the oil cap back on. He drove it around 200 miles and I then drove it 25 miles. When turned the corner into my subdivision and braked it started making a thumping noise. I managed to get it into my driveway and turned it off. When my husband came home and restarted it the engine was shaking and it sounded like a blender. Is the engine shot?

Is there any oil in the engine? Is there lots of oil ON the engine? Which engine does it have in it? Some engines will sling the oil out of the filler without the cap, but I would be surprised for this to go on for over 200 miles unnoticed. Find or replace the cap and make sure it has oil in the engine first. If it got ran out of oil, the engine probably is shot.

It was not out of oil. My wife had driven it the day that it started sputtering and making a thumping noise. Then it started to make a noise like a muffler backfiring, but seh did not feel any lunge as a backfire would cause. She drove it into the driveway (only about 1/2 mile had been driven ) and then it started shuddering and died out. When I got home to look at it I was able to start it but it died when idleing. I started it up again and reved the engine. As I did it sounded like it was knocking and rattling. As it would idle it would die again.

I then opened the hood and found the cap off. I added oil Without checking the level (okay I admit that was dumb) When I did check it (car on slope at this point) the level was at the top. We leveled the car and found that I had added too much. We then proceeded to change the oil as it was very dirty. We also replaced the filter. Levels are all good. We have not driven it since that day about 1 week, until today when we just turned the car around in the driveway.

Any ideas? We could take a quick video with sound if that would be helpful.


“I started it up again and reved the engine.”

For an engine that was apparently dangerously low on oil, that revving could have been the coup d’grace for it. Unfortunately, based on what you have told us so far, I would not be very optimistic about the prospects for this engine.

I would suggest that you not start the engine, and have the car towed to a competent independent mechanic for examination–NOT to a chain operation like Midas, Meinke, Monro, Sears, Firestone, Goodyear, etc. If the worst case scenario turns out to be reality, a junkyard engine might be a good idea, as long as everything else on the car–particularly the transmission–has been properly maintained.

On the other hand, if this is one of those cars whose transmission fluid has never been changed, then you have another big ticket item waiting in the wings for you, even if the engine is replaced, and a 10 year old Stratus may not be worth that kind of investment for an engine and a transmission.

The first thing a mechanic will do is start the engine to duplicate the complaint. I would. So, you may as well crank it, and listen to it closely. Then, you can decide to drive it 'til it drops, or take it to a mechanic for evaluation.

Was there oil slung all over the engine compartment? Who starts adding oil without first checking if any is needed?